Along with beach-appropriate weather, ice cream cones and vacation time, fresh zucchini are one of my favorite things about summer. And while I’ve cooked (and baked with) them many times before, this is one dish that really lets their flavor shine. It’s also ridiculously easy. Like, for realz. The hardest part will be julienning, but if you’ve got a mandolin, that should take no time at all. Just watch your fingers.
Spicy Zucchini Sauté
3 large zucchini, julienned
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
Fresh lime juice
Salt and pepper
Place the julienned zucchini in a colander set in the sink. Toss with a teaspoon of salt and let stand for about 10 minutes. Squeeze as much water out of the zucchini as you can – the drier the better.
Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a small skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapeño, garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and sauté, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Season with pepper and a splash of lime juice.
Is it loco to put chorizo in a burger? I don’t think so, considering Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner. I’ve been calling this my South of the Border burger, because it’s got a mix of Mexican flavors and some nice heat. The onion & jalapeño relish, especially when using HOT jalapeño slices, may seem a tad loco, but it’s actually fantastico. The red pepper mayo adds more flavor and some subtle heat. Okay, so maybe this burger is hotter than I realized, which is why I should really call this the En Fuego Burger. But whatever you call it, this is a tasty way to celebrate. Along with a margarita, of course.
Chorizo Burgers with Onion & Jalapeño Relish and Red Pepper Mayo
For the burger:
1 1/4 lb of ground sirloin
1 large link of chorizo, casing removed & inside crumbled
1 small onion, grated
1 teaspoon of Adobo seasoning
½ cup of breadcrumbs
4 slices of Monterey Jack cheese
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
For the relish:
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
½ cup of bottled hot jalapeño slices, drained
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
Salt and pepper
For the mayo:
2 medium jarred roasted red peppers, drained
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
In a large bowl, combine the ground sirloin, chorizo, onion (just grate it right into the bowl), Adobo and breadcrumbs, but don’t overmix. Shape into 4 patties, and then put on a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the relish. Add the olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the onions and jalapeño slices, stir in the brown sugar and season with a little salt and pepper. Sauté for about 15 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the onions and jalapeños have caramelized. Let cool to room temperature.
When ready to eat, preheat your outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Add the burger patties and cook about 10 minutes on each side – which may be a little longer than you normally grill, but make sure the chorizo is cooked through. Add cheese slices on top of the burgers during the last 5 minutes of grilling.
While the burgers cook, make the mayo. Combine the red peppers and mayonnaise in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. (This can be made ahead of time; in fact, the flavors will be even better if you let it sit in the fridge overnight.)
To assemble the burgers, spread some red pepper mayo on the bottom of the buns. Add a burger, a spoonful of onion & jalapeño relish and then the top buns. Then eat.
Everyone knows bread pudding, but this one isn’t for dessert. Well, you could have it for dessert, but then you’d have to eat something sweet for dinner. That’s because this version of bread pudding is savory. It’s a comforting meal with the right mix of salty Parmesan, salty pancetta, fluffy bread and the distinctive bite of broccoli rabe. You could use regular broccoli and good ol’ bacon, but the broccoli rabe and pancetta class it up a bit.
Parmesan Bread Pudding with Broccoli Rabe & Pancetta
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 medium bunch of broccoli rabe, trimmed & cut into ½ inch pieces
1 ½ cups of milk
6 to 8 slices of country-style bread, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup of grated Parmesan, plus 2 tablespoons
6 slices of pancetta
Salt and pepper
Heat your oven to 350º.
Add a tablespoon of oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir until the garlic is soft, about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli rabe, season with salt and pepper, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Add the broccoli rabe mixture, bread and ½ cup of Parmesan and stir to combine. Transfer to a lightly greased 1 3/4 quart baking dish. Add the pancetta slices to the top and the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.
Bake until puffed, browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly and then eat.
Well folks, here we are: Post Number 200. I really can’t believe it. I didn’t think I’d ever make to 100, but then I did. And now there’s 100 posts more. Wow. A gigantic THANKS to everyone who’s egged me on over the past 2+ years.
I’m very happy that this little endeavor of mine has evolved from an egg-centric blog to one that now includes everything – cookies, chicken, baked goods, ice cream, brussels sprouts – that I love to make and eat. This ciabatta breakfast pizza fits in quite nicely. It’s comforting and easy, a little spicy and cheesy, and puts a new spin on a classic dish – French bread pizza. Plus, it’s something you can eat for brunch or supper, which in my book means it’s a truly awesome dish.
Ciabatta Breakfast Pizza
1 demi loaf of ciabatta bread, cut in half lengthwise
2 to 3 links of hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
4 slices of hot pepper Colby Jack cheese
Salt and pepper
Scallions, chopped (for garnish)
Heat your oven to 450º.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, breaking it into pieces, and cook until brown and no traces of pink. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes.
Place the bottom half of the ciabatta bread on a baking sheet, and put the other half aside for another recipe (or make 2 pizzas). Lightly drizzle the bread with olive oil and a sprinkle of garlic salt. Place the cheese slices on the bread, allowing them to slightly overlap, and then add the cooked sausage on top. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese melts and the bread crisps.
While the pizza bakes, fry the eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Gently place the eggs on top of the pizza and garnish with chopped scallion. Cut into pieces and eat.
Thanks again everyone. Here’s to 200 more posts!
Your favorite grocery store probably has an entire aisle devoted to salad dressings. And while there are plenty of good ones out there, there are just as many as not so good ones. Some taste bad, and others are simply bad for you. (I know–where did this health conscious guy come from??) But you can make your own quick and tasty dressing at home, with ingredients you already have in the pantry. This is one I’ve been making a lot lately, and it’s helping me eat more leafy greens. (There’s that healthy guy again.) I like to pour it over a spring mix and toss in a small handful of walnuts.
Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of minced shallot
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
Salt and pepper
Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, shallot and garlic in a jar and shake well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over your favorite leafy greens and enjoy.
Guess what people: You don’t need a special occasion to roast an entire chicken. All you need are a couple of hours to let the bird cook, and some diligence to make sure it stays nice and juicy. Normally when I roast a chicken, I just toss some lemon wedges, garlic and herbs inside, and then rub the outside with olive oil. But now that I’ve rubbed chipotle-herbed butter UNDER the skin and on the outside, I’m convinced that that’s the way to go, forever and ever. For anyone concerned that the chipotle peppers will add too much spice, fear not. Sure it offers some heat, but it was subtle and flavorful.
Chipotle Roasted Chicken
- ½ stick of butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano, chopped plus 3 sprigs
- 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped plus 3 sprigs
- 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, chopped plus 3 sprigs
- 2 tablespoons of minced canned chipotle peppers in Adobe sauce
- 5 ½ to 6 ½ lb whole chicken, rinsed & patted dry (remove & reserve giblets)
- 2 large onions, cut into wedges
- 10 to 12 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 14.5 oz can of low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup of white wine
- Salt and pepper
Using a fork, mix together the butter, oregano, thyme, rosemary and chipotle peppers in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Position the rack in the bottom 1/3 of your oven and heat to 400º.
Place the chicken into a large roasting pan, and scatter any giblets and the neck around it. Starting at the neck of the chicken, gently lift the skin and rub all but 1 tablespoon of chipotle-herbed butter over the breast meat and thighs. Rub any butter left on your fingers over the outside of the bird. Season main cavity with salt and pepper and then place the herb sprigs inside. Loosely tie the legs together with kitchen string.
Melt the remaining tablespoon of chipotle-herbed butter and toss with the onion wedges in a bowl. Scatter the onions around the chicken and season them with salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken and onions for 30 minutes. Then place the garlic cloves around the pan and add 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Continue to roast the bird until internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh reaches 170º. Add more chicken broth as necessary, making sure the bottom of the pan always has some liquid, and baste the chicken with pan juices every 30 minutes or so.
Remove the chicken from the oven. Place the bird, onions and garlic on a large platter and tent with foil. Add an additional 1/4 cup of broth and 1/4 cup of white wine to the roasting pan juices and bring to a boil, scraping any brown bits from the bottom. Strain the juices into a bowl and discard any fat. Carve the bird, and serve with the pan juices.
Seriously folks. This is one of the best chickens I have ever cooked. It had so much flavor, that I didn’t even find the need to make a side dish. I just paired it with a salad and some homemade dressing, and it was perfect.