Grilled Zucchini and Avocado with White Wine Vinaigrette

Grilled Zucchini with Avocado and White Wine Viniagrette

Grilled Zucchini with Avocado and White Wine Vinaigrette

T’is the season–for zucchini that is.  It is at almost every stand in my farmers market, piled into beautiful towers at my local Whole Foods, and in glistening plastic packages in my local Trader Joe’s.  There is no escaping it–not that I’d want to. Zucchini is one of those vegetables that if you plant it–you will be rewarded with an enormous bounty–so it’s no wonder that it is everywhere right now. So what do you do with an enormous bounty of zucchini?  Cook it. Pickle it. Give it away–even in secret as some of my neighbors have, by leaving an anonymous  bag full of zucchini on my doorstep.  It’s a good thing that I happen to like zucchini.  This recipe happens to be something that came about as an accident.  I was planning on making my favorite saute of zucchini and mushrooms but my plans and Page’s needs sometimes collide and I had to make an adjustment.  In this case, I had some deliciously ripe avocado’s that Page insisted that I serve her for dinner.  I had already begun to slice the zucchini so I had to cook it. So I decided why not just combine the two and make a salad of sorts. Boy, am I glad I did. I used a white wine vinaigrette, but this is great with a lemon garlic vinaigrette too!

 

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Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 large avocados, sliced

1/4 cup of feta cheese (optional)

1 tablespoon of parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil or grape seed

2 tablespoons of butter or ghee

sea salt and black pepper to taste

For Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of olive oil

sea salt to taste

Directions: Mix the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the oil and butter in a saute pan.

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Once hot, add the zucchini slices to the pan and cook until brown–about 2-3 minutes on each side.

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Transfer the zucchini to a plate, season with sea salt and black pepper.

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Slice the avocado and arrange in a single layer on a plate.  Top the avocado with the grilled zucchini.  Sprinkle with feta if using, then sprinkle with parsley. Lastly top with vinaigrette, serve and enjoy!

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Sauteed Chard with Lemon, Garlic and Shallots

Sauteed Chard with Lemon, Garlic and Shallots

Sauteed Chard with Lemon, Garlic and Shallots

Chard is an under rated vegetable.  It’s one of those vegetables that doesn’t get it’s due.  Probably because it has to contend with other vegetables that hog the spotlight, like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower.  I think that if more people knew how easy it is to cook chard, and how delicious it is, it would be a star in their dinner line up.  This recipe for chard is one of my favorite chard recipes.  It’s super easy, quick, and oh so delicious!

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Ingredients

1 bushel of chard about 4 cups chopped roughly

1 medium shallot sliced thinly

4 small cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, more if you’re so inclined

2 tablespoons of cooking oil

sea salt to taste

Directions:  Heat the oil along with the garlic and shallots over medium heat.

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Cook the shallots and garlic until shallots turn translucent, about 1-2 minutes.

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Add in the chopped chard, season with sea salt and saute until wilted.

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Turn the fire off and add lemon juice, toss then serve.  Yup that easy! AND So, so , so delicious!!

 

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DIY Tater Tots–How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

DIY Tater Tots How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

DIY Tater Tots How to Make Homemade Tater Tots

How amazing are potatoes?  I love them in every form.  So does Page.  I have been wanting to do a tater tot for her for a long while now.  They are super easy to make, especially if you have a food processor.  You just throw the potatoes in, and the processor does all the work.  All you have to do is form the tots. If you’re not into forming a few hundred tiny balls of potatoes, this also works as a recipe for hash browns–yes a two for one! I’ve used potato starch in this recipe, but feel free to use all purpose flour if you so choose. You can also substitute almost any potato in this recipe.  Sweet potato tater tots are pretty awesome!

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Ingredients:

2 pounds of potatoes peeled–I used fingerlings and purple

1 tablespoon of potato starch (can sub for any flour you’d like)

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of thyme

1 tablespoon of potato starch

1 cup of high heat oil like safflower or grapeseed

sea salt to taste

Directions: Place the potatoes in a pot in cold water–enough to cover them, and bring to a boil–allow to cook for 6-7 minutes,

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then strain and allow to cool to room temperature.

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Once cool, grate with a box grater, or grate in a food processor.  Once grated, wrap the shredded potatoes in cheese cloth and wring out all the water that you can,  transfer to a large bowl, add seasoning, and potato starch, and form tater tots.

 

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TIP: If your dough is sticky wet your fingers, balls will be easier to form. Heat oil in a skillet. Once hot fry tots in batches until brown.

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Transfer to a paper towel lined plate, season with salt and  serve with my recipe for ketchup and enjoy!

 

 

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DIY Strawberry Soda–Lacto Fermented Strawberry Soda

DIY Strawberry Soda--Lacto Fermented Strawberry Soda

DIY Strawberry Soda–Lacto Fermented Strawberry Soda

 

So now that you know how to make a ginger bug, let’s put it to use.  I’ve been wanting to make this soda specifically for Page for a long while now.  The great thing about this soda is that it is full of beneficial bacteria, so it’s a soda that is actually good for you.  The directions I had for making this soda said to leave it out of direct sun light for 24 hours, so that it naturally carbonates and then move it to the refrigerator to chill and slow the process down.  I put the soda in a corner and left it to sit, about 15 hours later, I hear a loud explosion in my kitchen.  The bottle had exploded and my entire bottle of soda was lost.  There was glass everywhere! It made me so sad.  So the moral of the story is, don’t leave this out to carbonate more than 12 hours.  If you plan on doing that, then put this in a cabinet, close it so that the explosion is confined, and no one gets hurt.  Or place this in a plastic sterilized water bottle, that way you can clearly tell when the soda has carbonated, the bottle will expand and harden once the soda has been carbonated.  In the book The Art of Fermentation’ the author suggest placing a raisin in the bottle, once the raisin rises to the top that is a sign that the soda has been carbonated, and you can transfer it to the refrigerator. I juiced fresh strawberries in my juicer for this recipe.  There are many recipes out there that boil the berries with sugar to make a syrup, and then use the syrup as a base to make this soda.  I preferred to just use fresh juice–delicious!  Also the sugar is an optional ingredient, if the strawberries you’re using are already sweet then you don’t really need to add more sugar.

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Ingredients:

2 cups of strawberry juice

2 cups of water

1/2 cup of ginger bug

1/4 cup -1/2 cup of organic raw sugar –optional

Equipment:

Close top bottles

 

Directions: Remove the stems from the strawberries–about 3 pints and juice them.

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Strain 1/2 cup of the ginger bug.

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To a large bowl add the strawberry juice, water, ginger bug, and sugar if using,

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Stir well cover with cheesecloth and place out of direct sun light to allow the mixture to ferment over night.  If you’d like you could ferment longer–up to 3 days, but the flavor of mine was just perfect after 24 hours.  The bacteria eat the sugar, so the longer you leave it, the less sweet it becomes.  But be careful, the bacteria will convert the sugar to alcohol so you don’t want to leave it too long–unless of course you want to make this a mead–a delicious alcoholic beverage,  instead of a soda.  Transfer the mixture to an air tight bottle or mason jar to carbonate, store in a dark cabinet–or a safe area where if it explodes it will not harm you or your family members.

 

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Store for up to 12-15 hours before moving it to the refrigerator to chill.  Once chilled open the bottle over a sink–natural carbonation is a powerful thing!  Pour over ice and enjoy!

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How to Make a Ginger Bug–How to Make a Lacto-Starter

How to make a Ginger Bug--How to make a Lacto Starter

How to make a Ginger Bug–How to make a Lacto -Starter

So you’re probably wondering what a ginger bug is, and why on earth would I make it!  The short answer is that it’s a culture of good bacteria that is used as a base for homemade lacto fermented sodas.  Much like kefir, kombacha, yogurt, and  other fermented foods like pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut, the bacteria in lacto fermented sodas provides beneficial bacteria to our guts. I’m not a fan of conventional soda’s for obvious reasons, and I’m so glad to have this as an alternative.  The recipe I used for making this lacto soda starter comes from the book Bar Tartine Techniques & Recipes, get a copy, it’s a great book.  You can use any type of sugar that you like in this recipe, and don’t worry about the sugar, it’s not for you, it’s for the bacteria, and they need it to thrive.   They eat it, and what’s left over is a thing of pure beauty.  One thing you should know about this recipe, is that you have to use organic ginger.  Commercial ginger is radiated, and because of that will not make a successful starter.

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Ingredients

4 cups of filtered water

5 teaspoons of grated  organic ginger

5 teaspoons of organic sugar

Directions: Add the water,

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1 teaspoon of ginger,

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and one teaspoon of sugar, to a large canning jar, or a bowl, stir well,

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cover with cheesecloth and place in a dark corner.

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The next day add one teaspoon of ginger, and one teaspoon of sugar, stir well, cover with the cheesecloth and return to the corner.  Continue to do this for another 3 days.  By the 5th day your ginger bug should be bubbling with action.  By bubbling I mean this:

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The bubbles are not boiling, just a few here and there, but when I moved it with spoon it sizzled.

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Once you get that, your ginger bug is ready to use. If you’re not ready to use it right away, transfer it to a mason jar, cover it, and refrigerate it.  Make sure to feed it once a week with 1 teaspoon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  When you’re ready to make soda bring the starter to room temp, feed it with 1 teaspoon of ginger and 1 teaspoon of sugar until it bubbles again, about 3 days.  Stay tuned tomorrow I’ll share my recipe for strawberry soda using this starter–it’s soooooooooooooooo good!

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Miso Butter–How to Make Miso Butter

How to Make Miso Butter

How to Make Miso Butter

Butter is delicious all on its own, I love adding it to sauces, slathering it on piping hot corn on the cob, or a simple piece of toast. There is not much that butter doesn’t improve.  However, miso butter is the younger, prettier, and more sophisticated sibling of butter. It’s everything butter is, but better! I was introduced to miso butter by David Chang after watching a chef series he did.  Frankly, I don’t know why I never tried making miso butter before.  I have had it several times at restaurants, and was always fascinated whenever chefs mentioned using it. I guess it just never occurred to me to try to make it at home–until it did–and now I can’t live without it.  Most chefs recommend using a 2 to 1, or 3 to 1 ratio of butter to miso.  I found my sweet spot is larger on the butter side, so my ratio is more of a 4 to 1. Tomorrow I am going to share one of my absolute favorite ways to use miso butter, until then here is how you make it.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of white organic miso

7  tablespoons of grass fed butter–cut into cubes–it makes mixing easier

Directions: To a medium size bowl add the butter,

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Then the miso.

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Using  the back of a large spoon, mix and mash together the butter and miso paste until well combined.

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You’ll know the butter is fully mixed when you no longer see streaks of brown or yellow.

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Once the butter and miso have been well combined, transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate for later use.

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This butter is amazing on almost everything, from steaks to veggies and fish!  See you tomorrow;-)

If you like this recipe try my recipe for How to make Butter or How to brown butter

 

DIY Onion Soup Mix–Copy Cat Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix

 

DIY Onion soup mix

DIY Onion soup mix

There are three seasonings that I can rely on my mom to have in her cupboards at all times: Lawry’s seasoning salt, Lemon pepper, and Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix.  In fact while writing this, I was tempted to call her, and have her take a picture of what is inside her cupboards, just so that you guys could see, but she’s not that technologically savvy.  She barely knows how to get the pictures that I send her of Page through text.  When I was growing up my mom would rent  4-5  movies and make a bunch of snacks for us watch over the course of the weekend.  One of those snacks was a sour cream and onion dip.  She’d take a container of sour cream and mix in a package of the Lipton Onion Soup mix–simple but delicious.  We’d happily nosh on potato chips, celery, and carrot sticks dipped in the onion dip while we watched the latest movie release from Blockbuster video–yes I just dated myself!  Oh the memories!  I haven’t had that dip in years!  I’d say a good 10-12 years, maybe longer.  It’s not something my mom makes any more.  I wanted to make it for me and my hubby, but I didn’t want to buy the Lipton’s seasoning. I had an idea of what was in the seasoning–or at least I thought I did– dried minced onion, onion powder, dried green onion–but to be sure I called my mom and asked her what was on the ingredient list.  Sure enough she had a box in her cupboard and  the ingredient list she read to me was anything but simple. Besides the MSG, onion powder, and cornstarch, there were a list of ingredients that had  nothing to do with onions. So I set out to do what I do best and made my own–without all the added preservatives and coloring.  I used the organic onion powder that I made myself, and added minced onion and a few herbs.  A perfect match! Tastes just like I remember it! Delicious!!

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Makes the equivalent of 1 package of Lipton Onion soup mix

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons of organic dried minced onion flakes

3 teaspoons of organic onion powder

1 teaspoon of organic dried chives

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon of celery salt

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl, if you don’t plan on using this right away, transfer it to an air tight container for later use.

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