Vegetable Inspiration

I recently met and listened to chef April Bloomfield speak about her latest cookbook, A Girl and Her Greens.  I'll be writing a post about that shortly, but between that book event and spring being upon us, I've had vegetables on the brain.

For an easy Sunday side dish or vegetarian entree, I made a super simple pasta with zucchini and leeks from Bon Appetit.

Shred some zucchini, chop a large leek, season with salt, pepper, red chile flake, and saute while your pasta boils and ta da!  And definitely top with your pasta with cheese.  The recipe calls for pecorino cheese, but I only had parmesan available so I used that.  Just as delicious.

Cavatelli with Zucchini and Leeks

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Cavs Game Six

I'm watching my home team play in the NBA Finals tonight.

I had some boneless chicken breasts in the fridge and I felt like putting in a bit more effort tonight instead of just browning and baking.  I had buttermilk in the fridge from a fancy Sunday brunch so I soaked the chicken in buttermilk and hot sauce for an hour.  Then I coated the chicken with panko bread crumbs seasoned with Old Bay, dried thyme, salt, and pepper.

Pankochicken

I just shallow fried the chicken in a deep saute pan and then finished baking it in the oven.

Someone got to the pan before I could grab my camera.

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Sunday Soup Time

I started a minestrone just now.  Minestrone is a great soup to have up your sleeve at any time of the year.  It's a hearty vegetable soup with beans and tiny pasta that makes a meal with good bread or a salad.  In the fall, you can add chunks of butternut squash to the soup.  In the spring, you can add peas and/or asparagus.  Of course, if you need some bacon (and who doesn't), you can start the soup by sauteing some pancetta or diced bacon before you add your vegetables.

Here's a great article I found on food52.com about building a minestrone from your fridge and pantry.

G starts a new job this week so I thought the soup would be good to have hanging out in the fridge as a grab 'n' go item.

Vegetables simmering.

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Ready to eat!  Beans and tiny pasta added, topped with parmesan cheese, basil, and a drizzle of olive oil.

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Quick Bites

I volunteered at the farmers' market Saturday morning and came home starving.  That's usually what happens when I work a shift in the food world.  I'm busy making the food, serving the food, or cleaning up after the food making.  So the food is either gone or my appetite is gone.  (And I drink way much too much coffee.)

I've found that I can get a perfect loaf of ciabatta bread for $3 at the Acme Bread stall so I returned home with one of those under my arm.  Toasted a couple of slices, rubbed them with garlic, and topped them with a slather of mayo, sautéed leeks, cracked pepper, and last night's leftovers, coffee marinated grilled skirt steak.

Leftover heaven.

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Spiced Roast Chicken

Sunday afternoon...football on the TV...chicken in the oven.

Decided to do a take on this recipe.

I like recipes that call for roasting a chicken in a pot.  The chicken is all nestled in there, usually accompanied with some vegetables, and I like to use my snazzy wedding gift le Creuset pot as much as possible.

This recipe called for a spice rub of paprika, ground coriander, cumin and ground ginger.  I am proud of my kind-of-massive spice pantry, but today it disappointed me when I couldn't locate ground ginger.  Because of its kind-of-massiveness, I'm always surprised when I can't find a particular spice.  I usually spin that spice carousel five or six times out of disbelief.  Alas, no ground ginger today.

I made the spice rub sans ground ginger, salted and peppered, and then sliced up some fresh ginger to place in the cavity of the chicken.

To surround the chicken, the recipe called for oranges, sweet potatoes, and carrots.  No sweet potatoes in the house today, just carrots.  I checked my citrus bowl and only found clementines, so I halved those and threw them in the pot.

This was a winner!  My latest go-to Sunday chicken dinner recipe.

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Stuffed Zucchini

I found some beautiful, round zucchini squash at the farm market last week.  They seemed so...stuffable, really, so that's what I did.

I found this recipe and used it as a guide.  I made a filling of Italian sausage, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and spinach and stuffed all the little squashes.  Before I put them in the oven, I topped each one with an herby, cheesy bread crumb mixture.  The one thing I'd do differently is roast the still empty squash a bit before stuffing them.  The taste was exactly what I was going for, but I wanted the squash itself to be more tender.

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Taco Seasoning

We had tacos on a fairly regular basis when I was a kid.  All brought to us by Ortega.  Later on, we graduated to making taco salads, using the Ortega seasoning packets.

I still love a taco night at home.  Instead of buying the sodium-loaded seasoning packets, I wanted to keep a homemade version on hand so I know exactly what I'm putting into my dinner.

My tacos now tend to rely on Alton Brown's recipe, Taco Potion #19.

Chili powder, cumin, cornstarch, salt, hot smoked paprika, coriander, and cayenne.  Make the effort to find the smoked paprika.  It really makes a difference.

 


Grilled Pork Banh Mi

I just made the marinade for the pork tenderloin for this Vietnamese sandwich, Banh Mi.  The recipe is here.

In my small food chopper went fish sauce, garlic, honey, sugar, black pepper, and some scallions.  It's a lazy Saturday, so instead of slicing the pork, I threw the whole tenderloin into a ziploc bag with the marinade.  I will cook the pork tenderloin on the stove top in my trusty grill pan and finish it in the oven. 

All that's left for me to do is slice some cucumbers (and my own addition of carrots), grab some hoisin sauce and sriracha and then it's time for dinner!

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Today's Market Bounty

Thursdays are my favorite Ferry Building market day.  The pace is nice and slow, the crowds are manageable, and the food stalls are aplenty.

Here are today's treasures.

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