Zucchini-Potato Fritters

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2 zucchini
2 medium potatoes1/4 c bread crumbs
2 eggs, plus 1 egg white
1/4 c Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

Shred the zucchini and peeled potatoes using a box grater or mandoline with a julienne plate. Squeeze the extra liquid out of the veggies, then add a teaspoon or two of salt, then set aside to let the salt pull out even more moisture. After 10 minutes or so, squeeze the extra moisture out, quickly rinse, then squeeze again. Set it on a paper towel to take out any remaining moisture that’s going to come out. I’ve done the fritters without draining them well, and 1: they pop all over the place in the pan, and 2. they taste watery to me, so it’s really worth draining them. Mix the veggies with the rest of the ingredients. Grease a skillet and heat over medium. Place a heaping tablespoonful of the mix on the pan, spreading it out a bit. Don’t overcrowd the pan! When one side is golden brown, flip and cook the other side. Serve hot.

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Baked Stuffed Mushrooms

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4 large portobello (portabella? I have no idea what the correct spelling is, and neither does Firefox) mushrooms
1 onion
1 clove garlic
2 cups spinach (about half of a 5 oz pack)
1/3 c Panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/3 c mozzarella cheese.
salt and black pepper to taste

Scrape the gills off of the mushrooms and cut off the stems, if there are any. Preheat the oven to 375, drizzle the mushrooms with oil, and bake them for 10 minutes while you prep the filling. Finely dice the onions and garlic and saute in a large wok-ish pan oil until translucent and aromatic. Add the spinach and reduce heat to low. Once the spinach wilts, add the bread crumbs, vinegar, salt, and pepper, then turn off the heat. Add the cheese and stir until just combined. Take the mushrooms out of the oven and spoon the mixture into the center of each mushroom. Return to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes.

 

 

Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

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1 spaghetti squash
oil

1 sweet onion
1 large can diced tomatoes
1/2 c stock
1 sprig basil
salt and pepper

1 lb ground beef
1 clove garlic
1/2 c bread crumbs
1/2 c stock
1 tsp salt

Slice the spaghetti squash in half. Drizzle with oil and bake for 50 minutes to an hour at 375. While that’s baking, dice the onion and saute in a large pot until translucent. Add the tomatoes and stock. Chop the basil, and add that, along with the salt and pepper. You could totally add some oregano or parsley, too, if you’re into that. Let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Mix all the meatball ingredients until well combined. Put tablespoon-sized dollops in the sauce to poach. Don’t worry too much about how they look; they’ll break apart when you mix everything anyway. Put the lid on the pot and cook on medium-low for another 30 minutes or so, until the meatballs are cooked all the way through.

Once the squash is cooked, let it cool. Once it’s cool enough to handle, scrape the inside with a fork. The strands will come off looking like noodles. Separate any chunks of squash and mix it with the hot sauce. Again, the meatballs will kind of fall apart, but I don’t mind. If you do, then mix a little sauce in with the squash and serve the rest on top of the squash. It might be fun to serve this in the shells of the squash, if they don’t fall apart, but mine totally fell apart, so I didn’t.

Marsala Carrots

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1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced into even strips
3-4 shallots
2 tbsp oil or butter (I prefer butter, big surprise.)
1/2 c Marsala wine (or sherry, or cheap red wine, if you’re really in a bind and just HAVE to have these carrots NOW)
1 tbsp brown sugar

Boil the carrots for around 15 minutes to soften them up while you prepare the glaze. Slice the shallots into rounds, like little tiny onion rings. (And now I want shallot rings. Someone make them for me!) Cook them in the oil or butter until softened and lightly browned. Add the wine and sugar and mix well, cooking until the alcohol is gone. (You’ll stop smelling it in the steam.) Add in the carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, until the glaze has thickened and the carrots soak up the liquids. Goes wonderfully with roasted red meat!

Spinach Quiche

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1 onion, diced finely
2 boxes frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained very, very well
1.5 TBSP French onion soup mix
2 TBSP flour
3/4 c milk
2 eggs
1 c shredded cheese (I like mozzarella, but any mild cheese would do)

1 whole wheat pie crust

Preheat the oven to 350. Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes. You might want to use pie weights or poke some holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork so it doesn’t puff up. Saute the onion over medium heat with a little oil until translucent. Add the spinach (and seriously, make sure it’s pretty dry, or the whole deal will be watery) and soup mix, and cook for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat, add the flour, and mix well. Add the milk, then mix. Add the egg, then mix. (Don’t skip the mixing, or your hot filling will cook the eggs before they’re mixed in.) Add the cheese, then mix. Put the filling in the pie crust, then bake for 45 minutes. Let it cool at least 10 minutes before cutting in. Can be served, cold, room temperature, or hot.

Scarborough Fair Chicken and Cauliflower Mash

2 lbs chicken (I did 4 skinless, bone-in breasts, but I bet thighs would be good, too.)
leaves from 4-5 sprigs each of parsley, sage, rosemary, and time (I used those singles packs)
juice from 2 lemons
2 cloves garlic
around 1/4 c olive oil
salt, pepper, and Cayenne

1 head cauliflower
2 cloves garlic
1 c chicken stock
1 c plain Greek yogurt
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Blend up the herbs, lemon juice*, garlic, and oil in a blender until smooth. Dip the mixture in the chicken until coated, and place the pieces in a 9×9 baking dish. Spoon the rest of the sauce over the chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for around 40 minutes or until the chicken reaches 155 degrees. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving so it soaks up all those delicious herby juices. Feel free to reduce the pan drippings into a demi glace or just spoon them over everything as-is.

Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Chop up the cauliflower, discarding the greens and any thick stems. Chop up the garlic, too. Steam/boil the cauliflower and garlic until tender. Drain off some of the stock and blend the cauliflower, garlic, yogurt, and Parmesan, if you’re using it, until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Carrot and Squash “Pasta” and Meatballs

1 lb ground meat (I used a mix of beef, pork, and turkey)
1 egg
1/2 c breadcrumbs
spices and herbs (I used basil, thyme, oregano, garlic salt, Cayenne, and paprika, but use whatever you like or whatever goes with your sauce.)

1/2 lb carrots (thicker is better)
1/2 lb squash, zucchini, courgettes, etc.
1 cup Marinara sauce (or any kind of pasta sauce you like. Alfredo might be good with chicken meatballs.)

Mix the meat, egg, bread crumbs, and herbs with your hands (or in a food processor if you want to wash something extra and don’t like getting your hands covered in meat). Roll into bite-size or two-bite balls and let rest for 10 minutes or so. They hold together when frying that way. Heat half an inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat, then cook the meatballs in batches. Don’t overcrowd or let the meatballs touch, or they’ll steam instead of fry. Cook for around 5 minutes, moving them around every so often so that all sides get browned. Let them cool on a rack covered with a paper towel.

Peel the veggies, then using a vegetable peeler, slice the veggies into thin strips. For the squash, stop when you get to the seeds, and for the carrots, keep going until it gets too thin to handle. Blanche/steam in a little bit of water until the carrots are soft and bendy like noodles. Add the pasta sauce, mix in the meatballs, and serve. Alternatively, just put the meatballs on top.
This is definitely a concept dish. I want to play around with what veggies I use. Squash kind of falls apart after too long. Carrots are a good choice, though. Onions sliced on a mandoline would probably be good, too. Either way, it’s got more substance and probably fewer carbs than pasta, so it’s a good way to sneak in healthy food.

Sautéed spinach and carrots with poached eggs

3-4 oz fresh spinach
1/2 c sliced carrots
balsamic vinegar and olive oil
2 fresh eggs*
salt, Cayenne to taste

Saute the carrots on medium heat with the oil and vinegar until they soften. Reduce heat to low, then add the spinach. Cover and let the veggies steam while you poach the eggs.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Feel free to add a little white vinegar, as it’s supposed to help the eggs stay together. I never do. Crack each egg into a small bowl. Once you’ve got a rolling boil, stir the water until it’s swirling like a whirlpool; this helps the egg stay together, too. Add each egg carefully and cook for 1:30 to 2 minutes, or until all the white is opaque. I like my poached eggs really soft and runny, so feel free to poach for longer, but not too much: the runny yolk on the veggies is crucial.

Put the veggies on a plate, then place the eggs on top. Top it all off with a sprinkle of salt and Cayenne. I love this, because it feels decadent, but it’s really pretty cheap and easy, if you can poach an egg, and you can. Don’t cheat and get one of those double boiler things like my mom used to have. They’re cute, and they make really nice soft-boiled eggs, but they don’t have the softness or richness of poached eggs.

*Fresh eggs hold together better than old eggs.

Chicken Fried Quinoa

1/2 c raw quinoa
1/2 red bell pepper, diced finely
2 green onions, diced finely
1 carrot, diced finely, or a handful of shredded carrots
1 small chicken breast, sliced into bite-sized strips
soy sauce
salt, pepper, Cayenne

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer to remove grit, leftover gross-tasting stuff*, etc. Add it and a cup of water to a pot, bring to a boil, give it a stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let it cook for around 15 minutes, then turn the heat off and let it stand until you’re ready to stir-fry. You can also cook it in a rice cooker on the white rice setting.

In the meantime, prep your veggies and chicken. Stir-fry the chicken in a little canola oil over med-hi heat. Once it’s cooked through, add the other veggies and cook until everything’s softened up a bit, about 5 minutes. Add in the quinoa, soy sauce, and spices. Keep stirring until everything’s incorporated and the quinoa has dried out a little bit. Serve immediately and pat yourself on the back for eating a superfood. This would probably be good with any stir-fryin’ veggies or proteins, and maybe some egg. Double or triple the recipe for a super-fast family meal.

*Quinoa has this stuff called saponin on it, which makes it taste bitter. Most of it gets washed off in processing, but just in case. Besides, it’s always a good idea to rinse grains, seeds, and beans, yeah?

Corned-style beef and Colcannon

BEEF:

1 lb beef (get whatever mid-range cut you like; you’ll be marinating this for a while)
5 cups water
3 tbsp salt
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp pickling or corned beef spices*

Mix the marinade together, then add the beef. If you’re doing slices or cubes, marinate it for a few hours. (I think I did 4.) If it’s a big ol’ steak, do it longer, like even overnight. When you’re ready to cook, rinse the beef lightly and sear that puppy over high heat. If it’s a bigger and/or tougher piece of meat, add some beef stock and braise it for a bit. Don’t do this with the marinade because it is too salty, and you’re supposed to be cutting back on your sodium, young lady. At any rate, if you don’t want to serve this just plain seared, this is a recipe where it’s totally okay to cook this for a while, assuming you don’t let it get dry. Serve it with . . .

COLCANNON**:

3 large potatoes
2 cups kale
3 green onions
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup butter, split in two
some milk, if you need it
salt and pepper (unless your pepper shaker breaks in a freak accident, then no black pepper)

Peel and cut up the potatoes. Boil them in salted water until fork tender. While that’s going on, cut the big stalks out of the kale, chop up the green onions and garlic, and process them with half of the SOFT butter in whatever electric chopping implement you have. When your potatoes are done, drain them and return them to the pot. Add the greens and mash them suckers with the rest of the butter. Add salt and pepper, and if you like a more mashed-potato-ey texture, add a little milk or heavy cream. (I’m big into really creamy mashed potatoes, so I did that.) Enjoy all those greens you just hid in potatoes!

So, this is some kind of Irish something or other, maybe. I mainly just wanted meat and potatoes for midterms week. Apparently, real corned beef takes, like, 3 weeks to make, because you’re curing it, and I do not have that kind of time, nor do I trust anything to stay in my fridge for that long. Also, the “corned” part of corned beef refers not to actual corn but to salt kernels. Huh! Chef John, mentioned below, does a better job talking about colcannon, so if you’re curious, check out his website, foodwishes.com.

*I didn’t get real pickling spices because even though I work at a posh spice shop, they don’t make a pickling blend, so I made up my own blend of mustard seeds, allspice, juniper berries, quatre épice, herbes de Provence, pink pepper, and Cayenne. I don’t know the exact ratio, but there was a lot of mustard and quatre épice.\

**It should be noted that the only reason I even know what colcannon is is because of Chef John, who is a culinary freaking genius. I love his show, and you all should watch him. Also, this is kind of mostly the same recipe from him, just sans leeks because my grocery store only sells leeks in big bunches. For real, who needs 5 large leeks at a time? Not me, that’s who.