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Gifts from the Garden…Yes Please!

I have had the fortune of great friends with the greenest of green thumbs extoll gifts from their garden. I LOVE summer’s bounty am elated when the supply far exceeds the demand. Truthfully, how much zucchini, tomatoes, beats and lettuce can one eat in a week? Hmmmm…..

So, with open hands and a grateful heart, I accept these gifts and in return, I share recipes, dog treats and treasures from my kitchen.

My zucchini growing friends did quite well this year….you know who you are 😘 and I am sharing one of my favorite recipes…Zucchini Napoleons.

ZUCCHINI CAKE NAPOLEONS

Makes 4 servings 

SHRED:

  • 4 zucchini, green, yellow or both (4 cups)
  • 1/2 C. shredded onion
  • 1/2 C. shredded Romano cheese
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

WHISK:

  • 2 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup Italian panko (or Italian breadcrumbs)

HEAT:

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

ASSEMBLE:

  • 1 large tomato
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 Cup prepared pesto (I use Trader Joe’s
cheap + fresh)
  • Basil sprigs

Shred zucchini and onion

Place zucchini and onion in a salad spinner, sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes. 

Spin mixture in a salad spinner to dry; transfer to a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove more liquid.

Whisk together egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, and baking powder.
Stir in zucchini mixture and panco. 

Scoop batter with 1/2 cup measure onto a baking sheet and press into 8 cakes.

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil with drippings in skillet. Sauté cakes in two batches over medium heat until golden, about 4 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed.

Add a mozzarella slice to each cake in the last 2 minutes of sautéing to slightly melt mozzarella. 

Transfer cakes to a paper-towel-lined plate. 

Assemble Napoleons by layering

  • fresh mozzarella slice
  • a tomato slice
  • 2 T. pesto 
  •  Top each with a remaining cake and garnish with a basil sprig; serve immediately 

Dear Friends,

Summer’s bounty isn’t over until it’s over. I hope you enjoy this delicious dish. It has great presentation and doesn’t take forever to make…just a few small steps.

Great friends are truly a blessing. I remember taking a Steven Covey class many years ago where he emphasized the concepts of deposits and withdrawals in friendship. “Over deposit and under withdraw” was his best advice in any relationship and no words could be truer.

Cheers to friends, family and everything else you love. Until next time…

🍾Laura

PS..Check out my latest obsessions…

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SERVING TRAYS

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Comfort….

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Today I learned of a friend’s passing.  A tearful whisper in the wind.

My friend was kind, cheerful, giving and loving, to her family and to her friends. Everyone knew the cancer had returned, but her heart wouldn’t allow her to share the burden she carried when hope turned to prayers and words turned to tears.

Visiting her Pinterest boards today, it became clear that words of inspiration and thoughts reach deeply into our hearts and minds.

With tears in my eyes, I wanted to write..

“My dear Friend,

I wish I could have shared your pain and kept your private fears and tears close to my heart. I pray that your pain is gone and you are at peace.”

These are some of her posts….

Geralyn's words

Comfort comes with time and we hope that time does heal, although the pain never really goes away. Comfort comes in many ways and opening our hearts to comfort during difficult times can help.
Geralyn

My upbringing always brings me to food. Growing up, food was always the center of happiness, sadness and just about anything in between. My Steve always says that dining with family is an experience….they are the only people he knows who can be discussing what they want for the next meal while they are eating…too true:)

So for me, comfort food is just that, and I have found this delicious twist on stroganoff with just the right amount of heat and the right amount of comfort. Enjoy!

CAJUN CHICKEN STROGANOFF

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  •  8 oz. dry wide egg noodles

  • 8 oz. kielbasa, sliced 8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

  • 11/2 lb. chicken breast tenders

  • 1/2 tsp. each cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, kosher salt, dried basil, dried thyme, and dried oregano

  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste

  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic

  • 1/2 cup dry sherry

  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • Sliced scallions

DIRECTIONS

Cook noodles in a pot of boiling salted water according to package directions; drain.

Sauté kielbasa and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp. oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until browned, 5 minutes; transfer to a bowl.

Combine chicken with seasonings, tossing to coat, then dust with flour. Sauté chicken in remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in same sauté pan over medium-high heat until nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Push chicken to the side of the pan, stir in tomato paste and garlic, and cook 1 minute.

Deglaze pan with sherry, scraping up any brown bits; simmer until nearly evaporated. A

dd broth, Worcestershire, and reserved kielbasa and mushroom mixture, bring to a simmer, and reduce by half, about 5 minutes.

Off heat, stir in sour cream.

Serve stroganoff over noodles and garnish with scallions