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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…

OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner $29.95 + FREE SHIPPING

SALAD SPINNER

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NINJA FOOD PROCESSOR

Chef’s Medal Food Serving Tray Set: 3 Tier Metal Display Stand with 3 White Rectangular Stoneware Platters | Perfect for Party Foods, Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes $29.97 + FREE SHIPPING

SERVING TRAYS

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My Comfort Food Falling Out

For some reason, we are convinced that with the onset of fall and winter, we should be eating comfort food…delicious, stick to the ribs (and everywhere else)…filling, satisfying, fattening food. Then comes spring and we wonder why our shorts don’t fit and our feet have gone up a half size. 

Try a bowl of shepherds pie laced with buttery mashed potatoes or how about a nice slice of mac and cheese stuffed meatloaf? These are truly amazing. 

So, my question is this: Is it comfort food season, or are we stress eating because it will soon be snowy and cloudy for the next six months??

If I sound like a bah humbug about fall and winter, it’s no accident. That being the case, I have made a diligent attempt to find seasonal recipes that limit the fat but keep the comfort.

And by the way, shortcuts of all kinds in my recipes are more than acceptable. Trader Joe’s is stocked with affordable and organic choices for meal prep goodies. Costco is another great place if you are feeding a large crowd. 

PS…I will absolutely post those amazing comfort food recipes as well. No reason not to…

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SALAD WITH PORT VINAIGRETTE

FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH

  • 1 Butternut Squash, cut in small pieces
  • 8 shallots, peeled, halved
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Sprinkle of onion salt (I like the Trader Joe’s)

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup port wine
  • 1 T. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

FOR THE SALADS

BUILD EACH SALAD WITH

  1. 1 cup spring mix salad greens
  2. Roasted butternut squash and shallots
  3. 2 T. Port Vinaigrette
  4. 2 T. crumbled blue cheese
  5. 2 T. toasted walnut pieces

 

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Toss the butternut squash and shallots in olive oil in a large roasting pan. Lightly sprinkle with onion salt (or sea salt).

Roast in the lower oven for 15 minutes.

Prepare the vinaigrette:

Combine vinegar, honey, port, ginger, and rosemary. Pour this syrup over the roasting squash and return the pan to the oven; roast for 10 more minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer squash and shallots to a bowl.

Pour syrup into a measuring cup and whisk in enough oil to make 11/4 cups vinaigrette, season, and set aside.

 

Build each salad starting with greens.

Top with squash and shallots, and drizzle with vinaigrette.

Sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and toasted walnuts.

*If you aren’t a fan of butternut squash, try using pears for a delicious twist. Roast them or use them sliced raw.

Dear Friends,

Sorry it has been so long. Summer has taken me away from my computer but I am back to share.

Always on a search for delicious EASY winners and I am happy to search for ones you are looking for. Email or send a txt.

Cheers to celebrating simple things every day and cherishing friends and loved ones.

đŸ·Â Laura

PS…Check out my latest Trader Joe’s obsessions! Just one click away!

 

Trader Joe’s Seasoning – 21 Salute Seasoning , Chile Lime and Everything but the bagel Seasoning by Trader Joe’s $13.87 + Free shipping!

TRADER JOE'S SEASONING

Not only are these amazing, but I LOVE the way they stack!!

Trader Joes(16 fl oz) Coconut Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Trader Joes by Trader Joe’s $13.49 + Free Shipping!

TRADER JOES COCONUT OIL

Cook with it, mix it with your peanut butter, or use it on your skin! I can’t get enough of this!

Cooking With a Touch of Savory Trader Joes Chile Lime, 21 Salute, Onion Salt and Seasoning Salt (4/pk) by Trader Joe’s $18.80 + FREE SHIPPING!

TRADER JOE'S FOUR SPICES

Trader Joes Hot & Sweet Pepper Jelly by Trader Joe’s $9.50 + FREE SHIPPING

TRADER JOE'S SWEET PEPPER JELLY

This is a staple if you entertain! Mix it with cream cheese + serve with crackers for an easy and delicious appetizer!

Trader Joe’s Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 15 by Trader Joe’s $9.48 + FREE SHIPPING!

TRADER JOE'S FACE LOTION WITH SPF 15

Keep this by your sink and wear it every day to help keep those wrinkles away!

Trader Joe’s Nourish All-in-one-facial Cleanser $13.07 + FREE SHIPPING!

TRADER JOE'S FACIAL CLEANSER

LOVE LOVE LOVE this gentle facial cleanser. I even use it to soak my bathing suits after swimming!

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ALL CLAD ROASTING PAN

This is literally, the BEST roasting pan! Large enough for everything and super easy to clean!

Gallery

Ready for the Winter Olympics? Don’t Forget your Chopsticks!

Experiencing a culture through food fascinates me; not only because of my obsession with what people eat, but I do believe that food is a window to the people and history of a culture.

Recently, I watched an interview with David Chang, a Korean Michelin Chef and International Food Correspondent to the 2018 Winter Olympics.  You can watch David Chang’s Interview with Eater here.

David gave quite a bit of information and insight into the Korean culture. I was a bit surprised that many of the foods that are traditionally eaten in South Korea were born out of scarcity. The Korean people were forced to forage edible things from their environment not just during times of war but other times as well. Interesting enough, the Korean people maintain these traditions as a cultural comfort food which conjures up warm memories of family gatherings.

KOREAN SEOUL FOOD

There is also a distinct difference in Korean street food which is a mix of Asian cultures, and the epicurean delights for the bon vivant. David’s interview inspired my curiosity to check out the vast variety of street food venders, where you can find everything from Japanese sushi to Chinese Peking Duck. 

As a fan of Korean food, I want to share this amazing recipe for Korean Beef Tacos from Cuisine Magazine. 

Korean Beef  Street Tacos (Serves 2)

Image 2-8-18 at 5.12 PM.jpg INGREDIENTS
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups shredded napa or savoy cabbage
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup plum or duck sauce
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 8 oz. sirloin or flat iron steak, very thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 4 flour tortillas (6–8 inches)

For the slaw, whisk together:
lime juice, 1 Tbsp. soy sauce,
1 tsp. sesame oil, sugar, paprika, and cayenne in a large bowl.
Add cabbage and scallions,
and toss lightly to coat.
For the steak, whisk together:

  1. plum sauce, 1/4 cup soy sauce,
    1 Tbsp. sesame oil, and cornstarch in another bowl.
  2. Add steak and toss to coat.
  3. Heat peanut oil in a nonstick skillet over high.
  4. Remove steak from bowl and let excess marinade drip back into the bowl.
  5. Add steak to skillet and stir-fry to desired doneness, 2–3 minutes.
  6. Remove steak from skillet with a slotted spoon.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Assemble tacos with steak and slaw.

Dear Friends, Thanks for swinging by today. I’m looking forward to watching the incredible athletes this year in the Winter Olympics. Aside from the food, hard to believe that it could be, my favorites are the snowboarding and skiing competition.

I give these kids and their families so much credit for the incredible commitment. I only wish that we could do more for kids who don’t have those resources and enable them to have those experiences early and on a significant level to make an impact.

For me, that would be a perfect world.

Have a great weekend and check out some of my fun finds!

Cheers!

đŸ·Laura

PS…Get your comfies on with these Pajamagram jammies, pour a glass of wine and enoy the Winter Olympics!

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KOREAN BOWLS AND CHOPSTICKS

Set of 2 Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Korean Traditional Style Rice Bowl with Spoon and Chopsticks. Metal dinnerware $24.99