What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Start Smart: Zucchini Zoup! Here’s a delicious way to warm your tummy as the days turn cooler and leaves begin to fall. Try this savory thick and hearty soup made with zucchini. It’s a one-pot meal filled with nutrition. But that’s not all. It can be made from scratch in a matter of minutes. You have the option of a smooth flavorful finish, or allowing chunks of vegetables here and there. I puréed about 3/4 of it so I could still spoon bits of zucchini, onions, and garlic in my mouth to savor. If you like to crumble crackers in the soup, be my guest. From time to time, that’s the only way that’ll do.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, stem removed and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large zucchini squash, ends cut but skin on, then chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4-1/2 cup light cream
Colby Jack cheese, grated for garnish
In a large saucepan, warm olive oil. Sauté sweet onion, jalapeño pepper, garlic cloves, and zucchini squash over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Cover and allow vegetables to cook down until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Using a mini chopper, purée mixture in batches, returning soup to the pan. Over low heat, add chopped cilantro and light cream, stirring constantly until heated through. For a thinner soup, add more light cream. Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle with grated Colby Jack cheese. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? All the Buzz: Zillions of Zoodles! Anyone who owns a KitchenAid stand mixer will tell you they know all about the Spiralizer. I know it may sound like a super-hero with super-powers, but in many ways it is….for foodies, in my opinion. A Spiralizer is an attachment that can peel and slice vegetables into a uniform spiral making the vegetables look like noodles. This is a great tool for those going Paleo or living gluten-free. In mere seconds any vegetable, like zucchini, can be transformed into an abundant bowl of Zoodles. Think about the options for yellow squash, cucumbers, carrots, and potatoes! Move over, Pasta, there’s a new sheriff in town!
ZILLIONS OF ZOODLES
1-2 zucchini, spiralized
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces shrimp, precooked
1/8 teaspoon dill weed
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Greek olive mix
3 tablespoons basil pesto
Fresh parsley, for garnish
Spiralize zucchini zoodles into a bowl. Discard spiral stems. In a large skillet, heat olive oil to sauté shrimp sprinkled with dill weed, sea salt, and red pepper flakes. Remove from pan; keep drippings. Reduce heat and toss zoodles in reserve oil to coat. Add sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Stir in basil pesto. Toss gently. Heat zoodles no longer than 3-4 minutes. Remove and serve with sautéed shrimp. Garnish with fresh parsley.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Tropicana Bars! When you combine exotic fruits, flaky coconut, and macadamia nuts, you may feel as though you stepped off an airplane onto a tropical island in the Pacific. This mouthwatering dessert is perfect for summer. Go ahead, take a bite for a quick trip to a faraway destination. Let your mind wander to swaying palm trees, magical waterfalls, and sunshine that warms the body as well as the spirit.
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Zucchini Jam*
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup macadamia nuts, crushed
1 tablespoon crystallized sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together sugar and butter. Set aside. Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together until blended. Combine dry ingredients with sugar mixture until crumbly. Spread 3/4 of batter into a 9″x13″ greased dish to make a crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Layer with Zucchini Jam, coconut, and nuts. Crumble remaining batter over all. Sprinkle with crystallized sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into 24 squares.
* For Zucchini Jam recipe, please follow the link below.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Zucchini Jammin’! Someone once told me that zucchini is like a chameleon; it can literally change a recipe into anything you want it to be. When I came across this old prairie cookbook, I was intrigued enough to put zucchini to the test. The results were astounding! Hint: The jam has a refreshing pineapple-orange finish and tastes wonderful on yogurt!
3 cups zucchini, raw, peeled, and shredded
3 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice
3 ounce package orange gelatin
Boil zucchini in enough water to keep covered for 6 minutes. Drain. Add sugar, lemon juice, and crushed pineapple with juice. Boil 6 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Seal hot in jars.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Food Whisperer: Zucchini-Orange-Walnut Loaf! Do you have zucchini coming out of your ears? Take care. This relative of the squash family has fewer calories than a baked potato and more potassium than a banana. Plus, its versatility is a bonus. Zucchini is probably the most bland vegetable you can find. But that works to its advantage. You can pair it with just about anything. I promise you this, if I hadn’t told you there was shredded zucchini in this luscious loaf of quick-bread, you’d never know it from the taste. Nutrition is your friend. The moist, delicious orange and walnut combination make it seem as though you’re eating cake.
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon orange rind, zested
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1-2 tablespoons orange juice
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour the bottom of a loaf pan. Set aside. In a food processor, beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Add vegetable oil, orange juice, and shredded zucchini. Pulse to mix. Slowly add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, orange rind, cinnamon, and cloves. Scrape down sides, as needed. Fold in chopped walnuts. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. In a small bowl, blend powdered sugar, butter, and orange juice. Spread over warm loaf. Cool completely and slice.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: ZZ “Zucchini” Topped Potatoes! This recipe is going to be rock music to your ears. (If you pre-bake several potatoes on the weekend, it’ll eliminate one step during the week.) Create a fast meal by loading baked potatoes with yummy ingredients. Then top them off with sautéed zucchini, sweet onions, and hickory-smoked bacon. Can you feel the beat? Put this toe-tapping favorite in your recipe box…….and Rock On!
ZZ “ZUCCHINI” TOPPED POTATOES
4 large potatoes, baked
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
2 green onions, snipped
1/4 cup butter
1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
Preheat oven to 350°. Wash potatoes, pat dry. Pierce each one on top. Spray with nonstick oil and sprinkle sea salt on skins. Bake for one hour. When done, let cool for ten minutes. Meanwhile, cook bacon. Drain on paper towels and crumble. Sauté onions and zucchini in olive oil. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Remove the flesh into a bowl leaving enough skin to form a shell. Place skins in a shallow baking dish. To the flesh, add yogurt, milk, green onions, butter, and 1/3 cup cheddar cheese. Blend until creamy. Spoon the filling into the potato skins. Top with remaining cheese, sautéed zucchini, onions, and crumbled bacon. Bake 15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Normandy Vegetable Soup! Take a stroll down a country lane where small-scale growers of local gardens nourish a family farm with adventurous dishes. Simple vegetable consumption combined with milk, butter, and cheese appeals to the taste buds. Perhaps it’s a throwback to our childhood where nothing went to waste. Or maybe it’s the fact that classic veggies are always a good idea. Normandy Vegetable Soup. Put a twist on your next meal-in-a-bowl.
NORMANDY VEGETABLE SOUP
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups light cream
2 cups chicken broth
16-ounce bag Normandy vegetables, thawed*
4-6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add chopped sweet onion, herbs de Provence, and olive oil. Sauté 5 minutes or until soft. Set aside. In a 2-quart pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Do not scorch. Add flour, sea salt, and pepper. Stir for 2-3 minutes to make a roux. Slowly add light cream, stirring often to remove lumps. Bring to a slow boil. Carefully add chicken broth, onions, Normandy vegetables. Bring mixture back to a boil. Reduce to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in sharp cheddar cheese until cheese is melted. Ladle into bowls. Serve hot.
*Normandy vegetables are broccoli and cauliflower florets, sliced carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash. Some varieties include a few red pepper bits, green beans, and lima beans.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: You Are What You Eat! I’ve been hearing this phrase my entire life, and it wasn’t until recently I actually began paying attention to it again. Oh sure, I knew moderation was key, exercise important, and water essential. I tried to maintain a balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, grains, dairy, meats, and even fats because it made a difference in how well I felt. Plus it reflected in my energy level as well. So, as I was collecting all this produce, it seemed like a no-brainer to share the snapshot with everyone. Bon Appétit.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Corn on the Cob
Wash the vegetables. Eat them raw, cooked, puréed, chopped, minced, buttered, grilled, roasted, par-boiled, or baked.
“Make food simple
and let things taste
of what they are.”
~ Curnonsky (Maurice Edmond Sailland)
French Writer (1872-1956)
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: Shish Kabobs! It’s dinner-on-a-stick! Each skewer provides a vibrant color wheel of your favorite edible combinations. Warm or cool, dark or light. All you need to do is assemble a combination that will have your family singing your praises! Grab the apron, fire up the grill, and let the serious eating begin.
1-pound smoked sausage, cut up into 8 pieces
2 ears corn, cut into thirds
2 red potatoes, quartered
1 Vidalia onion, cut into wedges
1 green pepper, cut up and seeds removed
1 zucchini, sliced 1/2″ thick with skin on
Seasoned salt to taste
Cracked blacked pepper to taste
Mrs Dash Garlic & Herb seasoning to taste
Wash, cut-up, and prepare meat and vegetables. Thread pieces of smoked sausage, corn, potatoes, onion, green pepper, and zucchini onto metal skewers alternating color for variation and eye-appeal. Repeat until all ingredients are skewered. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly spray each skewer of meat and vegetables with non-stick oil. Sprinkle with seasonings. Grill 5-6 minutes per side. The natural flavors will burst forth with a touch of smokiness. The edges of the sausage will char. Avoid excess charring. Keep turning for even grilling. Watch for slight blistering to indicate when done.