Crispy Zucchini with Roasted Onion Aioli

Crispy Zuchinni with Roasted Onion Aioli

I wish it wasn’t true- but instant food is rarely as delicious as the kind that takes a bit longer.  To this end- begin by cutting up about 3-5 zucchini depending upon how many people you are feeding and what else you are serving.  Round UP. These are that good. Cut them long wise and then slice them into half moons(about ¼ inch thick)  Put them in a wire colander and toss them with a good sprinkle of salt.  Put a heavy bowl into the colander this will press down and force the squash to exude its watery juices.

 Salting zucchini is a very good way to make it less it soggy!
  You can do this  for any dish- just adjust the salt when you are finished.

This Roasted Onion Aioli is another  case in point.  Slice 3 large onions. Place them in an oven proof skillet, drizzle with olive oil and a good pinch of salt.  Begin with the pan on the burner. Once the pan is good and hot, give it a good stir and place it in a 300 * oven.  You will need to peek at it occasionally, and if it appears to be close to scorching add about ¼ cup of water.  Scorched alliums are the adultery of the food world- there is no going back and you shouldn’t waste time trying to salvage the dish.    You want a tasty browned mush. This will probably take about an  hour. But particularly when you’re getting close- watch it like the proverbial hawk. Dump the cooked onions into the bowl of your food processor and leave it to cool down.  Return the pan to the stove top.  Be careful with this, you don’t want to brand yourself with the hot pan.    Your squash moons(sounds like a foodie anime’) should be ready- squeeze them with your hands and pat dry with paper towels- it may take several.   When they are reasonably dry- dip them into beaten egg and then into panko bread crumbs- only Panko- they are different than other bread crumbs and they are what you want.   This process is called “dredging”. It’s worth learning how to do it-  the process protects the food while it’s exposed to high heat and imparts a deliciousness that can only come this way.  … I digress. Drizzle some oil into your pan(you won’t need much,) and turn the heat up to medium-high.   Place some of your dredged crispy zucchini into the pan. You should be able to see pan around each slice- too close together and you will get poached zucchini that will sleep right out of their sodden panko skins… Oh the humanity. Avoid that.   While those toast up- fire up your processor- It’s ok if they are somewhat warm- the onions mustn’t be very hot.   Throw in several tablespoons of mayo and a clove of garlic.  Whizz to delicious viscosity.  Taste for salt and pepper. Flip your zucchini flying magic discs so that they get brown and crunchy on the other side.  You can keep them warm (on a rack on a baking sheet) in a warm oven while you cook the rest. – Do not in the name of all that is holy, lay them flat onto a baking sheet- they will steam and if you let that happen you may as well have just cooked the naked squash and poached the coating into  slimy sad matzoh balls  We would NEVER do that, since its crazy talk….  So use a rack.

Chive-dill bread

– even I can’t come up with a witty title for that! Bake it any way.

2 1/2  teaspoons yeast

1/4 cup boiling  water

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon finely chopped dill

1 cup cottage cheese

1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg

10-15 fresh chives, snipped into small bits

2 -3 cups all-purpose flour

-Now you’ve heard me say before that you must never use hot ingredients to knead into bread dough as it will kill the yeast, in general that’s correct.  But stay with me  kittens….. In the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer combine the boiling water and cottage cheese.  Stir and behold!!! You now have tepid cottage cheese.  Mix in sugar, herbs and yeast and a cup of flour. Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon.  Set aside in a warm spot for about 20 minutes to proof the yeast-Don’t skip this step. There are a lot of ingredients to this recipe and you need to test the yeast to make sure it is strong enough to support all of them, otherwise you will have the grossest frittata in the world, instead of a lovely loaf of bread. Once all is foamy, stir in at least one other cup of flour, the salt and and up to another ½ cup of flour.   Let your dough hook take it from here and let your machine go at a moderate speed until the dough begins to clean the sides of the bowl.   Butter your bread pans (2)   hand knead your dough and  cut it into two logs and rest each one in a prepared pan.  Rise for at least an hour.  Use an egg wash and then bake your bread at 325* for about 45 minutes.  Ideally, and I do understand that we live in a fallen world, allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes and then serve forthwith slathered in butter.

 It has taken me longer to describe it than it will take you to do. The chive –dill combination can seem both Scandinavian and somehow Baltic.  See the archive for Beef Paprikash.  This bread is  also surreal as the basis of a turkey sandwich, or if royalty is visiting (or you live in Alaska) smoked salmon….

 

Mâche Salad with Grapefruit and Avocado

 

 

This salad combines both the tart and fresh taste of grapefruit with the milder avocado and nutty taste of Mâche.

 

2 Tablespoon walnut oil

Sea salt and black pepper

4 ounces Mâche, rinsed

1 large ripe avocado, cut into wedges

Peeling grapefruit for this salad requires a level of commitment that no side dish should ask of you. You can peel and segment a pink grapefruit, but I highly recommend the jarred segments you can find in your produce section.

Combine grapefruit segments (very loosely drained) their juice will become the “acid” in your dressing, avocado pieces, and sea salt and pepper. Set aside while you get on with the rest of your meal. After a few minutes add the mache and drizzle with the walnut oil. (toasted walnuts are a spectacular addition to this salad)

 

New Potatoes with Cumin

 

 

1/2 pounds very small potatoes, halved, leave 1 1/2 inch potatoes or smaller whole

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Coarse salt

 

Directions

 

Set potatoes on a cookie sheet and drizzle them with just enough oil to lightly coat them, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Toss potatoes with cumin seed and roast 20 minutes at 400 F in a hot oven, then broil 5 minutes on high to brown edges of the cut potatoes. If you are making them with the Grilled Boneless Leg of Lamb, set the baking sheet with the potatoes in the oven along side the lamb on the same rack. Toss cooked potatoes with salt, to your taste, and serve.

 

Stuffing for the non carbo-phobic

 

 

Traditional Bread and Celery Stuffing

 

Ingredients:

1 (1 pound) loaf of white bread, unsliced

1/2 of a French baguette

2 cups of butter

3 onions, diced small

8 stalks celery, diced small

2 teaspoons minced fresh sage

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup chicken broth-from a carton, not a can

1/2 dry white wine

 

Directions:

 

Slice and then cube the loaf of bread and baguette. Toast in low oven until cubes are solidly crispy. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook for 8-10 minutes or until soft. Add white wine. Add poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

Gradually add in 1/3 of the bread cubes at a time. With each add, mix and ensure evenly coated.

Add in 1/2 cup of chicken broth and mix well. Repeat.

Butter (grease) a 9×13 baking dish and add stuffing to it. Bake at 350 degrees F for 38 to 40 minutes.