Chicken zucchini dumplings

Adapted from The Woks of Life

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium zucchini, seeds removed and shredded
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground chicken
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
  • 2 packages dumpling wrappers (see recipe from Pork dumplings)

Directions:

  1. Take the shredded zucchini, put it in a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze out as much water as you can. Add it to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a wok over medium low heat, add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and the minced ginger. Allow the ginger to fry in the oil until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add to the bowl of zucchini.
  3. To the bowl, add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, ground chicken, ½ teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine. Mix well, stirring vigorously in one direction for about 5 minutes, until it resembles a paste.
  4. Wrap the dumplings and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, so that the dumplings are not touching each other. You can fry them right away, or cover the dumplings with plastic wrap and freeze them on the tray. Once frozen solid, you can transfer them to freezer bags and store for up to 3 months.
  5. You can boil them, steam them, or fry them. Frying tastes best, boiling is quickest (especially if you have many hungry mouths to feed), and we tried steaming with Napa cabbage leaves and sesame oil in a metal steamer.

Serves 6. Would love to whip out the bamboo steamer next time! Don’t forget some chili oil for dipping sauce (preferable over black vinegar, in my opinion).

~Jessica

Pan roasted chicken and vegetables

Adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen and Taste of Home

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 medium yellow potatoes, unpeeled and sliced into 3/4″ to 1″ thick pieces
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced into 3/4″ thick rounds
  • 2 red, yellow or orange bell peppers, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1.5 Tbsp garlic salt, or to taste
  • Freshly grated black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tbsp. Canola or olive oil
  • 4 skin-on chicken thighs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, carrots, onion, oil, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.
  2. In a small bowl, mix paprika and the remaining salt, rosemary and pepper. Sprinkle chicken with paprika mixture; arrange over potatoes and carrots. Transfer to a Dutch oven or baking pan coated with olive oil, roast uncovered at 450˚F for 10 minutes. The chicken will roast until a thermometer inserted in chicken reads 170°-175° and vegetables are just tender (about 35-40 minutes total).
  3. Combine the zucchini, bell peppers, and 1/2 the garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove roasting pans from the oven and quickly place the rest of the vegetables evenly over the top. Return to the oven and roast an additional 20-25 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender and easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm. Roast until vegetables are tender, 8-10 minutes longer. Stir vegetables to combine; serve with chicken.

I had the vegetables I wanted for my classic vegetable soup dish, but no pot or Dutch oven big enough to hand blend it. So I thought to try out the glass Pyrex baking pan I just acquired and bake some this cold weekend for dinner. The vegetables (especially the potatoes) took a decent extra time to cook through, but the Staub Enameled Cast Iron Fry Pan cooked considerably more than the Pyrex Glass Baking Dish. THIS TASTES SO GOOD.. I never got tired of reheating leftovers. In fact, it tasted better each time.

~Jessica

Punjene tikvice

Adapted from LMU München. Serves 4-6. Step by step photos and video here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small onions, minced
  • 500 g ground bison (sub for beef)
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 70 – 80 g rice (uncooked)
  • Salt, pepper, “Vegeta” seasoning, paprika
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 4 zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • Potato slices for closing the zucchini (optional)
  • 150 mL white wine
  • 200 mL tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 150 g. Trappista cheese (or gouda)

Directions:

  1. Filling: Fry the 3/4 of the onion (minced carrot optional) in oil. Add the meat, then the wine, season with salt and pepper, and stir. Cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the tomato puree, ketchup, 2 dL of water, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  2. Zucchini: While the filling cooks, cut in half and scrape out the seeds from the zucchinis with a small spoon until you have a boat. Save the insides for later. Blanche the zucchini in salted water for 3 minutes each. While this is blanching, take the reserved zucchini innards, chop them fine, then add half of it to the meat sauce. 
  3. Salsa: Peel the tomatoes, chop it fine. Sauté it in olive oil and 1/4 of the onion and garlic. Add spices to taste. This “salsa” is finished after cooking 15-20 minutes.
  4. Roux: In a separate bowl, whisk 1 egg and 2 tbsp. sour cream and some Vegeta seasoning.
  5. Layer the tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking pan. Then place the zucchini on top. Fill each zucchini half-full with the meat and cap off with a thin slice of potato (optional). Pour 2-3 tbsp. of roux over each. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  6. Bake at 200 deg. C (392 deg. F) for 20-30 minutes, until a golden color is achieved.

There were many suggestions from the PhD student who shared this recipe that varied from the original recipe, like adding raw rice to the meat (like arroz con pollo), which we did do, along with diced bacon, which we did not. Their roux also involved heating 50 ml of oil, then adding flour spoonful by spoonful until a pudding consistency is achieved (~ 15 seconds), as well as a half a teaspoon of paprika, while the faux roux we did was much easier. The zucchini in the other recipe was cooked in a pot of boiling water, so that the water didn’t touch the inside filling, but sort of steam cooked it? Which was confusing, so baking it seemed much more straightforward.

Serbian stuffed zucchini is not anything I’ve had the privilege to try before, but it looked like all ingredients I would be into. We used one big red onion instead of two small white onions because it was on sale, and is healthier, but then I forgot to reserve some for the tomato sauce. We used ground bison instead of beef, Roasted Chicken Base instead of Vegeta, vinho verde instead of white wine, did not have tomato puree, and used leftover cheddar and Monterrey Jack cheese instead of Trappista cheese. Phew! We barely finished it in time before 8pm Pub Trivia virtual, and I blame the line at Hannaford market. Not as much a hit as the chili and soup this week, but still excellent.

~Jessica

Zucchini pepper soup

Adapted from Stella Cooks and the spring vegetable puree

perfect with a grilled cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed
  • 1 zucchini, washed and chopped
  • 2 bell pepper, washed and chopped (red is good)
  • 1 bunch of Korean leeks (Hmart)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • pinch of salt, cracked pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, cumin
  • ½ cup of heavy cream

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, warm the butter (or olive oil) over medium heat. Gently saute the garlic for a couple of minutes, then throw in the leeks (or onions if you have) and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and soft, stirring constantly.
  2. Add zucchini and peppers to skillet and saute for about ten minutes, or until they just begin to brown.
  3. Pour the rest of the ingredients (except the dairy) into the soup pot, including the vegetable broth, and heat just to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let cool a bit (to avoid heat splashing in the blender). Remove the soup, in batches if necessary, into a blender or large food processor and puree to desired thickness (I usually prefer smooth soups). Return the pureed soup to the pot. Taste. Stir in salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Make sure the soup is well mixed and heated throughout, then ladle out into serving bowls. Sprinkle some scallions or leeks greens on the top, add the cream (milk), and finish with a light dash of paprika. Serve immediately.

I used whole milk instead of heavy cream, but it was delicious before that. I also threw in a handful of pistachios and pancetta to clean out my cupboard (road trip coming up!), but this recipe would have been just as superb without them. I have perfected this soup, and the grilled cheese that complements it. Hooray!

~Jessica

Turkey kofte

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Kofte Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 50 g. pistachios
  • 3 sprigs cilantro
  • 3 sprigs parsley (omitted)
  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 large egg
  • 500 g. ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Chili sauce ingredients: (I recommend halving this)

  • 4 ripe tomates
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 jalapeno chilies
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tomate paste
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Tahini yogurt:

  • 250 g. Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. tahini
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice

Turkish pilav:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves. garlic
  • 300 g. bulgur wheat
  • 400 ml. hot chicken stock
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 80 g. broken rice vermicelli
  • 100 g. can chickpeas

Directions:

  1. Finely grate the courgette, trim and finely chop the spring onions and green chilli, then chop the pistachios. Pick and finely chop all the fresh herbs.
  2. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until smelling fantastic. Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg.
  3. Mix all the kofte ingredients together in a large bowl, keeping some pistachios back to garnish, then season well.
  4. With wet hands, form 16 kofte, each the size and shape of a small egg. Leave in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes, then thread onto metal skewers, two kofte on each.
  5. Cook the kofte under a grill or over a flame charcoal grill, on high for 12 minutes, until juicy, golden brown and cooked through, turning regularly.
  1. To make the chilli sauce, halve the tomatoes and onions (there’s no need to peel), and bash the unpeeled garlic cloves.
  2. Place the red chillies, tomatoes, onions and garlic on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and season, then roast for 25 minutes or until soft and slightly blackened.
  3. Allow to cool slightly, then carefully remove and discard the stalks from the chillies, the cores from the tomatoes and the skins from the onions and garlic.
  4. Add to a food processor, along with the sugar, tomato purée and vinegar. Blitz until smooth and add a lug of oil to make it glossy. Pulse again, then season.
  1. For the tahini yoghurt, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season with a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper.
  1. To make the pilav, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Add a lug of oil to a non-stick pan over a medium-low heat, then sweat the onion and garlic for 10 minutes. Add the bulgur and stir to coat.
  2. Pour in the stock, bring it to the boil, then turn down the heat to very low. Cover with a lid and steam the bulgur for 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter and cook the vermicelli until the butter turns golden brown.
  4. After 8 minutes, add it to the bulgur along with the chickpeas – don’t stir at any point, just replace the cloth and lid and let it steam for another 8 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes – you should end up with a beautifully light and fluffy pilav.

OMG this utterly takes two hours. The flavors and textures combined together so amazingly, and we regret nothing once we FINALLY sat down, but if we had known it would take that long, in such a very humid NYC summer… At least you can eat all the leftovers cold, cold, cold. Optimism! The recipe makes way, way too much chile sauce — I would halve that recipe for sure. Everything else was in good proportions.

I used white sugar, and apple cider vinegar instead of the recommended ingredients. I didn’t buy parsley or broken rice vermicelli — although I do like rice vermicelli, but neither of us care for parsley over much. Next time! (Just kidding — or at least not in summer. Ever.) We tried “grilling” the kofte and “oven roasting” the vegetables in a cast iron pan, which took considerably more time than the original recipe called for, and made the kitchen (and my apartment) hot, hot, hot. We even tried making the bulgur pilav in the cast iron, but that was unnecessary, and transferred it back to my ceramic pan later on. The turkey is quite lean, so I would love to try this (or another turkey meatball recipe) with ground pork instead. Fatty pork ftw.

~Jessica

Purée of spring vegetable soup

Adapted from Lisa KleypasDevil’s Daughter

Ingredients:

  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2 small summer squash
  • 2 carrots (I had not)
  • 1 red / yellow bell pepper (green was cheaper)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups (chicken) broth
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz. can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • pinch (tsp.) of salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of oregano
  • ½ cup of heavy cream (or half and half)

Directions:

  1. Chop vegetables into ½ inch pieces, to cook evenly.
  2. Melt the butter in large pot, on medium-high. Add the garlic, onions, then vegetables. Sauté 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add broth, tomato paste, beans, seasonings, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until tender.
  4. Blend with a hand immersion blender (I have not, so I did it in batches).
  5. Add the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with buttered croutons, or a grilled cheese.

I had not carrots, but not a big enough pot anyhow. I had 3 on-the-vine tomatoes, so I used that instead of the tomato paste. I ran out of thyme! One of my favorite herbs! I think this is my favorite in the Ravenels series, but this recipe was extra sumptuous, and I had just collected the ingredients for ratatouille, thinking to make a pan satué version (baking is so hot in my apartment, and I haven’t a real baking dish in fact). I loved the description in the book where this dish was served. Can you imagine a 12 course meal? Now if I only had the makings for a grilled cheese…

~Jessie

Pasta con zucchine e ricotta

Adapted from Memorie di Angelina and Galbani

Ingredients:

  • 400g (14 oz) short pasta of your choice (I had De Cecco Rotelle)
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices
  • 2-3 shallots, finely minced (used a small brown onion)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, whole
  • 250g (9 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 50g (2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • A few fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet or sauté pan, sauté the shallots in abundant olive oil and a knob of butter for a minute or so, until wilted. Add the garlic and zucchini and raise the heat. Toss them as they cook until the zucchini is just tender, about 5 minutes or so. Turn off the heat when the zucchini are done.
  2. Mix the ricotta and the grated Parmesan cheese, together with the basil leaves if using.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the pasta in well salted water until al dente.
  4. Drain the pasta, but not too well and add it to the skillet and toss it with the zucchini over gentle heat. Add the ricotta mixture and mix well.
  5. Serve while still warm.

Shallots and onions are not the same, I know. No fresh basil, although a student last week told me, in all seriousness, that I should just buy a basil plant. You’re absolutely right, M. I only had one zucchini, so I would get at least two or three next time. Not my best picture, but I didn’t balance the cheese to zucchini proportion right (only 1 zucchini, correct cheese + mozzarella). Will do better next time ^_^

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 6

Ingredients
GOYA black bean soup $1.50
Dried rosemary $6.29
1 carrot $0.23
1 zucchini $0.94
4 tomatoes on the vine $1.33
10 oz white button mushrooms $1.79
Total: $12.08

Directions
Chop fine 1 red onion, 3 cloves of garlic. Saute in olive oil in a medium pot. Season with salt, cracked black pepper, red pepper flakes, crushed rosemary. Chop 1/2 carrot, 1/3 zucchini, 1 tomato, 5-6 mushrooms. Saute vegetables over medium heat. Add the can of black bean soup, plus another cup of water rinsing the can. Season with turmeric, thyme, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Raise heat and cook until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer. Here I added 1/4 box of penne rigate and enough water to cover it, cooking it al dente for 5 minutes. Serves 3-4.

I recently acquired some cheese from Trader Joe’s, so feel free to slice / grate some on top for a Tex-Mex feel. It’s rather hard to shop plastic-free at TJ’s I realize now — not great for #plasticfreeJuly then.

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 5

Ingredients:
6 eggs $0.99
1 medium carrot $0.25
1 medium green zucchini $0.82
4 red onions $0.98
1 small yellow squash $0.40
Ginger $0.54
Total: $3.98
2 packages udon noodles
roasted peanut oil / sesame oil + vegetable oil
Kosher salt + freshly ground pepper
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions
Thinly slice red onions, ginger. Slice thinly into sticks 1/2 carrot, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/4 zucchini. Saute onions and ginger and carrots in vegetable oil. Add the two squash, and cook, stirring.

In a separate pot, boil water and cook the udon for 1-2 minutes. Drain and add to the vegetables. Mix thoroughly. Season with soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil. Add a spoonful of cornstarch mixed with cold water, to form a slurry. Set aside

Scramble two eggs with chopsticks in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in some green scallions. Fry separately in a little oil in a pan. Add to the rest of the stir fry. Serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

Redoing my sister’s udon with tofu and bok choy, this is my budget version. I had a bag of frozen edamame lying around, so I tossed that in the stir fry. My kingdom for some crushed red pepper flakes!

~Jessica

Budget Meals: Day 4

Ingredients:
32 oz. tomato sauce $1.50
Paprika $2.19
Ronzoni penne rigate $1.89
1 carrot $0.25
1 green zucchini $0.82
4 brown portobello mushrooms $0.77
4 red onions $0.98
1 yellow squash $0.40
Total: $8.80

Directions
Chop 1 red onion, 1/2 yellow squash, 1/2 zucchini, the mushrooms, 1/2 carrot. Mince 3 cloves of garlic. Saute the onion, garlic until fragrant. Add the carrot, then the two squash. Add the mushrooms. Cook together a few minutes, stirring. Add the can of tomato sauce. Season with paprika, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
Boil salted water. Add half the box of penne. Cook 5 minutes until al dente. Add pasta to sauce. Serves 3-4.

Just to make it fancy (and I didn’t have Parmigiano because it’s wrapped in plastic and expensive unless I buy it at Trader Joe’s), I added a drop of my truffle olive oil, which I brought back from France, before serving. Just for the aroma, which I really really like.

~Jessica