Monthly Archives: August 2014

Banh Mi

My daughter has started her second year living in Japan; she has done some traveling to different countries in Asia and she is also a foodie she shares with me some of her favorite finds.  I have tried making Ramen and Gyoza from Japan and she especially loved the street food in Vietnam. I have been toying with the idea of trying to make something that you might find on the streets of Vietnam.  The guys and I do enjoy a nice sandwich so we were excited to try making a Banh Mi a Vietnamese sandwich.

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With our weekends being booked up for the last few weeks and the next few coming up; I wanted to make it somewhat simple so I could make it during the week without stressing out too much.  I blended the ingredients for the marinade, sliced the pork and placed both in a Ziploc bag overnight.  The next night I cut up some of the veggies and grilled the pork. I placed everything out on the island and you could add what you wanted to your sandwich; it went fairly quickly and the end result was quite tasty.

She just got back from the Philippines we need to catch up soon so I can work on my next Asian inspired dish.

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Makes 6 sandwiches

2-3 lb boneless pork shoulder

3 large cloves of garlic chopped

1-2 shallots chopped

1 stalk of lemongrass, trimmed and coarsely chopped (if hard to find and not sure how to work with it, you can substitute lemongrass in a tube) (I had to as my local market did not have the stalks)

¼ tsp black pepper

2 Tbs sugar

2 tsp soy sauce

2 Tbs fish sauce

1 Tbs canola oil

Cut the pork across the grain into strips about 4 to 5 inches long about ¼ inch thick set aside.

In a blender or food processor add the remaining ingredients blend until semi-coarse puree.

Add everything to a Ziploc bag and massage the meat.  Place in the fridge over night; you could leave on the counter for an hour if you don’t want to wait.  If you place the bag in the fridge take it out let it sit for an hour or so to come to room temperature.  You can cut up some veggies while you wait.

You can skewer the meat or not, if you have small pieces and are grilling you may want to.  I did not; I started the grill and let it get real hot.  I spent like 5-7 minutes cooking the meat – I believe they cook theirs longer till very dark, I did not, I wanted the meat a little tender.  I also grilled the buns slightly to harden them a bit.

Possible vegetables – Pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, radish, cabbage, carrot, chili’s, pickled veggies (brine removed), fresh herbs, avocados.

Add Mayo and salt and pepper or you can add soy sauce.  Mine was veggies I had on hand and Mayo.

Grilling & Chillin on a Pontoon Boat – Stuffed Pepper recipe

I do love to cook with fresh ingredients and do so for the most part. A couple of recent posts I used jar sauce which I have no problem with but I do add my own spin to it by adding fresh garlic, onions and herbs.  I have been known to pick up a store prepared potato or pasta salad on a rare occasion; especially during the week after work.  Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to get it together.  Or there is a time and place rule that takes over; case in point.photo 2 (1)

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This weekend we spent up North with some friends; they stayed on their boat we were in a close by Inn.  The weather wasn’t great on Saturday so we played a round of golf. I shot my personal best for 18 holes and beat the guys by 6 strokes; just saying.  Sunday was spent on the water and just plain glorious.  We grilled burgers on the boat; which I think is super cool! The side salads were bought at the local grocery store; again time and a place played a hand.  While their pontoon boat did have a gas grill and small fridge and coolers under a few of the seats it is not really a place to make up potato and pasta salad. The burgers were the definite star of the meal.

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Since I didn’t make anything worthy of sharing this trip I want to share with you a stuffed pepper recipe that is pretty darn yummy, just in case you have had an abundance of peppers from your garden, unlike me this has been more of a Zucchini year for me but I have shared a couple of Zucchini recipes already; thought I would give you a little break.

1 cup water

1/2 cup uncooked white rice

2 Tbs olive oil, divided

1 medium carrot minced

1 celery stock minced

1 medium onion minced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1-2 sweet Italian sausage casing removed

1/4 lb pancetta diced

32 oz jar marinara sauce

1/4 cup red wine

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup heavy cream – or use what you have on hand

1/2 grated Parmesan cheese divided

4 bell peppers (any color), halved lengthwise and seeds removed

in a sauce pan bring water to a boil, add rice and stir. reduce heat cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender and fluffy.

preheat oven to 375′

heat 1 tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook carrots, celery and onion until tender, add garlic cook for another minute. Add sausage and pancetta, cook until browned and crumbled. drain off excess liquid. add marinara sauce, wine, and red pepper flakes and simmer 10 minutes. stir in cream, 1/4 cup Parmesan and cooked rice. simmer about 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Arrange peppers in a shallow baking dish, fill with mixture. drizzle remaining olive oil and cover with remaining Parmesan.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the peppers are soft. serve hot.

The filling is very tasty and does freeze well if you want to double the batch, If you did it would make a great week night meal. 

Stuffed Zucchini

I had a wonderful visit from a lifelong friend this weekend.  We met when we were around 11 maybe and even though we do not see or talk with each other often; you know life and miles get in the way; it is like we see each other all the time.  We pick right up where we left off from our last visit.  We spent time going through my garden; she and her boyfriend are new to vegetable gardening. We talked plants and what was working and what wasn’t. They had the dreaded vine borers that I had been plagued with the last few years, this year we did not have that problem thankfully. We have had an abundance of zucchini which inspired tonight’s dinner. I just finished making stuffed zucchini; which I have had and never made before.

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While baking is a science and you really need to pay attention to the ingredients and the amounts needed.  Cooking is the complete opposite.  I tend to use the ingredients I like and have on hand.  Stuffing being pretty basic formula; herbs, bread crumbs, a little heat and lots of flavor plus I am a HUGE sausage fan so that is a must.  While I was chopping and sauteing I sent my husband to the garden for some herbs.  I asked for parsley and whatever else he would like.  He came back with thyme, basil and parsley.

Even though I did spend a little time looking online for some ideas in the end I used what I had on hand and made a stuffing that tasted really good.  I can only imagine once the sauce and mozzarella meld with the squash and stuffing it will taste pretty amazing.  I will let you know in about an hour. They were delicious – my husband and I both agree to make them again.

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Jalapeno – I removed the seeds with a spoon – we like a little heat.

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I used 2 whole zucchini’s. I saved the last one for tomorrow nights dinner

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Here is how I made mine – shallot, onion, zucchini, garlic and the herbs were from my garden – I think that is SO cool!

2 Shallot minced – soften in the sausage pan after the sausage is cooked

2 small onions minced – soften along with the shallot

3 Cloves of garlic pressed

3 zucchini halved and seeded – chop and add to stuffing

1 jalapeno – seeded and minced

1 yellow pepper minced

Package of sweet Italian sausage casing removed and crumbled – browned in a pan

½ cup Breadcrumbs

½ cup Parmesan cheese grated

1 jar of spaghetti sauce

Mozzarella

Thyme, basil and parsley – all from my garden

Wash and remove the stem and bottom of the zucchini, in a bowl add all the other ingredients and herbs; stir and let meld for a bit.  Preheat the oven at 350’ get out a baking dish.  Fill the zucchini with the yummy stuffing and cover with the sauce and mozzarella.  Cover with tin foil for 40 minutes then uncover and cook another 20 or so till bubbly and browned we do like our squash al dente versus mush so please cook to your likeness – if you need to place under the broiler for a few minutes please do.  I think food tastes better when it looks amazing – the company helps with this too.

Zucchini Bread

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Peppers in the middle on the garden closest to me just terrible

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Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Butternut Squash all looking good!

broccoli - garden 046 Our gardens are doing really well this year for the most part.  The only disappointments are my peppers, both the bell and jalapeno’ peppers are just not growing or producing.  We have had a bumper crop of zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers.  We have been getting a ton of cherry tomatoes and plenty of roma; I fear all of my beef steaks will all turn red at once.  That will be another weekend of processing.  I am not complaining I am actually very grateful we are having a great year.  My favorite, for 20+ years, supermarket is on strike here on the East coast.

Fortunately I was able to harvest some garlic this year, the bulbs are much smaller than I would like but there were around 70 of them; I had planted 120 bulbs in the fall but I will take whatever I can get considering the last two years I lost all of it.

Today was pickling cucumbers and baking zucchini bread day.  I pickled 8 jars of kosher dill and 34 loaves of various sized zucchini bread – I doubled the recipe below 3 times to get the 34 loaves. So far so good!

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I started blogging a little over a year ago; a few of you, since there were just  few of you at the start; may remember me posting this zucchini bread recipe around the same time last year however SO many more people have come on board with me since.  Technology is a pretty amazing tool. I was just looking at some of my blog stats and just today I had 3 people from 3 different countries check me out.  Colombia, Brazil and Italy I find that SUPER cool. Also I had barely started my first paragraph tonight when my daughter faced time me from the Philippines; she is there vacationing with a friend of hers from Japan. The world is getting smaller and smaller.

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Zucchini Bread – bake 350’ 45 minutes or so – depends on what size the pan is.  The recipe easily doubles and freezes well

2 large eggs

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup apple sauce

2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

1 package vanilla pudding mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 cups AP flour

2 cups shredded zucchini that you have squeezed out most of the liquid – I put it all in a colander, place a plate and something heavy on it in the fridge few a couple of hours.  I still had to go to the store so it worked out great.

In a stand mixer add the first 8 ingredients and mix well, add the flour till combined and then add the zucchini.  Spray grease whatever you are using and fill to about ¾ full.  Bake for about 40-50 minutes and let cool for a bit, remove from your dish and wrap or bag.  These freeze really well.  We literally just ate our last loaf from last year just the other day.

If you are using a kitchen-aid with their 5 quart sized bowl you can double this recipe, however it will be very close to the top, so heed my instructions on when to add ingredients, it helps make sure all the ingredients get mixed well.

Thanks for listening

3 ingredient (no fuss) Eggplant

Building our patio a few years back was one of the best idea’s I pushed to get built.  Sometimes my husband needs a little nudge to start a huge project around the house – the carpenters house is never finished. I can’t truly say that as my house is awesome and more than 90% done. We were having a large family gathering and I wanted some place outside for everyone to gather. And even though he had plenty of notice he finished the blue stone patio the day before the event. 

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That’s all water under the bridge now; we have had so many gatherings out there over the years.  It is a wonderful place to talk, laugh, visit, relax and eat. On beautiful days and when we don’t have plans one of us sends the other a text to meet on the patio after work.  Some of my favorite nights are spent out there relaxing.  Keeping with the theme of relaxing, visiting and talking; dinner needs to be something that can be cooked on the grill, simply prepped and a not a lot of fuss. 

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Tuesday was such beautiful day out; I received the patio text and couldn’t wait. I was determined to make dinner an afterthought. We had some zucchini and summer squash from the garden, I had some Italian sausages in the freezer. I was thinking simple and light. My mother-in-law stopped over as I was heading out the patio with my glass of wine, and of course she joined me for a glass. She was planning on making one of her simple eggplant and spaghetti sauce dishes and had a fresh loaf of bread.  After a second glass of wine we called my father-in-law and asked him to walk over with the bread and the eggplant.

Dinner turned out excellent and I wanted to share my in-laws eggplant recipe with you all because it is 3 ingredients and NO FUSS. 

 

No fuss Eggplant

1 Medium or 2+ small (depending on how many for dinner)

1 jar of your favorite jar sauce

Half a package of mozzarella chopped 

Cut up the eggplant and place in your cooking vessel, I use my cast iron for the grill it works out great

Cover with sauce and mozzarella and then loosely with tinfoil and cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.

 

Squash Packet 

1-2 zucchini

1-2 summer squash

1 small onion

1 Tbs butter

Kosher salt

Fresh crack black pepper

Cut up all the squash in similar size pieces, you want them to all cook at the same time. Slice the onion and take a square of tin-foil (adjust size for how much you cut up) we are making a foil packet – I use these ALL the time on the grill and sometimes in the house.  Salt and pepper and add the butter and then fold 3 sides several times to create a packet.  They are very easy to grill; even flipping occasionally so they do not burn.  I like mine cooked to al dente so about 10-15 minutes and they are done. Leave the packet closed so they stay warm until everything else is done.