Recipes

XL Zucchini go-to’s – lemon zucchini tea cake and zucchini bread

 

I am curious how many people that took up gardening last year because of Covid are still gardening this year? I do know that my local gardening store was a little more prepared for it this year; unlike last year when they were out of just about everything. We have had some sort of a garden for well over 30 years now and it seems to continually keep growing; no pun intended. Though this was the first time in; so long I can’t remember when that I wasn’t able to get any garlic in the ground last year for this Spring’s harvest but we are dealing with it fine.

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This year we had more summer squash and zucchini so I didn’t make as many baked goods with the super large zucchini that sometimes just appear in the garden. There are a couple of recipes that are my go-to for those super large what the hell do I do with this monster. 

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The first thing I make is zucchini bread. This is a crowd pleaser and I love that I can make so many small loaves for the freezer. Personally for just the three of us we do not leave a full size loaf of anything. We are usually all set with eating the same thing over and over again by day 2; but feel obligated to eat the whole thing before it goes bad or dries out. 

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I am going to share a couple of recipes with you today so if you are gardening or lucky enough to come across some super large “what to do with me” zucchinis you can start with one of these or both. I think you will be very happy either way.

 

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Lemon Zucchini Tea Cake

dclarkabal
a little sweet, a little tart, a little dense a lot delicious

Equipment

  • 9 inch cake pan

Ingredients
  

cake

  • ¾ cup oil can you use applesauce or coconut oil
  • cup shredded zucchini drained
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 x-large eggs
  • cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice use the same lemon you zested
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • handful of fresh blueberries

cream cheese frosting

  • 1 8 ounce box cream cheese softened
  • ¼ cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
  • 1 16 ounce box confectioners sugar roughly 4 cups - I buy mine in a large bag

Instructions
 

cake

  • In a stand mixer or use your hand mixer; combine the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color 1-2 minutes. Add the applesauce, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla beat until well combined another 1-2 minutes. Add the zucchini, beat till combined; another minute. Sift the flour, soda, powder and salt. Add this mixture to create the batter and beat till combined; do not over mix.
  • Grease or spray your pan and add the batter, place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Bake until your wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool, loosen the edges and invert the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool. Once cool, spread cream cheese frosting and top with some blueberries

cream cheese frosting

  • In a stand mixer, cream together the room temperature cream cheese and butter. add the vanilla and confectioners sugar blend until smooth and creamy
  • spread the frosting all over the top of the cooled cake and cover with blueberries. Slice and enjoy!

Zucchini Bread

great recipe to make different size loaves and freeze.
Course bread
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 package vanilla pudding
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups AP-flour
  • 2 cups zucchini grated and drained

Instructions
 

  • preheat oven to 350'F grease baking dish
  • in a mixing bowl add the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and mix well
  • in another small bowl add the vanilla pudding, baking soda and powder, plus the flour and stir or whisk to combine.
  • add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix till combined.
  • Add the shredded zucchini and stir till everything is mixed together.
  • fill baking dishes 3/4 full and bake for 45-55 minutes. adjust timing for which ever size dishes you are using
Keyword baking, zucchini, zucchini bread

 

Summer Garden Salad

I hope you have a wonderful day!

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When I initially share this recipe back in 2016; sounds forever ago I know but this is a fantastic salad that comes together very quickly and is great to share with family and friends. If you have a vegetable garden you probably have almost everything right outside your door.   

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Back in 2016 everything you see here was mine except the corn on the cob. I wouldn’t and haven’t let my husband plant corn in many many years. I always felt it took up too much real estate for what we got out of it. If we got any ears they were super small, yes they were very tender and super sweet but I wasn’t impressed. This year I let him have the raised bed garden that I don’t really like. So he is trying corn again. I think it’s been close to 17 years since we tried growing it. We’ll see how it goes this year.  Interesting fact about corn on the cob. It is the sweetest when you pick it, meaning eat it as soon as you pick it or bring it home as the longer you wait the less sweet it will be.

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I would make the dressing up before you start chopping your veggies up, only so it has time to meld together. 

Summer Garden Salad

Donna Clark - Cooking at Clark Towers
quick and easy summer salad
Prep Time 30 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 small clove of garlic minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup sliced cherry grape or like tomatoes
  • ½ medium cucumber halved, seeded and sliced thin
  • ½ medium yellow summer squash quartered and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • ¼ medium sweet onion sliced thin
  • Kernels from 1 ear of corn
  • 1 Tbs coarsely chopped fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • Whisk the first 5 ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • Add the next diced/sliced 5 ingredients; stir well to combine.
  • Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  • Stirring occasionally before serving.
  • Garnish with basil.

Lumpia – taste testing

For those of you who know what Lumpia is bare with me as I share my story. Firstly I did not make them and I do not have a recipe to share per say. Lumpia is a Filipino spring roll that one of my daughters co-worker; when he found out that she had been to the Philippines and loved the food he shared some of his lumpia that a family member had made.

Well it all started there; his mother was upset that he shared one of this aunts because his other aunt makes a better one. The ones pictured here are his mothers version. Can you see where I am going with this? They were so excited to have impartial judges on who in the family make the “best”. Mind you each one of theirs was totally different in taste and looks I wish took pictures of each of them but at first we were unaware of the family Lumpia rival.

So what is Lumpia? I have mentioned on several occasions that different cultures have different names for similar items. For instance I would say the Filipino Lumpia would be our American egg roll except much thinner in a thinner wrapper; in Chinese I would say a spring roll. I am not saying they are the “same” just similar in that you are filling a wrapper; which there are so many different kinds of wrappers out there and so many different types of fillings; some just veggies some with a mixture of veggies and meat and then you are frying them to deliciousness.

We all thought that the second aunt gave us the best ones. I hope they have a do-over!

I found this recipe online from Vanjo Merano that 8 people gave it 5 stars – it looks promising I will have to try – let me know if you do before me!

Lumpia

dclarkabal
a fried wrapper filled with meat and veggies
Course Appetizer
Cuisine filipino

Ingredients
  

  • 50 lumpia wrappers
  • 3 cup vegetable oil for frying

filing ingredients

  • pounds ground pork
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 1 small carrot minced
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 eggs

Instructions
 

  • add all the filing ingredients in a medium bowl
  • using a scoop or spoon 1 to 1½ tablespoons of filling and place over a piece of lumpia wrapper. Spread the filling and then fold both sides of the wrapper. Fold the bottom. Brush beaten egg mixture on the top end of the wrapper. Roll-up until completely wrapped. Perform the same step until all mixture are consumed
  • Heat oil in a heavy pot. Deep fry lumpia in medium heat until it floats.
  • Remove from the pot. Let excess oil drip. Serve with a dipping sauce of choice. we like soy sauce and a sweet chili sauce for a couple of options
Keyword Lumpia

 

Steak and Salad

Happy Independence Day America!!!

Here is NH it is not BBQ weather by any means. We were just sitting out on the porch in our fleece and with blankets on. It is cold, rainy and just plain raw out there. Stark difference from last week when we were in the 90’s. I think it’s like 52′ out there now and supposed to reach a high of 66′. I really am not feeling having a BBQ myself but a nice pan of gooey lasagna doesn’t sound too bad to me. We’ll see how the day goes.

We were invited to 3 BBQ’s that ended up all being cancelled due to the weather. On Friday I attended an interment ceremony for my Uncle; which would have been his 90th birthday. Despite the terrible weather his full military honor ceremony was very emotional to be apart of. The unfolding and re-folding of the flag, the volley shots and the playing of taps always gets me. RIP Captain Bob <3

I had taken out a flank steak the other day and just hadn’t had the time to marinate it yet. So yesterday I made a quick marinade and let it sit for several hours. I really like steak and salad for a light dinner; my choice for this type of dinner the most simple salad I think you can make. Arugula; which is a spicy green so you’ll want to offset that with a dressing that has something sweet in it, I also love to add either mandarin or clementine orange slices to it; along with some nuts and that’s it.

Steak and Salad

dclarkabal
Simple light dinner
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

Steak Marinade

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce low sodium if you have it
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1/4 packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • pound flank steak

Salad Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice I squeezed a few mandarin oranges for this
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Instructions
 

steak

  • Add all the ingredients minus the steak into a large plastic zip-loc bag, squish or shake the closed bag until everything is combined.
  • Add the steak to the bag, get out as much of the air as you can, re-seal the bag and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to 24 hours.
  • I like cooking this out on the grill, you can cook it in a cast iron on the stove top. You'll want to cook it on medium-high heat for 5 minutes on the first side, flipping once and then cook for another 3-5 minutes. this is how I cook mine to medium rare.
  • Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes on a tray lightly covered with some tinfoil. You want to slice the steak against the grain into thin angled slices.

Arugula salad

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, orange juice, honey, poppy seeds, and mustard. Slowly pour in oil while whisking until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
    I usually make mine in a mason jar by adding all the ingredients, sealing and vigorously shaking everything till it is all mixed together.
  • While the steak is resting you can assemble the salad. In a large bowl take you washed and dried arugula. toss with some of the dressing. You can add the orange slices, and nuts to the bowl or as I did; I placed a pile of the arugula onto the plates, then topped with several oranges and a handful of marcona almonds.
Keyword arugula salad dressing, flank steak, flank steak marinade, marinated flank steak

 

Spam Fried Rice

current situation, we are out on the porch with our morning tea and coffee. The birds are chirping the wind chime is chiming, and for some strange reason I have a very mean humming bird who doesn’t like to share. I do have only one feeder but many flowers around so I am sure there is plenty of nectar to share but this little bugger sits in the tree and chases everyone else off. He/she needs a time out! Update – a few minutes ago there were 2 hummingbirds on the feeder, they are trying to make a liar out of me now hmmmmm

So I am sure that this recipe will be cool with some and some won’t even read the recipe; let alone make it all because of the word Spam. Technically it is a terrible name, if you google it the first definition is an irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the internet to a large number of recipients. the second definition is a canned meat product made mainly from ham. No wonder people now a days are not a fan. When I was growing up I distinctly remember my mother grinding it up for ham salad finger sandwiches and I remember my dad using it in westerns and frying it up for a sandwich.

So those of you courageous enough to pick up a can, or dare I say two of this terribly named meat; you should check this recipe out, even the leftovers are quite delicious with a little Thai chili sweet chili sauce.

Spam Fried Rice

dclarkabal
another great way to use up some leftover white rice and also clean out the fridge

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups day old white rice room temperature
  • 1 table sesame oil
  • canola oil for frying
  • 1 can 12 ounce Spam sliced into ⅛ x 1-inch matchsticks - we used light Spam
  • 1 cup carrots about 1½ finely diced
  • 1 cup onion about ½ we used Vidalia
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, green and white parts about 4
  • 1 teaspoon garlic finely grated/minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 4-6 eggs for frying/serving (optional)

Instructions
 

  • in a large bowl combine the rice with the sesame oil, toss to coat and set aside
  • Using a wok or large pan, set it over medium heat and coat the bottom with 1-2 tablespoons of canola or similar oil. Fry the Spam for a minute or so on each side, or until they are browned and a little crispy. Transfer Spam to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Turn the heat to medium-low and coat with 1-2 tablespoons oil. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, add the carrots and onion. using a wooden spoon or spatula stir-fry until the onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper before increasing the heat to medium. Add ½ cup of the green onions and cook for another minute to soften them. Add the rice, garlic, soy, oyster and Worcestershire along with the Spam. Breaking up the rice as needed with the wooden spoon. Stir-fry until the rice is hot and has absorbed all of the liquids, about 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.
  • Create a well in the middle of the rice and pour the beaten eggs. Let sit for 30 seconds before scrambling them. using the wooden spoon let them set another 30 seconds before scrambling them again. This last time bring the rice together with the scrambled eggs. Stir-fry for another minute or so until the eggs are cooked through, Turn off the heat, sprinkle with the remaining green onion and let it sit until you are ready to serve.
  • Make your fried and If you are serving one on top, I am not sure why you wouldn't but you do you!

recipe adapted from cookbook Aloha Kitchen

Seared Steak with Spicy Garlic-Miso Butter

I mentioned several times that my daughter has been planning and making a couple of meals a week some weeks not every week. But I love when I don’t have to do all the work. And it is work to come up with a plan, buy the ingredients, take those ingredients and make it into something the 3 of us would like to eat. That is not to say that each meal we make is “work” sometimes a bowl of cereal hits the spot. On rare occasions we have even had hot fudge sundaes for dinner. Not my finest moments but still winning!

The recipe I am sharing today was supposed to be made by my daughter but she had to work late so I took over for her. It is another Chrissy Teigen recipe, love her or hate her she really can cook good food. Though after making this for dinner the other night we differ on the cooking of asparagus. My family likes a little more snap to their veggies; Chrissy likes her a little more, trying to think of another word for mushy but it is escaping me at the moment.

The spicy garlic miso butter is money and you should really make this and smear it over your next rib eye however you want to cook it.  This recipe seared the steak and simmered the asparagus in the same pan in some chicken broth. The only change I would make would to either use less chicken broth or let the broth reduce in the pan before adding my asparagus so it still has some snap.

Seared Steak with spicy garlic-miso butter

dclarkabal
a simple flavorful meal any night of the week
Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course dinner

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound boneless rib eye steak about 1 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more for taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3/4 pound asparagus bottoms trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup spicy garlic miso butter

spicy garlic miso butter

  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup white (shiro) miso
  • 2 tablespoon chives finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • cayenne pepper generous pinch

Instructions
 

Spicy garlic miso butter

  • in a medium bowl, mash together all the ingredients. You can leave it in the bowl, roll into a tube in some plastic wrap and slice as discs. Chill in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot, about 5-6 minutes. Pat the steak dry with some paper towels and then season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the steak in the hot pan and DON'T TOUCH IT for 5 minutes, flip it once and leave it alone for another 4-5 minutes for medium-rare. I don't recommend it but you can leave it a little longer if you want it more well done. transfer the steam to a cutting board and let it rest.
  • remove all but 1 tablespoon of grease out of the pan and return the pant o medium heat. Add the butter, let it melt then add the garlic. Let the garlic cook for 30 seconds, careful not to burn it. Add the asparagus and the chicken broth and cook, stirring once in awhile, until the broth evaporates into a glaze and the asparagus is al dente, 2-3 minutes. season with salt and pepper
  • slice the steak and arrange on plates or a platter, dollop as much as you would like of the miso butter on top. place the asparagus along side.

slow-roasted pork shoulder with garlic and citrus



This morning did not go how I had envisioned how it was going to go; not complaining just pointing out why I am so late in posting.  I had planned on looking through some of my food pictures; decide on one to write about and share the recipe. I awoke to my husband making breakfast and he invited his parents and my son and daughter-in-law over for breakfast; his last minute call to both households to come for breakfast in 30 minutes. Let’s just say we only saw my in-laws. Anyway after they had left and I cleaned up the kitchen, then my father showed up for a visit. So I am now just getting to my “list” of things to do.

Neither my daughter or I made anything new last week. Well actually that is not entirely true. I had planned on using up some leftover cabbage from the fridge and some egg roll wrappers that had been in the freezer for probably too long now. I picked up some ground pork and in a large bowl I grated the cabbage, a carrot, an onion a couple of cloves of garlic and ginger. seasoned it with salt and pepper and a little chili sauce. Browned the pork a bit; added the cabbage mixture to the pork cooked for a bit and then wrapped and fried them up and they were marvelous. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture which I like to do to show you my process.

So I am going to share a braised pork shoulder recipe that was SO flavorful it is worth sharing and I hope you check it out. My daughter got the recipe from a cook book called Dining In by Alison Roman. My daughter served the luscious pork over a grain we don’t normally use, Farro and we all really enjoyed it, plus will be using more of it in the future.

slow-roasted pork shoulder with garlic and citrus

so much flavor you need to make this recipe - You can make the pork 2 days ahead
Course dinner
Servings 8 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 orange halved
  • 2 heads of garlic halved, lengthwise
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 cup orange juice if using fresh about 4 oranges
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro separate thick stems from tender stems and leaves - and reserve
  • 4 limes halved
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Instructions
 

  • pre-heat oven to 325'F
  • Season the pork with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan that has a lid. over medium-high heat. Sear the pork fat side down for 8-10 minutes. you want it really browned. flip it and sear the other side for another 8-10 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate or dish and remove all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat.
  • Add the halved orange and garlic to the pot, cut side down. Add the thyme, bay leaves, chili flakes, and coriander. Cook stirring for a second or so, you want to lightly brown the oranges and garlic. Add the juice and 2 cups of water, stirring and scraping up any browned bits. Return the pork to the pot and making sure the liquid a little less than halfway up the pork. If needed add more water. Cover and place in the oven.
  • Roast the pork until it becomes super tender about 3-4 hours. We are not shredding it so you want it tender but not quite falling apart.
  • Remove the pork from the pot onto a cutting board to rest. Place the cutting board in a sheet pan to lessen your mess from the juices. Chop the thicker stems of the cilantro and add them to the pot with all the pork juices. Juice 2 limes into the pot, toss the limes in as well. Slice the pork and place it back into the pot along with any juices. or onto a platter and pour the drippings over the pork. Top the pork with the remaining tender cilantro stems and leaves before serving. along with the remaining limes for squeezing over.
  • As I mentioned we served ours over farro but you can serve it however you choose.

 

Pot Pie – pancetta, white beans and swiss chard

Happy Easter!!!

I hope you are able to spend this Easter with some family or friends. I know we are not out of the craziness but I have hope that we are close to getting back to somewhat of normalcy in the world. I have faith that masks will not be a requirement everywhere we go. I at least I really hope so.

We should have browned the crust more!

This recipe I am going to share was a dish my daughter made last week and brought a comment from my husband that was pretty funny. He took a couple of bites; looked up and said and I quote “this opens up a whole new world of what could be made into a pot pie” I guess we never really made or had anything that wasn’t chicken pot pie before.

not your average joe pot pie

dclarkabal
very flavorful take on a pot pie
Course dinner
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta diced 1/4 inch
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 1 large carrot finely chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk finely chopped
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard leaves thinly sliced, stalks diced finely
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 1/4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 16 ounce can cannellini beans drained
  • 1 sheet prepared puff pastry dough thawed
  • 1 egg plus a little water

Instructions
 

filling

  • heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, wide saucepan. Add the pancetta turning it every so often to brown each side. approx. 10 minutes. Remove it from the pan using a slotted spoon to a paper towel then transfer to a bowl. Leave the heat on and the drippings in the pan and if needed add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery, Swiss chard and the red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for another minute more. Add the greens and cook until wilted. about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the pancetta bowl, set aside.

sauce / roux

  • Wipe out the large sauce pan, browned bits are fine to leave. Melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. stirring the whole time till it gets a little color. Whisk in the broth a ladle or cup at a time. mixing completely each time. once you have added a third of the broth you can add 2-3 ladles at a time, scraping up the browned bits from the pan, adds more flavor. Once all the broth is added continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. lower the heat and simmer until the roux has thickened. about 10 minutes. season with salt and pepper. Stir the beans and vegetables into the sauce.

Making the pie

  • you can make one large pie or make 4 individual ones. Add the filling and cover with puff pastry or make your own pastry. Make a few slits in the top to let the steam out. You can use an egg wash to help the pastry stick to the bowl, brushed on top will also help with browning.
    in a small bowl crack the egg and add a little water.

baking

  • pre-heat oven to 375'F
    bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is good and browned

 

grilled shrimp with polenta cake

So a good friend of mine says that one of my super powers is to look at what I have on hand and make a meal with it. My freezer’s are too full so I have been trying to not shop, which a few of you know is hard for me; Stop laughing SF and KP. They know I LOVE to shop which I will confess I literally just finished online shopping a few minutes ago.

My daughter made a full sheet pan of polenta that we didn’t end up eating; we went out to dinner that night. It sat in the fridge for a couple of days and still nothing. I finally threw it into the freezer and once frozen cut it into triangle shapes and refroze them individually. Now what to do with them; I don’t have a lot of experience with polenta in any form; which is probably why we never ate it. I have nothing against it I really like it just never something I think about.

With a full bag full of Polenta cakes in the freezer on my mind, a half bag of frozen shrimp and a handful of cherry tomatoes I threw together a pretty quick dinner that got really rave reviews from the fam. With the weather being super windy and cold for the last few weeks here in New Hampshire I put my griddle to work and would make this again the same way. Who knows maybe I will make it over the summer out on the grill. I probably will we have a lot of polenta LOL.

If you don’t have a bag full of polenta cakes in the freezer you can pick some up from your local store, usually at the deli in a tube and slice your own into cakes. I am going to share how my daughter made polenta in the oven without the constant whisking.

grilled shrimp with polenta cakes

dclarkabal
quick and simple with on hand ingredients

Ingredients
  

shrimp and polenta cake

  • 1 lemon zested, sliced for serving
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2-3 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 recipe or tube polenta 1/2 inch slices
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled, deveined and tails removed

Creamy Polenta

  • 2 cups coarse stone-ground yellow cornmeal do not use white or fine cornmeal - results will be entirely different. we recommend Bob's Red Mill
  • 11 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Instructions
 

shrimp and polenta cake

  • Zest the lemon into a mixing bowl and add the butter, hot sauce and a pinch of salt. Stir until well combined. Gently stir in half of the parsley, reserving the remaining parsley for garnish. Cut the zested lemon into wedges and reserve.
  • Prepare a grill or grill pan or for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grates. (if grilling do this step, if not skip it as I did) Thread the tomatoes on the skewers, about 7 tomatoes per skewer. (If using wooden skewers, leave just 1/2 inch of the skewer sticking out on each end so you do not have to soak them). Brush 1 tablespoon of the oil on the tomatoes and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Brush both sides of the polenta rounds with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
    Arrange the skewered tomatoes on the hot grill and cook, turning occasionally, until they are lightly charred in spots and have started to burst, 12 to 15 minutes.
    Place the polenta on the grill and cook until lightly charred looking for nice grill marks, about 5 minutes per side, flipping once using a flat metal spatula. (Be careful not to flip the polenta too early because it will stick to the grill if it is not ready.) Remove from the heat and reserve.
  • Toss the shrimp with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly charred in spots on both sides and just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes total. Remove from the heat and reserve
  • The tomatoes should be ready to take off the grill as well. Carefully remove the tomatoes from the skewers and place directly into a small bowl. Use the back of a pair of tongs or a spoon to lightly smash the tomatoes so that they release their juices.
  • Place 2-3 pieces of polenta on each plate. In the center of the polenta, spoon a quarter of the tomatoes along with their juices, one quarter of the shrimp and a large dollop of the reserved butter mixture. The butter should melt nicely over the hot tomato shrimp. Garnish with the reserved parsley and wedges of lemon for squeezing on top of each serving.

polenta

  • heat oven to 375'F with the rack in the lower-middle of the oven.
  • Whisk together the cornmeal, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and 11 cups of cold water in a large pot. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Stirring to prevent clumping, Transfer the pot. uncovered, to the oven and bake for 1 hour.
  • Remove pot from the oven and carefully whisk the cornmeal mixture until smooth. Then using a wooden spoon scrape along the bottom and up the sides of the pot to loosen any stuck bits. Return the pot, uncovered, to the oven and cook until the cornmeal is thick and creamy and the granules are tender. another 10-30 minutes.
  • remove the pot from the oven - vigorously whisk the polenta until smooth and use the wooden spoon to scrape the bottom and sides. Let stand for 5 minutes. It should thicken just enough for a spoon to leave a brief trail, whisk in a little water if needed; to adjust the consistency. Taste and season with salt an pepper. Serve immediately or place in a sheet pan for setting and cutting into shapes for the freezer.

pineapple chicken fried rice


I will say it is pretty nice that my daughter has been making a couple of dinners a week for the last few weeks. I love cooking but getting a little break here and there is pretty cool. I mean even if I didn’t write a weekly food blog and feel obligated to come up with something new for dinner. Making dinner 7 or say  6 nights a week; we try to go out to dinner or get take out at least once a week. So 6 nights is 312 dinners a year that’s a lot of meals to come up with. I will admit we have had a few unconventional meals at our house. Cereal is a thing, breakfast for dinner is a fav and an occasional hot fudge sundae for dinner has happened.

So I have made and blogged about pineapple fried rice, I have even ordered it out before. This one I am going to share is a little different and not just because of the chicken that was added. It had a little heat to it and the pineapple was great at balancing the heat with the cooling. Which is saying something we as a family I would say tolerate pineapple, we like it a little but it is not a go to for any of us.

The recipe comes together within an hour which is nice for a weeknight meal. Though I have been known to make a roaster chicken during the week on occasion, which is what we had for dinner Friday night actually. My daughter got the recipe from an Ayesha Curry cookbook The Full Plate.

The rice is best cooked the day before if possible and if you have ever made fried rice before or even a stir fry you need to have all your stuff prepped before you start cooking. You can use a store made roaster chicken or roast a couple of pieces in your oven before hand.  You could even use a different protein, steak or pork would be great. Also it is a great way to use up some other veggies hanging out in your fridge. Make it your own.

pineapple chicken fried rice

dclarkabal
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cored, seeded, diced
  • 1 cup canned, fresh pineapple chunks cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • 3 cups jasmine rice day old best
  • 2 cups chicken breast cooked, shredded
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 green onion finely diced
  • fresh cilantro leaves for garnish optional

Instructions
 

  • heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers, cook stirring until they start to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the pineapple and peas cook until the peas have begun to thaw, 2-3 minutes longer. Add the garlic, cook for another minute.
  • Push the veggies off to the side of the pan and add the beaten eggs to the opposite side. Stir the eggs with a rubber spatula until they are scrambled. Then transfer everything to a bowl and set aside.
  • Add the last tablespoon of oil to the pan and return to medium-high heat. Add the rice, chicken, raisins, soy sauce, curry powder, sambal, salt and cook, stirring until all of the ingredients are incorporated and the rice starts to brown slightly on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Return the veggie mixture to the pan and cook stirring, until rewarmed and incorporated into the rice. about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer to a large platter and garnish with sliced green onions and cilantro leaves if using. Serve hot.
Keyword pineapple chicken fried rice
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