Oodles of zoodles to channel the words!

Once again, I’m late to the party, waving my freak flag. My favorite food and writing bloggers pump out relevant blogs several times a week–how do they do it? These days between exhausting  road trips taking care of family matters (er, drama), insuring my third and final edit was returned squeaky clean (wine, please), and squeezing in basal cell skin cancer surgery ON MY FACE (thankfully the least worrisome of the skin cancers–wear sunblock, folks)– time management has been challenging.

Spiralizer in action!

I hope your summer is off to a more relaxed and mellow cadence. But now, since I’ll continue resembling the Phantom of the Opera another week or so, I’ll be hiding indoors.

So I ordered a new toy on Amazon to cheer me up. An Inspiralized spiralizer!

And yes,  you’ve probably been using one for years.  (I mentioned I’m always late to the party, right?) I’ve been googling away at spiralizer recipes. There are a lot out there–mostly, from what I’ve seen, using zucchini. Is there a reason?

A quick blanch is all the “zoodles” need.

Last night I took the machine out on her maiden voyage. I had several zucchini and eggplant to play with and here are my results. First, the good news. Pictures don’t lie–the spiralized zucchini was a roaring success! (These days, it doesn’t take much to thrill me.)

Here’s my no-recipe recipe that generously serves 2-3:

Boil desired amount of linguini  or spaghetti  (apx.1/2 pound) and in the last 45 seconds of cooking time, blanch the spiralized zucchini  (4 medium zukes spiraled with blade C) in the boiling water along with the noodles. Drain, and season the dish with EVO, minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Serve with loads of Reggiano!

Eggplant doesn’t seem a good choice for the spiralizer.

Fun!

Onto the eggplant–this has to be one of my favorite veggies.  I was planning to sauté it, perhaps turn it into a curried vegetable dish. It would be beautiful.

Not.

Even peeled, the seedy, thick flesh refused to go through the feeding tube, as if to tell me love me as I am.

Sweet potatoes, beets and butternut squash (as long as the food blogs don’t lie) seem to be viable candidates for the spiralizer. Lord knows, I don’t need another toy used once a year demanding  10-inches of shelf space.

Another thing to cheer me up is the WONDERFUL job the team at Lake Union Publishing did with my book cover.  I  received the final version and it’s magnificent. I couldn’t be happier!  For those of you who are new to my blog–I write women’s fiction focusing on my passion–– exploring food as a means for breaking down familial, as well as, cultural barriers.

Have a lovely Monday! Good eatin’, good readin’, good lovin’!

 

 

 

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Sorrel-Potato Soup, the perfect spring soup, is delicious served hot or cold.

Sorrel, thyme and chives are the first to welcome Spring!

Long before  Steve Brill made hunting for wild foods a thing, since the dawn of our species we’ve been foraging our lands for edibles to survive. (In the eighties, Brill–aka, Wildman– began organizing foraging expeditions in Manhattan. Once he was slapped with a summons for making a meal from Central Park weeds. Minutes after his arraignment, he was offering samples of his Five Park Salad to passerby.)

Extreme? Maybe. But there is something atavistically satisfying about finding or–in my case–growing your own food. Take sorrel. In my small kitchen garden, sorrel (alongside chives and thyme) is one of the first perennials to nose its way up through the cold, damp Michigan spring soil.

Sadly, the beautiful spring green of sorrel turns into an unfortunate shade of Army Tank Green.

Throughout the world, sorrel is both domesticated and found in the wild. The tart, lemony taste finds its way into soups and stuffings and–when the leaves are young and tender–salads. And it’s  heavenly when turned into a sauce and served over fish–the fattier fish the better; tart sorrel balances fat so well.

I  love it paired with rich meaty lamb–this recipe for Lamb and Eggplant in a Sorrel sauce is a favorite. (The linked recipe for sorrel sauce above would be wonderful atop  fish.)

Grilled Lamb & Eggplant with Sorrel Sauce

You say you’ve never had a knack for growing veggies; plants wilt when you glance their way? Try sorrel. It’s like the scrawny kid who dons gloves and refuses to go down in a match. Smack it down, it bounces back for more; refuse it water, it thrives. In fact, the abuse seems to make it stronger. With a host of health properties and a lemony pungency that would make the heartiest of veggies blush, sorrel in all its bright glory,  is the antidote to winter blah.

So what’s not to like?  The color, for one. After it’s subjected to heat, it morphs to the patina of an army tank. That color, however, may be modified by using an equal part of fresh spinach in your favorite recipe, as I did in the recipe below.

Secondly, unless it’s very young and tender, I’d be surprised if you’d enjoy the flavor raw. It would be like eating a bunch of fresh herbs, not something you’d want to do but–as fresh herbs–the addition of sorrel can be the grace note in a recipe. Sauté it in butter with a smidgen of cream to counterbalance that lean, mean tang. Oh la la! Magnifique! The following recipe is my riff on a vichyssoise, which seems appropriate as the French have such a love of the vegetable. A favorite French food blog, Zucchini and Chocolate, lists fifty ways of incorporating sorrel into your recipes. Look for sorrel at your local green market, as I’ve never seen it in traditional grocery stores.

Recipe: Sorrel Vichyssoise

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced (approximately 6 cups)
  • 6-8 cups packed sorrel, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 pounds medium-sized russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6-8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 6-8 cups packed cups equal portions of spinach, stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1-2 fistfuls of snipped chives plus extra for garnish, if desired
  • Pinch of nutmeg and cayenne

Instructions

  1. Sauté leeks in oil over low heat with a pinch of kosher salt 3 minutes. Add sorrel and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until sorrel has cooked down and turned a khaki color and leeks have wilted.
  2. Add potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Turn off the burner and while soup is still hot, stir in spinach.
  3. In a food processor, puree soup until creamy. Stir milk and chives into soup. Season to taste with kosher salt, cayenne and nutmeg. Delicious served hot or cold, as you would a vichyssoise.

Active time: 30 minutes

Simmer time: apx. 20 minutes

Chill time (if serving as a cold soup): 12 hours

Number of servings (yield): 12-14 cups (leftovers keep, refrigerated, several days)

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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Five-Minute Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Spread

Coming off a four-week, super-intense editing of my next book, “The Welcome Home Diner”, a contemporary novel about two women opening a diner on Detroit’s east side. I get why writers isolate themselves during the process. I was assigned  a well-seasoned editor determined to squeeze the best book that she could out of me. The verdict will be in the hands of the readers. (If you’re interested in a free advance digital copy when available, please advise!)

So now it’s over and I feel as if I’ve been hit by a stun gun. Been invited for cocktails–everyone’s to bring an appie–and don’t  have the energy to get in the car to even buy a hunk of cheese. I do, however, have the energy to be with friends; I’ve been in the isolation tank too long. And have a drink. Not necessarily in that order.

Rummaging through the back crevices of the fridge and thar’ she blows! One-half of a jar of roasted red peppers saddled up to some feta are speaking to me.

Five minutes later I actually have something pretty tasty. I know there are plethoras of ready made dips to be found at local markets, but nothing–honestly guys–ever tastes as good as homemade. Even if homemade was made using short-cuts.

Quick little Mediterranean nosh.

If you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s in your town, there are a few short-cut products I’ve found indispensable for making  last minute appetizers.

♥ Their olive tapenade (the one found in the refrigerated section). ♥ Bottled roasted red peppers (a shelved product pictured above) for a variety of uses. They’re as close to roasting at home as I’ve tasted. ♥ Their spinach-feta phyllo triangles (found in the frozen section of the store) ♥ Assorted cheeses (you can’t beat those prices).

To make the platter above, I purchased the tapenade, goat cheese and roasted red peppers. Then, I roasted a head of garlic by: cutting off garlic head, drizzling exposed cloves with EVO, and then roasting in a double thickness of foil until cloves are softened, about 40 minutes. Sliced avocado and a crunchy baguette yields a tidy little Mediterranean nosh in no-time.

Even quicker: Purchase a log of goat cheese along with the aforementioned tapenade, spread the tapenade over the goat cheese and serve with a baguette. A sprig of fresh rosemary placed atop the cheese is the perfect grace note.

The Promise Kitchen

By the way, “The Promise Kitchen” is on promotion–only $2.00! The reduced price has meant the book sales have been darting about in the top 100 Kindle books in women’s fiction this month; last week the book topped 900 in overall library sales. (Not sure of the amount of women’s fiction but there’s well over a million books in the Kindle library.) This two-buck-book-chuck may be cheating, but I’ll take it.

Recipe: 5-minute Roasted Red Pepper Feta Cheese Spread

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces (drained) Fire-Roasted Red Peppers*
  • 3 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • Pinch or more cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped dill (optional)
  • Pita bread, fresh vegetables for dipping

Instructions

  1. Place red pepper(s), feta, garlic, a pinch of cayenne, olive oil and dill (if using) in processor. Blend until combined.
  2. Refrigerate for several hours until firm. Serve with pita bread, pita chips or fresh vegetables for dipping.

* I used the Trader Joe’s brand of bottled fire roasted red peppers. If you don’t have time to roast your own, these are the best I’ve found. They also are delish in this recipe for Pimento Cheese. I even add a teaspoon of the delectiable juice.

Total time: 5 minutes

Number of servings (yield): Enough to fill a small (2 cup) bowl. The perfect size for bringing to a potluck.

Copyright © Peggy Lampman’s dinnerFeed.

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