Zucchini is anything but boring when bathed in a kicky vinaigrette. Summer squash contains a lot of water, which can cause it to get mushy when cooked. We turned to a trick we use with moisture-rich vegetables like cucumbers and eggplant: Toss raw halved squash with salt and let it sit for at least ten minutes (and up to 30) to draw out some liquid, and then pat dry with paper towels. This also seasons it from the inside out, concentrating the flavor.
- 3 medium summer squash or zucchini (or pattypan squash!), cut in half lengthwise
- 1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
- 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 1 small bunch mint, divided
- 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
- 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Toasted country-style bread (for serving)
Preheat oven to 300°. Toss squash and 1½ tsp. kosher salt in a colander; set over a bowl. Let sit 10 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
Toss hazelnuts and 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Let cool; crush into large pieces with a measuring cup or glass.
Smack 3 mint sprigs against your cutting board a few times to release their flavor; mix in a large bowl with garlic, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and 2 Tbsp. oil; set dressing aside.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high until shimmering. Arrange squash cut side down in skillet, breaking into smaller pieces if needed in order to fit in a single layer, and cook, moving around in pan to ensure even browning, until golden brown on cut side, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover (if you don’t have a lid use a baking sheet), and continue to cook until very tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly.
Cut squash into 2" pieces and toss in reserved dressing to coat; season with kosher salt and black pepper. Let sit at room temperature, tossing occasionally, 15 minutes. Pluck out mint sprigs; discard.
Meanwhile, zest lemon half into a small bowl, mix in ricotta and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; season with kosher salt. Hang on to that lemon.
Spread lemon ricotta over platter. Top with squash and their juices. Squeeze reserved lemon over. Pull leaves from remaining mint sprigs (you want about ¼ cup). Scatter mint and hazelnuts over squash. Drizzle generously with oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve with toast.
Fresh Tagliatelle with Ricotta, Lemon and Hazelnuts
I’ve been slowly transitioning into working more at home lately, and I have to tell you- IT IS AMAZING. The only outside-of-the-house work I’ve been doing is my occasional shifts at the cooking school, and the rest of my income is made up of bits and bobs, some freelance jobs and a few contract positions. I sit down at about 7:30 every morning with my little list (and yes, chocolate plans) and throughout the day I systematically work through said list until it’s dark out and the dog needs to be walked, again. I keep everything organized with an expansive collection of calendars, and most of the time (when the pregnancy fatigue doesn’t overtake my brain) I’m feeling pretty damn good by the end of the day. I dearly miss coworker gossip, but for the most part, being in charge of all the things house worthy is pretty sweet.
And yes, I know what you’re thinking “Ha! Time to throw a baby up in your shiz, girl.” Just let me have my moment, okay?
The only part where I don’t feel in control of my day is when it comes to lunch. I usually want something quick, and healthy, and something that will stave off the inevitable “It’s been a half an hour so FEED ME AGAIN” part of being a preggo that makes eats like a hungry whale.
Lately, it’s fresh pasta that’s been stepping in and saving the afternoon. I recently roped a visiting brother-in-law into helping me knead enough pasta dough to feed an army (ok, an army of, like six, but an army nonetheless), and then I rolled the pasta dough into paper-thin sheets and cut it into long strips of tagliatelle. The tagliatelle was spun into individual nests, frozen on a baking tray, and transferred to a freezer bag. It’s the ultimate in quick, frozen food, I’m telling you.
It’s such a perfect on-the-go meal. Fresh pasta boils up in a snap, much faster than dried pasta, and when paired with a big scoop of fresh ricotta, a squeeze of lemon and a handful of pre-toasted nuts, I can go from starving and hangry, to full and walking the dog (for the billionth time that day) within 15 minutes. And the whole meal costs less than 2 dollars. It can’t get any better than that.
Marinated Zucchini with Fresh Herbs
3 medium yellow squash or zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
1½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for serving
¼ cup blanched hazelnuts or almonds
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 small bunch mint, divided
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Toss squash and 1½ teaspoon kosher salt in a colander set over a bowl. Let sit 10 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
Toss hazelnuts and 1 tablespoon oil on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, shaking occasionally, until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool crush into large pieces with a measuring cup or glass.
Smack 3 mint sprigs against your cutting board a few times to release their flavor mix in a large bowl with garlic, vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons oil set dressing aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high until shimmering. Arrange squash cut side down in skillet, breaking into smaller pieces if needed in order to fit in a single layer, and cook, moving around in pan to ensure even browning, until golden brown on cut side, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to cook until very tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly.
Cut squash into 2-inch pieces and toss in reserved dressing to coat season with kosher salt and black pepper. Let sit at room temperature, tossing occasionally, 15 minutes. Pluck out mint sprigs discard.
Meanwhile, zest lemon half into a small bowl, mix in ricotta and remaining 1 tablespoon oil season with kosher salt.
Spread lemon ricotta over platter. Top with squash and their juices. Squeeze reserved lemon over. Pull leaves from remaining mint sprigs (you want about ¼ cup). Scatter mint and hazelnuts over squash. Drizzle generously with oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Make these ricotta-topped quinoa and sweet potato "muffins" ahead for a quick breakfast or energizing mid-day snack.
Since 1995, Epicurious has been the ultimate food resource for the home cook, with daily kitchen tips, fun cooking videos, and, oh yeah, over 33,000 recipes.
Vanilla Whipped Ricotta with Walnut Brittle Bread Wafers
It&rsquos the last recipe for my involvement in the Blue Ribbon &lsquoBest Thing With Sliced Bread&rsquoblogger challenge, and this month we were supposed to bring a delicious dessert recipe to the table with Blue Ribbon sliced bread as star of the show.
In our mystery boxes this month we got butter, ricotta, a vanilla pod, sugar, walnuts and a loaf of Blue Ribbon Low GI crushed wheat brown bread.
If you&rsquore not familiar with this very cool campaign &ndash check out my first appetizer recipe and my mains I created for this initiative. I was very chuffed to have won the first challenge and the main prize (R10 000 Yuppiechef voucher) has me all edgy and anxious. Who will the winner be?!
But enough nail biting, lets get back to the recipe. I added the ricotta to a blender with the seeds from the vanilla pod and a little sugar syrup and just whizzed it up, refrigerated it and piped it with a piping bag.
Next, I made walnut brittle bread wafers, by toasting the bread until dark &ndash rolled it flat with a rolling pin, gave it a good spread of butter and dipped it into fine walnut brittle.
Then you can be all fancy and make spun sugar to impress your guests. How stunning?
I think this is a pretty mouthwatering treat after a lovely meal and your guests will definitely think you a gourmet cook when you whip up this dessert. It is simple and easy, and can be prepared in advance. Thank you to Blue Ribbon for this awesome campaign. So, go get your loaf of Blue Ribbon and start cooking!
4. Poke bowl
How to pronounce it: Po-kay
Love poke bowls? It is believed that the beginnings of poke date back to pre-colonial times in Polynesia Image Credit: Supplied: Poke Poke, Dubai
The word ‘poke’ in itself means to slice, or cut crosswise into pieces. While there are no records of the precise history, it is believed that the beginnings of poke date back to pre-colonial times in Polynesia, a grouping of islands from Hawaii to New Zealand. Locals would take their fresh catch and season it with locally available condiments
According to the food historian Rachel Laudan, the present form of poke became popular around the 1970s. It used skinned, deboned, and filleted raw fish served with Hawaiian salt, seaweed, and roasted, ground candlenut meat. This form of poke is still common in the Hawaiian Islands
Poke’s evolution was fairly straightforward: Changes mirrored the tastes of new arrivals. When ships from the West Coast arrived at local ports, sailors traded salmon for salt. Immigrants from China and Japan introduced soy sauce and sesame oil.
How has it gone global?
Poke today is more than ahi limu (seaweed) and spicy ahi poke, but kimchee shrimp, furikake salmon, miso tako (octopus), pipikaula (dried beef) and even bacalao poke made with Portuguese dried salt cod. There are also poke nachos and tacos.
According to Matthew Cox, Managing Director at Poke Poke in Dubai: “Traditional poke originates from native Hawaiian fishermen, who would slice up small reef fish and serve them raw, seasoned with things that were readily available, such as sea salt, seaweed, and limu (a type of algae).”
A traditional poke bowl base is usually steamed rice, but these days carb-conscious eaters are opting for lettuce or zoodles (zucchini noodles). Traditionally, poke bowls have few ingredients, because the emphasis should be on the flavor of the fish. However, these days poke bowls are bursting with a variety of colors, textures and even sounds, thanks to social media.
1. As advised by Alana Kysar, a Hawaii native and a cookbook author, to make a poke bowl, first cut the fish into cubes and mix with your desired marinade. Let your fish marinate in in the fridge for at least 15 minutes (The longer it marinates, the more flavor it will have).
2. While the fish marinates, chop up your toppings and start steaming your rice. The right temperature is key in perfecting this dish when it's time to serve it. Aim for ice cold fish served atop a bed of piping hot steamed rice. When the rice is ready, scoop a single serving into a bowl and top with your fish.
3. Additional toppings may added to the base and fish, including fruit, freshly chopped herbs and different types of sauces. In Hawaii, traditional poke bowls also include "inamona," or roasted candlenuts. These can be substitutes with finely chopped macadamia nuts. (In vegetarian poke bowls, edamame, beans or tofu are used. Popular additions also include avocado, pickled ginger, cucumber, mango and other toppings, which are not typical.)
Note: Since the fish is raw, poke bowls should be consumed right away.
Recipe courtesy: Shared by Alana Kysar, a Hawaii native and the author of the cookbook, Aloha Kitchen on today.com.
Is it available in the UAE? Yes
Craving mac and cheese with a healthier twist? This recipe adds superfood kale to the dish, along with pumpkin and cashew milk to the cheesy sauce for extra creaminess without all the cream. You can skip the crispy shallots if you’re watching your calorie intake, but they do add a deliciously crispy finish.
Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.
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The recipe to make ricotta gnocchi
A dish of pure white ricotta gnocchi speckled with herbs ushers in an awareness journey. They are elegant in their simplicity: who wouldn’t want to be defined like this?
We use a great deal of ricotta here in Tuscany: it’s one of my favourite ingredients for cakes, savoury and sweet tarts and pasta dressings. I add a spoonful of ricotta in a bowl of fresh fruit for a light end of a meal and castagnaccio in winter, when I want to show the best of our cuisine during a cooking class.
It was my first time with ricotta gnocchi, though. I’m not a huge fan of gnocchi, or rather, I was not a huge fan. When I started making them from scratch, I realized their potential, deeply understanding those who consider gnocchi one of the most comfortable food we have at hand.
I prefer to shape the gnocchi as tiny as hazelnuts, soft as pillows, I want my gnocchi to melt in my mouth, blending with their seasoning.
The best seasonal fresh herbs shine through these ricotta gnocchi: mint, basil and lemon balm add a fresh and verdant note, enhanced by a bouquet of zucchini blossoms used as an unusual seasoning.
It’s like biting into an early summer evening, like a restoring nap among bushes of fresh herbs in the shade of a quiet garden.