Monday, August 6, 2012

Zucchini Fritters with a Spicy Garlic Aioli

This is the best way to enjoy your vegetables!

For the aioli (make first, then cover and refrigerate while you make the fritters):

-Juice of 2 large lemons
-3 or 4 good-sized garlic cloves
-1 tsp pepper
-1 tsp paprika
-1/4 tsp cayenne (or less if you don't want it too spicy)
-1/2 c mayonnaise (low fat is ok)

Mix everything in a food processor or with a hand blender until it forms a thick sauce. This will keep in the fridge for several days.
For the fritters:

-2 c shredded zucchini
-1 c panko
-2 eggs
-1 tbl dried or fresh oregano
-1 tbl dried or fresh parsley
-1 tsp garlic salt
-1 tsp ground pepper
-1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
-Frying oil of your choice (not olive oil)

The first thing you need to do is preheat your skillet over medium heat until it is very hot, then turn the heat down to medium-low and add your oil.

Next, wring out the excess moisture from the zucchini.  This is best achieved by taking a clean kitchen towel (flour sack towels work best), piling up the zucchini in the middle, picking up the four corners and squeezing the life out of it.  Then, dump the zucchini and all of the other ingredients into a large bowl and stir until it is well mixed.  The mixture should be damp and sticky.  If you feel that it is too dry, add another egg.  Form into patties, any size is fine but be sure to make them kind of flat-ish.  If they are too thick, you don't get a good crispy-outside-to-mushy-inside ratio.

Once your oil is a good and hot, add the patties (don't crowd the pan! Give them room to breathe!) and cook until each side is "GB&D" (as Alton Brown says, Golden Brown and Delicious).  Transfer to a paper towel to drain off the excess oil.

Dip in the yummy sauce and enjoy!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Amazing Flourless Oatmeal Pancake

Doesn't it look yummy? And it's so filling! One of these suckers will last me 'till lunch (which isn't until 2 pm!).

The original idea for this "pancake" came from a client - her version was pretty tasty, but I knew I could make it better!

You will need:

-1/2 old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cooking)
-1 egg or 1/3 c egg substitute
-Splash of milk (it's an arbitrary measurement, yes, but I will explain below)
-1 tablespoon of sugar, or a packet of artificial sweetener
-Cinnamon (to taste)
-Pinch salt
-1 cup of fresh or frozen berries, sliced banana, peaches, etc

Put a small skillet on medium heat and let the pan get nice and hot.

In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients - save the milk for last and add just enough to make sure the oats are wet and that everything will get nicely coated.

Spray the pan with cooking spray and add the oats. Use a fork or spoon to help create a nice, even pancake.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the bottom is set. Flip it over, turn the heat down to low, and cook another 3-5 minutes.

How easy was that? 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers is one of those dishes that I would never eat as a kid (blasphemy, since I lived in the Italian capital of the North), and I can't live without as an adult.

This recipe is easy enough for weeknight cooking, relatively healthy, and super tasty!

You will need:

-4-6 green bell peppers (one for each serving)
-1 pound ground turkey
-2 tbs olive oil
-1 small onion, diced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-2 prepared servings of instant brown rice
-2 cans of tomato paste + 1 can's worth of water
-1 tbs dried oregano
-1 tbs dried basil
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp ground pepper
-1/2 c low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat your oven to 350, and put a large skillet over medium heat to warm.

While you are getting the stuffing ready, prepare two servings of instant brown rice, following package directions.

Cut the tops off of the green peppers and remove the seeds, then set aside. Pop the stems off of the tops, then dice the pepper tops. Sautee the peppers, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in the olive oil over medium heat. When the onion starts to soften, add the ground turkey and brown it all together. Drop the heat to low. Stir in the tomato paste and water, then seasonings. Finally, stir in the cooked rice. Cover your pan and let everything cook together for 10 minutes.

Scoop out equal portions of the filling into your green peppers, then top with mozzarella. Bake in a casserole dish for 20 minutes, or until the peppers look soft and the cheese is beginning to brown.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Lentils with chickpeas, black beans and a bacon vinaigrette

Talk about a protein powerhouse! Still-warm lentils, chickpeas, carrots and black beans are tossed with a light bacon vinaigrette and topped with crispy bacon crumbles.

First, fry 6 slices of center-cut bacon until crispy. Remove and place on a paper towel to cool. Reserve bacon drippings.


-1 tbs bacon drippings
-3 tbs olive oil
-2 tbs red wine vinegar
-2 tbs balsamic vinegar (try white balsamic for a twist)
-2 tbs "good" mustard (no fake yellow stuff!)
-1 tsp dried oregano
-1 tsp dried parsley

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients (through mustard) until well blended. Stir in oregano and parsley.


-1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked through
-3 cups water
-1 cup carrots, baby or regular, cut into small pieces
-1 bay leaf
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

Combine the first six ingredients (through pepper) in a medium or large sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Drop heat down low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until water is fully absorbed. Turn off heat, leave on the warm burner. Remove the bay leaf and add beans. Toss in the vinaigrette while still warm. Top with bacon crumbles right before serving.

Try serving it over rice, a small-grain pasta or couscous!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Feeling Crafty: Fun artwork for a kid's room

When a good friend was expecting her second child a few years back, she had to move her then-toddler into her "big girl room". I made these to hang on her wall, then made others for several other children in my life.

You will need:

-Large wooden craft letters
-A package of wooden craft circles
-Several yards of ribbon
-Craft paint in two colors, one light and one dark
-A drill with a 1/8" drill bit
-Medium sandpaper
-Wood glue (I prefer Gorilla Glue because it is pliable)
-A level

Drill holes in the top of the letters to thread the ribbon through - one hole for narrow letters and two for wide letters. Try to make them as even as possible!

Sand the area around the holes until they are smooth, check the letters for any rough spots and sand them as well.

Paint the tops and sides of the letters and let them dry for at least 4-6 hours. Same goes for the wooden circles.

Arrange the wooden circles around the letters in whatever pattern makes you happy. Glue them into place and let dry overnight.

Now for the tough part: making it all level. This is totally trial-and-error. Decide the distance you want between the hook on the wall and the top of the letter. Spool the appropriate length of ribbon so that you are looping it through the hole, then cut and tie so that the bow is on top up by the hook. It's important that you not cut the ribbon until you know how much you will need! Repeat for each letter, starting from the center and working your way out. Use the level to be sure that the letters with two holes hang evenly.

Feeling Crafty: Wine Bottle Lamp

How fun is this lamp? I was inspired to make it by a client who gave me a decorated version last year.

You will need:

-Wine bottle (the one pictured above is a magnum-sized bottle from Sam's Club that used to contain Riesling)
-Short string of Christmas lights
-Glass drill bit (use one wide enough that you can string the lights through it)

Wash the bottle well and remove the label (or leave it, if it floats your boat).

Using the glass drill bit, drill a hole towards the bottom of the bottle (make sure it isn't at the very bottom, because the glass will be thicker and more difficult to work with). This process can take awhile, because you have to stop and let the glass cool down periodically.

Leaving the male and female plugs on the outside of the bottle, thread the lights up through the hole and up into the bottle. You can help arrange them in the bottle by uncoiling a wire clothes hanger, leaving a tiny hook at one end, and reaching down through the neck to pull the lights up.

Wipe down the outside of the bottle to remove finger prints and voila!

For those of you out there who are comfortable working with electrical wire:

Remove the female plug from the string of lights with wire cutters and cap off the ends with parts you can buy from any hardware store. Then, install a rocker switch along the cord so you can flip it on and off, instead of having to unplug and plug it into the wall.