Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Grilled Jalapeno Popper Squash Casserole

Grilled Jalapeño Popper Squash Casserole
You may of noticed a theme in my most recent rash of recipes. Squash. I am trying to keep a happy face with every batch that comes in from the garden. I tell myself- $1.89 a lb... The current cost of fresh squash at the grocery stores here. We are rich!
Today's adventure is totally off the cuff.
In a disposable foil pan, add enough coconut (or olive) oil to coat the bottom.
Place a single layer of thin sliced bacon strips (cut the strips to fit, or into bite sized pieces if you like.) into the pan.
 Next, I added sliced squash. I cut it about 1/4 inch thick. I added two layers, because that will feed the four of us. I used both yellow and zucchini squash. Over each layer, I sprinkled garlic powder and Tony Chachere's  Creole seasoning.
Then, I sliced several jalapeño peppers lengthwise, and removed the seeds. (Recommend gloves for this!) I laid these cut side UP on top of the squash.
I filled each of the jalapeños with ricotta cheese, then dolloped more ricotta between the peppers.
Add a generous sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese.
Finish with more thin sliced bacon strips.
I plan to grill this until it is done- squash tender and I HOPE the bacon on top crisps up. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pickled Green Beans

Pickled Green Beans
One year in the early 90's, I made some pickled green beans. We tried them right away... and YECH! I ended up giving all the rest of them away.
Only later, people to whom the beans had been given began giving me feedback.
"They were awesome!"
"Can I get more?"
"Can I get the recipe?"
Clearly, they had not had the same beans as we did.
As it turns out, when you pickle a vegetable, you need to give it several weeks to mature the flavors!
I tried the pickled green beans again in recent years. This time I let the pickled beans rest a few weeks before we tried them. They are awesome! And here is my so called recipe:
Fresh, fairly straight green beans
fresh garlic
dill (fresh or dried)
Vinegar (I used apple cider because I had it on hand)
canning salt
jalapeno peppers, split in half and seeds removed, if desired
clean pint canning jars and lids, sterilized
Bring the hot water in a deep pot to a boil, for the boiling water bath.
In a stainless or ceramic pot, mix 2 parts vinegar to 1.5 parts water. Begin heating to a boil.
(I added 1 teaspoon mustard seed and 1 teaspoon black peppercorns to this. I'll let you know how THAT turns out!) (I used 4 cups of vinegar to 3 cups of water. I had leftover from filling 6 pints)
Wash and trim the ends off of the green beans.
Peel and smash a clove of garlic for each jar.
I used 1/2 jalapeno pepper in each jar.
I stood the green beans in the jars on their ends, poking them into the jar until the jars are packed full. (I found it helpful to lean the jars nearly sideways.)
Once green beans are packed into the jars, I added 1/4 teaspoon of dried dill and 1/4 teaspoon of salt to each jar. (This year the grasshoppers ate my fresh dill. Feel free to add a sprig of fresh dill to each jar instead of the dried)
Fill each jar with the boiling vinegar/ water mixture.
Wipe rims. Add jar rings.
Place in boiling water "bath".
 I boiled mine for 15 minutes once the water returned to a boil.
Remove from bath, allow to cool.
Check to be sure jars have sealed after they cool. If not, refrigerate.
Please let these sit for at least 4 weeks or more before you taste test them
I found that an opened jar is an empty jar. We simply do not have leftovers when pickled green beans are served. Wish I could say as much about regular green beans!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ravioli and Vegetable cheese sauce...

Ravioli and Vegetable Cheese Sauce
Tonight I got home from work and wondered what to fix for supper.
Leftovers have not gone over well recently.
After digging through the freezer and tossing out several frostbitten items, I discovered I had a half a bag each of two types of frozen ravioli...
 I had a container of roasted vegetable cheese spread
as well.

 I boiled the frozen ravioli.... drained it. While it sat draining...
I added 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup of half and half to the 2 cup container of vegetable cheese spread. The container wasn't full. (And I also had a cup of roasted veggies that COULD of been added, if one felt the need to have even more veggies..)
 once the roasted veggie cheese spread melted and warmed, I added the ravioli.

Great reviews from the guys!

Served with garlic green beans. and microwaved yellow squash.
(The trimmed beans were added to a skillet containing olive oil and a clove of garlic. Stirred and covered for about 25 minutes. Sprinkled with garlic granules, butter, and salt. VERY good!) Squash as trimmed, sliced, microwaved. Butter and salt added. Pretty good... but it was squash. AGAIN)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Squash and Pepper Salad

Squash and Pepper Salad
You might have noticed a trend in my last several posts... Yep. An abundance of garden fresh squash. While I was certain one each of yellow, and zucchini would be plenty... Mr C took no chances and planted four of each. It was probably a good thing he had the foresight to do so, since  thankfully  the snow on the third of May took out several of each variety, leaving us with two yellow and three zucchini.
Down to just four of us at home... this is more than enough squash for all of our fresh squash needs. I have given away squash to the neighbors, until they refuse to answer their doors when they see me coming. OK... that is a minor exaggeration. But we do have PLENTY of squash. And since it is $1.89 a lb! at the grocery store, I really don't want to waste any.
I have made squash relish, both sweet and dill. Squash casseroles, squash in place of lasagna noodles. Last night, I was marinating the following recipe, which I fully intended to grill in a disposable foil pan.
However, Mr C saw it and sampled it, and decided it was a great salad.
It has (surprise!) Squash!
I used both yellow and zucchini squash, sliced into  quarter rounds.
It has sweet peppers, chopped.
 Fresh onions/ scallions.
jalapeno peppers
 and I used some bottled salad dressing (Newman's Own Balsamic vinaigrette)
Marinated the veggies a couple hours before supper. It was every bite eaten.
Made more tonight using a store brand of raspberry vinaigrette.

Cheese Spread/ Roasted vegetable

Roasted Vegetable Cheese Spread
Thank you Alton Brown of Good Eats!
This is my take on Alton brown's recipe. Make it your own: It is VERY good as a sandwich spread, cracker spread, tortilla roll up. Even use it as a dip for fresh veggies!
 I used:
 yellow squash
 jalapeno peppers
 sweet peppers (yellow, orange, red. Bell Pepper is acceptable if you like it)
green beans
(Use what is in season! What do YOU have on hand? Olives, black beans, spinach might be added, but I probably wouldn't roast them first!)
Cream Cheese (I used the reduced fat neufchatel cheese)
Cheddar cheese
cooking oil spray
****************Preheat oven to 450*
Spray your baking sheet with cooking oil spray.
Cut the vegetables to get the most surface area... Angle the squash and carrots and such.
Spread the sliced vegetables on a baking dish (or two).
Sprinkle with salt. (I used Himalayan pink Salt because it is what I happen to keep on hand)
Spray vegetables with additional oil.
Cook until vegetables are done/ tender. Monitor them if cooked together, some cook faster than others!
Allow veggies to cool.
Place in food processor and pulse until chopped fine.
I used about 1 cup of the cooked chopped veggies and froze the rest for later*.
Add 1 package (8oz) of cream cheese and 1 cup of cheddar cheese to veggies in food processor.
Pulse until combined.

Refrigerate until ready to use.
Use within 1 week.
* The roasted veggies not used can be added to soups, casseroles... or more spread at another time!

Dill Relish

Dill (Squash) Relish
Once again, I forge a path because I cannot find a recipe I like!
8 cups chopped zucchini squash
2 cups chopped fresh onion
3 jalapeño peppers (or to taste)
1 cup chopped sweet peppers (I used a mixture of red, orange and yellow. Green is acceptable if you like green!)
1/4 cup salt (I used Himalayan pink salt because it is what I have on hand)
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
2 teaspoons dry dill (use fresh if you have it, increase quantity to 1/4 cup chopped)
2 large cloves roasted garlic, chopped fine (Remember a clove is a segment of the HEAD of garlic!)
1 tablespoon sugar (optional... I added it to the mix so included it here)
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (also optional)
Chop the vegetables and mix with the salt.
I did NOT cover with water this time, but did refrigerate mixture several hours (or overnight if convenient)
Rinse the vegetables several times and drain well.
In a non-aluminum pot, bring the vinegar, water, and spices to a boil. Add the vegetable mixture. Return to boil and cook 15 minutes.
Ladle into sterile jars.
Wipe rims.
 Add lids and rings.
Process in boiling water bath 10 minutes.
Remove from boiling water, allow to cool.
 Check seals.
The dill relish needs to mature several weeks to develop best flavor.