Thursday, August 21, 2008

Real Simple: Golden Gazpacho with Feta Cheese

Mr. Snowgoose and I were making dinner for his dad last Sunday and since it was super hot (in Seattle standards) I thought gazpacho and a salad seemed like a good idea. Plus we were headed to the farmer's market and we could pick up pretty much everything we needed except for the yellow pepper and feta cheese.

Has anyone else noticed how expensive tomatoes are? We were buying local and they were still $4 a pound. The recipe called for 3 pounds of yellow tomatoes but since there was only three of us eating soup I got away with buying 2 1/4 pounds (six tomatoes total).

This also came from Real Simple Magazine, the August 2008 issue.

It wasn't like the traditional gazpacho recipes of my past that were spicy. It was kind of sweet and obviously really simple.


Golden Gazpacho with Feta
Real Simple

Ingredients:
3 pounds yellow tomatoes (about 6), cut into large pieces

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into large pieces
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper
4 ounces Feta, crumbled (1 cup)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound thinly sliced prosciutto and/or salami (optional)
8 bread sticks (optional)

Working in batches, puree the tomatoes and bell pepper in a food processor and transfer to a large bowl.

Stir in the vinegar and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Divide among serving bowls and top with the Feta, basil, pine nuts, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve with the prosciutto, salami, and bread sticks, if desired.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 255(69% from fat); FAT 20g (sat 6g); CHOLESTEROL 25mg; CARBOHYDRATE 15g; SODIUM 1116mg; PROTEIN 9g; FIBER 3g; SUGAR 2g

Notes: I lost the grocery list and recipe somewhere between the farmer's market and grocery store so I forgot the pine nuts. They weren't missed at all. Mr. Snowgoose's dad wound up reheating some leftover flank steak and we had a large cheese and salami plate beforehand so we would up not eating much of the garden salad or any of the bread.

Repeat: Zucchini-Blueberry Bread

Remember this?

Since I picked up yellow zucchini and a flat of blueberries for wicked cheap at the Farmer's Market last weekend I decided to finally break out the Kitchen Aid mixer and stoneware loaf pans and bake some bread. Well that and it was really gloomy out and I wanted the apartment to smell liked baked goodness when Mr. Snowgoose came home.

Here's a recap of the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 eggs, lightly beaten or equivalent egg replacer
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup shredded zucchini (I peeled mine first) I used 3 small yellow ones.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 pint fresh blueberries (or about 1 1/2 cups frozen)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two mini loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer into mini loaf pans.
3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes (slightly longer if you double the recipe like I did). Let cool for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.


Notes: I had no idea how heavy the mixer would be! But it was a life changing experience using it. How did I exist before without it?

Just as I was getting ready to bake at 5 o'clock I discovered we did not own any vegetable oil so I had to pop out to the closest grocery store (6 blocks) in the rain. I suppose I'll get used to it.

But the bread turned out pretty good. The yellow zucchini worked just as well as green zucchini. In fact a whole mini loaf was devoured by me within 12 hours.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Real Simple: Pasta wuth Yellow Zucchini and Goat Cheese

I'm back in the kitchen after a brief hiatus in which I packed up all my stuff (including kitchen supplies) and drove cross country with my friend and occasional guest blogger, Hungry Cougar.

Since I don't have a job (yet), I've been cooking more. Mr. Snowgoose has been reaping the benefits of my unemployment.

We have an awesome farmer's market in our neighborhood that we've been frequenting every Sunday.

I found yellow zucchini! (photo to come) It's not squash. It's really zucchini that is yellow.

Since I had fresh zucchini and goat cheese in the fridge, I opted to surprise Mr. Snowgoose with this pasta dish from the June 2008 Real Simple Magazine:

Ingredients:
12 ounces (3/4 of the box) linguine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound zucchini, sliced into thin half-moons
Kosher salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, chopped
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Directions:
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until the zucchini is tender and any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute more.Add all but 2 tablespoons of the cheese to the pasta. Add the reserved pasta water, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir until creamy.

Serve the pasta topped with the zucchini, lemon zest, and the remaining cheese.

Tip: Fresh goat cheese is creamy and soft, which makes it ideal for incorporating into pasta dishes. Buy a log and crumble your own; the precrumbled bits sold in stores often don't melt as well, and they can be more expensive.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

NUTRITION PER SERVING
CALORIES 455(24% from fat); FAT 12g (sat 6g); CHOLESTEROL 16mg; CARBOHYDRATE 68g; SODIUM 746mg; PROTEIN 20g; FIBER 4g; SUGAR 6g

They weren't lying, this recipe is really simple.

I made a few changes though: I used a whole package of this whole wheat colored pasta we got from someone as an early wedding present. I only had 4 ounces of goat cheese and I left out the lemon zest, so the end result was a little less creamy. And I probably only used half a pound of zucchini since it is not Mr. Snowgoose's favorite vegetable.


Served with salad and slightly stale french bread.



And we had plenty left over so Mr. Snowgoose had two more lunches worth of pasta and goat cheese.

The end result: