Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Dream of Zucchini

So far I've picked 6 zucchini from my garden. Six mutant zucchinis. One day they're just little babies, a few inches long. Two days later they're the size of a small child. Okay, maybe not that big, but these puppies are BIG. The first two were sliced lengthwise and frozen - I'll use them in place of noodles for lasagna. Yes, Greg eats it. Yes, he likes it.
The last four of the monsters plucked from the mother ship were shredded and bagged for the freezer. TWENTY-SIX cups of shredded zucchini. We'll be enjoying that in breads and muffins for quite awhile.

I did save a few slices of the last zucchini so I could make this recipe from Tyler Florence. Obviously we like zucchini in baked goods and in place of pasta, but I'd never had it raw, so I only made a tiny version of Tyler's dish and had it for supper last night before I left for work. Okay, now I can't wait to make it again, and to serve it to Greg.

Even with my love for Tyler Florence and his delicious recipes, I did make a couple of minor changes in my version, and I know what I'll do different next time. Those notes are in parentheses in the recipe.


Carpaccio of Raw Zucchini

2 zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds total), sliced into paper-thin rounds

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 young leek, white and light green parts only, sliced paper-thin into rings and thoroughly cleaned (I used thin slices of red onion because that is what I had.)

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as chervil, dill, chives, and chive blossoms (I used dill and chives - cut from my garden. Yea!)

1 cup ricotta cheese

Fresh mint leaves, for garnish, optional

Shingle the zucchini slices in a single overlapping layer on a platter. Dust with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a 3-count of olive oil and the lemon juice. Put that into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to give the flavors a chance to get into the zucchini. Now scatter the leeks over. Sprinkle with the herbs. (I mixed the herbs with the ricotta cheese. Next time I'll just scatter the herbs over, and forget the ricotta altogether. It wasn't necessary.)

Garnish garnish with the ricotta cheese and mint leaves, if using; serve.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Some Herb Love

I just LOVE being able to run out to the garden and snip those fresh herbs for my recipes. This year I have dill, thyme, sweet basil, sage, and oregano. There is also mint and lavendar in separate parts of the garden. I need some tarragon, but haven't found any this year.

Now I wish I could show you a photo of a beautiful herb garden, but there isn't one. At least not in my yard. :o) I planted most of the herbs on one end of the vegetable bed, with the sage and oregano coming back from last year where I thought I was going to have an herb bed. Maybe next year...

What I can show you is this lovely photo of some dill and basil that I picked at lunchtime. They were used in the sauce in this recipe for salmon sandwiches. The difference in flavor between fresh and dried herbs is astounding. I'll choose fresh as often as possible.

I've done a little www research for recipes and will be trying some new ones to share with you in the next few weeks. I would love to hear about your favorite recipes using fresh herbs. Anyone?