Tag Archives: potatoes

MATS A Course and Root Vegetables

Melissa Iwai 2014

Melissa Iwai 2014

So… I started taking an intense online design course, called Make Art That Sells, taught by Lilla Rogers.  This, along with several book assignments and prep for a gallery show and an art auction makes for some busy (though good) times!  For any artist wanted to broaden their range, I highly recommend this class.  Every week focuses on a different market.  Last week, it was Bolt Fabric.  Our assignment was to create a fabric pattern that had the theme “vintage kitchen” that is inspired by root vegetables and vintage casserole dishes.  So this is the pattern I designed.  It was really difficult for me, but I won’t bore you with the gory details. If you want to read about my process, you can do so on my website blog.

For the warm up — or mini assignment, we were to explore vintage casserole dishes and root vegetables.  So the first thing I did was buy a bunch of veggies and the local green market.

root vegetables

After several days of drawing and drawing and more  drawing and painting the vegetables in different media, they met their final destination:  The oven.

root vegetables to roast

This is three yams, one large parsnip, a bunch of carrots, one large turnip, and one beet (the beet is wrapped in foil).  Unfortunately, my celery root had gone bad, and I couldn’t use it!  Basically it’s about 5  cups of chopped vegetables.  I coated them with olive oil,  seasoned them with kosher salt and dried thyme, and roasted them at 400 for about 30 minutes, tossing them halfway.

cooked root veg

 

The vegetables really shrink!  But it was enough for a side dish at a pot luck dinner we went to that evening.

And here is my final submission to the class with more coordinating patterns (not so happy with these — it was a struggle!!  But I’d like to do more and improve my craft…)  If you don’t know already, there is a great site where you can upload your designs to be printed on fabric — Spoonflower.com. I’d love to use my pattern to make an apron or some tea towels. 🙂

MELISSA_IWAI_ROOSTERPITCHER_4A_WK1

 

Roasted Root Vegetables

Non-stick spray

An assortment of root vegetables, such as potatoes, yams, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery root

about 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil

kosher salt to taste

1 – 2 teaspoons dried thyme

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

2.  Chop vegetables into 1/2 inch cubes.  Try to make them all about the same size so they cook evenly.

3.  Pour onto baking sheets and spread out into a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil (right onto baking sheets is OK) and mix with hands to make sure everything is nicely coated.  Season with salt and thyme.

4.  Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring and flipping halfway through.

Roasted Beet

1 or 2 beets

olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Wash and dry beets.  Brush with some olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil.

3.  Set on a baking sheet (sometimes the juices leak out, and it’s not pretty if it gets on your oven!) and bake for about 60 minutes until tender.  You can test it with a knife.  It should be soft like a cooked potato.

 

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Filed under Art Related, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Low Carb Mashed “Potatoes”

We’ve been traveling a lot recently (hence the sporadic posting here!) visiting family in Illinois and Long Island.  In Illinois we celebrated my nephew and sister-in-law’s graduations.  So proud of them!  My sister-in-law decided to go back to school to finish her college degree when my niece was two (she will be 21 this year).  She really stuck with it and kept working towards her goal,  while raising three children, and working full-time as a teacher’s aide for several years.  Sometimes she could only take one class a semester.  For several years, she had to take a break from it.  But in the end, she did it! And she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Early Childhood Education this summer.

So proud of this woman!!

So proud of this woman!!

***************************************************************************************************************************************

Before all of our travels and family events, I had meant to post a couple of simple veggie recipes that I make daily.  The cauliflower ones are low carb and make a good substitute for starchier vegetables like potatoes.  I tried once to sneak in some cauliflower into my husband’s plate but he wasn’t having it.  He barely tolerates me cooking it, complaining about the smell.  I usually light a scented candle and continue with my cooking.  

I made a hearty meal of meatloaf, green beans, and mashed potatoes, but for myself, I made mashed cauliflower.  You basically make it the same way as mashed potatoes.  Just added heated milk/cream, butter and seasonings.

cauliflower

I love the versatility of cauliflower.  I have also used it in place of rice sometimes, but processing it in a food processor and microwaving for about 4 minutes.  

You can process it until it has the consistency of rice.

You process it until it has the consistency of rice.

 

Another great way to prepare it is roasting at a high temperature — around 400F for 20 minutes, flipping and roasting for another 10 minutes.   I can seriously it a whole half of a head this way in one sitting.

roasted 2

For my guys, though, I made mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and parmesan cheese.  It also was quite yummy.

Silky smooth

Silky smooth

With gravy...

With gravy…

They like it with absolutely no lumps or grainy texture, so I whip the whole batch up with an immersion blender.  It makes it silky smooth!  When Jamie was a baby, I used to make all of his food like this (sans seasonings).  I’d just steam or boil the vegetable and then puree with a blender with some liquid, like milk, water, or broth.  It’s a really easy way to make a lot of baby food.  I used to freeze extra too in ice cube trays.  I’d transfer the cubes to freezer bags, and I’d always have a portion on hand to serve.  Apparently, though, there are some foods, I learned later that you should not make for babies.  Check it out here.

Which do you prefer?  Potatoes or cauliflower?  Do you prefer your potatoes smashed with texture or completely smooth?

Mashed Cauliflower

1/2 head to 1 whole cauliflower, washed and broken into florets

butter to taste

about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup warm milk or cream to taste

salt and pepper to taste

1.  Steam or boil a half or whole head of cauliflower

2.  Process in a food processor.  While processor is on, add some butter, warmed milk or cream to the desired consistency.

3.  Season with salt and pepper.

Cauliflower “Rice”

1/2 to 1 whole head of cauliflower, washed and broken into florets

1.  Process raw cauliflower in food processor until it has the texture of small grain rice or couscous

2.  Transfer to a large bowl, cover with saran and microwave for about 4 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

Cauliflower couscous with butter, roasted sliced almonds, and dried cranberries

Cauliflower couscous:  I added butter, roasted sliced almonds, and dried cranberries to the cauliflower “rice”

Roasted Cauliflower

1/2 to 1 whole head of cauliflower washed, and cut into quarters, then eighths

olive oil

kosher salt

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2.  Slice pieces of cauliflower into 1/4 -inch slices.  Toss in large bowl with olive oil.

3.  Spread on one or two baking sheets in one layer.  Sprinkle with salt.

4.  Roast undisturbed for 20 minutes.  Flip and roast for 10 more minutes.

roasted cauliflower

Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Parmesan

1 head of garlic

Olive oil

2 lbs. Yukon potatoes, diced

1/2 cup to 1 cup warm milk or cream

kosher salt to taste

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.  Cut off top of garlic.  Drizzle with oil, wrap head of garlic in foil.  Roast for about 30 minutes.  Unwrap and squeeze cloves out.  Set aside.

3.  Place potatoes in water to cover and bring to a boil.  Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until potatoes are tender.  While potatoes are simmering, warm milk or cream (but do not let boil).

4.  Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.  Season with warm milk, roasted garlic, parmesan cheese and salt, a bit at a time, tasting  along the way.  Stir with a spoon to incorporate.  When you are satisfied with the flavor, whip smooth with an immersion blender or mixer (if you want it perfectly smooth — some people prefer there’s mashed with more texture and feel the smooth way is too “gummy”,  so it’s up to you)!

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Filed under Sides, Vegetables

Roasted Potato, Tomato and Cheese Stuffed Roasted Zucchini


Another zucchini recipe here.  It’s one of the few vegetables that my husband eats, so I try to figure out a lot of different ways to cook it!  This one is an old favorite, and zucchini is so abundant and inexpensive now, I thought I’d share it with you all.

It’s based on a recipe I saw many, many years ago in Cooks Illustrated, which has evolved over the years.

First, prepare the zucchini.  Cut in half lengthwise and spoon out flesh.  A melon baller works the best, but if you don’t have one, use a spoon.  I also cut a small slice on the bottom of each zucchini half so it has a flat surface to rest on, preventing it from wobbling so much.

And don’t throw out the flesh!  It is great in soup another day.  See note below.

For a readable, printable version, click here.

Roast the zucchini halves with some potatoes tossed in olive oil and salt.  While it’s roasting, saute onion, garlic, tomatoes until soft.  Then add the roasted potatoes and some cheese and basil.  Fill zucchini halves with stuffing, top with more cheese and roast or broil until cheese as melted.

Garnish with some fresh basil if you like.

You know it has to be delicious if my vegetable averse husband eats it!

Roasted Potato, Tomato and Cheese Stuffed Roasted Zucchini

4 medium sized zucchini

3 medium red or Yukon potatoes, cut into small cubes

kosher salt and pepper to taste

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

non-stick spray

1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup

2 cloves of garlic pressed through garlic press, about 1½ teaspoons

1 plum tomato, cored and deseeded, chopped

1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese or other cheese you like (Mozzarella also works well here)

1/2 cup chopped basil, divided

  1.  Place two foil lined baking sheets in oven, one on top rack and one on bottom rack.  Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out interior flesh with a melon baller or spoon creating a zucchini “boat”.  Reserve flesh for another time.  Cut off a sliver from bottom of each zucchini “boat” so that it can rest without wobbling.  Brush cut halves with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Roast in oven for 10 minutes on top baking sheet, cut side down.
  2. Toss potato cubes with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Gently remove heated empty baking sheet from oven.  Spray with non-stick spray and transfer potatoes onto sheet, spreading into one even layer.  Return to bottom rack in oven.  Roast for 12 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking period.
  3. While zucchini and potatoes are roasting, heat remaining olive oil in large non-stick skillet.  Sauté onions, stirring constantly, until onions are soft.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add tomatoes and the roasted potatoes.  Cook until tomatoes are soft.  Off heat, add ½ cup cheese and 1/3 cup of the basil.  Stir to combine.
  4. Turn zucchini halves over and divide potato filling among them.  Sprinkle each with remaining cheese (about 2 tablespoon per zucchini half).  Return to oven and roast for about 5 minutes on top rack, until cheese has melted.  Garnish with remaining basil.  Serve immediately (2 halves per serving).

Yield: 4 servings.

Note:  I used to throw out the extra zucchini flesh I scooped out.  Now I save it in a container in the refrigerator and steam it later or throw it into a stir fry.  There is a lot of it, so it’s really no point in throwing it away when you can use it in something else!  You can use it with more zucchini to make an easy creamy soup.  Or halve the soup recipe amounts to make 2 servings with the leftover zucchini from this recipe.

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Filed under Dinner, Vegetarian

Man v. Food Inspired Baby Moose Omelet

Copyright: Travel Channel

Have you ever seen something so over the top, disgusting, and groan inducing you are just riveted to the spot by the sheer ostentatious display of vulgarity?

I’m not talking about the media’s coverage of the Kardashians either.  THAT I can walk away from or turn the channel.  I’m talking about the Travel Channel’s show, Man v. Food, hosted by Adam Richman.  We have witnessed him eating Habanero fritters with Habanero salsa made from ten pounds of Habanero chilis in twenty five minutes (he won).  We also saw the episode where he attempted to drink 15 (yes, FIFTEEN) large, thick, rich milkshakes in one sitting (he lost that challenge, and it wasn’t pretty!)

A spin off of Man v. Food is Man v. Food Nation.  The basic premise is that now Adam Richman is finding local people to attempt food challenges in their neighborhoods.  A recent episode, shot in Oahu, featured a tiny mom who looks to be my height (under five feet) except she must weigh 90 pounds and have 10-12% body fat.  Her challenge was to eat a ginormous Moose Omelet within an hour at Moose McGillycuddy’s Pub and Cafe.

The behemoth omelet is made of one dozen eggs (!), four different kinds of meats, four different kinds of cheeses, plus a boatload of sauteed vegetables over a layer of home fries.  It weighs 5 pounds.  In a country with skyrocketing obesity rates and all the diseases that accompanying it, and in a world where people are still facing starvation and malnutrition, it is pretty sick to see one person attempt to eat something that could easily feed at least ten people.

She ate about three quarters of it and had to call it a day, so her name wasn’t placed on their “Wall of Fame”.

I can’t say if it’s the sheer abundance of food (mostly fattening) or the anthropormorphizing of said food (it must be conquered by man) that I find so wrong.  Regardless, I can’t help watching it when it’s on.  I guess a redeeming factor amid all the grossness is that the restaurants featured are family owned and they actually seem to have delicious and interesting food, so if we are ever in the region in the future, we might search some of them out.

And days later, I was still thinking about the Moose Omelet–which really should have been called a “Monster Omelet”.  I decided to create a mini version for a brunch for four people.  I used four eggs instead of twelve, and scaled everything else back in turn.  The result was a really delicious omelet full of wonderful flavors and textures.  We all loved it and decided it was a “success”.  There is some prep work involved but it’s worth it.  And it is perfect to serve for a brunch because everything can be cooked ahead of time except the eggs.  Then when it’s time to eat, you can cook the eggs and broil the omelet and it’s ready within five minutes!

All the ingredients minus oil, butter, and seasonings

The next time we’re in Oahu visiting my family, we might just have to go to Moose McGillycuddy’s to try the original Moose Omelet (to share and bring home!), but until then, we’re happy to eat my “baby moose” sized version.

Mini version

Baby Moose Omelet

1 medium potato, washed but unpeeled

3 slices of bacon cut in half

1 medium shallot, chopped (about 2 tablespoons or so)

Dash of dried thyme, kosher salt, and pepper

¾ cup cubed zucchini (about ½ of a medium sized zucchini or a very small zucchini)

2 Italian sweet sausages, casings removed, chopped up

1 teaspoon olive oil

½ medium onion, chopped

1 plum tomato, cored and seeded and chopped

4 eggs and two egg whites (or use 5 eggs instead)

1 teaspoon butter

2 tablespoons grated parmesan reggiano

¼ cup grated mozzarella

¼ cup lite shredded cheese mix

(note:  Or you can just use about 3/4 cup of whatever cheese you have in your refrigerator instead of these cheeses)

  1. The night before making omelet, pierce whole potato with fork a few times and microwave for about 4 minutes.  Let cool a bit and refrigerate overnight.  The next morning, before making omelet, cut potato into bite-sized cubes, leaving skin on.  Set aside.
  2. In an ovenproof skillet, lightly cook bacon until lightly browned.  Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain, cool, and crisp up.
  3. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from skillet.  Add chopped shallot to skillet and sauté for about 1 minute over medium heat.  Add cubed potatoes to pan.  Season with thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to incorporate, then leave it for about 5 minutes without stirring – this gives the potato a nice crust.  While potato is cooking, microwave zucchini for about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir potatoes again and cook until done, remove to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon oil to same skillet and add onions.  Saute for about one minute, then add sausage.  Continue to break up sausage as it browns with a wooden spoon.  When half cooked, add zucchini and continue to brown sausage.  Add chopped tomato to pan and continue to sauté until everything is cooked and vegetables are softened.  Remove to a bowl. Crumble bacon on top and set aside.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and egg whites (if using) together until fluffy.
  7. Preheat broiler and heat a clean non-stick skillet on stove.  Melt butter, swirl to coat, and then add egg mixture.  Push sides in as eggs cook, letting uncooked eggs fill in the spaces.  Cook until bottom is set, but top looks slightly wet and underdone.  Turn off heat.

    Still wet on top

  8. Assemble Baby Moose Omelet. Reheat original ovenproof skillet used to cook potatoes and sausage mixture.  Return potatoes to skillet.  Spread out into one layer.  Cover this layer with sausage and vegetable mixture.  Let warm up a bit on stove, but don’t stir.  Then slide cooked eggs on top of this layer with the uncooked side up.  Cover with cheeses and broil in oven.  Check after 2 minutes.  Omelet is done when cheese is melted and starting to brown.
  9. Cut into slices and serve out of skillet like a pie.

Makes about 4 generous servings.

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Calling All Foodies: The 1st Annual Brooklyn Local in DUMBO and Twice Baked Potatoes with Baby Shrimp and Artichoke Hearts

This Saturday, September 17, I’m proud to be a participant in the 1st Annual Brooklyn Local organized by City Harvest.    The event is from 11-4 and will be held at the Tobacco Warehouse in DUMBO (for non New Yorkers, this stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).  Over 75 artisinal vendors will be selling their wares, and there will be a tasting tent featuring 15 of the best restaurants in Brooklyn.  There will be an Interactive Kids’ Zone with all day events, such as cookie decorating, composting, live music, and I will be reading from my book, Soup Day, there at 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM.  I’ll also have a craft table set up to do some collaging with the children.  Soup Day will be sold along with a slew of celebrity chef cookbooks.

Please come and join us if you are in the area and help contribute to a great cause.  The Market Entry Fee is just $5 and the money will go towards helping to stamp out hunger in the city.  I’d love to see you!  Last weekend at the Princeton Book Festival, I got such a kick out of meeting a reader in person! 🙂

Cooking Light Magazine is one of the sponsors of the event, and their Executive Chef, Billy Strynkowski, will also be there on site handing out samples.  I got to meet Chef Billy last year at the Cooking Light photo shoot, when I made my dish in his test kitchen.  This year, I’ll be sure to get a picture with him!

Another Cooking Light venture I’m excited to be a part of is their Tested and Recommended Blogger Network.  I’ll be trying out some of their recipes and sharing them with you.  I’d be doing this anyway, since I love their recipes.  I’ve been a subscriber for many years and through reading the magazine, I’ve learned so much about how to lighten as well as create my own healthy recipes.

The recipes I’m featuring today are built around potatoes.  In some circles, potatoes get a bad rap, but they are actually quite nutritious, fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free!  I hadn’t known it before, but a potato provides 45% of your daily does of vitamin C, and when eaten with the skin, it has MORE potassium than a banana!  Because of this, they are now recognized as a vegetable to meet the important need for potassium by the new My Plate Guidelines of the USDA.  Who knew?

Anyway, I love them because they are one of the veggies that we all love in our picky eater family and they are incredibly inexpensive to boot.  For more fun facts about potatoes and tasty recipes, check out Potato Goodness, and Potatoes, Taters, and Spuds on Facebook.

I recently posted about my favorite potato salad, made with yellow and red potatoes.   This baby is made so flavorful with tons of fresh herbs, Dijon mustard, wine, and olive oil.  You would never know I lightened it up dramatically by cutting the oil in half (actually if you used all the oil called for in the original recipe, it gets a bit “soupy”!)

These would also be yummy with some extra grated cheese on top!

Last night I made Twice Baked Potato with Baby Shrimp, Green Onions, and Roasted Red Pepper.  Only I changed it by exchanging the red peppers for artichoke hearts since my husband and son don’t do peppers.  I also subbed plain non fat yogurt for the sour cream since I have an intolerance to it!  I really liked the combination of the potatoes and the baby shrimp — something I would never have thought to put together.  The artichoke hearts went well with all the flavors as well.  And, we ate everything up including the skins, so we had our potassium for the day! 🙂

Twice Baked Potato with Baby Shrimp, Green Onions, and Roasted Red Peppers

Potato Board, Cooking Light Tested & Recommended eBlast to 150k, August 23, 2011

Ingredients

5 large baking potatoes

½ pound, peeled, deveined, and cooked baby shrimp

½ cup jarred roasted red peppers, diced

¼ cup green onions, chopped

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place potatoes on baking sheet and bake until fork-tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let potatoes cool. Keep oven on.
  3. Peel one potato, discard skin, and place pulp in large bowl. Cut off the top third of the remaining four potatoes. Using a spoon, scoop the potato pulp from the potatoes into the bowl, leaving a 1/8-inch layer on inside of the skin. Return cut potato skin shells to baking sheet.
  4. Mash potatoes until chunky, using a handheld potato masher. Add remaining ingredients and mix to combine.
  5. Evenly divide potato mixture, and carefully spoon into potato skins.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.

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Filed under Art Related, Dinner, Vegetables

Roasted Potato, Tomato, and Cheese Stuffed Zucchini

This is one of my husband’s favorite meals, and considering he only ate brown food before he met me (peanut butter, bacon, meat, bread, etc.), that’s saying a lot.  I’ve been making it for years and have experimented with it along the way.  Sometimes I add mushrooms to the saute. I’ve also added ground meat.  It’s a very forgiving recipe.  Basically you roast the zucchini “boats” and potatoes (I’ve also tried sweet potatoes) in the oven while you saute the onion and other ingredients.  Then you pull the whole thing together by throwing in the roasted potatoes with the sauteed ingredients and add some cheese and fresh herbs (I like basil).  You stuff the “boats” with this mixture, top with cheese, heat until it melts and garnish with more herbs.  It’s a really vibrant and healthy vegetarian meal!

Who knows the best way to store unused basil?  The green market guy told me to place in a glass of water and leave out — DO NOT put in the refrigerator! he commanded.  So I didn’t.  It makes a lovely bouquet, but it wilted within a day and made our kitchen smell like “a pizzeria “, according to my husband.  I’ve also tried washing the leaves, spinning them as dry as possible in a salad spinner, and storing them wrapped in paper towel in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator.  The basil seemed to last longer, but some edges of the leaves still turned brown.  If anyone has a fool-proof method, by all means let me know!

Instead of risking it going bad, I usually just wash the whole bunch and make pesto.  I toast some pine nuts, crush some garlic, and process it with the basil.  While it is processing, I add some olive oil, then taste it and add salt.  If I’m using the pesto immediately, I also process it with grated parmesan cheese.  But if I’m freezing it to store, I omit the cheese and add it later after it’s been defrosted. I can’t remember where I read about this tip — I believe it was in a Mark Bittman column when he used to write for the New York Times.

pesto without cheese

The pesto can be used to flavor pasta, steamed or roasted veggies, as a dip or sandwich spread.  You can add water or more olive oil to thin it out.  For me, this has been the best way to avoid throwing away an ugly bunch of brown basil that never got used!  It’s just a matter of having the other ingredients on hand (if you don’t have pine nuts, other nuts such as walnuts, almonds, even hazelnuts can do the trick, altering the taste a bit, but the pesto is still delicious– it’s fun to improvise) and taking the time to make the pesto.  It is well worth it!

Roasted Potato, Tomato, and Cheese Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium sized zucchini

3 medium red or Yukon potatoes, cut into small cubes

kosher salt and pepper to taste

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

non-stick spray

1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup

2 cloves of garlic pressed through garlic press, about 1½ teaspoons

1 plum tomato, cored and deseeded, chopped

1 ½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 cup chopped basil, divided

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place two foil lined baking sheets in oven, one on top rack and one on bottom rack.  Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out interior flesh with a melon baller or spoon creating a zucchini “boat”.  Reserve flesh for another time.  Cut off a sliver from bottom of each zucchini “boat” so that it can rest without wobbling.  Brush cut halves with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt.  Roast in oven for 10 minutes on top baking sheet, cut side down.
  2. Toss potato cubes with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Gently remove heated empty baking sheet from oven.  Spray with non-stick spray and transfer potatoes onto sheet, spreading into one even layer.  Return to bottom rack in oven.  Roast for 12 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking period.
  3. While zucchini and potatoes are roasting, heat remaining olive oil in large non-stick skillet.  Sauté onions, stirring constantly, until onions are soft.  Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add tomatoes and the roasted potatoes.  Cook until tomatoes are soft.  Off heat, add ½ cup cheese and 1/3 cup of the basil.  Stir to combine.
  4. Turn zucchini halves over and divide potato filling among them.  Sprinkle each with remaining cheese (about 2 tablespoon per zucchini half).  Return to oven and roast for about 5 minutes on top rack, until cheese has melted.  Garnish with remaining basil.  Serve immediately (2 halves per serving).

Yield: 4 servings.

Note:  I used to throw out the extra zucchini flesh I scooped out.  Now I save it in a container in the refrigerator and steam it later or throw it into a stir fry.  There is a lot of it, so it’s really no point in throwing it away when you can use it in something else!

Pesto

A bunch of basil

Kosher salt to taste

About 2 heaping tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted (or other nut)

Clove of garlic, smashed

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil, depending on taste

Grated parmesan cheese to taste

1.  Process basil, pine nuts, and pinch of salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Scrape down edges.  While processor is running, slowly pour in olive oil through feed tube.  Season with more salt to taste.  If using immediately, add parmesan and process again.  If freezing, omit and add parmesan after defrosting.

Makes about 1/2 pint.

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Filed under Condiments, Dinner, Vegetables, Vegetarian