Balsamic zucchini “chips” with garlic and almonds

Balsamic zucchini “chips” with garlic and almonds

The zucchini harvest has begun! I’m not yet regretting the 5 plants I popped in the ground planning for a summer of squash blossom quesadillas and my dream of edible flower pizza, but the season is young. No doubt in a couple of months I’ll find a monstrous zucchini or two hidden under the scarlet runner beans as in years past and have to do something drastic again.

LL thought we should try something memorable and different with our first harvested zucchini of the season and suggested we try thinly slicing and pan frying them in a little hot oil. One thing led to another – I added minced garlic and sliced green onions to the sizzling zucchini, and then, inspired by my new Almonds book, added a small handful of those nuts, roughly chopped.

Watermelon salad for a summer BBQ

Watermelon salad for a summer BBQ

We are not a particularly Handy Family, so I was surprised when LL suggested we spend Memorial Day weekend sanding and revarnishing the kitchen cabinets. They definitely needed to be slathered with love after all these years of heavy use (18 years, really, since we built the kitchen? Wow!) And we had the time – when you live next to the beach, you tend to stay away from it on days the crowds appear. Like Memorial Day. So we enlisted the help of a Handy Friend, dug around in the shed to find the palm and detail sanders left over from a different round of remodeling, stocked up on sandpaper, and away we went.

Pork egg roll with apple, carrot, and jicama

Pork egg roll with apple, carrot, and jicama

My first homegrown monster Mutsu apples inspired this recipe. Make your slaw in advance; you will have leftovers by design that are wonderful tossed with cashews on a lettuce or tortilla wrap with avocado. The first time I made these these egg rolls with fresh fried calamari rings (the recipe is at the bottom of the post) and miso soup. We are having them again tonight with steamed tilapia and miso soup again. (What can I say, we like miso soup!) First, the slaw recipe. Here’s a tip I just learned: peel fresh ginger by gently scraping off the peel with a spoon. Works like a charm. And for this recipe, make sure your ginger is very finely grated or you’ll get odd gingery chunks. Apple, carrot, and jicama slaw   Save Print This is a crunchy, sweet, and tart slaw that's delicious served with pork loin as an entree or as a sandwich or wrap filling. Author: Life in a Skillet Recipe type: Salad Ingredients 1 cup jicama, peeled and julienned 1 cup tart apple, julienned, and tossed with 2 tbsp lemon juice to keep from browning 1 cup carrot, julienned 1 tbsp grated ginger ¼ cup minced red onion 1 tablespoon sesame oil 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tsp ground black lemon pepper. Instructions In a large bowl, stir together the jicama, apple, carrot, onion, and ginger. Drizzle with olive and sesame oils. Toss well. Add pepper and toss again. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator. Wordpress Recipe Plugin by EasyRecipe 3.2.2089   Now make it into an egg roll: Pork loin egg rolls with apple, carrot,...
Crispy prosciutto and melon salad

Crispy prosciutto and melon salad

This is an elegant twist on the quintessential Italian prosciutto e melone – crispy prosciutto tossed with melon chunks and garden mint and then drizzled with a lovely rich olive oil. The recipe came from an old Sunset Magazine my mother-in-law brought over one day; I can’t find it right now for proper attribution, but here is the link on Sunset’s recipe page. It’s very simple. Cook 2 slices of prosciutto on your skillet on medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes. Remove to a plate and let cool. In the meantime, cut a half of a cantaloupe into bite-sized pieces, or use a melon baller to scoop them out. Crumple the cooled prosciutto over the melon. Chop 6-8 mint leaves and add to the salad. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons high-quality olive oil, toss gently, and serve. I’ve been serving this all the time this summer, with poached eggs for weekend brunch, as a side dish with spaghetti and artichokes, or by itself for a solitary lunch in the...
Easy scallion cakes (green onion cakes)

Easy scallion cakes (green onion cakes)

Scallions (also known as green onions, spring onions, salad onions, table onions, green shallots, onion sticks, long onions, baby onions, precious onions, yard onions, gibbons, or syboes) are the edible plants of various Allium species, all of which are “onion-like”, having hollow green leaves and lacking a fully developed root bulb. -Wikipedia Smitten Kitchen got me hooked on scallion cakes. It’s all because her recipe for Japanese vegetable pancakes, or okonomiyaki, that caught my eye one afternoon. Sliced cabbage, carrots, scallions, and kale mixed with eggs and a little flour to bind it all together. It sounded fresh and fast and a different sort of way to get some veggie love in with dinner. I gave it a shot. It was fresh, only too fresh, like an iceberg salad without the dressing. Perfectly acceptable, but with no depth of flavor – nothing I’d crave, or even think to make again. It was a good starting point, though. I liked the idea of the recipe, but I kind of wanted some punch. Everyone seemed to agree. After his first bite, LL said, “These would be really good if they had lots of onion, like scallion cakes.” Scallion cakes? That is not a dish I knew about, ever saw on a menu or tasted. Now, after doing the tiniest but of research, I’m just not sure how I missed them all my life. A.K.A. Cong you bing, 葱油饼; scallion pancakes, green onion pancakes . . .  this dish is one of Asia’s great street foods, as ubiquitous to Chinese cultures as muffins are to your corner Starbucks. I had to make it, yes. I love green onions. But you do know it’s tricky – even dangerous – to attempt...
Tangerine and watercress salad

Tangerine and watercress salad

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the wonderful recipes in Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken’s Cooking with Too Hot Tamales. That doesn’t mean I’ve not been using it! – that book certainly one I’d take to be stranded on a desert island. (Along with Top Chef CJ Jacobson to cook for me!) This tangerine and watercress salad is one of the reasons why – it’s perfect for these winter satsumas and clementines piled up at the grocers. Read on.

Sliced buttered radishes

Sliced buttered radishes

We’ve been on a warm buttered radish kick lately, serving them up every couple of days on top of a slice of fresh baguette and topped with a bit of crunchy green salad. Mmmm. If you’ve never tried these, give it a go. . . it’s the simplest side dish you’ll ever make: Sliced buttered radishes   Save Print Serve these warm, spicy, buttery radishes with a fresh baguette. Author: Life in a Skillet Recipe type: salad, side dish Ingredients 1 bunch fresh radishes 1 tbsp unsalted butter 1 tsp sea salt Instructions Wash and trim the radishes. Slice into thin circles. Arrange on a microwave-safe plate. Top with 1 tbsp butter. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Sprinkle with salt and serve. Wordpress Recipe Plugin by EasyRecipe 3.1.09...
Spicy pickled vegetables

Spicy pickled vegetables

Here’s a quick recipe for pickled vegetables for you to play around with. I’d been making a batch of pickled red onions every couple of month ever since I found Monica Bhide’s recipe in a magazine last year and finally started playing around with it to mix up the color and flavors. I love this version – it’s a gorgeous mixture of oranges, yellows, and purples – and it tastes just fabulous. Crunch, tang, spice, a bit of sweet . . . we’ve been adding it to everything from pizza to hot dogs to hummus and spinach tortilla wraps. Plus, it’s vegan, gluten-free, and has that super-healthy boost turmeric provides. Best of all, it’s a simple recipe that keeps for – well, I don’t know how long it will keeps. We’ve always eaten this size batch within 2 weeks. This is all you do. Pour 1 cup very hot water in a 2-quart Pyrex mixing bowl. Stir in 1 tbsp sugar and stir until dissolved. Add 1 tbsp turmeric and stir again Now add: One thinly sliced red onion 3 ribs thinly julienned celery 1 bunch thinly sliced radishes 1 cup shredded carrot a pinch of red pepper flakes Cover with white vinegar, and your work is done. Just snap on the lid, place the container in the refrigerator, and let the turmeric and vinegar do their thing for 6-8 hours. Drain the mixture well before serving; a colander works best. Store unused portion in the vinegar mixture in the refrigerator....
Quick and easy summer appetizer

Quick and easy summer appetizer

Need a dressy appetizer for a summer potluck? Here’s a ridiculously fast and delicious dish to throw together: shrimp and avocado salsa. There’s no cooking involved, so it’s perfect for the heat of a summer kitchen . . . but save it for the indoor parties, since it’s got to stay cold. I originally threw this together only because some out of town friends surprised us at dinnertime. I had a handful of bay shrimp I’d forgotten to add to our Cobb salads the night before, and since I always want to to use seafood within a day or two of purchase, I took advantage of a “use it or lose it” moment. The richness and sweetness of the shrimp and avocado complement each other nicely, and the extra citrus and pepper add the necessary zing. I threw this all together and just served it with a bowl of tortilla chips. Leftovers the next night were perfect in a choppy green salad. This would also be great tossed into an omelet.   Here are the proportions I used: Shrimp and avocado salsa   Save Print A quick and super-easy appetizer. Author: Life in a Skillet Recipe type: appetiser Ingredients 2 cups pico de gallo (I buy it fresh and cold in the produce section) ¼ lb bay shrimp (I buy these already cleaned and cooked at the fish counter) 1 large avocado, cut into small cubes juice of 2 limes (or other citrus as you see fit) freshly ground pepper Instructions All you need to do is rinse the shrimp and toss them on a glass serving bowl with the...

Snow covered berries

Here’s a fun and festive sweet-tart recipe my parents have been enjoying for the last month. I’m glad they decided to share! Grandma Juju recommends serving in a cut crystal bowl . . . Enjoy! Snow covered berries Heat two cups of sugar and two cups water till sugar melts. Stir. Put in one bag of cranberries. Stir. Cover, put in fridge for 24 hours. Drain. Let dry for about an hour. Roll in superfine sugar. That’s...
In a pickle

In a pickle

Most recently, my universe wanted pickled red onions.

It started one afternoon when Kid Two and his Buddy sat here after school and ate an entire jar of baby dill pickles and a one of cornichons for their snack.

Photographs and memories and potato salad

Photographs and memories and potato salad

Awkwardly slow-dancing to “Nights in White Satin,” bar hopping on Bourbon Street, and really, really, irresponsible adult chaperones. Food often evokes memories, of course. But in this case the memories were so elusive, and the food item so rarely cooked, the recollection took months to surface. It’s all the power of potato salad.