It is zucchini season. Finding delicious ways to eat this vegetable is quite easy. It’s subtle sweetness and versatile texture lend it to be delicious eaten raw or cooked. This recipe for “Summer Squash Bake” is currently my favorite way to eat zucchini, but some other options include: sauteed with onions and spinach, in a green curry, made into flax crackers, or puree into soups (adds a nice viscosity without cream).
This is a really satisfying breakfast that is perfect for weekend mornings. What makes it thoroughly satisfying is the blend of flavors lent from salty, smoky bacon paired with the sweet from the sweet potato, sweet and pungent onion set the stage for earthy shiitakes. There is always room for spinach, so that goes in too.
2 slices bacon, cut into lardons.
1/4 of an onion, sliced thin
4 shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
1 small sweet potato, pre-cooked and diced
2 c. fresh spinach
Slice bacon and place in a cool pan. Put pan over low heat to render the fat slowly. This will make the bacon crispy all the way through. Stir occasionally until bacon becomes desired crispness. Drain off excess fat, reserving about 1 T. in the pan for sauteing. Add onion and sprinkle with a dash of sea salt, stir. Let onion cook until translucent over low-medium heat stirring occasionally. Now add shiitakes, a dash of sea salt, the sweet potatoes, a dash of sea salt and the spinach with a teeny bit of sea salt. Do not stir yet, the order in which these veggies were added to the pan will allow them to cook just as is, in the pan for 3-5 minutes. Now, stir until spinach is wilted and serve. This would be good topped with an over easy egg or hollandaise sauce. A breakfast fit for one, but can easily be doubled or quadrupled.
3-4 chilies, any variety, stems removed, each cut into thirds
2 carrot sticks, diced
1 T. butter
1/2 c. basil leaves
1 c. water
3-4 cloves garlic, grated
2 tsp. sea salt
1 c. distilled white vinegar
In a medium sauce pan, over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add carrot and a pinch of sea salt, saute for a couple minutes. Add chilies, a pinch of sea salt and the water. Place lid on pan and cook until carrots and chilies are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat, add basil to pan, and let cool slightly before moving onto the next step. In a Vitamix or blender, add remaining sea salt, garlic, vinegar, and chilies’ mixture. Blend on high until very smooth. Yields about 2 cups. This is excellent on chicken wings, roasted vegetables, eggs, potatoes, pretty much anything you want to add flavor to. Depending on the chilies you choose, this hot sauce will range from mild to hot.
1 pork loin, about 1-2 lbs
1 T. pastured lard or tallow
1 T. sea salt
1 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp dried lemon thyme
1/2 tsp dried summer savory
1/2 tsp dried pineapple sage
1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat an oven safe saute pan over medium-high heat. Combine sea salt, granulated garlic, pepper, lemon thyme, summer savory, and pineapple sage on a dinner plate. Mix spices with fingers, rubbing the herbs between your fingers to release oils and to make the mixture more coherent. Spread this over the plate and then roll pork tenderloin in it to coat. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Add lard to saute pan and let it melt to coat pan. Once pan is hot, place pork in it to sear. Let the pork cook, undisturbed for 5-7 minutes until the pork has a blackish-brown crust. Turn tenderloin with tongs and let sear on the other side for a couple of minutes, then place pan in preheated oven. Bake for 12-14 minutes. The pork, when pressed upon will still be slightly squishy, that is okay, it means the meat will remain juicy once sliced. Lest rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.
I served this tender pork tenderloin alongside a simple green salad with radish and chives topped with Stacey’s Salad Dressing for a weeknight meal. This pork makes a nice holiday dish too!
This is a nice little snack, especially good in the summer when there is access to spicy radishes from a Farmer’s Market or garden.
3-5 radishes, ends cut off, then cut in half
1 T. pastured, grass-fed butter
sea salt or fleur de sel
Place radishes on a plate, end side down, so that there is a larger surface area on the top where you will place the butter. Place a small slice of butter (maybe about 1/2 tsp) on top of each radish and sprinkle with sea salt. Eat each radish in one bite.
aka Red Curry and Green Vegetables with Chicken and Coconut Milk
1 large zucchini, cut into 2 inch chunks
1 large onion, sliced into 1 inch chunks
4 stalks celery, sliced into 1 inch chunks
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 can coconut milk
1 T. coconut oil
1/4 c. or 2 oz of red curry paste
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 inch ginger root, grated
Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add coconut oil and onion with a pinch of sea salt. Cook until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add celery and a sprinkling of sea salt. The idea is to add a touch of salt to each ingredient that is added to the hot pan, this is a chef technique that brings out the flavor in each food. Add red curry paste and stir to coat vegetables. Add a splash of water if the pan is too dry. Add chicken, ginger, garlic, and a pinch of sea salt. Stir to coat everything. Let cook, stirring occasionally until chicken is about half way done, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini and a touch of salt, stir gently and put lid on to cook for another 10 minutes. Water should release from the zucchini as it cooks, so adding water is probably not necessary, but add a splash if pan is too dry. Turn heat to low, add a can of coconut milk, stir it in and warm through, about 1 minute.
1 mini cucumber, cut into half moons
1/2 c. of watermelon, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 spring fresh mint, leaves removed, minced
1/8 tsp. jalapeno, minced (less or more depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 tsp. sherry vinegar
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
Combine everything and stir gently to coat. Taste. Add a touch more sea salt to bring out flavors if needed. Made for one, but easy to quadruple. Goes well with anything grilled.