Zucchini Preserved in Oil

This recipe is adapted by marrying recipes from Eugenia Bone’s Well Preserved and Pam Corbin’s River Cottage Handbook #2: Preserves.

It is subtle and useful, perfect for bruschetta, wrapping bite-sized balls of mozzarella, mixing into pasta dishes or antipasto platter with crusty bread. The oil has a wonderful, subtle, smokiness perfect drizzled onto bread, sandwiches, grains, roasted veggies and pasta. Also adds depth to salad dressings – all in all a very useful preserve.

Makes 1 quart

  • 1000 g zucchini (2 medium sized – not baseball bats)
  • 300 ml cider or white wine vinegar
  • 200 ml water
  • 2 fat garlic cloves or shallots peeled & smashed
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 100 ml lemon juice
  • 400 – 500 ml good quality but not extravagant olive oil
  • Optional: A few rosemary, thyme, parsley or basil sprigs

Method

  1. Sterilize one quart jar per two zucchini. The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends that you sterilize jars by boiling in water for ten minutes. Use clean utensils, wash clothes and towels and make sure to dry your jar thoroughly before using. Use fresh lids each time.
  2. Wash, dry, trim the ends and halve the zucchini lengthwise. Halve again, and slice each portion into planks a little less than 1/4″ thick.
  3. Put the vinegar and water in a suacepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, place a griddle pan over high heat. (Use your grill if you prefer) Add the zucchine and cook, turning once or twice until lightly charred and beginning to soften. Drop the planks into the hot vinegar bath and leave for 3-4 minutes.  This sharpens the flavor of the zucchini and and the acidity helps prevent bacterial growth.
  4. Put a clove of garlic and half the peppercorns into a sterilized quart jar. Remove the zucchini from the vinegar solution and pack it tightly into the jar. Top with the remaining peppercorns and garlic clove and herbs if using.
  5. Add the lemon juice to the packed jar,then cover completely with oil. Seal with a lid.

Note: Pam Corbin recommends that you store this recipe in a cool, dark place for 6 weeks before using. Consume within 4 months. Once opened, keep in the fridge, making sure the asparagus in the jar remains covered with oil, and use within 6 weeks.

Double Note: The above is Pam Corbin’s recommendation for asparagus or hot peppers preserved in oil. I believe it should work the same for zucchini, but this recipe is yet untested. I’m keeping mine in the fridge.

Triple Note: If you are expanding the recipe, it is not necessary to do the vinegar and water boiling step over each time. I used the same vinegar solution for 3 – 4 batches.

Variations: Try this substituting spring’s first asparagus, char-grilled peppers or lightly cooked artichoke hearts for the zucchini.

Wild Turkey Sausage Mixture

Ingredients

  • 400 g wild turkey, cubed
  • 120 g pork fat, cubed
  • 2 oz finely grated parmesean reggiano or pecorino
  • 3 oz black raisins, soaked in boiling water until plump then finely chopped
  • 3 TBS finely minced fresh Italian parsley
  • coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 TBS salt
  • 1/2 cup ice cold milk

White Bean Mashed Potatoes

Okay, I spilled the beans right up front in the title, but that doesn’t mean you have to. This recipe is a handy one from Spilling the Beans by Julie Van Rosendaal & Sue Duncan. I learned some slick bean tricks from this book, I highly recommend it if you’re looking to increase the fiber and healthfulness of your food.

Yukon Golds are the creamiest, most buttery variety and will help you want less milk and/or cream and butter. But, any variety will be fine. For the beans, if you need to go stealth, choose a mushy, soft, white bean like canned Cannellini. If you need to be super-stealth, puree your beans first in a food processor.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups (500 ml) rinsed and drained canned white beans
  • 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup butter, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cover the potatoes with water in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 15 minutes, until tender.
  2. Drain and add the beans, milk, butter, salt and pepper.  Mash with a potato masher or beat with a hand mixer until you reach the texture you like best.
Serve with your favorite saucy main dish like chili, roasts, meat & gravy.

Walnut Waffles – a quick, make ahead breakfast

Long ago, I decided that waffles were best outsourced to my favorite breakfast spot and I’ve never once reconsidered. ‘Till now that is.

This recipe kept calling me;  who knows why?  I’m just glad that it did because these are some super-satisfying waffles. Filling, perfectly crispy, deeply flavorful and packed with wholesome non-commercial ingredients.

Another reason I love them so much? Double the batch and freeze cooked waffles for later – reheat straight from the freezer either in the toaster or in a 350F oven. Couldn’t be easier, and you may decide like I do to go bare – no butter or syrup needed.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 3 TBS light molasses
  • 1 1/2 (360 ml) cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/110g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled for a few minutes or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (100g) raw quinoa* flakes or quinoa* flour
  • 1 cup (130g) buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup (30g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (60g) walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200F and put a cooling rack on a baking sheet in the oven. Preheat a waffle iron; lightly grease the iron if necessary.
  2. In a medium bowl, with a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites and sugar until thick, glossy and bright white.
  3. Put the egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk in the molasses, milk and butter until smooth.
  4. In a food processor or blender put the quinoa* flakes, buckwheat flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and walnuts and pulse to combine and chop the walnuts.
  5. Add to the egg-yolk mixture and stir with a rubber spatula to just combine – the batter will be lumpy. Quickly and gently fold in the egg-white mixture.
  6. Scoop 3/4 – 1 cup (180 – 240 ml) of the batter onto the hot waffle iron, close and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or until the steam issuing from the sides dissipates. Remove the waffle to the rack in the oven and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve hot.

To freeze, allow the waffles to cool completely. Stack flat on a plate placing a sheet of waxed paper between each waffle. Put in the freezer until solid, slip entire stack into a gallon sized zip-lock freezer bag. Remove as needed, heating straight from the freezer in your toaster or preheated 350F oven.
When cooking waffles to be reheated, remove from the waffle iron while the color is light golden. The waffles will continue to darken as they are reheated, and if they are already browned, will burn before the centers are warmed.

*whole wheat flour can be substituted for the quinoa flour

Uncooked Fresh Tomato Sauce

Read more about the book & movie: visit Auburn Meadow Farm Blog

A treasure in my library is Cucina & Famiglia by Joan Tropiano Tucci and Gianni Scappin. If you’ve ever seen the film Big Night, you’ll see why this book needed to be born.  This movie, some great food and a little wine is a really enjoyable evening – invite some friends over and enjoy!

I love the book’s old family photos and stories bringing each recipe to life.  Plus, the recipes perfectly showcase simple, high quality ingredients. I haven’t cooked the entire way through yet, but I’m working on it!  If you can find the book, pair it with the DVD of the movie and it’s a special and thoughtful gift sure to be appreciated by any food loving friends.

Attention Food Preservationists: though this is a “fresh” tomato sauce, it freezes very well. This recipe is a single meal for four, but last year I made a 16 batch recipe and froze it in 1 cup portions. It worked perfectly and we could have used twice that much it is so good. I used small freezer storage bags; to save freezer space, contain the unfrozen bags snugly in a square container so when they freeze, they become uniform square packages that stack easily. When using your frozen sauce, thaw gently and completely and simply spoon over hot pasta – do not boil!

Read this intro by Gianni Scappin to the recipe and tell me you don’t have to have some right now:

“Italians are very proud of their tomatoes, and if you have ever visited Italy in the summer you know why – the tomatoes are sweet and very flavorful. One summer I ate a delicious pasta dish at a restaurant near my hometown.  The simple tomato sauce was incredibly fresh and robust.  I asked the chef for the recipe but he wouldn’t give it to me.  I was haunted by the flavor of this dish and had to know the secret of how it was prepared, so a few days later I took the gentleman who had been my waiter out for a drink.  I asked him how the sauce was made, and he described a recipe that was so simple, I was certain there must be more to it.  I went home and followed his instructions.  The sauce was perfect, just as I remembered it from the restaurant.”

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe summer tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Method

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Use a sharp knife to score the bottoms of the tomatoes with an X. Gently place the tomatoes in the boiling water.  When the skin begins to unfurl at the X, remover the tomatoes from the water with a slotted spoon and plunge into a bowl of cold water.  Allow the tomatoes to cool slightly; then peel away the skins.

Cut the tomatoes into several small pieces.  Remove and discard the seeds (I skip this step and run them through a Roma food mill). Place the tomatoes in a food mill fitted with a coarse blade. Grind the tomatoes through the mill (or finely chop by hand) into a bowl.  Stir the salt into the tomatoes.  Transfer to a fine-mesh sieve and place the sieve over a bowl.  Allow the tomatoes to drain for several hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. **Note: since I did a big batch, I drained them in a muslin bag – you can use a clean pillow case – hung over a sterilized food grade bucket.

Serve over a pound of cooked pasta tossed with 2 TBS of extra virgin olive oil. Simply discard any water accumulated in the bowl below the tomatoes and spoon equal portions of the concentrated tomatoes on top of the pasta.  Serve immediately.

Variation: to warm this sauce, heat 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil in a small saucepan until hot but not smoking. Remove from the heat, add the tomatoes and stir to warm through.  Serve immediately.

Turkey Paprikash Filling

This is my tricky way of killing two birds with one stone: 1. using up my leftovers and using meats my family doesn’t find appealing like tongue, heart and tail. My family doesn’t eat dark turkey meat, but I’m not about to let that stop me from making good use of the whole bird. Shredding the meat and the paprika & tomato disguise the meat color and make the dark meat something everyone enjoys.

Leftover cooked turkey or chicken – approx 2 – 3 cups, pulled or blitzed in a food processor. Take care to NOT puree if using the food processor.

Ingredients

  • 2 TBS lard or olive oil
  • 1 pound of white onions, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS sweet paprika
  • 1 TBS smoked paprika* if available, otherwise sweet
  • 1 TBS tomato paste plus scant 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

 

  1. Melt the lard or oil in a heavy skillet and add the onions. Cook gently, stirring occasionally until the onions are nicely softened and translucent. Do not brown.
  2. Add all the paprika, stir in well and cook for a few more minutes. Add the meat, tomato paste and water. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cover. Cook over the lowest possible heat for at least 30 minutes, adding water if needed. To use as filling, you need the mixture to be fairly dry – too saucy and it won’t stay inside pastry or dumplings.
  3. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
I use this to stuff pierogi recipe for both poaching and baking. It can be tossed with egg noodles, baked into buns, mixed with rice or bulgur and stuffed into peppers – the uses are limited only by your imagination.  A little goes a long way, so freeze what you don’t use for later stuffing.
* I have tried and tried, but do not love smoked paprika.  I LOVE sweet paprika, so next time I’ll use all sweet or half sweet and half hot.