Category Archives: Dose of Veggies

Zucchini Pickles

From Bon Appetit, Artisan Restaurant in Paso Robles, CA

Makes about 6 cups

2 1/2 pounds zucchini, trimmed, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
2 cups Champagne vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

Toss first 3 ingredients in large colander. Place in sink and let drain 2 hours. Rinse vegetables; drain. Transfer to kitchen towels. Gentle squeeze vegetables to dry. Place in 8-cup glass measuring cup or large bowl.

Bring vinegar and all remaining ingredients to boil in small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 10 minutes. Pour vinegar mixture over zucchini mixture, pressing on vegetables to submerge. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill overnight. Can be made 1 week ahead. Keep pickles chilled.

Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions and a Great Mango Salad

So it was the last night of the Everyday Food “1 bag, 5 meals” idea featured in the June issue. Last up was the Grilled Steak with Tomatoes and Scallions. Due to my lack of access to a real grill, I grilled the steak on a grill pan and broiled the cherry tomatoes and scallions in the oven until charred. This was a simple and flavorful dish and I really loved the tomatoes and scallions on top of the juicy steak.

As some of you know, I work in food public relations and one of the unfortunate (ha!) aspects of my job is that my team and I have to test recipes to ensure the dish ideas we provide to consumers are delicious and easy to assemble. It’s a hard job but somebody’s gotta do it. Of course I love all the recipes we try but one that has stood out continuously over time is the Mango, Chicken and Avocado Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing from the National Mango Board.
Because a steak just wouldn’t be enough, I also decided to make this healthy and delicious salad sans chicken to round out my meal. I love this salad so much, since the first day we tested it until now it has been one of my favorites. It provides a perfect balance of sweetness in the mango and dressing, plus the creamy avocado and the crunch of pistachios…great flavor and texture balance.
Coming up next, has a burger I just tested from Bon Appetit already beaten my recent favorite from Food & Wine magazine? Stay tuned!

Grilled Pork Chops with Cucumber-Dill Salad

I took some great pictures of this dish last night and then found out my camera hates me and somehow deleted them! Oh well. I have a sweet spot for any kind of a Cucumber-Dill Salad and this one was a good one. The pork chops were simply seasoned with salt and pepper and were quite juicy and perfectly cooked if I do say so myself. 😉

This was a simple, easy and healthy weeknight meal and one of my favorites of the 1 bag, 5 meals idea from Everyday Food. Enjoy!

The Burger That Made Me Say “Yay!”

Oh yum people, oh yum. This Cheddar BLT Burger with Tarragon Russian Dressing is on the cover of the June issue Food & Wine magazine. Doesn’t it look like the Heidi Klum of cheeseburgers? Not only was this so good, but it was pretty simple to make. It has a simple Russian-style dressing with fresh tarragon, bacon, onion, tomato, cheddar cheese and the patties are equal parts ground beef chuck and sirloin. One thing you do differently is brush the patties with unsalted butter while they cook. WHY have I not thought of this before? As you know I don’t have a grill but cooked them instead on a grill pan on the stove until the patty was slightly pink inside. This was by far one of the easiest to to make and best-in-flavor burgers I have made in a long time, if not ever!

On the side I enjoyed this simple Heirloom Tomato Salad with Garlic Oil from Martha Stewart Living. Heirloom tomatoes and their unique shapes and colors just make me so happy when I get to enjoy them. When you have something this good and flavorful you need to make sure the rest of the ingredients are simple and do not overpower. This recipe with it’s garlic-infused olive oil, fresh chives and basil were delicious with the heirloom tomatoes I was able to find at the market. As a side note, I enjoyed reading this article from Food & Wine about a husband and wife team who grow heirloom tomato varieties. Do you like a Green Zebra or Arkansas Traveler better?

Spiced Lamb and Vegetable Kebabs with Cilantro Mint Sauce

I love a good sauce of any kind and the cilantro mint sauce in this Cooking Light dish is divine. The magazine claimed this would take 40 minutes total to get this on the table and lo and behold it did. This was very simple to put together and the only difference was that since I don’t have a grill (sigh), I broiled the skewers in the oven until done. I also like the idea of a protein other than the standard beef or chicken for a weeknight meal and the lamb dipped in the sauce, “oh my goodness!” is all I can say.

I thankfully had a lot of sauce so I sliced up some fresh cucumbers and drizzled it on top and then served the skewers on top of the Currant-and-Almond Pilaf from Everyday Food which gave a satisfying crunch to the dish and rounded out the meal.
This dish rocked and I would highly recommend it for simple and different kind of weeknight meal.

Thai Salad with Pork (or the salad that made me literally lick my plate)

So I just got the new Family Circle and am dying to try some of the recipes in the June issue. First up this Thai Salad with Pork recipe, that yes, I may have licked my plate when I was done. What really made this dish amazing was the dressing. A little backstory for you. I grew up in East Texas and have been visiting Shogun’s (a hibachi grill) my entire life. They make this ginger dressing that is out of this world and this is the first homemade dressing I’ve made that reminded almost exactly of their’s. So maybe it was a little bit of delicious dressing mixed with fond childhood memories? I don’t know.

The other thing I liked about this was how quick and simple it was to make and on a good-for-you scale this one registers way up there, with cucumbers, red bell peppers and lean-pork. I didn’t have bean sprouts (which I love) so I decided to do something very un-cooking inside the lines and added fresh mango to add a sweet note (and more vitamins and fiber) to the dish and it was great.

On a random side note, I was watching Andrew Zimmern’s latest installment of Bizarre Foods last night and saw an ad that next week is his tour of Texas. Being a very proud Texan, especially of our food culture, I can’t wait to see where he ends up. It airs next Tuesday, May 26 at 9:00 p.m. CT.

Sweet and Spicy Twice As Nice-y

I have to say that I do enjoy eating healthfully, now if I can eat healthfully while feeling a wee bit sinful that’s even better. Kind of like my obsession with dark chocolate squares, a little bit of guilt but it has antioxidants and other good stuff so it can’t be that bad right? Anyhoodles, when I watched the episode from Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger that featured recipes from A Day at the Diner I was more than intrigued.
This episode featured a grilled cheese sandwich that would become a favorite of mine in no time. Her Sweet and Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches features sauteed red onions, cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, beefsteak tomatoes on whole wheat bread. See, she didn’t even call for reduced fat sucky cheese or anything, rejoice! I like to serve this with her Chopped “Fixin’s” Salad from the same episode which is simply greens, pickles, onions, tomatoes (although I used red bell pepper instead) salt, pepper and a little bit of blended red wine vinegar and olive oil. So simple but what a fun and unique side to go with just about anything.
To really throw Ellie’s Healthy Appetite straight out the window, I thought of another sweet and spicy concoction that I love from Gourmet, that’s right people, Sweet and Spicy BACON. To make myself feel a little better I did use the Oscar Mayer Center Cut kind which counts as being a little healthier correct? :) Not really but I’ll just keep telling myself that. Seriously the sweet and spicy bacon with the sweet and spicy grilled cheese sandwiches is not overkill! Try it for yourself and I promise you will love it.

Scallophobia? No Way!

I have to confess, I love scallops…when they are cooked at a restaurant. I have had a fear of cooking them at mi casa because if you overcook them they get too chewy and if they are undercooked well, let’s just not go there. SO, I was brave last night and tried the Seared Scallops with Roasted Tomatoes from Cooking Light and I did good for my first attempt!

This recipe was so fast I barely had time to do anything else (i.e. pour a glass of wine) until it was done. I wasn’t feeling pasta last night so instead I sauteed some fresh broccoli and served with the scallops and roasted tomatoes with just a smidge of fresh lemon juice.
Give this dish a try if you are looking to experiment easily with scallops – it was a very enjoyable. Do you think I’ve earned the right to wear a “Top Scallop” t-shirt now?
Also, in honor of April Fool’s Day I really enjoyed this story on Great Food Pranks. I cannot believe people really thought you could grow spaghetti trees.

You Say Tomato, I Say Tasty!

I love tomatoes, love, love, love them and I was so happy to find this delicious Fresh Tomato Soup in Cooking Light a while back that I decided to make it on my day off yesterday. Not only was it perfect for dinner last night with a simple grilled cheese sandwich, it was great for lunch the next day.

What I really liked about this soup was how simple it was to make. Cut tomatoes into wedges, chop the onion and celery and throw all that in a saucepan with some tomato paste, thinly sliced basil and chicken broth and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Then you simply puree the soup in two batches and serve. I tasted this without the plain low-fat yogurt and I have to say don’t skimp on this ingredient because it end really rounded out the soup and made it silkier in texture.


Everyday Food = Love

I picked-up the March issue of Everyday Food, and I have to admit in these times it was like a breath of fresh air to see short ingredient lists that use a lot of pantry staples, have easy instructions and after testing, were still loaded with flavor.
On Sunday – slow cooker day – I made Smoky Beef Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Crema and Avocado-Red Onion Relish plus the Spicy Pineapple Salad on the side and for dessert, their Mexican Snowballs.
The Smoky Beef Tacos turned out to be moist, tender, spicy and yes smoky and the crema sauce and avocado/red onion relish were the perfect complement to round out the taco experience. The Spicy Pineapple Salad was very spicy but good. I only used one of the two recommended jalepenos – and I like spice!
I love simple desserts and I don’t know how much simpler it could be than to toast coconut and cinnamon in the oven and roll frozen ice cream balls in the mixture. I used Vanilla Bean ice cream instead of just vanilla because I love the more vanilla-ish flavor you get. I used a 1/2 less fat version from Dryer’s called Slow Churned it was quite delicious! This was definitely a new favorite and has been added to the our evergrowing “Foods We Love” roster.