Wednesday, July 30, 2008
That pic doesn't do it justice. To give you the idea of its dimensions, here is the zucchini on a plate:
Actually, that's a kids' plate and fork. See, that's my idea of a joke. Lame, but funny to me, and it's my blog, so mnaah. Here's the adult version:
Ok, enough adult version zucchini pics for today.
So what do to with a ginourmous zucchini? The typical North Dakotan answer is zucchini bread, and trust me, zucchini bread will be coming soon.
However, it seems a bit ungraceful to shred up the first zucchini of the year and disguise it in quick bread. I wanted to eat this zucchini in its full vegetable glory, mixing it with other local ingredients to create a dinner from the prairies. We're blessed with having Dakota Growers Pasta Company right in our backyard, but forget the Ragu - when the first zucchini lands on your kitchen counter, grab a box of home-grown spaghetti (spaghetti trees are native to ND, you know) and make this delish Italian dish.
Spaghetti with Zucchini (say it with your best Italian accent: "Spa-GHET-ti wid Zuc-CHIN-ni")
1 - 16 oz. box spaghetti (Dakota Growers)
1 lb. Italian sausage (homemade)
1 large zucchini, seeded and chopped (backyard garden)
2/3 cup dry white wine (Maple River Winery dandelion wine)
1 cube vegetable bouillon (store-bought)
1/2 - 14 oz. can Great Northern beans (store-bought)
Parmesean cheese (store-bought)
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, brown Italian sausage in large pot. Add wine, bouillon cube, and zucchini. Bring to a boil, then simmer. Add beans, and continue to simmer until zucchini is crisp-tender (don't overcook!). Add drained spaghetti to mixture, toss, and serve with Parmesean.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Crust: Place graham crackers in a large ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin. Add butter and blend until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press mixture over bottom and up sides of 9-inch-diameter tart or pie pan. Bake crust at 350°F until color darkens, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.
Filling: Beat ingredients until smooth. Spread filling in prepared crust.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Then I was sad because I knew all of that useless info.
And now I'm sad because I'm spreading the stupid publicity.
And now, although I'm nearly vegetarian in my usual dining choices, I'm offering up three, count 'em, three animals in one dinner dish. And I'm not talking turduckhen.
Is this the power of suggestion?
Sidenote: may I suggest never eating anything with "turd" in the name?
I don't know if I have words to explain how much my guy likes jambalaya. It's meaty, it's spicy...it's kinda like him (wink wink). Whenever we happen to be in the vicinity of Rapid City, SD, we work our schedule around a jambalaya dinner at the Firehouse Brewing Co, washing it down with the house-brewed root beer.
Wait, does this internet thing go any farther south than Kansas? If anyone from the bayou is reading this, allow me to apologize in advance for liberally applying the term "jambalaya" to my spiced mix of rice, tomato, meat, and shrimp. I know that South Dakota is not New Orleans. I know I can't come close to the real deal since I'm -42% Creole. I know you'll either laugh or cry at the recipe to follow, especially since I don't add the holy trinity element of celery.
Despite this, allow me to butcher the meaning of "jambalaya" under the flag of Imitation Is Flattery.
1/2 lb. venison sausage, sliced
1/2 lb. grouse, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 lb. frozen cooked shrimp, thawed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
Salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
Heat oil in large pot, add sausage and grouse. Once nearly cooked through, add onion, green pepper, and garlic; saute until soft. Add broth, tomatoes, rice, spices, and bay leaf; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 mins. Stir in shrimp, cover again, and simmer until rice is tender. Remove bay leaf and serve.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
If you think about it, bananas are the slimeball of the fruit world: cheap, easy, and definitely not from around here. Despite this questionable persona, bananas are nearly as American as apple pie. Consider Exhibit A: my mom has a banana hanger sitting on her kitchen counter; it's a wooden stand devoted to nothing else but holding bananas. Needless to say, banana bread constituted 14% of my caloric intake as a child.
But I still had one lonely brown-spotted Cavendish (the ONLY imported banana variety...how's that for biodiversity?) sitting on my counter. Can. Not. Waste. Food. So, ta-da, banana and blueberry muffins.
Gross, that was a sick thought you just had.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Monday, July 14, 2008
Angel Hair Pasta Salad
1 - 16 oz. package angel hair pasta, cooked al dente
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white wine
1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (with the juice)...or fresh if you've got 'em
Oregano and basil, fresh or dried
Handful of Kalamata olives
Handful of green pimiento-stuffed olives
Handful of crumbled feta cheese...plus a little more
Heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, saute quickly. Add 1/4 cup of white wine, let simmer for a few seconds, then add red pepper flakes and tomatoes. Simmer 5 mins. Add herbs and olives, then remove from heat. Toss with pasta, add a swirl of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking. Once completely cooled, toss with feta and serve.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
For that, I am grateful.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Ok, now that was corny.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
If you need proof of its goodness, here is a rack of cookies that were sitting out on the counter to cool last night:
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in the instant pudding mix. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and baking soda, mix well. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Some highlights from the trip:
1) Coasting 15 miles down the Mickelson bike trail. Notice I didn't mention the 15 miles uphill prior to that carefree coasting...
2) The $14.95 crab and prime rib buffet at the Silverado. I'm not usually one for buffets, but c'mon, all you can eat crab for $15?
3) This picture, proving once again that there are no normal pictures of me.
So we come home to a simmering hot Bismarck. After hauling everything in, unpacking, and throwing a load of clothes in the washer, we needed a break. A girl's best friend during the summer is the blender, so here are two favs to beat the heat.
6 oz. frozen oj concentrate
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
8-12 ice cubes
Blend and serve.
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 cup cold strong coffee
1 cup milk
2-3 Tablespoons sugar (to taste)
8-12 ice cubes
Blend and serve.