Wish Upon A Dish

July 1, 2015

Summer Israeli Couscous Salad

Before the weather turned to mush and my harvest is sparse at best, I anticipated baskets of zucchini.
I started collecting unique zucchini recipes.

While I wait for the windfall to begin, I still wanted to make summer sides and since my chard is growing gangbusters, I created this Israeli Couscous summer side.

The best part of this recipe is with a few exchanges from summer to fall/winter vegetables it can be eaten year 'round.
For now I love the colors. it just looks light, flavorful and extremely colorful.
I made this for a spatchcocked grilled chicken whose skin hid an orange butter, yum!

Bring this to your July 4th picnic, I am. It makes a ton. While I liked it simple, if I had zucchini's I would have chopped one into this bowl.

Israeli Couscous Salad
makes 6-8 servings

* 1 cup dried plain Israeli Couscous, cooked
* 1 bunch green chard or NOT baby spinach, stems diced and leaves sliced into 2" pieces
* 1 cup corn kernels
* 1 tomato, seeded and diced
* 1/2 carrot, grated
* 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon sea salt & olive oil butter
* 2 teaspoons minced chives
* 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
* 1/2 small orange, juiced
* 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
* 1 teaspoon Sazón seasoning (I use it in everything)
* 1 tablespoon garlic aioli or 1 teaspoon garlic paste (tube)

1. In a saucepan, fill with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the couscous and cook for 8-10 minutes. Strain and rinse under cool water. Remove to a large bowl. All a drizzle of olive oil, the corn, tomato and vinegar.
2. In the same saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the chard stems until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the leaves and cover. Lower the heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until the just wilt. Strain and chop. Add to the couscous.
3. Add the butter to the saucepan and cook the carrots, about 2 minutes. Add the orange juice, the agave, Sazon and garlic paste. Add this to the couscous.
4. Taste for seasoning and add the chives. Serve at room temperature.

June 29, 2015

Frittata with Zucchini

I had such high hopes for this years deck garden. I made six square crates into potting vessels along with 4 pots (of various shapes and sizes) and two milk crates for my tomato plants and within one month they were healthy, bug free, green lush plants loaded with fruit flowers and tendrills reaching for the sky.

Than the rains came and did not stop. The leaves turned yellow without the sun as I watched all my work, money and produce die a watery death.

After almost two full month's, I was able to rescue three zucchini blossoms, two baby zucchini's about 2" in size with the ends just beginning to rot and green tomatoes that never got any bigger than the size of a cherry.

Not willing to write this year off, I took what zucchini gifts I did get and made a frittata in my small cast iron skillet.

Italian frittata's are different than American versions. You know how they always taut the phrase "Everything is bigger in Texas", well that says it all for everything American.

A frittata is an Italian way to use up leftover ingredients and to make a quick meal or snack. Unlike an American omelet, they're not usually eaten at breakfast. In fact, they are probably eaten more often as a snack or as a portable sandwich for a road trip or train ride.
A favorite across Italy is one made from zucchini along with the blossoms.

When The Nudge travels, it's nice for me to make a simple dinner in a skillet and while I watch the US Open, I will eat this very special frittata and tuck away half on a roll, in the fridge, for a weary traveler. Grown and made with love from our first teenie weenie, but tasty, harvest.

Let's get cooking....

Frittata with Zucchini
 Makes 1 (8") frittata

* 2 tablespoon EVOO
* 1 shallot,chopped
* 1 (5") zucchini, sliced thin
* 3 zucchini blossoms (optional), bottoms sliced off and pestle removed. Tear in half.
* 4 eggs
* 1 tablespoon water or milk
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
* salt & pepper
* 1 tablespoon butter or sub

1. Heat a heavy oven-safe skillet. Add the olive oil and shallot and saute until soft.
2. Add the zucchini slices and saute until they soften and become translucent.
3. Beat the eggs with the water and gently pour the mixture over the zucchini, which should be evenly distributed. Add the blossoms around the pan. Press gently into the egg and cover the skillet with a lid.
4. Lower the heat and cook until the mixture stops moving when you shake the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and melt the butter around the edges so it travels under the frittata.
5. Turn the broiler on to HI. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top of the frittata and place the skillet under the broiler.
6. Remove the skillet when the top starts to bubble and the cheese is melted.
7. Season with pepper, remove the frittata to a cutting board and serve with rolls or bread.

June 24, 2015

Rotolo di Pasta

I saw a pizza version of this dish on a "Best Of" show. While a great idea, the concept was taken from an Italian pasta dish. Time to do some research.

We have all seen lasagna rolls either on blogs or on Pinterest and I have a skinny version (under 350 calories) that uses all veggies as the filling but the original is what I was most interested in.

I wanted to make mine with creamy ricotta, fresh mozzarella, broken up meatballs and Swiss chard grown right in my own crate garden. Plus, I had a large container of homemade sauce I needed to do something with.

When the weather with me, it was the perfect time to put my plan into action. The Nudge was traveling and I wanted to bring a good stick to the ribs dinner to my Dad's for Father's Day.
I know this would be something he would really enjoy and pick at all week.

So what makes this version different from the original? The filling is usually prosciutto and spinach, the roll is boiled in cheesecloth and the final sauce is Gorgonzola and mascarpone.
A yummy version for sure, but once again I had a few leftovers that needed to be used.
Yes, another "Off the Cutting Board" post.

Originally I was going to make the pizza rotolo and top them with a fried egg (like this pizza) for a recent recipe contest, but after two tries and two failures, I gave up the idea (for now) and bought a package of fresh pasta sheets and went in a direction I was familiar with.

Let's get cooking.....

Rotolo di Pasta
makes 12 servings of two each

* package of fresh pasta lasagna sheets (usually 8 sheets)
* 8oz. prosciutto, chopped fine
* 1 large shallot,minced
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup Romano cheese, grated
* 8oz. fresh mozzarella, grated
* 2 large meatballs, smashed
* 1 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, drained
* 1/2 cup cooked spinach, squeezed dry and chopped fine
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* freshly ground black pepper
* 4oz. cream cheese 
* 1 cup Alfredo sauce, prepared or jarred
* 24oz. marinara sauce + extra for serving

1. Boil, at a low rolling boil, the pasta for 3-4 minutes. Remove and place between a sheet of wax paper until ready to use.
2. In a skillet saute the shallots, garlic and prosciutto until the edges start to brown. Remove to a bowl.
2. To the prosciutto, add the meatballs, ricotta, Romano, spinach, egg, nutmeg, pepper, cream cheese and mozzarella. Mix well. Can be refrigerated ahead of time. Bring back to room temperature before using.
3. Divide stuffing mixture into 8 even piles. Spread 1 pile from short sides, edge to edge, evenly on a sheet of pasta.
Gently roll without pressure, until the end edge is under the roll. Carefully remove to a sheet pan and continue until all sheets are rolled.
4. Place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
5. Slice each roll into 3 pieces. Prepare a baking pan with an even layer of marinara sauce.
Turn each cut piece so you see the pinwheel, touching side by side. Continue with each sheet until all the pinwheels are snug in the pan.
6. Cover with foil, that has been sprayed with olive oil spray and bake for 30 minutes at 450°.
Lower the heat to 400°, remove the foil and spoon a layer of Alfredo over the pinwheels. Return the pan to the oven to bake, uncovered, for 30 more minutes, until the top starts to brown and the edges are bubbly.
Sprinkle additional Romano cheese on top and carefully place two pinwheels on each plate.
Sprinkle with parsley.

This is a HUGE Ta-Da!! Makes a great appetizer, pasta course or with three pinwheels, a dinner.

My Dad is gonna love this!!