Monday, July 23, 2012

Grilled Zucchini Enchiladas

When's the last time you cooked something so good you licked your plate?  For me, it happened last night when I made Grilled Zucchini Enchiladas.  And again half an hour ago when I ate leftovers.  This is some pure unadulterated white and green goodness, with a vast majority of the ingredients sourced fresh from the farmer's market.

Let's discuss tomatillo salsa, shall we?  I. Am. Obsessed.  I've made it in summers past (here and here), and I love it so much that I might make a few enormous batches to freeze or give away as gifts this year.  This salsa is somewhat sweet, thanks to the tomatillos.  The sweetness also helps offset the heat of the jalapenos and then you get a tangy kick of lime with the overall smoky charred backbone - it's a very balanced flavor profile.  It would taste awesome on chicken or pork, eggs, practically every vegetable, and, duh, tortilla chips. I admit that in the past 24 hours, I've taken a few hits of it, straight up, on a spoon.

I wanted to keep the guts of these enchiladas as green and white as possible (because that sounded pretty), so I grilled up some zucchini, onion, and corn and mixed in white beans and goat cheese.  The hot grilled veggies melted the goat cheese so the filling was all creamy and rich.  I rolled that hot filling up in some grill-charred corn tortillas and topped it with the still warm green salsa.  

I don't whip this phrase out very often, but I am a Norwegian-Minnesotan so I sometimes use it for emphasis: UFF DA!!  Best enchiladas EVER.  If you try one new food this year, make it tomatillo salsa.  And if you don't like it, I'll take it off your hands, promise.

Grilled Zucchini Enchiladas
Serves 4

For the tomatillo salsa:
12-15 tomatillos, papery coverings removed and rinsed
3-4 cloves garlic, skins removed
1 medium onion, quartered
1-2 jalapeno chili peppers (or serrano chilis), depending on your spice tolerance
juice of 1 lime
1 big handful cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

For the enchiladas:
3 zucchini or yellow squash (or combination), sliced into planks
1 red onion, sliced into thick rings
3 ears corn, shucked
1 can or pint white beans, drained
1 log goat cheese
1 package tortillas, flour or corn

To make your tomatillo salsa, heat your outdoor grill, grill pan, or broiler.  Coat tomatillos, onion, chilis, and garlic in olive oil and grill or broil until charred all over.  A nifty grill basket comes in handy here so things don't fall through the grates.  Remove stem and seeds from chilis and pulse everything in a food processor or blender with lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.

To make your enchiladas, coat onion, zucchini, and corn with oil and grill until barely charred.  Chop zucchini and onion and remove corn from cob.  Put veggies in a big bowl with beans and 3/4 of the goat cheese log. Mix well and the heat from the veggies should melt the cheese but no big whoop if it doesn't.

Toast your tortillas over a gas burner or the grill to get a little char on them.  This step is not necessary, but I think it adds another smoky grilled flavor to the final dish, plus a little extra crunch.  Careful you don't make the tortillas TOO toasty or you won't be able to roll them.

If making for a crowd, roll filling in tortillas and place in large baking dish.  Top with tomatillo salsa and crumble remaining goat cheese on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or hot through.

If making for just a few people (or if you can't use your oven), roll hot filling in tortillas and put on plate and top with tomatillo salsa and crumbled goat cheese.  You can nuke it for a minute if it's no longer hot.

ONE YEAR AGO:  Bird Bars
TWO YEARS AGO:  Salad on a Stick

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fried Cauli-Rice

Similar to how Seymour spotted the Audrey II in the market one day and just had to have it, I had my own impulse buy last weekend.  [I'll give you a second to really think about that movie and remember how freaking awesome it is.  Rick Moranis, I love you.]

While at Kingfield Farmer's Market, I was merrily toting around my heavy bag of freshly purchased fruits and vegetables, sipping an iced coffee, and trying to figure out how difficult the bike ride home would be with  a milk crate stuffed full of zucchini, carrots, lettuce, chard, blueberries, beets, radishes, snap peas, onions, and tomatoes.

When all of a sudden, a solar eclipse of the sun occurred.  When the light returned, these weird green and purple alien plants appeared and I just had to buy them.  [Seriously, that movie is the BEST.  And this scene is pure cinematic brilliance.]

All right, all right.  Broccoli romanesco and purple cauliflower are not alien plants that require blood to survive.  But they are pretty foreign to standard grocery stores most of the time, so it's a special treat to find them at the market.  And they make me want to break into song.  These two goofy looking veggies are simply Italian varieties of regular old cauliflower, but they are a million times more beautiful and have a slightly milder, sweeter, nuttier flavor.

I'd seen Elana's post on cauliflower rice long ago, and it's been tucked in the back of my memory.  My technicolor cauliflower relatives seemed perfect for use in experimenting with this recipe.  Some quick food processoring and chopping to start and a speedy stir fry later, I had a giant bowl of pretend fried rice in front of me.

It may not look like much, but this fake rice is so incredibly, amazingly, out-of-this-world delicious.  Ten times better than actual rice (because rice is bland, and cauliflower has flavor!) and at least that many times better for you.  Most of the ingredients in this dish are customizable to your taste, but do not skip the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, or sesame oil.  These four ingredients in combination are dazzling.

Fried Cauli-Rice, inspired by Elana's Pantry
Serves 4

1 large head cauliflower (or any mixture of related vegetables such as broccoli romanesco or purple or orange cauliflower)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
1 cup peas or edamame beans
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
2 eggs, beaten

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
a dash of sriracha hot sauce, or more to taste

Using a food processor, pulse your cauliflower until it's a bunch of tiny rice-sized bits.  Alternatively, you could grate on a box grater if you don't have a food processor, but that seems like a lot of work.

Heat about 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions, carrots, and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper.  Stir and cook until they start to soften, about 3-5 minutes.

Add your cauliflower, garlic, and ginger and another pinch of salt.  Stir occasionally and let cauliflower cook until it starts to brown or stick to the bottom of the pan.

Add your sauce ingredients, peas, and chard and mix well.  You may want to put the cover on for 30 seconds to help wilt the chard and let the moisture unstick things from the bottom of the pan.

Make a well in the middle of your pan, add a bit more oil, and scramble your eggs.  Once scrambled, mix eggs back into the rest of the caulirice mixture.  Serve immediately with more hot sauce.

ONE YEAR AGO:  Raspberry Yogurt Popsicles
TWO YEARS AGO:  Creamy Cucumber Salad
THREE YEARS AGO:  Beet and Goat Cheese Pizza

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Grilled Tilapia with Watermelon Salsa

It's awful and wonderful to be back from a two week vacation.  Awful because my vacation was so perfect I didn't want it to end.  Wonderful because I missed my real life, and real life in July in Minneapolis is AWESOME.  We are so lucky - abundant farmer's markets, great restaurants (and Restaurant Week), deck parties with friends, and fun people (the aforementioned friends).  And if it gets hot, just throw on a suit and head to one of the many local beaches like I did last weekend, and yesterday, and today.

I knew I had really missed my kitchen when, within 18 hours of arriving home, I had made:  a half gallon of yogurt, a quart of almond milk, 4 pints of refrigerator pickles, and an enormous ramen noodle salad with an absolute truckload of veggies in a spicy almond butter sauce (I happily ate the salad over the course of three days and never once thought to take a photo for the blog.  Pity, because it was quite delicious and nutritious).

Thank goodness I had my head on straight and camera ready tonight because this grilled tilapia with watermelon salsa was fantastic.  I  went to the co-op looking for halibut or cod, but the only white fish they had was tilapia.  Tilapia is not my favorite fish, sometimes I think it can taste dirty.  But the price was right, and the filets came ready to cook, so I took my chances.

I'm glad I did.  The tilapia was delicious.  With the salsa, it was salty, spicy, and sweet, all together a good combination.  Plus, I just always get a kick out of eating a mostly pink dinner, it just makes me unexplainably happy.  I served my fish and salsa with quick zucchini saute and it was a light and refreshing yet satisfying dinner.

Grilled Tilapia with Watermelon Salsa, from Serious Eats
Serves 2

2 cups finely diced fresh watermelon
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
juice from 1/2 lime
handful cilantro, chopped

2 filets of white fish (cod, halibut, tilapia, etc)
olive oil, salt, and pepper

Mix all your salsa ingredients together and let the flavors marinate together for a few minutes (or overnight if you want to make it ahead).

Heat your grill or grill pan and lightly brush with oil. Season fish with oil, salt, and pepper and grill over medium high heat for 4 minutes on each side, or until it flakes with a fork.  Tilapia can be delicate so if you're grilling outdoors you may want to use one of those grilling baskets so you don't lose some fish into the coals.

Serve topped with watermelon salsa.

ONE YEAR AGO:  Baby Food
TWO YEARS AGO:  Refrigerator Pickles
THREE YEARS AGO:  Collard Wrap

Saturday, July 7, 2012


A few weeks ago, my awesome friend Alicia sent me a link to a post about something called "refrigerator oatmeal" and asked if I'd ever heard of it.  I, of course, being such a worldly food blogger, haughtily replied, "I eat that every day."*

Unfortunately, I didn't read the post past the title and therefore assumed that "refrigerator oatmeal" referred to oats soaked in some kind of milk (which I do actually eat most days for breakfast with fruit).

When I finally got around to reading the post, I found it was NOT oats soaked in milk, but in YOGURT.  Mind?  Blown, thank you very much.

What a freaking GENIUS way of combining my 2 staple breakfasts (oatmeal or yogurt) into one perfect combination of a summery, cool, nutritious, filling, and delicious breakfast.  I ate this every single morning on my vacation at Lake Lida.**  I used strawberries and blueberries from the farmer's market, raspberries from my backyard, and a half a banana.

This will continue to be my daily breakfast for the remainder of this summer.  Thanks, Alicia!

* I am a total snot who thinks she knows everything.

** OMG.  It was the most incredibly sunny, hot, and amazing 2 weeks at a lake cabin EVER.  I had the best time with lots of friends and family floating in the water, boating, and eating some really awesome food including walleye, grilled garlic lemon shrimp, grilled pizza, and tons of fresh fruits and vegetables.  I even made some KILLER fresh strawberry/blueberry daiquiris.  It's bittersweet to be home.

Yoatmeal, adapted from The Yummy Life
Serves 1

1/2 cup plain yogurt (homemade - with whole milk - is what I use)
1/4 cup regular rolled oats
1/2 tsp pure maple syrup (more or less to taste)
1/2 - 1 cup cut fruit (as much as you can eat!)

Mix everything together and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to soften the oats, or up to overnight.  

TWO YEARS AGO:  White Gazpacho