Tag Archives: Recipes

Grilled Zucchini Caprese Sandwiches

26 Aug

 

1 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 6 slices
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 (2-ounce) ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
8 large fresh basil leaves
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

1. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Place zucchini in a shallow dish. Add 2 teaspoons oil and garlic; toss to coat. Arrange zucchini in grill pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear. Cut each zucchini piece in half crosswise. Return zucchini to shallow dish. Drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
2. Brush bottom halves of rolls with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Top evenly with zucchini, basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella.
3. Brush cut side of roll tops with remaining liquid from shallow dish, and place on sandwiches. Heat the sandwiches in pan until warm.

Jackie Newgent, Cooking Light, August 2011

At this time of year, there is absolutely no excuse for not eating locally farmed, locally crafted food in Chicago.  The vegetables are literally pouring off the tables at the farmers markets, peaches on being sold at reduced prices and you simply can’t go wrong with buying blueberries straight from farmers in bulk.  The reasons are endless: on average you spend the same or less than major supermarkets but your money goes straight to the hands of small farmers (no corporate middle man), you can talk to the farmers about where your food was grown, their methodologies, even the kind of weather they’ve had all week, if you’re interested.  By the end of the summer, you’ll know their faces and you’ve probably seen or made a handful of friends at the market.   It helps the environment by cutting down on fuel for shipping and encourages varied-crop farming which decreases erosion often found on massive single-crop farms and, let’s face it, it’s a whole lot nicer to look at than an endless field of corn (and yes, I am from Iowa).   And let’s be serious, the biggest reason is taste.  There is simply no comparison.  Luckily, all of these ingredients can be purchased at the farmer’s market in Lincoln Square except the salt and pepper, which hopefully you have in your pantry already.

This is one of those recipes that shines in its simplicity, bringing out the fresh tastes of the basil (from my garden), tomatoes and zucchini.  The acidity of the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar are perfectly balanced by the sweet mozzarella.  The crispy, warm bread, slightly softened by the garlicky olive oil and vinegar is the perfect texture for the softened cheese and veggies.  And I appreciated that this was a one-pan-wonder, ready in 15 minutes since I, and many others, returned back to school this week.

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Chickpeas with Spinach and Smoky Paprika

13 Dec

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups thinly sliced onions

5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup organic vegetable broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

1 (9-ounce) package fresh spinach

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic to pan; cover and cook for 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in smoked paprika and cook for 1 minute.  Add white wine, vegetable broth, and tomatoes; bring to a biol.  Add chickpeas; reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens slightly (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Add spinach; cover and cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts.  Stir in parsley and vinegar.

Yield: 10 servings

Cooking Light, December 2010

I made this for the holiday party we had at our house over the weekend.  It takes about 20 minutes total, but only uses one pot, so it’s great for a last minute snack at your house.  Perfect for me considering our sinks were backed up until 5:30 p.m. the night of the party, at which time an awesome plumber from Amazing Plumbing came and saved my party.  The only substitution I made was using balsamic vinegar instead of sherry vinegar because I simply couldn’t find it.  But it tasted great none-the-less (although it was easily overshadowed by the Date and Walnut Cheese Ball – see post).