Grilled Zucchini with Pumpkin Seed Romesco and Crostini

We are heading into the time of year when zucchini becomes the front runner of produce – bursting from backyard gardens and farmers’ fields.

With its versatile use, from raw salads to baked casseroles, zucchini offers a lot. One of my favorite preparations/cooking methods for zucchini is grilling. Getting those nice grill marks lends a depth of flavor that you don’t normally get when sauteing or baking.

For this recipe, another drought friendly one, Super Sous and I are grilling the zucchini and serving them with crositini and pumpkin seed romesco. Romesco is a sauce often made with almonds, but since the drought, we are exploring alternative nut/seed options, which makes pumpkin seeds, which take little water to produce, a great alternative. Taste wise, you won’t miss the almonds and price wise you’ll be happy too!

Enjoy this recipe and let us know what you think. Happy cooking!

Zucc slice

1/4-inch slices

Zucc Grilled

On the grill

Zucc and Crostini

Grilled crostini and zucchini

Zucc Final Crostini

Grilled Zucchini with Pumpkin Seed Romesco and Crostini

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

 

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

4 medium-sized zucchini, sliced lengthwise in ¼-inch slices using a mandoline or vegetable peeler

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 lemon, cut in half

Homemade Grilled Crostini (recipe below)

Pumpkin Seed Romesco (recipe below)

6 medium-sized fresh basil leaves, stacked, rolled, and sliced very thinly (chiffonade)

 

Preheat a grill to medium-high. Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in grapeseed oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil over the sliced zucchini. Using your hands, coat each piece evenly with the oil; season with salt and pepper. Taste a piece to see if it needs more seasoning, adding more to taste.

Grill the zucchini with the cover closed until nicely colored, 5 minutes per side. Do not move the zucchini slices for the first few minutes.

Once nicely caramelized, flip each piece and continue cooking until equally caramelized on the second side. Put your lemon, flesh side down, on the grill now.

Transfer the cooked zucchini and grilled lemon onto a plate until ready to assemble. Once the lemon is cool enough to handle, squeeze the juice over the zucchini.

To serve, top the crostini with some romesco sauce and then a few slices of the grilled zucchini, finish with the basil.

 

Homemade Grilled Crostini

1 loaf fresh bread, such as French baguette, sourdough, or ciabatta

Grapeseed oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Set your grill to high. Once hot, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in grapeseed oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Using a bread knife, slice the loaf on a 25- to 45-degree angle (the greater the angle, the higher the surface area) half an inch thick.

Lay each piece, side by side, on the sheet pan in one layer, drizzle grapeseed oil over each piece, then season them evenly with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Arrange the slices on the grill and grill until lightly toasted with grill marks.

Flip the pieces and repeat.

Remove from the oven and transfer the crostini to a plate until needed.

Note: If using a round loaf of bread, be sure to cut the loaf in half first. Then, with the flat (cut) side facing down, starting from one side, cut straight down, making even slices. This method of slicing bread will prevent your slices from being smushed as you slice them.

 

Pumpkin Seed Romesco Sauce

Yield: 2 cups

 

5 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced

¼ teaspoon red chile flakes

1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes

1 roasted red bell pepper, diced medium

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

2¼ teaspoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup grapeseed oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil and the onion to a medium sauté pan over medium heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the garlic, chile flakes and paprika, stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and bell pepper, stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has almost all reduced, approximately, 7 to 10 minutes.

Carefully transfer ingredients from sauté pan to a food processor and add the pumpkin seeds and sherry vinegar.

Process until well combined, scraping down the sides of the food processor as needed.

While processing, begin slowly streaming in the grapeseed oil. Continue until is combined.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Pickled Radish and Radish Top Red Pepper Salsa – Drought Friendly Recipe

On March 18, Super Sous and I wrote a blog introducing our “Drought Friendly Recipe” project. Recipes that are delicious and have low water footprints. Good to make no matter where you are in the USA – since 50% of all California produce is shipped to feed the country.

In that blog, we mentioned the idea of food waste, writing that 40% of all food that is grown in the US is wasted. This happens on all levels of the food chain. From the farms to transportation to grocery stores to restaurants to our own homes. Inherent in that 40% is approximately 11 trillion gallons of lost water. California is relying heavily on groundwater (think using your savings account instead of living off of your checking account – where your checking account would be California’s reservoirs). As the groundwater has been depleting, we are drilling wells reaching water that fell to the earth 20,000 years ago. As Mother Jones writes, “Such water is not just old. It’s prehistoric. It is older than the earliest pyramids on the Nile, older than the world’s oldest tree, the bristlecone pine. It was swirling down rivers and streams 15,000 to 20,000 years ago when humans were crossing the Bering Strait from Asia.”

We need to conserve all the water we can!

On April 22 (Earth Day and Super Sous’ birthday!), MSNBC will be broadcasting a documentary on food waste called “Just Eat It.” You can watch the trailer and/or check out this fascinating view of food waste at its origins on the farm:

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.42.22 AM

Although we may not have control over how something is farmed, we can certainly control things once we purchase them.

Let’s take the simple radish. Somewhat underestimated, the radish is a delicious addition to your regular repertoire. Radishes are a crunchy, spicy root vegetable that are delicious whether raw or roasted.

Not only is the radish delicious, but radish tops are a tasty green. Mild with a slight hint of pepper; delicate, but not too delicate; they have integrity. Radish tops often get discarded, but they are so worth preparing – raw, sauteed or in this radish top red pepper salsa recipe which is perfect for a taco, chips/crackers, potatoes…

Since it’s edible, delicious and took water to grow, let’s enjoy the whole thing. Here’s one idea to utilize the whole radish – from root to top.

pickeld radish

Pickled Radish

½ pound radish, rinsed and cut into 1/8-inch slices

1 cup distilled white vinegar

¾ cup water

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

Add all ingredients to a small bowl and mix to combine.

Let sit for at least 1 hour before using.

Radish Top and Red Pepper Salsa

Radish Top and Red Pepper Salsa

Yield: 1 cup

5 large fire-roasted red bell peppers, drained and rough chopped (1 cup)

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh mint leaves

1 cup roughly chopped (rinsed) radish greens

1½ tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Zest of ½ small lemon (1/4 teaspoon)

Juice of ½ small lemon (1 Tablespoon)

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Season to taste with additional salt, lemon and/or sugar. Let sit for 1 hour for flavors to meld before serving.

Roasted Za’atar Potato Wedges with Harissa Sour Cream

These are delicious. Let me state my case. Super Sous made these the other day and then we had to have them 2 days later and again 2 days later because they are addictive! Crispy, salty, earthy and a bit lemony from the sumac in the za’atar. Pair it with the spicy, cool, tangy harissa sour cream and, well, let’s just say – I say serves 4, but we ate the whole batch between the two of us in just minutes. Case closed.

P.S. You can watch me make this on YouTube.

Zaatar Potato1

Zaatar Potato2

Roasted Za’atar Potato Wedges with Harissa Sour Cream

Yield: 4 servings

 

28-ounces mixed small potatoes (red, gold, purple) or fingerling potatoes, cut into equal-sized wedges

3 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon za’atar

 

Place a parchment-lined sheet tray on the middle rack in your oven.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place potatoes, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Toss to coat the potatoes with the oil and salt.

When oven is preheated, remove sheet tray and arrange potatoes on the sheet tray in a single layer.

Bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, stir potatoes and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove sheet tray from the oven and transfer baked potato wedges to a large bowl. Add 1½ tablespoons olive oil and za’atar and toss to combine.

Serve za’atar potatoes on a plate with harissa sour cream on the side.

 

Harissa Sour Cream:

½ cup organic sour cream

½ teaspoon harrisa

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

 

Mix to combine in a small bowl.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Before you put away your grill for the Winter, here’s a recipe that will put dinner on the table in a flash. It’s my Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri featured in this month’s Paleo Magazine – Page 16! And for those of you who have my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, you can find this recipe on page 180.

LyonGrilledSkirtSteakwithChimichurri

Date Apple Chutney

This pairs well with pork, a cheese plate, dessert and turkey – so you might want to keep this one up your sleeve for Thanksgiving!

Date Apple Chutney

Date Apple Chutney

Yield: Approximately 3 cups

 

4 medium apples, peeled and diced medium (preferably Pink Lady)

1 cup roughly chopped deglet noor dates

½ cup black currants

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 3-inch cinnamon sticks

1 tablespoon freshly grated Ginger, grated on a Microplane

¼ cup white wine vinegar

3 3-inch sprigs rosemary

 

Put all ingredients in small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the liquid has almost all reduced and apples are soft.

Remove from heat and let cool. Remove the cinnamon sticks and rosemary sprigs.

Serve with pork, turkey, a cheese plate, dessert, etc.!

Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Spiced Roasted Cabbage with Yogurt Sauce

Cabbage is more than just the star of a good coleslaw, it can stand on its own – especially when spiced up, roasted and served with my lemon yogurt sauce!

spicedroastedcabbage

 

Spiced Roasted Cabbage with Yogurt Sauce

Yield: Serves 4

 

1 small head of green cabbage, cut into ¼ – ½ inch rounds

extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground fennel

1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle powder, or more to taste

 

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place cabbage on a parchment lined sheet tray.

Drizzle cabbage with olive oil. Using a brush or your finger, spread olive oil to coat the cabbage.

Season cabbage with salt, pepper, cumin, fennel and chipotle. Flip cabbage rounds and repeat with olive oil and spices.

Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cabbage is nice and caramelized.

 

Yogurt Sauce:

¼ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons freshly squeeze lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Stir to combine all ingredients. Serve alongside roasted cabbage.

 

 

Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste

So, there’s this thing called Umami Paste. It’s typically a blend of different ingredients, like vinegar, anchovies, tomatoes, mushrooms, spices… and it’s used in cooking (add it to a soup, rub on meats, throw a little in with your eggs) to add a punch of flavor – an umami boost, if you will. (You can purchase it at speciality stores or on Amazon.) Given that most dishes for meat eaters have umami naturally – that very satiating savory flavor experienced most commonly when eating meat dishes – I thought to myself, wouldn’t this be a perfect sauce/paste to adjust (no anchovies here!) for vegans and vegetarians? Hence, my vegan umami paste – seriously good regardless of your meat eating preferences, and definitely a punch of umami to your food! Here, I add it to roast eggplant on grilled bread – KERPOW!

Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste

Roast Eggplant Sandwich with Vegan Umami Paste

 

Vegan Umami Paste

Yield: 1 cup

2 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste

½ teaspoon soy sauce

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

5 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon unsulphured organic molasses

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons porcini dust (.25 ounces dried porcini put through a spice grinder or you can rehydrate .25 ounces of dried porcinis, rough chop them and add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients)

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

½ cup green olives, pitted

1 medium garlic clove, minced

4 sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)

 

Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate in between uses.

 

Roast Eggplant Sandwich

1 large Italian eggplant, cut into ½-inch thick slices, widthwise

extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

½ teaspoon ground cumin

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Piece of baguette or ciabatta that has been seasoned and toasted in the oven with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and rubbed with a peeled garlic clove

Flat-leaf Italian parsley, for serving

 

Place an oven rack on the middle position and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Drizzle olive oil (a generous amount) on each side of the eggplant slices and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the eggplant is nice and caramelized.

Spread vegan umami paste on bread. Top with eggplant, a drizzle of olive oil and some parsley leaves.