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Saturday morning Chris and I gave meal planning another go. We tore pages out of a stack of cooking magazines to create a queue of recipes that we would like to try. Before heading to the grocery store, I selected a few recipes to try this week that had some common ingredients and made my grocery list. Some of the key overlapping ingredients were sweet peppers, scallions, parsley and cilantro.

I started my grocery shopping by hitting up my two regular grocery stores. Things were looking good. After the first store, nearly 75% of my grocery list was checked off.

By the time I got to the checkout of the second store, I realized that I might have to stop at store #3 to get the last few ingredients that weren’t available at the first two stores. Keep in mind, the missing ingredients weren’t odd grocery items by any means: cilantro, parsley, and bean sprouts.

Store #3: Fail!

No big deal. I had a few recipes to make over the weekend before I needed the remaining ingredients.

Monday – Grocery Shopping – Round 2

Surely the grocery stores had received new produce and restocked those empty produce bins by now. Nope.

Tuesday – Grocery Shopping – Round 3

Any luck? Nope.

Soon I’m going to have to figure out what to do with all of the other ingredients that I bought for my recipes.

So much for meal planning. Psssht.

Adapted from Bon Apetit.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 lbs. medium zucchini, trimmed
  • 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Greek yogurt for garnish

Directions:

  • Grate zucchini on large holes of box grater onto clean kitchen towel.
  • Sprinkle zucchini with salt, then let stand for 30 minutes to sweat the zucchini.
  • Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
  • Wrap zucchini in towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  • In a medium bowl, combine zucchini, green onions, dill, mint, garlic, lemon peel, and black pepper.
  • Gently stir in panko and egg, then feta.
  • Lightly coat hands with olive oil to prevent patties from sticking.
  • Using 2 tablespoons zucchini mixture for each, shape mixture into 1 3/4- to 2-inch-diameter patties and place on baking sheet.
  • Bake keftedes for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until firm.
  • Serve keftedes warm or at room temperature along with Greek yogurt.

Servings ~ 9 (1 patty)
Calories ~ 91, Fat ~ 4.8 g, Carbohydrates ~ 7.7 g, Protein ~ 4.3 g

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Sushi is one of our favorite foods. Seared Ahi is also. It is pretty much guaranteed that if there is uncooked or barely cooked tuna on a restaurant menu that Chris and I will both order it.

Chris and I used to go out for sushi quite often, well, until we developed Duke’s House budget that is. Our “responsible grown up” budget dictated that we needed to eat out less often if we wanted to do other fun things like go to Africa.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and while we didn’t invent homemade sushi, we started making it out of necessity.

We like to fill our sushi with tuna, scallions, carrot, and sometimes cucumber, but I think the key here is the rolling technique more than the ingredients because sushi can be made to suit any palate. We have even provided the ingredients for “chicken teriyaki” sushi at our sushi parties for non-seafood eating friends.

I started making these sushi rolls by placing a sheet of nori on a sushi rolling mat, then spreading a very thin layer of rice on it. Think one grain thick, max. Make sure to leave an inch or two rice-free at the end to seal the roll with.

After spreading the rice, I added my sushi fillings. Remember, less is more here!

Now for the tricky part. Rolling sushi is kind of like rolling up a sleeping bag.

Roll tightly, slip your fingers (and the mat) out, then roll some more until the nori is completely rolled up. To slice sushi, it works best to use a sawing motion rather than trying to press the knife through.

Don’t be afraid to eat the ends of the roll right away! My end pieces always look a bit sloppy, so I prefer to just eat them as I go, especially if I am cooking for guests.

The ingredients vary, for two of us I mixed and matched the following ingredients:

  • ~ 4 ounces of sushi grade fish
  • 2 cups rice (uncooked) – I used 1 cup brown rice and 1 cup white rice cooked according to my rice cooker’s instructions.
  • 1 package of sushi rice mix – We have this in the Asian section of our local grocery store.
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced in strips
  • 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced  in strips
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced in strips

From the moment I saw these on Shelby’s blog, I knew that I needed to try them. She always has tasty looking dinners, and this one was no exception.

Shrimp rangoons were a major win in my book. They took just minutes to put together and in my typical style, I was able to have the whole kitchen cleaned up before they were out of the oven.

Excellent “after work” dinner choice. Equally good for a snack or appetizer. Best of all, this dish gets the “we can serve this to other people” seal of approval.

After I put my rangoons in the oven and shifted my focus to the dipping sauce, I realized that I was missing one key component from Shelby’s recipe: apricot preserves.

I searched high and low for a good substitute, but all of our preserves were berry flavored. Berry dipping sauce just didn’t seem right.

By the time Chris got home from work, I was feeding him a spoonful of sweet and spicy red dipping sauce out of the food processor and asking “Does this taste like an Asian-ish dipping sauce to you?”

It did. Peach pineapple chipotle salsa puréed into oblivion and masquerading as Chinese dipping sauce.  Sweet (and spicy) success!

 

From Shelby at eat, drink, run

Ingredients:

For the rangoons:

  • 6 oz salad shrimp, ours came pre-cooked, peeled, and w/o tails
  • 12 wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili paste (or sub 1/2 tsp Sriracha)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • olive oil spray

For my sauce:

For Shelby’s sauce: (I didn’t try this one because we had no apricot preserves, but I imagine that it would be tasty as well and the ingredients are probably easier to find.)

  • 2 tbsp apricot preserves
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • splash of soy sauce

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • If your shrimp are damp, put them on a baking sheet in the oven for a few minutes as it heats to dry them out.
  • Combine cream cheese, scallions, honey, vinegar, soy sauce, chili paste, garlic and sesame oil.  Stir until smooth.
  • Lightly spray a 12-cup muffin tin with olive oil spray, ensuring that each cup’s bottom and sides are coated.
  • Press a wonton wrapper in to each cup.
  • Place about 3 small shrimp in the bottom of each cup reserving 12 shrimp for toppers.
  • Divide cream cheese mixture among cups, spooning it on top of the shrimp.
  • Place one shrimp in each cup on top of the cream cheese mixture.
  • Bake until edges of wontons are brown and crisp, about 12-15 minutes.
  • To make my sauce: combine ingredients in food processor, pulse until smooth.
  • To make Shelby’s sauce: stir together all ingredients.

Servings ~ 2

Calories (rangoons) ~ 361, Fat ~ 10 g, Carbohydrates ~ 41 g, Protein ~ 26 g 
Calories (rangoons w/my sauce) ~ 465, Fat ~ 10 g, Carbohydrates ~ 69 g, Protein ~ 26 g
Calories (rangoons w/Shelby’s sauce) ~ 422, Fat ~ 10 g, Carbohydrates ~ 57 g, Protein ~ 26 g

After letting these green beans sit in my refrigerator for far longer than should be acceptable, I decided to give in and bread them. I seem to be on a faux frying kick lately.

We had awesome fried green beans a few weekends ago when we went out for lunch downtown. They were supposed to be served with a curried mayonnaise dipping sauce, but the restaurant was all out of it and gave us ketchup instead. On one hand, I was bummed. On the other hand, I knew that I didn’t need to be dipping fried food into mayo.

I briefly considered making curried mayo for these, but gave in to better judgement and chose a sour cream based wasabi dipping sauce. Chris and I both really liked the wasabi sauce and liked it even better when double dipped in ketchup. Tastes like cocktail sauce, huh? Mmmm.

Maybe next time we’ll do a shrimp and green bean dinner. That totally sounds like an odd combo, but we’re not above having odd dinners at Duke’s House and it would be tasty, trust me!

Green Beans adapted from Jordie Porgie.
Wasabi Dipping Sauce adapted from My Recipes.

Oven Fried Green Beans Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil spray

Oven Fried Green Bean Directions:

  • Wash and trim green beans and cut into halves and thoroughly dry them.
  • In a medium bowl, combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne.
  • Whisk eggs to break them up completely.
  • Pre-heat oven to 425.
  • Coat a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  • Keeping one hand dry and one hand wet, dip a green bean in the eggs, lift it out and shake off any excess egg, put green bean in bread crumbs mixture and coat completely, lift out and shake off any excess bread crumbs, then transfer green bean to prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat with remaining green beans.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, turning once, until browned, crispy, and tender to the bite.
  • Serve hot. We like ours with wasabi dipping sauce and then double dipped in ketchup. (Horseradish sauce would work too!)

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 134, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 25 g, Protein 6 g

Wasabi Dipping Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/2  cup  reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/2  teaspoon  grated lemon peel
  • 1  teaspoon  lemon juice
  • 1 1/2  to 2 teaspoons prepared wasabi

Wasabi Dipping Sauce Directions:

  • Combine ingredients.
  • Adjust wasabi/sour cream to taste.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 42, Fat ~ 4 g, Carbohydrates ~ 1 g, Protein 1 g

This was my first experience cooking tempeh. I randomly bought it a few months ago, stashed it in my freezer, and forgot about it.

Earlier this week I “discovered” it and remembered that I better use it before it got freezer burned or something. I set out to find a great recipe, but couldn’t find anything that really sparked my interest.

Finally, I gave up and just made something up. It worked out pretty well except that I might add some chopped cashews next time. I would probably also go for lettuce with a bigger leaf than romaine, or at least bigger than the puny heads of romaine that I bought.

This one will definitely make another appearance at Duke’s House, maybe with shredded chicken next time. Chris did not get to taste it, but I am quite confident that he would give it the “we can serve this to other people” seal of approval!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz tempeh, sliced (You could easily use beef or chicken here, just be sure to adjust cooking times to ensure that the meat is thoroughly cooked.)
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1 clove elephant garlic, minced
  • 8 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 8 large leaves romaine or Boston lettuce
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Spray a skillet with olive oil spray.
  • Cook the tempeh at a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes on each side until lightly browned.
  • Add mushrooms, water chestnuts, garlic, and scallions and cook for several more minutes. If needed, add a tablespoon of water to the skillet.
  • Next add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and cilantro and continue to cook until vegetables are tender.
  • Serve with large lettuce leaves, either pre-wrapped or as an “assemble your own dinner”  a la fajita.

Servings ~ 2
Calories ~ 370, Fat ~ 14 g, Carbohydrates ~ 42 g, Protein ~ 27 g

Last night, I ruined Chris’s beloved baguettes.

Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? It wasn’t meant to be. I was simply trying to use up the cool yellow tomato that my CSA gave me last week.

“So you ruined a baguette with a tomato”, you ask? Yep, sure did.

Enter: Bruschetta. Chris’s culinary nemesis, he is not a big fan of raw tomatoes. Ironic considering that he loves salsa. What an amazing transformation tomatoes can make when we cook them!

This bruschetta was very tasty, although I think red plum tomatoes might have suited it better. I also would have liked more olive oil in the bruschetta, but I was trying to cook something that I wouldn’t feel bad about eating. What a delicate balance that can be!

Here you have it, Yellow Bruschetta!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow tomato
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 loaves French Bread
  • olive oil spray

Directions:

  • Parboil the tomato for one minute in boiling water that has just been removed from the burner, then drain.
  • Using a sharp small knife, remove the skins of the tomato.
  • Once the tomato is peeled, cut it into small pieces, discarding the stem area. 
  • As you chop the tomato, place it in a strainer to drain off the excess juice.
  • Pre-heat oven to broil.
  • Combine garlic, 1 tsp olive oil, vinegar, chopped basil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • Gently mix in the tomato, then adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • Slice the baguette on a diagonal into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Lightly spray both sides of the bread with olive oil spray.
  • Place on a baking sheet and toast on the top rack until one side is lightly browned.
  • Flip the bread and continue toasting until the second side is lightly browned.
  • Arrange the baguette slices on a serving platter and place some topping on each slice of bread. (Make sure to top immediately before serving to prevent the bread from getting soggy.) 

Servings ~ 8
Calories ~ 211, Fat ~ 3 g, Carbohydrates ~ 39 g, Protein ~ 6 g

If you have ever joined a CSA, you know that it is very important to have a plan for each piece of produce that you are get or they can easily go to waste. When I first picked up my CSA vegetables last week, I was having a little trouble creating a “plan” for my eggplant.  

The first thing that came to mind was eggplant parmesan, but that didn’t strike my fancy. Who wants to eat a heavy, hot food in the middle of July. Certainly not me. Plus, that plan didn’t involve using any of the other veggies from my CSA box.

Finally it hit me – Baba Ganoush!

So obvious, or it should have been anyway, but it did not come to me right away. Now we have made it two times and it has yet to survive longer than 12 hours in our refrigerator. It is almost too good!

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large eggplant, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Directions:

  • Use a fork to poke several holes in the eggplant.
  • Grill eggplant over medium-high heat, rotating periodically until the skin is dark and the eggplant softens.
  • This will take about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let it cool until you are able to peel it. I was able to do so right away using barbecue tongs and a long thin knife.
  • Peel the eggplant and put it in a food processor with the remaining ingredients.
  • Process until smooth.
  • Serve with pitas, raw vegetables, or crackers.

Servings ~ 4
Calories ~ 58, Fat ~ 2 g, Carbohydrates ~ 10 g, Protein ~ 2 g