Monthly Archives: July 2006

Food Porn: Mixed Fruit Pandowdy

What better way to use all of those fresh, ripe CSA and farmer’s market fruit than to make a pandowdy – kind of like a cross between cobbler and pie, with all the great parts of both. The dessert is a combination of different fruits (peaches, blackberries, strawberries, pears, plums, and apples) that bring out the best in each other, with just a little sugar to highlight each fruit’s natural flavor. The Grand Marnier spiked whipped cream that tops it all is absolutely sublime. This recipe is such a keeper! It was the perfect ending to the Baked Ziti and Eightball Zucchini Parmesan dish I made for dinner.

Mixed Fruit Pandowdy

The recipe can be found here. Instead of making my own dough, I took the shortcut of using refrigerated pie dough (both of them in the box fit my 13×9 pan perfectly with a little overlap).

Food Porn: Baked Ziti and Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan

There was a bumper crop of good stuff in the CSA box and at the farmer’s market this week (more about that later in a separate post), and I wanted to make something that would use up a good portion of the stuff we got. At the same time, I was having a heck of a craving for Italian, and wanted something a little different than usual.

We started with a couple of salads from Whole Foods, and for the main course, I chose to make Baked Ziti (modified from an old San Giorgio box recipe, along with a Cooking Light recipe I had been pleased with previously, Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan. The eight-ball zucchini may be more difficult to find, but is readily available at farmer’s markets this time of year. Regular or patty pan zucchini can be substituted if you can’t find the eight-ball variety. Recipes to follow for those who are interested.

Baked Ziti and Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan

Baked Ziti

1/2 lb. bulk sweet Italian turkey sausage
1/2 lb. bunk hot Italian turkey sausage
1 c. chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. (1 lb) eggplant, pared and cut into julienne strips
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1 lb. ziti
4 cups spaghetti sauce
3 cups (12 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Brown sausage meat in skillet; add onions, garlic, and eggplant. Saute until vegetables are tender and lightly browned; drain off exceess fat. Add salt and pepper; set aside.

Cook ziti according to package directions for 10 minutes; drain. Combine ziti with 3 cups sauce. Spread 1/2 c. sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Arrange half of ziti in pan; spoon eggplant mixture evenly over ziti; top with 1/2 c. sauce, half of the mozzarella, and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese. Cover with the remaining ziti, and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serves 8 generous portions (like the one above), or 12 smaller portions.

Eight-Ball Zucchini Parmesan

1 (1-ounce) slice of French or Italian bread, torn into small pieces
4 large or 6 small eight-ball zucchini (~ 1 1/2 lbs)
1/2 c. packed spinach leaves
8 basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, peeled and quartered
3/4 tsp. olive oil
1 c. chopped plum (Roma) tomato
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. (1 oz.) grated fresh Parmesan cheese (I used extra in the stuffing)

Preheat oven to 350. Place bread in a food processor; pulse ten times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup. Set aside.
Cut each zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell. Set pulp aside. Steam zucchini shells, covered, 6 minutes or until tender. Drain, cut sides down, on several layers of heavy-duty paper towels.

Place zucchini pulp in food processor; process until finely chopped. Spoon into a bowl. Place spinach, basil, garlic and onion into food processor; process until finely chopped.

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add spinach mixture; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini pulp, tomato, and salt; cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in breadcrumbs.

Fill each zucchini half with about 2 1/2 tbsp. zucchini mixture (I filled mine according to the size of the zucchini half, some had more, some had less). Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 6 servings (serving size 2 zucchini halves).

Nutrition Data: 67 cal, 2.2 g fat, 4 g pro, 3 mg chol, 87 mg calc, 316 mg sod, 2 g fiber, 0.8 mg iron, 9 g carb.

The Elevation Line has Landed!

While shopping at Whole Foods yesterday, I was excited to see that the first of Pure Imagination’s new Elevation Line of chocolates has arrived.

New Elevation Line Chocolates from Pure Imagination

The one on the left is the Prince of Darkness chocolate, which is made from a single-source rare Madagascar chocolate bean, filled with a chocolate ganache so rich and dark that it can only be described as pure evil. Dusted with 24K gold, this confection fills your mouth with bittersweet ambrosia the second you bite into it.

The one on the right is the Eruption chocolate, which is my new favorite. It has a dark chocolate shell with dark chocolate ganache saturated with “eruption” crystals, topped with Hawaiian volcanic salt. The eruption crystals pop and fizz in your mouth (in the same way that pop rocks do) long after the chocolate is gone. It’s an amazing combination, so many complex layers working together to induce the biggest foodgasm I’ve had in a while.

I can’t wait to try the other new flavors. Daniel’s confections are available online, at the North Market in Columbus, and at Whole Foods locally.

Food Porn: Green Beans with Pink Potatoes and Double Smoked Bacon

I’ve fallen behind in updating again. Here it is week 10 of the CSA, and I haven’t reported on what I’ve been getting in the boxes and at the farmer’s market, and honestly I can’t remember every single thing. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been getting tons of summer squash, tomatoes, green beans, basil, swiss chard, etc.

Last week was wonderful. We got both regular green beans and burgandy green beans in the CSA box, and at last week’s Clintonville Farmer’s Market, I picked up some pink fingerling potatoes from Arbor Hill Organics. They seemed far too precious to waste in a dish that would cover up their natural flavor, so I picked a dish from my youth that my grandmother used to make for me, and modified it to be slightly healthier (hers used to have a cream sauce).

Green Beans, Potatoes and Bacon

To make this dish, I boiled together the potatoes, the green beans, and double smoked bacon until the potatoes were done, and then added some butter, kosher salt, and pepper. Absolutely fantastic. Surprisingly, the potatoes stayed pink on the inside while also surprisingly, the burgundy green beans turned green instead of staying purple. I might just wander out to the markets tomorrow just to see if they still have the potatoes, or alternatively, to see what other potatoes they might have.

CSA & Farmer’s Market Overview Weeks 5, 6 & 7

In the past month, the farmer’s markets have gone from having almost nothing to having a bit of everything. Rather than go week by week, I’m just going to give a quick overview of what I’ve seen and bought in the past few weeks.
In my CSA box, I’ve received more garlic scapes than I could ever use (I shared a bunch), the most succulent strawberries ever (strawberry season is far too short!!), eggs of all shapes and sizes (free range brown, Americauna, etc), lettuce mix, spinach, collard greens and kale (which I cooked up with some smoked pork – yum!!), beets (which I’ve discovered I don’t like at all), broccoli, mint, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, basil, tomatoes, and more that I can’t remember at the moment. I’ve got a ton of produce in the fridge that I need to cook up today, and I’m looking forward to posting the results later.
In farmer’s market news – I’ve eaten my weight in strawberries, and picked up various and sundry stuff over the past couple of weeks, like kohlrabi, shiitake mushrooms, black raspberries, shallots, and more than I can even begin to remember. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer brings.

It’s Been a Long Time…

…since my last update. This past month has absolutely flown by, and for the first time in many weeks, I have some time to sit down and catch up. I graduated from college last week, so things have settled down a bit. Expect many catch-up postings over the next couple of days, as I’ve got some pics and stuff ready to post, just need to write the copy to explain them. 🙂