Grilled Zucchini with Garlic Parmesan Butter

Grilled Zucchini with Parmesan Garlic Butter

Hope you’re all soaking up this (hot, hot, hot) sun and eating all the summer produce you can get your hands on! I feel like I’ve hit my all-time record of most zucchinis eaten in a 3-month time span, and I’m happy to continue to keep it going until the end of the season. There’s nothing like strolling through the farmers market thinking of all the possibilities when you see beautiful, fresh, succulent in-season food waiting to be brought home and cooked. The zucchini I picked up from Flaim Farms at the Collingswood Farmers Market was the inspiration for this particular dish. If you’re like me and can’t get enough zucchini, here’s another recipe to add to your arsenal. Since the zucchini is grilled, it’s perfect for when you’re already cooking something else on the grill (which should be every night but pizza night, right?! and even pizza night can be brought to the grill…).

Grilled Zucchini with Garlic Parmesan Butter (serves 4)
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time:5minutes

Ingredients:
3 medium-sized zucchini, washed and scrubbed
1 Textra virgin olive oil
2 T unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 c finely grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.

First, let me stress how essential it is to really give your zucchini a good scrub! I have found that if I’m not meticulous with my scrubbing, inevitably the zucchini gives a bit of a grainy/soily texture when you bite in akin to getting grit in a clam. Not pleasant at all. After washing, dry your zucchini with a paper towel and remove both ends. Cut long, thin, vertical strips about 1/3″ thick. You can use a mandolin for this if you’d like, or just freehand it. I typically get 4-5 slices out of 1 zucchini. Drizzle both sides of your zucchini slices with the olive oil and season both sides generously with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the room temperature butter, parmesan cheese, minced garlic and some more black pepper (to taste) with a spoon or fork until well-mixed. Spread a thin, even layer of the garlic parmesan butter mixture over each slice of zucchini. I typically will put a small dollop on each slice and then spread with my fingers.

When all the zucchini slices have the butter mixture, lay them out in an even layer on your grill. Close the lid. Let them cook about 5 minutes until grill marks appear on the bottom and zucchini is tender. DO NOT FLIP. This would defeat the purpose of having the buttery deliciousness on the top :)

Remove from the grill and enjoy!

 

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

I eat breakfast at my desk 5 days a week. Needless to say, I’ve got quite a few portable breakfast recipes up my sleeve. The one I return to time and time again is this bowl (or jar, as it were) of oatmeal. Let me begin this by saying that nothing is less sexy than oatmeal. Nobody thinks longingly of a bowl of oatmeal, but we’re adults and we understand that we should eat oatmeal for all of its health benefits. But youcan have a sexy bowl of oatmeal, and I’ll tell you how.

This oatmeal is extremely filling. It keeps me full for 3-4 hours, so I’m not tempted to snack before lunch. And it’s also really healthyand delicious. Essentially, what I’m telling you is that this is all you could hope for in a bowl of oatmeal. This is the elusive sexy oatmeal.

Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats

Serves: 1, Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled or Old-Fashioned oats (which are actually the same thing!)
  • 1/2 scoop Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (I use Vanilla Creme Muscle Milk, simply because it was on sale. I hear from people that are really into Protein Powder that this is a really low-quality one, but I think it works just fine for this recipe)
  • 1/2 T chia seeds
  • 1/2 banana,chopped
  • 1 T chunky peanut butter
  • 3/4 c 1% milk (you can substitute any type of milk here: whole, skim, almond, coconut, etc. The nutrition info provided at the end of this recipe is for 1% milk)

In the vessel you’ll be eating these oats in, combine the oats, protein powder and chia seeds. I like using a mason jar or small tupperware container. Put the lid on your container and shake until the dry ingredients are well combined. Remove the lid.

Next, add the banana and peanut butter. At this point, if you’re not going to eat it the next day you can put it in the fridge just like this until you’re ready for it. I’ve prepped them 5 days in advance and they keep really well.

The night before you wish to eat these oats, pour the milk in, close the container and give it another good shake, making sure there are no clumps at the bottom. Refrigerate overnight.

When ready to eat, microwave for 50-60 seconds just until warmed through. Give it a good stir to combine all ingredients, and enjoy this delicious, healthy, filling, and undeniably sexy oatmeal!

Overnight Oats Nutrition Info

Home Fries for my Home Skillets

Weekend breakfasts are a glorious thing. I love having the time to make a good breakfast, and one of my favorite things are these breakfast potatoes. These quick and easy home fries are the perfect dippers for fried egg yolks, exceptional accompaniments to eggs and toast, and beef-up-your-breakfast-so-you-don’t-need-lunch sides. My boyfriend absolutely demands that I make them whenever we eat breakfast together, as he says they “warm him from inside”. Seems like a bold statement? Make them yourself and report back! You know… for science :]

Home Fries (Hashbrowns/Breakfast Potatoes)

Home Fries Recipe

Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 potatoes (Russet or plain Baking potatoes), rinsed and dried
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Ancho Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika (I like to use good Sweet Hungarian Paprika)
  • 2 Tablespoons Bacon Fat (I keep mine in a jar in the fridge, and top it off every time I cook bacon.  If you don’t have any, cook some bacon to go along with your potatoes. Or add more olive oil)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

First, dice your potatoes fairly fine. Don’t bother removing the skin, I like the texture that it has when left on. To dice the potatoes, I like to cut it in half lengthwise first, cut into 1/8″-thick strips, and then dice into thin pieces. The key is to cut all of them about the same size, so that they cook evenly. Add oil to a large frying pan and put over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the potatoes.

Season the potatoes with salt, pepper, and other spices. Mix to incorporate. Allow the potatoes to sautee for about 8 minutes, until they start to get fairly tender. If they start to get too dark on the outside, turn the heat down to medium so that the insides can cook through.

Add the bacon grease. Once melted, mix to coat all potatoes, and then cover with a lid for another 5 minutes, or until potatoes are fully cooked through and tender on the inside, but crispy on the outside. Covering the potatoes is a crucial step because it locks in some steam, which helps them cook through faster.

Let cool, and enjoy! Experience the warm hugs from the inside, and then go back to bed. Because it’s the weekend, you deserve it.

Spice Up your Fall, and your Breakfast!

Pumpkin spice is the essential fall flavor, and I for one wholeheartedly embrace it. Every fall, I make it a point to make thisPumpkin Spice Syrup, by Port City Foodies blogger Paul Stephen. (I left out the star anise as I didn’t have any on hand, and also used ground cloves and cardamom rather than whole. Just make sure you strain it well) I then try to determine how many recipes I can make to incorporate both the pumpkin spice syrup, and all the leftover pumpkin I always have afterwards. More on the leftover pumpkin to come, but as for the Pumpkin Spice Syrup, today’s creation was Pumpkin Spice & Walnut Pancakes.

Pumpkin Spice Pancake Recipe

Pumpkin Spice & Walnut Pancakes(makes approx 5-6 pancakes)

Ingredients:

~1 Cup Pancake Mix (I use Krusteaz)

~1/2 Cup Water

~1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, ground

~1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground

~2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Spice Syrup plus 2 Tablespoons for Pumpkin Spice Maple Syrup

~2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup plus 3 Tablespoons for Pumpkin Spice Maple Syrup

~2 Tablespoons Butter plus 2 Tablespoons at room temp for greasing pan

~2 Tablespoons leftover pumpkin from Spice Syrup* When you make the pumpkin spice syrup, you will have pieces of pumpkin that were stewed in the syrup. Mash that with a fork when you strain the syrup, and save for this (and to put on Quinoa!)

~1/2 Cup Walnuts, chopped

Preheat frying pan over medium-high heat. Put pancake mix, water, nutmeg, cinnamon, 2 T Pumpkin Spice Syrup, and 2 T Maple Syrup into mixing bowl, and whisk until well combined. Add butter to the pan and melt, then pour pancake batter into frying pan. Sprinkle chopped walnuts onto the pancakes, and when bubbles start to appear, flip. Let cook for about a minute more on other side, and then remove from pan. Cook in batches until batter is used up.

In the meantime, mix leftover pumpkin with 2T of room temperature butter to create a pumpkin spice butter to put on pancakes.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine remaining Pumpkin Spice Syrup and Maple Syrup. Microwave for 45 seconds to create Pumpkin Spice Maple Syrup.

When pancakes are ready, top each pancake in stack with Pumpkin Spice Butter, and drizzle the Pumpkin Spice Maple Syrup over the top. Enjoy with a cup of coffee, and some bacon :]

Jug-ling Delicious Things

I must admit this post is a long time coming. Of my favorite eating establishments around the Burlington County area, one of the best is the Jug Handle Inn in Cinnaminson. Frequenting this bar just about once a week, I have had much experience with their fare, and they are consistently incredible. A bar complete with amazing food, a ms. pacman machine, a jukebox to combat the people who put too much country on, and cheap beer specials, it’s a must-check-out kind of place.

They’re most famous for their wings.. and for good reason. If the words crispy, juicy, tender, and incredible are adjectives that you like your wings to be associated with, then these are the wings for you.

Let me start with the chicken itself. These wings are possibly the meatiest that I’ve seen wings. They’re huge and extremely juicy. Not dried out at all like you sometimes get at chain restaurants.

They have them in mild, medium, hot, and bald eagle. Mild is really not hot at all, medium is a little spicy.. and then there’s a big jump between medium and hot. Don’t get me wrong, hot is good.. but the first couple feel really hot. But it’s a delicious, delicious burn. And then Bald Eagle is for daredevils.. it’s crazy hot! I’ve never eaten it on wings, but a friend got a small cup of it so we could just dip our fingers in and give it a try, and it’s a lingering, intense heat. I don’t think I could ever eat 10 wings covered in it, but I also don’t watch scary movies or do extreme sports! These are not for the weak of heart.

There are also non-spicy wing sauces, including honey barbecue and garlic, which can all be mixed in any combination. For instance, hot garlic is a flavor that Shaun swears by.. and I don’t blame him. Yum. And not only are the wings delicious, but the bleu cheese they serve their wings with is absolutely delicious.. and for me, the bleu cheese is essential.

Oh, and did I mention that through the week, they’re half price before 6 and after 10? Or if you have the Yelp app, you can check in and get them for 50% off ANY TIME YOU WANT?! Be still, my heart.

The other best recommendation I can make for the Jug, if you want more than just wings, is the Reuben Burger with corned beef. Buttered, toasted rye bread with creamy Russian dressing, crunchy sauerkraut, creamy melty swiss cheese, juicy burger, and lots of tender corned beef. The best thing about this burger is that when you run out of burger, you still have reuben left!

Jug Handle Inn Reuben Burger

The corned beef acts almost like bacon in that it gives you a nice crumbly texture, and with everything else that this comes with.. it literally couldn’t be any better. Served with chips and some of their dynamite pickles, which I’m convinced are homemade.

Other notable Jug staples: the reuben, fries, potato skins, among other things, and literally everything is just fantastic.

As for the wait staff, they’re incredible. They’re friendly, fast, super attentive, and just great. If I haven’t convinced you to go yet, please review this picture.

Honey Mint Julep

The end of summer is approaching! It pains me to say it, but at least it means Labor Day and a paid holiday. This Labor Day I’ll be sipping some mint juleps, which have become my favorite drink this summer. They’ll make you forget that summer’s almost over!

Honey Mint Julep Recipe

 

Honey Mint Julep Recipe

Serves: 2 (because no one wants to drink alone)

Ingredients:

  • 3 shots of Honey Bourbon (Jim Beam recommended) + 2 shots (7.5 oz total, so almost 1 cup)
  • 12 branches of fresh mint, washed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Ice

At least 4 hours before serving (this can be done overnight too!), remove mint leaves from 5 branches. Pour 3 shots of Honey Bourbon in a small bowl, and soak the mint leaves in Bourbon. I’ve tried Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey, and Jim Beam, and I like Jim Beam’s Honey Bourbon the best. I think it’s the sweetest and strongest honey flavor. Periodically through the 4 hours, take the mint leaves out of the bourbon, put them in a paper towel, and wring them out over the bowl, so that the mint flavor can really be strong. Return the mint leaves to the bowl. I try to do this once every hour, but as long as you do it a few times during the soaking process, it’ll still get a nice minty flavor.

After setting up the mint-bourbon soak (I wish that were a spa treatment!), I recommend making the simple syrup to allow time for it to cool before you plan on servings the juleps. Combine water and sugar in a saucepan, and add 5 mint branches to the pot (stems and all). Heat to a boil, and remove from heat once the sugar is dissolved, stirring frequently. Allow the mint-infused simple syrup to cool.

When ready to serve up your Honey Mint Juleps, fill 2 medium-sized glasses (about 2-cup capacity) halfway with ice. In each of the 2 glasses, pour in half of the mint-infused bourbon, a shot of honey bourbon, and then fill the rest of the way with simple syrup. Stir (or shake in a shaker, if you’re not mixing these up for James Bond) and garnish with a mint sprig. I usually serve mine with a straw so the mint doesn’t hit anyone in the face. Now bring it near a body of water, kick back, and sip this delicious summer drink. Beware, they’re strong! There are 2.5 shots per drink, so make sure to sip slowly and responsibly. Or sip quickly for a day of debauchery! Who am I to tell you what to do ;p

Grilled Fig and Goat Cheese Sandwich

One of my favorite ingredients on this earth is goat cheese. Creamy, tangy, delicious goat cheese makes me wanna ditch the crackers and just go to town with a spoon. …but I usually resist. Figs are another of my favorite ingredients, and they can be hard to find, which makes it feel even more special when I do track them down. I often can find them at Whole Foods, and near the end of the summer they’re in season locally (local to south jersey, at any rate). They compliment each other beautifully, which is how this grilled cheese sandwich love child was born.

Grilled Fig and Goat Cheese Sandwich

Grilled Fig and Goat Cheese Sandwich
Serves: 1
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 
2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 fresh figs, sliced (I used black mission, use whatever type you can find)
  • 1 oz goat cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar

Divide the tablespoon of butter into 3 equal slices. In a small frying pan over medium heat, melt one teaspoon (one of those slices) of butter over medium heat. When melted, dip one slice of the bread and coat 1 side with the melted butter. Repeat with the next piece of butter and bread.

Next, spread the goat cheese on the unbuttered side of one piece of bread. Top with fig slices, and drizzle the balsamic vinegar over. Top with remaining slice of bread, butter side up (this way, the buttered side is down in the pan, on both sides of the sandwich). Melt the remaining slice of butter, and then carefully add your sandwich to the pan. Cover with a lid, and let cook for 3 minutes, or until bread is golden brown.

With a spatula, gently flip the sandwich, and cover again for another 2 minutes, or until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted. Remove from the pan, cut in half and enjoy!

I love this sandwich because it’s creamy from the goat cheese, a little sweet and fruity from the figs, and then sweetly tart with the balsamic. The bread gets crunchy, which creates a great contrast to the creamy goat cheese. It’s like a grown up version of grilled cheese (not that the non-grown up version is non-delicious) that’s easy and elegant. Serve with a side salad or vegetables and hummus, and you’ve got a healthy, delicious lunch. What are your favorite grilled cheese variations?

The Dandelion- Philadelphia-Based British Fare

The more I eat around Philadelphia, the more that I appreciate Stephen Starr’s brilliance. One of my favorite meals in the city has been the guacamole, chicken enchiladas and elote from El Vez, so needless to say his other restaurants are high on my new restaurants to try list. I made my way over to The Dandelion 2 weeks ago for an extra special birthday meal with my boyfriend, and oh was it good.

The atmosphere is great. It feels like you’re eating in someone’s living room. Very charming, quaint, and it makes you want to have a British afternoon tea. The service was also great. We had reservations on a Saturday at 5:00, and were seated immediately. Our waitress was courteous and knowledgeable. They even went the extra mile to make you feel like you’re at a fancy establishment by wiping our table between courses and folding our napkins when either of us got up to use the restroom.

But now for the most important part: the food! We ordered the British cheese board to start with. At $18, it did seem a little pricey, but I had no regrets. It came with a good sharp cheddar cheese, a soft cheese, and a Bleu cheese. To go with it were 2 long cracker/cookie type things, 2 cheddar jalapeño biscuits, and 3 thin crisps. To me, that’s not nearly enough starch to go with all of the cheese, so I would’ve liked to see more of these things, but they were tasty. The cheeseboard also includes Quince paste, a grape chutney, grapes and honey. I wasn’t a huge fan of the grape chutney, it had an indiscernible taste that I couldn’t place, but felt a little off. The Bleu cheese was also a little strong, especially since I felt like I had to eat a large portion of cheese to a small portion of starch. But I still thoroughly enjoyed the board, and thought the cheddar and soft cheeses were fantastic. They also brought out bread and good Irish butter for the table, which served as more fodder for the cheese transportation (from the plate to my mouth).

Dandelion Philadelphia Crab Risotto

For my entree I chose the Crab Risotto, which was delicious. It was cheesy, creamy, and flavorful with pieces of leeks and yellow squash throughout. I did get one or two small pieces of crab shell, but I understand just how difficult it is to sift all of them out when picking through lump crabmeat… I ain’t even mad. They also were very generous with Parmesan cheese on top, which I always appreciate. My picky boyfriend got the cheeseburger, and man was it good. It was juicy, had Churchill sauce which was creamy and tangy, good cheddar, and crispy bacon. Warning: you will be almost full from the British cheeseboard, and will fight through your entire entree. …and dessert.

As it was a birthday dinner, I felt obligated to order dessert. And this is mostly because they had Sticky Toffee Pudding on the menu. I went to London a few years ago, and quickly discovered just how delicious this dish is, and I’d order it in every pub and restaurant that had it. The Dandelion’s was just as good as the Sticky Toffee Puddings of my Eurotrip. It’s a warm, cake-like pudding that tastes of smoky toffee, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a caramelized sugar disc. The cold ice cream with the warm pudding is great, as the ice cream melts and creates an additional sauce for the pudding. Then the sugar disc gives you a little bit of crunch. It was just superb.

And so, if you like reasonable pricing, a diverse beer selection, delicious food, and a quaint atmosphere, add The Dandelion to your list.  But ask for extra bread with the cheese board ;]