Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Zucchini pie


To a gardener there's no better way to use up summer zucchini than having a couple of house guests show up for a few days. And so the day that Lou and Deb arrived from Florida I got to work on some zucchini pies. The idea here is that the pies could hold up in the fridge throughout their four-day visit and be gone to whenever the mood struck, mostly as a snack or for breakfast.


I'm really glad they showed up when they did. My zucchini plants have been so prolific the past few years that I finally decided to cut back to only one of them this year. And yet even with just this single plant I can't seem to keep up. Every other day I harvest another couple of these babies.

I'm guessing that many of you know somebody like me, so I suggest getting your hands on some of their zukes and commencing with the pie-making pronto.


Shred the zucchini like so.


Just one very large zucchini netted six cups' worth of the shredded stuff. This would be just enough to make two pies, and so half all the proportions here to make only one pie. To the shredded zucchini add one large chopped onion, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, five to six large eggs, 1/2 cup grated Romano cheese, and salt and pepper.


After thoroughly mixing the ingredients add 2 cups all-purpose flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder, then thoroughly mix again.


Coat two 9-inch pie pans with olive oil (or butter if you prefer) and evenly distribute the mixture into each pan. Place in an oven that's been preheated to 350 degrees F for around 45 minutes.


This batch of pies baked for just a little over 45 minutes.


And, I am told, turned out pretty good.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Lamb & Pine Nut Bolognese


Shyster Jersey Lawyer Friend's birthday, surely a day of meaning and reflection to her, basically boils down to just one thing to me: I've got to cook the woman some lamb.

This is not a negotiable point. Lamb is my friend's very favorite food. She has told me this on many occasions, most frequently around those times that her birth date draws near.

Demanding as she is, the woman highly values experimentation. And so when the thought occurred to me to meld lamb and pine nuts into a pasta sauce, not once did I concern myself about disappointed her.

Or all of you.


Finely chop three carrots, three celery stalks, one medium red onion, one leek, six garlic cloves and some hot pepper (optional), then saute in olive oil under medium heat until softened.


Add 2 pounds of ground lamb and 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, incorporate and cook until browned.


Add one cup of red wine, increase the heat to high and reduce until the wine has evaporated.


Add one cup of milk. Cook until the milk has evaporated.


Add two 28-ounce cans of tomatoes and 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh mint leaves, turn the heat down to low and allow the sauce to simmer very gently for around two hours. (If the sauce reduces too much or becomes too thick you can always add some more milk or even water.)


When the sauce is done cooking add another handful of chopped fresh mint, stir and simmer for a minute or two.


And then serve with the pasta of your choice.

This sauce, like so many others, tastes even better the next day. And so I made sure to send my friend home not only with a big hunk of birthday cake but also a container of what turned out to be a really nice sauce.

 
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