Thursday, July 19, 2012

Crispy Zucchini Fries

These zucchini fries are super crispy. And all the flavors in the crispy coating eliminates the need for a dipping sauce.You could make this even healthier by baking them instead of frying. Just spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray, lay the coated zucchini fries out in a single layer, spray the fries with non-stick cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown.

If you ever make zucchini fries, do not, I repeat DO NOT use a wet batter! All that moisture from the wet batter and zucchini will just cause your oil to bubble up and over, and create a disaster. I might be talking from experience here *ahem*...

Crispy Zucchini Fries

1 large zucchini
1 c. flour
2 eggs
1 c. panko
1 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 lemon
oil for frying

1. Prepare the zucchini: Slice your zucchini in half. Then slice the zucchini lengthwise into about 1/4 inch thick strips. Then cut into fries.

2. Prepare your workstation: In one bowl, add the flour. In another bowl, beat the eggs. In a third bowl, add the panko, Italian seasoning, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.

3. Working in batches, first dredge the zucchini fries in the flour. Shake off any excess flour and then dip in the egg wash, making sure the egg sticks to the flour-dredged zucchini fries. (This will ensure your panko coating sticks nicely.) Let the excess egg drip off. Then coat in the seasoned panko. (Press it into that panko coating if you have to. You want the fries nicely coated with the seasoned panko. This will give you your crispy zucchini fries.)

4. Fry for a few mins in 350 degrees F oil.  Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and sprinkle with more salt. Work on frying the rest of the batches. When ready to serve, squeeze lemon juice over the fries. The lemon ties it all together very nicely. Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cheesy Breakfast Pie

This recipe is basically the Four Cheese Egg Souffle but made with puff pastry as opposed to crescent roll dough. And instead of individual ramekin servings, I just poured it all into a cast iron skillet to make one large breakfast pie. I liked this one more because it was flaky and buttery. Matt liked the Four Cheese Egg Souffle more, which was more biscuit-like. Either way, both were easy to whip up.

Cheesy Breakfast Pie

Ingredients, approx.
1 box Puff Pastry Sheets (2 sheets)
1 T. butter, melted
7 eggs
1/4 c. + 2 T. smoked mozzarella, shredded
1/4 c. + 2 T. Gruyere, shredded
1/4 c. + 2 T. apple-wood smoked cheddar, shredded
1/4 c. + 2 T. Parmesan, shredded
3 T. whole milk
3 T. cream
salt and pepper to taste

Using a pastry brush, brush the melted butter along the inside of a cast iron skillet. Carefully roll out one sheet of puff pastry and lay it into the cast iron skillet. There will be a bit of pastry hanging over the edge. You can just tear that off and press it into the skillet where it's lacking pastry.
In a large bowl, mix together 6 eggs, the cheeses, milk, cream, salt and pepper. Pour it into the prepared cast iron skillet. Then carefully unroll and lay the second puff pastry sheet over the egg mixture. If there is any pastry hanging off the edge, just fold it over onto the pie. (You don't want those excess edges to burn.)
Beat the last egg and brush it over the top of the pie. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 30 mins or until golden brown.

Why the odd measurements for the cheese:
I originally added only 4 eggs, 1/4 c. of each cheese, and 2 T. milk and cream. But when I poured that into the skillet, the mixture looked so low. So I whisked up 2 more eggs, 1/8 c. of each cheese, and another T. of milk and cream. It's all about experimenting in the kitchen. So feel free to mix up this recipe to your liking and needs.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Grilled Lamb Breasts

I had never worked with lamb breast before. Matt likes to buy meat from the UGA meat sale and this was one of the meats he bought. I actually thought they were ribs at first, but read the packaging and found out it was lamb breast. It looked very similar to ribs, so I decided to season it up and grill it as I would ribs.

I seasoned the breasts liberally with some salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and crushed red pepper. Because rosemary and thyme work well with lamb, I chopped some up and threw it in as well. I also decided to experiment with some ground cardamom. Cardamom is a very fragrant and sweet spice, like nutmeg. A little goes a long way. I thought it would be a nice balance with all the smoky, spicy seasoning and herbs though. I tossed the lamb with some olive oil as well and threw it on the grill. Medium heat, a few mins each side. These ribs were so flavorful. And the seasoning worked so great together. I would say the two stars were the fresh rosemary and sweet cardamom.

A note about lamb breast, it is hard to cut! I couldn't slice each rib because some of them had a spine that ran along the bottom. A butchers knife would be great here, but since we didn't have one, I just followed the bones. So my rib cuts came out a bit zig-zagged, but that didn't matter. These were tasty, cut beautifully or not.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Illuminating Blogger Award

I have been awarded my first blog award by CJ of Food Stories! Thank you CJ for your nomination! I hope I can continue giving you illuminating, informative blog content. You can visit to learn more about the award and check out the other great nominees.

A random thing about myself...
I have lost almost 60 lbs to date. I told you, I enjoy food more than the average person. So in order to keep my waistline in check and enjoy all the delicious food, I work out regularly. The highest I've ever hit was 180 lbs, size 13. So I started working out and lost 30 lbs over the next 3 yrs. In the past year, I have been doing the Insanity workout and am now down to 127 lbs, size 2! I have always struggled with my weight growing up, so for those of you who are in that constant battle, just keep it up! It takes time.

At this time, I would like to nominate some of my favorite blogs for the award as well:
- Eat Yourself Skinny! I always find myself staring at Kelly's food blog pics, thinking how delicious all these lightened up dishes look
- In Katrina's Kitchen You can find great stuff here, like how to make layered colored drinks
- Angie's Recipes I love Angie's blog and all the home-cooked meals she shares
- Brown Eyed Baker You can always find yummy looking treats here
- Your Cup of Cake Lizzy turns boxed cake mixes into yummy treats

Monday, July 2, 2012

Macaroni Salad with Every Color Bell Pepper

Lots of produce have been in season, including bell peppers. So when I saw all the different colored bell peppers on sale, I bought each one of them. It made this simple macaroni salad so much more colorful and fresh. Plus, it allowed me to taste each one to see if there was a difference in taste. I swear there's a slight taste difference. The orange bell pepper might be my has a touch of sweetness to it.

Macaroni Salad with Every Color Bell Pepper
1 box elbow macaroni
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 stalk celery, diced
1/2 c red onion, diced
1 c mayo
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp Mexican crema
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the elbow macaroni according to the package. When it's done cooking, drain and set aside to cool. In a large bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients together with the cooled macaroni. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.