Week Nine: Dips and Summer Fare

Having just picked up a zucchini that is half as big as my two-year-old, I think it’s safe to say we need some great recipes to enjoy the abundance from the farm! This week features a basil pesto (use some now; freeze some for later), a tzatziki sauce for your cucumbers, green bean casserole, summer squash pasta bake and one pot kale and quinoa pilaf. What else is everyone making? Feel free to e-mail me at kitchenbeet.penelope[at]gmail[dot]com with your favorites. I’d love to do a round-up with your go-to recipes if you’d like to share with the rest of the group!

Basil-Walnut Pesto
Recipe credit: themessimake on Food52

  • 1bunch basil
  • 1/4cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2teaspoon sea salt (add more if needed)
  • 1/4teaspoon black pepper (optional)
  • 3/4cup extra virgin olive oil (add more if needed)
  1. Place all ingredients (EXCEPT the extra virgin olive oil) in a food processor.
  2. Slowly drizzle the EVOO through the feed tube while the food processor is on.
  3. Continue running the food processor until a desired consistency is reached. I like the pesto to be a bit gritty rather than smooth, I like the texture that the tiny pieces of walnuts create. So I watch the pesto closely so it doesn’t get smooth and pasty.

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Tzatziki (Cucumber sauce)
Recipe credit: Kayln’s Kitchen

Ingredients:
3 cups Greek Yogurt (or regular plain yogurt, strained as described above)
juice of one lemon (about 3 T)
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 medium cucumbers, seeded and diced
about 1 T kosher salt for salting cucumbers
1 T finely chopped fresh dill (can substitute mint leaves for a slightly different version)
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:
If you don’t have Greek yogurt, strain plain yogurt as described above. Peel cucumbers, then cut in half lengthwise and take a small spoon and scrape out seeds. Discard seeds. (If you use the small seedless or European cucumbers with few seeds, you can skip this step.) Slice cucumbers, then put in a colander, sprinkle on 1 T salt, and let stand for 30 minutes to draw out water. Drain well and wipe dry with paper towel.

In food processor with steel blade, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir this mixture into the yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. (This resting time is very important.)

This will keep for a few days or more in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it. Use it for greek pitas, greek pitas, lamb kabobs and more!

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Fresh Green Bean Casserole
Recipe credit: The Pioneer Woman

  • 2 pounds Fresh Green Beans, Ends Cut Off
  • 4 slices Bacon, Cut Into 1/4 Inch Pieces
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 whole Large Onion, Chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2-1/2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Half-and-half
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 jar (4 Ounce) Sliced Pimentoes, Drained
  • 1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • Chicken Broth If Needed For Thinning

Cut green beans in half if you like pieces to be a little smaller.

Blanch the green beans: drop them into lightly salted boiling water and allow green beans to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove them from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain beans once they’re cool and set aside.

Add bacon pieces to a skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon for two minutes, then add diced onion and garlic and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bacon is done (but not crisp) and onions are golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate skillet or saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle flour into the pan and whisk immediately to evenly mix it into the butter. Cook for a minute or two, then pour in milk and half and half. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, while sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne then add the grated cheddar. Stir while cheese melts. If sauce is too thick, splash in some chicken broth as needed. Turn off heat.

Add pimentos to pan, then add bacon/onion mixture. Stir to combine. Pour over green beans and stir gently to combine. Pour into a baking dish and top with panko crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and panko crumbs are golden.

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Summer Squash Pasta Bake
Recipe credit: Smitten Kitchen

Herbed Summer Squash Pasta Bake

Serves 4, heartily, as written

8 ounces pasta, any shape you like
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (you won’t need this yet, but better to zest before juicing, to avoid grumpiness)
Juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large or 5 skinny scallions, sliced thin and white/pale green parts and dark green tops in separate piles
Pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
3 tablespoons (25 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk, ideally whole but low-fat will also work
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped mixed herbs of your choice
Salt and more pepper to taste
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan or aged pecorino romano cheese, divided
4 ounces (115 grams) mozzarella, cut into small cubes

Cook the pasta: If you’ve got an oven-save 3-quart deep skillet or braising pan, use it here and you’ll only need one pot for the whole recipe. Otherwise, bring an medium/large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 to 2 minutes before perfect doneness. Drain and set aside.

Heat oven: To 400 degrees.

Prepare the squash: Heat a large skillet or the pot you just used to cook your pasta to high heat. Once hot, add olive oil, and let it heat until almost smoking. Add sliced squash, season it with salt and pepper flakes and let it sear underneath, unmoved, until golden brown. Continue to saute until browned and somewhat wilted, about 10 minutes, trying to get some color on each layer before moving squash around. Transfer to a bowl and squeeze lemon juice over bowl. Add more salt or pepper if needed.

Make the sauce: Reheat your the same pot over medium heat. Melt butter in bottom of pan. Add scallion white and pale green parts and garlic and let sizzle for 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour and stir until all has been dampened and absorbed. Add milk, a very small splash at a time, stirring the whole time with a spoon. Make sure each splash has been fully mixed into the butter/flour/onion/garlic mixture, scraping from the bottom of the pan and all around, before adding the next splash. Repeat until all milk has been added, then add lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Let mixture simmer together for 2 minutes, stirring frequently; the sauce will thicken. Remove pan from heat and stir in half of chopped parsley, all of mixed herbs and reserved scallion greens. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Assemble dish: Off the heat, add drained pasta, summer squash, 1/2 cup grated parmesan and all of the mozzarella to the pot, stirring to combine. If pan is ovenproof, you can bake your final dish in it. If not, transfer mixture to a 2 to 3 quart ovenproof casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup parmesan.

Bake: For 25 to 30 minutes, until edges of pasta are golden brown and irresistible. Sprinkle with reserved parsley and serve hot. Reheat as needed.

To freeze: Let dish fully cool to room temperature, then transfer, wrapped well, to the freezer. Let defrost in fridge for a day before rewarming in oven. If I have time, I like to rewarm at a lowish head (300 to 325 degrees) with the foil on, then finish it for the last 10 minutes or so at a higher heat without the foil to restore some crisp.

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One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf
Recipe Credit: deensiebat at Food52

2cups salted water

  • 1cup quinoa
  • 1bunch lacinato kale, washed and chopped into 1″ lengths
  • 1 meyer lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1tablespoon toasted walnut oil
  • 3tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4cup crumbled goat cheese
  • salt and pepper
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine half of the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, walnut oil (you can substitute olive oil if you desire), pine nuts, and goat cheese.
  3. Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed — the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff the pilaf, and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. As the hot quinoa hits the scallions and lemon it should smell lovely. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper, and the remaining lemon juice if needed.

Have a great week!

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