Monday, August 30, 2010

Z is for Zucchini Marinade for Grilling

Since posting yesterday's picture to my FaceBook profile, I've received two requests for zucchini sharing and three recipes. I heart you internet!


For me, the easiest way to deal with zucchini is on the grill. It's low fuss and in summer I tend to be grilling a meat for dinner anyway. Grilling zucchini plain totally works, but sometimes I want a little something more to it, which is when I throw together this marinade. Bonus: it works for every other vegetable I've throw at it so far (asparagus, broccoli, green beans) plus also makes a darn good salad dressing.

What I Do:

extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
dried tarragon
white pepper (feel free to substitute black)

(sorry there aren't real amounts here, but I tend to eyeball based on what I'm using it for)

- preheat your grill*

- mix approx equal parts of the oil and vinegar

- add salt and pepper in equal amounts and roughly twice as much of the tarragon. mix.

- halve the zucchini length-wise and add to the mix

- shake or stir to coat as needed, and let sit for 15 minutes

Grilling time varies. I find a medium sized zucchini (2x9 inches) times out pretty well with pork chops (1 inch or so thick), but you know your grill better than I do. Speaking of which:

*Yes, I use a propane grill. If it makes you feel better, I'm ready to admit the superiority of charcoal. Gas is just more practical on a night-to-night basis.

Z is for Oh my god, so much Zucchini

And this isn't counting the bigger one I grilled for dinner. Or the two more already lurking out there in the garden.

Doomed. I am doomed.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

D is for Detour

Ok, . . . guys? It's the end of August and I'm drowning in zucchini. In the interest of actually blogging here again, I hope you'll be tolerant of my skipping ahead a bit and letting you know how I'm dealing with the squash overload. Because I'm looking at pickling and, frankly, I'm a little scared.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

D is for Delayed Duck

Remember that frozen duck? The one from five months ago? That one?

Yeah. What can I say? It's been a busy busy spring/early summer.

So let's jump in the wayback machine, and travel back to a more innocent time: Late March, when the duck finally thawed.

I did the google thang per usual, and read recipes from Food Network, Epicurious and Cooks dot com, besides consulting my perennial favorite for large poultry roasting, The Joy of Cooking.

The big concerns in duck roasting seem to be
a) getting rid of the fat, because there is apparently a lot of it, and
b) avoiding "off-flavors" (I'm assuming they mean "gaminess" here...?)

Some people also seem to really, really long for an extra crispy duck skin. However, since this was my first duck, I wasn't going to push myself too hard.

What I Did:

one duck, fresh or thawed

0.5) Preheat oven to 450 degrees

1) Rinse duck and pat dry

2) Place duck, breast up, on a rack in a shallow baking pan

3) Score the duck:
- make a series of shallow, diagonal cuts along one side of the bird torso
- "shallow" in this case means you should cut through the skin, but not the fat
- cut along the duck on the other diagonal, creating a diamond pattern.
- repeat on the other side of the torso

4) Rub the duck inside and out with salt and pepper (you could go with herbs here as well, I imagine)

5) Put a shallot inside the duck cavity (the recipes inform me that citrus fruits, root veggies, etc, would work just as well for this)

6) Place pan and duck in the oven

7) Reduce the temperature immediately to 350

8) Cook 20 minutes per pound of bird

9) Remove from oven

10) Allow to rest for ten-ish minutes, discard shallot from cavity, carve and serve

How Did it Go?
Great! The duck was juicy but not greasy, the flavor was mild, and life was good. It is fair to note here that Mr. Husband found the taste a bit odder than I did, so duck is not likely to become a household staple.

What Would I Do Differently?
Blog about it in a more timely manner. :-p Sorry about that, y'all.