Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Squash Patties with Ancho Chili Yogurt Sauce and Cilantro Flower Garnish

Summer squash is often overcooked into a flavorless mash, which is sad because these squash have a delicate, delicious flavor if prepared properly.  For this recipe, I used zucchini, crookneck and scallop squash prepared with the flavors of the Southwest

If you are not growing your own, Farmers Markets have these beauties available from June through early September in most areas.  Pick out small squash to get the best flavor. Avoid any patty pan over 4 inches wide; the best size for crookneck and zucchini is less than 6 inches.   The seeds begin to develop if much larger than that.

Be sure to stop over to the Dandelion House  and visit with Deborah Jean's garden and blog hop party!

Summer Squash Patties with Ancho Chili Yogurt Sauce, and Cilantro Flower Garnish
Makes 10 Patties

2 cups packed, grated, drained, Summer Squash (9 ounces)
1 cup unseasoned Bread Crumbs
1 Egg beaten
1 tablespoon (¼ ounce) dried Ancho Chili, chopped (first soaked in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes then chopped)
¼ cup Green Onion with tops (¾ ounce)
½ teaspoon ground Coriander
1 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
Spring lettuces (optional)
Garnish: Cilantro leaves and flowers (optional)

For Frying: ¼ cup Canola Oil, you should have around 2 tablespoons left in the skillet after frying.

Place grated squash in a colander and press down with a plate that has a weight on top to drain out the juice ̶ I used a quart jar filled with water for the weight. Allow at least 15 minutes and up to 30 to drain.

Beat the egg, measure or weigh out the drained summer squash and add the remaining ingredients, mixing just until blended.  Shape into 10 patties. 
Heat skillet over medium high heat, then add the oil.  Fry the patties, 5 at a time until golden brown on each side. This takes about 3 minutes per side.  Don’t move them for the first minute or two so they won’t stick to the pan when you go to turn them.  This works every time, perfectly, if you are patient. (I use a stainless steel pan, if using a non-stick pan you can probably get away with less oil.) Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Serve warm, atop a bed of spring lettuces topped with Ancho Chili Yogurt Sauce and Cilantro leaves and flowers.

Ancho Chili Yogurt Sauce
Makes ¾ cup sauce

½ cup Plain Non-Fat Yogurt
¼ tsp. Sea Salt
¼ cup Ancho Chili Sauce (recipe below)
Combine all ingredients stirring well, cover and refrigerate while making the squash patties.

Ancho Chili Sauce
Recipe makes a little over 3 cups.

4 to 6 Ancho Chili pods dried (if large use 4)
3 cups Boiling Water
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground Cumin
½ cup chopped, Brown Onion
½ teaspoon Sea Salt
1 cup Tomato Sauce (Mexican Sauce is fine)

Remove the stem end and seeds from the Ancho Chili pods.  Soak pods in 3 cups of boiling water until softened, about 15 to 30 minutes.  Pour into a blender container and add the remaining ingredients.  Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a skillet, add tomato sauce and simmer over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. 

This sauce is also very good for enchiladas. It is a dark, rich flavored sauce.

The nutritional information is for 3 patties with 2 servings of sauce and does not include the spring greens.

Nutritional Information Provided by NutriMirror

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Italian Style Peasant Bread or Sandwich Rolls

Here is a fail-proof recipe for the peasant style sandwich rolls you see in a lot of the old world bread bakeries.  I have been making this recipe for years and don't remember where I first found it.  You can also use this recipe to make two or three round loaves of bread for slicing. It has a crunchy outer crust that is achieved by putting a shallow pan of water under the baking pan, or if using a pizza stone, put it under that in the oven.  I bake these on the middle rack of the oven and place the pan of water on the lower rack.  Make sure you check the pan of water during baking to make sure it has not evaporated, if so add more water.  The white dusting of flour you see on the rolls is from the final rise.  You put the rolls or bread on a floured cotton muslin or flour sack towel.  In the old world bread bakeries they have baskets that are lined with the muslin, dusted with flour and used over and over again.  One day I will make some lined baskets for myself.

It may seem like this is a long recipe, but most of the time is spent waiting for the 3 risings to finish. Plan a day to do this or schedule your day around the risings. You will have plenty of time in-between risings to do other things around the house or a short trip for an errand.

You may also add some fresh, finely minced rosemary in the kneading step or roll in some sliced black kalamata olives to the dough. I have used both and it makes a wonderful, flavorful and aromatic loaf.

Italian Style Peasant Bread or Sandwich Rolls

Makes 12 rolls or 3 loaves
  • 4 ½ teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast (2 packages)
  • 2 ½ cups water at 110°
  • 2 pounds 3 ounces of unbleached white bread flour (about 6 ½ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt dissolved in 1 tablespoon of warm water
  • Cornmeal for the pizza stone, if using. You won’t need this for the sheet pan. I just rub a little oil on the pan first.

Stir the yeast in the water.  Let stand 5-10 minutes.

Weigh out your flour or measure if you don’t have a scale. It is important to weigh it if you have one because flour can absorb the moisture in the air which can make a difference in your final product. 

Using a Kitchenaid mixer will make this process really easy, but if you don’t have one you will get a good workout for your arms.  Make a batter of the water and yeast, using 4 cups of the weighed out flour.  Beat with the dough hook if using the kitchenaid, for about 10 minutes. If mixing by hand, make sure the batter pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. It should be sticky/tacky.

Add the salted water (make sure to use the salt, this give the characteristic crust you see on old world breads). Add the remaining flour and knead for 5 minutes in the kitchenaid. If you knead by hand, allow about 15 minutes.
Place the dough on a wood cutting board and cover with a large stainless steel bowl or large soup pot.  Let rise for 1 to 2 hours, if it is warm in your home, it will probably double in 1 hour.  After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, cover with the metal bowl and let it rise for another 1 ½ hours.

Punch down again, and mold into 2 or 3 round loaves or make 10 to 12 sandwich loaves. If making sandwich loaves, mold the dough into a long narrow loaf and cut in half, then each in half again, and so on until you have 12 even size pieces.  Shape these into elongated rolls, and pinch the bottom together like a sea. Place the loaves on the well floured muslin or flour sack towel, allowing enough room between each one so they will have room to rise, about 2 inches between each.  Let rise for one more hour. 

Preheat your oven to 450° at least 30 minutes before the rolls or loaves are ready to be baked. If using a pizza stone make sure to put that in the oven when you set it. Add the pan of water to the lower rack about 15 minutes before you bake the bread so that it will be hot.  This procedure gives the bread the crunchy crust you will love.

When the loaves have risen to double their original size, place them BOTTOM SIDE UP on the sheet pan or pizza stone (be careful with the stone, your oven will be scorching hot).  You will see lots of flour on the dough when you turn it over, don’t dust this off, you want that.

If using the baking sheet, place the pan on the center rack, over the pan of water. Check to make sure the water level is adequate. You don’t want that pan to burn dry. Check it halfway through the baking time just to make sure.

Bake the rolls or bread loaves for 18 to 25 minutes.  The rolls will only take about 18-20 minutes since they are smaller. You won’t be able to bake all the rolls at once; I was able to get 6 on the sheet pan I used. If you have made bread loaves you can bake two at a time and maybe three if your pan or pizza stone is large enough. Otherwise bake in two batches.  

The bread is ready when you can hear a hollow sound when you tap the bottoms of the loaves or rolls.  They should be a rich, golden brown.  

Remove the bread to a wire rack and allow to cool. As the bread cools you will hear the crust cracking and popping, it will have a super crunchy crust that you will love.  This bread is chewy on the inside and rich in flavor; perfect for your Italian style sandwiches.  

Plan a picnic or summer evening outdoor dinner after you make this bread, and bring out the red checked tablecloth, an old wine bottle candle holder, and put on Luciano Pavarotti and sing O Sole Mio with the one you love!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Caramelized Summer Squash Arugula Salad with Warm Chive Vinaigrette

If you have read my post on my garden blog you will know that we have been picking summer squash since the end of May.  Each morning, and often each afternoon I check the plants to see which ones are ready to harvest. This morning I picked over a dozen patty pan and yellow crookneck; the chives are flourishing so I thought they would be a perfect addition to my salad.

Known as summer squash, they come in a variety of shapes and colors. You may know them as zucchini, yellow squash, yellow crookneck, patty pan, scallop and one of my favorite zucchini type is a striped cocozelle.

I interchange these summer squash in my recipes depending on what I have picked that day. I often use yellow crookneck and patty pan (or scallop) in my zucchini bread and muffin recipes. When picked small the squash seeds are soft and tender, and the entire squash can be grated just as zucchini for your bread recipes.

Here is a super simple way to prepare a flavorful salad to serve on a warm summer evening. Add some grilled chicken or fish and dinner is quick, healthy and easy.

Caramelized Summer Squash Arugula Salad with Warm Chive Vinaigrette
Serves 1

2 small summer squash. (I used yellow crookneck and a patty pan)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 cups fresh Arugula
1 tablespoon Feta Cheese
Sea salt (optional)

Slice summer squash lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices. Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add one tablespoon of olive oil.  Place the squash in the hot pan, sprinkle with salt and allow to caramelize; this takes about 2-3 minutes per side. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your squash and your pan.  When you have a nice color on the squash, remove from pan and set aside while you prepare the vinaigrette.

Warm Chive Vinaigrette 
Serves 1

2 tablespoons fresh chopped Chives (reserve one for garnish)
2 teaspoons Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
1 small Garlic Clove, minced (about 1/4 teaspoon)
Pinch of Sea Salt and Black Pepper

In the same skillet you used for cooking the summer squash, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar.  Stir in the minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chives and season with sea salt and pepper. Heat just until warm.

Place the Arugula on a salad plate and top with the caramelized squash, drizzle with the vinaigrette, top with Feta Cheese and the reserved chopped Chives.