Seared Veggie Sandwiches
This simple summer lunch is composed of seared zucchini and tomato, parsley, and feta cheese. The veggies become so flavorful after a quick bath in a hot pan drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with Italian herbs. The concentrated sweetness of the veggies burst in your mouth to deliver all the freshness of summer.
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 vine ripened tomato, sliced
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp Italian herbs
4 tbs coarsely chopped parsley
2 tbs feta
pinch salt and pepper
4 slices of bread of your choice
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup cashews
Heat a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the evoo and herbs. Allow the herbs to sizzle for a moment. Add the zucchini slices.
Allow the zucchini to brown on both sides, remove from heat. Add the sliced tomato to the pan and sear on both sides. Set the veggies aside.
Blend the cashews and sun-dried tomatoes (along with a splash of water if you need it) until it forms a semi-creamy spread.
Assemble the sandwiches: smear the spread onto the bread, layer veggies, top with feta and parsley, finish with a pinch of S&P
Chef’s Notes: While this sandwich is DELICIOUS, it is not ideal for picnics or beach trips, as the bread slices suck up the succulent tomato juices and make for a soggy samich. If you can hang with soggy bread, go for it! The flavors will still be delish. But if you are like me and soggy bread makes you squirm, then simply assemble the sandwiches on site.
French Bread Stuffed with Broccoli and Cheese
a.k.a. Homemade Hot Pockets
Let’s face it, anything stuffed inside a golden loaf of crispy french bread is going to be delicious. The filling for this home style hot pocket does not disappoint. Aldente brocolli, goat cheese, cheddar cheese, garlic and lemon zest come together inside this pillowy bread to make a meal you won’t soon forget.
French bread dough *
2 cups broccoli florets
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbs sour cream
2 tbs goat cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp oil
1 egg, beaten
2 tbs Parmesan cheese, grated
I used my bread-maker to whip up some french bread dough*. I use this website for recipes http://www.bread-machine-recipes.com/. But you can also use french bread dough in the tube (PILLSBURY). You will need two tubes for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 425°
Get some salted water boiling. Meanwhile get the rest of the ingredients (except the beaten egg and Parmesean cheese) into a large bowl and combine.
Once the water is boiling add the broccoli. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, until it is just tender.
Drain the broccoli and add it to the large bowl with the rest of the ingredient and combine. The warm broccoli will get coated in all the creamy dreamy ingredients.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a large rectangle. About 12” by 8”, but just eye-ball it. Cut the large rectangle into two smaller rectangles.
Divide the filling between the two rectangles. Fold the long sides over the filling and press together, then fold up the short sides and press to seal. You don’t have to seal very tightly so don’t worry.
Lightly oil a large baking sheet and place the hot pockets seam side down. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cook’s Notes: This recipe is very forgiving. If you have CREAM CHEESE in the fridge, throw that in instead of the goat cheese. Or if you only have cheddar, double the amount. I served this along side a simple salad. Half of one of the hot pockets along with a side should fill one hungry adult. So this recipe serves four.
Fool Proof Pan Fried Tofu & Perfect Teriyaki Sauce
Tofu can be tricky when you first start to experiment with it. But when you learn a few basics, tofu can become a staple in your kitchen. I have perfected a pan frying method to get golden brown crispy tofu that never fails.
This post is more to share a technique than to share a specific recipe. So serve this tofu with any sauce, vegetable, and grain you have on hand. I chose a teriyaki that bubbles in the pan with the tofu and ends up lightly caramelizing the tofu. YUM!
Follow these three guidelines, and your bland tofu days will be over!
FIRST- when dealing with tofu, it is important to press it for an extended amount of time in order to get the excess water (and therefore the watery, yucky texture) out of the tofu.
1- Wrap the tofu in paper towel (to keep fuzzy bits of kitchen towel from sticking to it)
2- Wrap in a kitchen towel (to absorb all the excess water)
3- Put something heavy on top. I use a large skillet, but anything will do.
4- WAIT… for at least 20 minutes. But you can start it pressing in the morning and let is go all day. You can press it in the fridge so that it is ready for you to cook with in the evening.
SECOND- Cook the tofu on high heat in a seriously non-stick pan.
1- Get a skillet, frying pan, or wok preheating over high heat.
2- Cut the tofu into whatever size pieces work for the dish you are creating.
3- Add oil to the pan. Vegetable oil is best since it does not easily burn.
4- Wait for the oil to heat up. When you add the tofu it should immediately sizzle.
5- Brown on each side. Depending on how hot your pan is it should take about 4 minutes on each side.
THIRD- Flavorful sauce is a must for tasty tofu. I have a few different favorites. Here is the recipe for one of my favorite, PERFECT TERIYAKI.
1 cup low sodium soy sauce (if you don’t have low sodium use 1/2 water, 1/2 soy sauce- otherwise the salt will overpower all the other flavors)
1/2 cup mirin (sweetened rice wine)
3 tbs sugar
-optional: splash of OJ, zest of lemon/lime/orange, 1 tsp of red pepper flakes-
Add this after the tofu is browned and allow is to bubble in the pan. It will reduce a little bit and caramelize slightly. The flavor is amazing and so much better than store bought teriyaki.
Cook’s Notes: This recipe uses one block of tofu which serves 2 people. The teriyaki recipe makes quite a bit of sauce. The extra can be drizzled over the vegetable and grain you serve alongside the tofu.
Click on the pictures for a description.