Friday, July 13, 2012

Embarrassingly Simple: Zucchini Bites

I've decided to start a page on the blog for all my really SIMPLE recipes. EMBARRASSINGLY SIMPLE!  These are the recipes that I would recommend for even the "I don't really cook" person. There have been many times I've been asked by dinner guests "is this on your blog?" I shake my head, "No, but it's embarrassingly simple." It's the stuff that barely requires thought or even cooking! My husband thought this would make a great series... so here's the first.

My sweet friend Lindy (and fellow Ina Garten lover) from Portland is responsible for bringing me back to my childhood. I was in her home for a dinner party and noticed a bunch of cookbooks on her counter. She told me her favorite way to discover new recipes is going to the public library to checkout cookbooks! BRILLIANT! Free! Community Adventure! I was all over it.

Now don't get too techy on me. I love online recipes just as much as the next home chef, but there are some real gems out there and all you need is a library card. You know that precious card that made you felt like a grown-up when you were six? I think it was the only thing in my wallet at the time, along with a few hard earned dollars.

I was embarrassingly turned away on my first attempt, being new in town and not having any proof of address. And yet, the kind Placer County librarian was impressed that I would put coming to the public library before a trip to the DMV.

This recipe was inspired from one of my first books to check out: The Food You Crave, by Ellie Krieger

Her recipe was a little more detailed, but I decided to simplify it seeing that I had the three main ingredients in my possession and zucchini is in season (double plus!)

Zucchini Bites (appetizers for 2)

1-2 medium zucchini

1 oz goat cheese

Approx 12 medium basil leaves

Salt and Pepper

1 tbls olive oil (not pictured)

First cut off the stem so you can stand it upright.

Next you want to slice the zucchini thinly (about an 1/4 inch thick). If you have a mandolin, that would work great. But if you go slow, you can do this with a knife.

Some will come out better than others. Use the best ones. No biggie.

On a medium high heated grill pan (for the marks of course) heat your bit of olive oil and disperse it all over the pan evenly.

When everything is hot, line up your zucs. If you don't hear a sizzle AS SOON as it lays down you need to wait a few more minutes or turn up the pan. We want that sizzle! Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2 minutes on each side, or until you see a little browning. It's a quick cook. No one wants overcooked zucchini.  Blah.

After they have cooled, spoon a little goat cheese with a few basil leaves onto one end of the zucchini strip. I love a serious affection for goat cheese.

Roll it up like a sleeping bag and stab it with a tooth pick. So tasty. These can be made a few hours in advance too! Just keep refrigerated.

I love appetizers for two reasons.

1-They are the warm-up for a great meal... like a introduction in a new novel or the way you know exactly what song it is by the first few chords.

2- Appetizers also give the cook a few more minutes in the kitchen. You can ward off your guests and encourage them to relax and get comfortable while you put the finishing touches on the meal.

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