Beets, Greens and Zucchini

21 Aug

Every so often I get a few uninterrupted hours to cook and cook and cook. Today was one of those days – the kids took an unimaginable 3 1/2 hour nap (at the same time!) and then they were off on a fishing adventure with their Dad.

We have only been out here in the sticks for about a month and already start to miss it when we leave. Turns out it is pretty easy to get used to hiking a few times a week, fishing after work and running around through creeks, pastures and woods all day. So after a few days on the island visiting with friends and family, Nick was anxious to get back out doing something so away to the river they went.

I digress.

I am here to talk food and what’s for dinner.

I just finished yet another book about parenting around the world and how the French are the best when it comes to eating fantastic food, sitting together at meal times and getting their children to eat what they eat. I get this except for the one about eating fantastic food at every meal. How on earth do you have the time to make a noteworthy lunch and dinner every day? Let me be more specific, how do you have the time to make a meal with two toddlers underfoot?

I still don’t have an answer to that one.

So today, while my darling little children slumbered on, I set to work preparing some snacks and meals for the week ahead in order to be more like those French cooks. Here is what I prepared:

Green Turkey Sausages

My friend Allyssa is one of the most fantastic cooks I know. Seriously. She just seems to whip stuff up and they never fail. Going to her house for a meal is like entering your most favorite restaurant. It is definitely one of those invites you never pass up. The last time I was over to feast on fresh crab cakes and salads, she was busy preparing some of these yummy snacks for her daughter. She talked me through it and assured me that you just add some of this and some of that. Those kind of instructions make me the most nervous. I can cook a mean meal from a recipe but just from memory and thought? No, no thank you. So I was a little hesitant to try to recreate her masterpiece (my kids could NOT get enough of these that day) but sure enough, they ended up being super delicious.

What You Need:

  • Ground turkey
  • Greens – I chose chard, kale and some spinach
  • Herbs – I chose parsley and basil
  • An egg
  • Piece of bread
  • salt and pepper
  • Cheese – I chose Asiago

In a food processor, grind the greens, herbs and bread together. In another bowl, combine green mixture, cheese, egg and turkey. Form into little patties and cook in a frying pan on both sides until done. Voila. A little sneak green attack for the little ones.

Summer Millet with Tarragon Vinaigrette

From BlissBlog – she posted this today and I immediately set out to make it for lunch since we have an abundance of cherry tomatoes and green beans to eat from the garden. I used couscous instead of millet and it turned out equally good. Please visit her post for complete instructions and photos that will make you run to your garden for lunch as well.

Zucchini Bread

Ahh….zucchini season is upon us. Every one get ready to receive a loaf of this bread next time I see you – I made 5 today and that was just 2 zuch’s.

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar (the original recipe called for 2 but that is just too much by my standards)
  • 1 cup oil (I used canola)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups of zucchini, shredded or grated

Mix and bake in 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes. Will make 2 loaves.

Beet Hummus

From the famed Everyday River Cottage Cookbook. The recipe calls for walnuts but I used pecans with much success. This time instead of adding garlic, I roasted the beets with garlic and used that.

  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 slice stale bread, crusts removed
  • 2 cooked beets (not pickled), cut into cubes
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (divided)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A little olive or canola oil (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put walnuts in metal pie pan and toast in oven 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant. Let cool.

Warm a small frying pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and dry-fry them, shaking pan almost constantly, until they start to darken and release their aroma – this should take less than a minute, so be careful not to burn them. Crush seeds with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder.

Break bread into small chunks, put in food processor or blender with the walnuts, and blitz until fine. Add beets, most of the garlic, the tahini, a good pinch of the cumin, half the lemon juice, a little salt and a good grind of pepper, and then blend to a thick paste.

Taste mixture and adjust it by adding a little more cumin, garlic, lemon, salt and/or pepper, blending again until you are happy with it. Loosen with a dash of oil if you think it needs it. Refrigerate until you want to eat it, but bring back to room temperature to serve.

 Miso Dressing – for salads. From My Father’s Daughter.

1/3 cup  diced yellow onion
1  garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup  plus 1 tbsp white miso
2  tablespoons  toasted sesame oil
2  tablespoons plus one teaspoon soy sauce
2  tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2  tablespoons mirin
2  tablespoons water
1  large pinch coarse salt
3  grinds fresh black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil

To make the dressing, put everything except the vegetable oil in a blender and blend until smooth. While blender is running, slowly stream in oil. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.


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