Zucchini Baba Ghanoush

I don’t know if I have stated this before, but this is probably my favorite time of year. I say this only for the fact that I am able to walk out into my backyard and pick a variety of vegetables, and fruit, only to be served fresh that day. Right now my tomatoes are doing so well (and they are really, really good), and I am up to my ears with zucchini. No lie. I’ve used probably about four of them already, and have six of them on my counter. I’ve been doing everything from a simple saute, to this creation, the zucchini baba ghanoush.

Zucchini Baba Ghanoush Recipe
Zucchini Baba Ghanoush Recipe

If you have never had baba ghanoush, well I think it is a must try. My wife and I love it and not only is it healthy for you, but it also makes for a great snack, or even smear onto a sandwich. With that said, I figured I would try the same approach as I would with an eggplant, but using a zucchini and see how it would turn out. The result was nothing short of amazing.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large green zucchini, skin on
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil

Start by heating your grill. If you have charcoal, go with that direction as the smokiness infuses into the zucchini.

Turn the zucchini about every 15 minutes, and cook over direct heat until the skin is completely charred.

How to make Zucchini Baba Ghanoush
How to make Zucchini Baba Ghanoush

Once the zucchini is completely charred, and softened, remove it onto a plate and let it cool. Once it cools, carefully remove the outer skin.

Using a fork, gently mash the zucchini to remove any excess water. Trust me, these things are juicy, and you do not want a watery zucchini baba ghanoush.

Strain the liquid, and then add the tahini paste, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil. Mash well with a fork to get your desired texture. I like mine a bit smooth with subtle chunks of some of the zucchini.

Zucchini Baba Ghanoush Recipe
Zucchini Baba Ghanoush Recipe

Again, the end result is something that is super addicting, and a perfect snack. My wife and I couldn’t get enough of it, and we actually had to walk away from it as it was that good. If you are looking for something to make with your abundance of zucchini, give this one a try. It’s totally worth it. Hope you enjoy!

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Mango Lassi

I’ve told you that we have been falling in love with Indian food lately. Sometimes I cannot get enough of it. Maybe it’s that smoothness of the curry sauces, of the simplicity of the ingredients, or heck all of the spices that just make for a wonderful meal. I can tell you that my freezer is pretty much loaded with garlic naan right now as well, and my closet is full of a variety of dal. Yes, we are true fans.

There is however a wide variety of desserts and drinks that the Indian culture bring to the table, and one of those are lassi. Think of lassi as the Indian smoothie. The basic version is really yogurt, water, and spices, however there are also savory types, and sweet types of lassi. I’m a fan of the sweet type, and hence the mango lassi. This mango lassi is not only delicious, but it is super refreshing on a hot afternoon.

Mango Lassi Recipe
Mango Lassi

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, peeled, and chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cardamom seed
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of ice

Add everything to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Mango Lassi Ingredients

The result is nothing short of amazing. It’s smooth, creamy, and slightly sweet. It’s perfect on any summer afternoon, and one that my daughter and I fell in love with. Hope you enjoy!

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Chille Blue Crabs

Hands down, blue crabs are one of my favorite things to eat. Well, maybe not as they compete with pizza, tacos, and nachos, but you know what I mean. There is something about the blue crab that I truly love. Granted there is not a whole lot of crab meat on these little suckers, but it’s finger food, and to me finger food is not only fun, but it’s somewhat sexy. As I noted in the past, it’s hard to find blue crabs in Milwaukee. As I dissed an Asian market I used to go to, Anh Chau, only due to their crappy customer service, I have been frequenting a local market known as Mei Hua. I’ve been there enough where I chat with the owner, and as I always do I ask a lot of questions about produce, and seafood. I recently asked if they were going to get any crawfish, or better yet blue crab, and she sparked up, like what the heck did I know about blue crab! She stated she orders once a week, and that’s when I was sold.

Chinese Chilli Blue Crab Recipe

I pulled in the day she ordered, I think it was a Tuesday, or Thursday, and knew actually where to go. The box with what looked like to be stagnant crabs, that is until you poke them with the tongs.

One of the workers looked at me like I had no idea what the heck I was doing, and funny enough she was trying to help me (I am experienced at this, trust me, but I let her help only for my own entertainment), and we began using the tongs to toss them in a double paper bag. She insisted.

The kids were not home from school yet, and my wife was still at work, and that’s when I decided to clean these live crabs. When you do this, depending on how you feel, it’s something that you may or may not want your family around for, as basically as you are using a knife to take out the crab, ripping it apart, and tearing out it’s lungs, etc. I figured I would move quickly, and just have what I needed for the chilli crabs.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • ~ 10-15 live blue crabs, rinsed and cleaned
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Sambal Oelek 
  • 1 large shallot, medium slice
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp fried garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, torn (optional)
  • napkins
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Start by using tongs to grab your live crab. This is always fun as they like to attack your tongs. Flip the crab over onto it’s back, and puncture it with a sharp knife, right in the middle. Yes, this is often painful to watch, but it has got to be done. Now with your knife, split the crab in half, lengthwise. The important thing here is to remove the gills, up near the face, as well as removing the apron, near the bottom. Once those are removed, rinse the crab in cold water, and set aside, repeating the process.

Keep the crabs cold, covering with a bit of ice cubes. During this time, make the sauce.

To a small mixing bowl, add the ketchup, rice wine vinegar, water, and sambal oelek. Give a good stir.

Heat a large wok, or skillet on medium heat, and let this heat up for a few minutes.

Toss in the oil, and then toss in the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry that for a couple of minutes. Now add in the crabs.

How to make Chilli Blue Crabs

Toss those crabs in the garlic mixture, then add in the sauce mixture. Carefully stir, and toss until the crabs are coated.

Cook for about 15 minutes, if that, and then pour out onto a large serving dish.

Shower with the fried garlic and fresh cilantro, and dig in. Pull off the legs, split the body, pull and crack the claws, and go for it. Suck, splurp, and suck your fingers.

My wife and kids are not a big fan of the blue crabs, and as much of that is a bit of a disappointment,   I’m not going to point fingers and blame. That just means there is more for me!

Get a bib. Get some napkins. Dig in. This is a shell sucking, shell pulling, and little fork poker feat. Sweet, spicey, garlicky, and delicious. I felt bad when my wife came home, and I probably looked like a total mess as she was trying to have a conversation with me. Yes, it was that good.

If you are looking for a fun crab dish to eat, and a fun experience (cleaning crabs), go for it. You will not be disappointed, and by the way, I have yet to go back to Anh Chau, but they do still order blue crabs from what I understand, and with hope, they have picked up their service game.

Another one to try is my blue crab curry. Whoa.

 

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Indian Coconut Soup

Not too long ago, I had asked my wife if she was interested in going out to lunch. Obviously she was ecstatic (I think), and then I gave her a couple of choices. I was leaning very heavily on Indian food, and while I never thought my wife to be all that interested in Indian cuisine, she happily agreed. We checked out this local place called India Garden in Milwaukee. The restaurant was hidden back in a strange area just off a busy street, but the exterior looked nice, and there were plenty of cars in the lot which is most likely a good sign. Upon entering, the interior was super clean and nice, and the service from the start was awesome. Good signs.

This place was packed with natives, which to me, is always a great sign. We took a look at their buffet, and it looked really, really good.

Indian Coconut Soup Recipe

After we devoured pretty much everything they had to offer (and what they offered was probably the best I have had in Milwaukee), my wife said she wanted to try to the coconut soup. Coconut soup? She was in heaven, and insisted I had to try it. So, as a good husband would, I did, and only did because I knew that I would be making this for her in the very near future. That’s when I did, and she was, again, back in love.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of salt

I know… It’s a bit sweet, and strange (in a good way) to say the least, and that’s what makes this one pretty exciting. Think of it as a soup dessert, and a perfect way to end a meal. I also thought that this would be great served chilled (and it was), and blended up with some ice, almost like a Mexican horchata.

This is super easy to make and can be served immediately.

Start by heating a sauce pan on medium heat. Add in the butter, and let it melt.

Once melted, add in the shredded coconut, and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring it around for about 4 minutes or so.

How to make Indian coconut soup

 

Next add in the cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and give another good stir. Lightly toast all of this for about a minute, then pour in the coconut milk, and regular milk. Throw in the pinch of salt, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for about 20 minutes.

Now you are ready to serve.

Ladle in the Indian coconut soup into a small soup bowl, and dig in.

Sweet and delicious, this Indian coconut soup is a total surprise and is a perfect finish to practically any meal. Did I mention how awesome cardamon was? If you have never tried it, just let me tell you it goes very, very well with cinnamon and nutmeg, and has this perfect citrus and floral note that will definitely get your taste buds moving. Hope you enjoy!

Indian Coconut Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 2 cups of milk
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. know… It’s a bit sweet, and strange (in a good way) to say the least, and that’s what makes this one pretty exciting. Think of it as a soup dessert, and a perfect way to end a meal. I also thought that this would be great served chilled (and it was), and blended up with some ice, almost like a Mexican horchata.
  2. This is super easy to make and can be served immediately.
  3. Start by heating a sauce pan on medium heat. Add in the butter, and let it melt.
  4. Once melted, add in the shredded coconut, and give it a good stir with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring it around for about 4 minutes or so.
  5. Next add in the cardamon, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and give another good stir. Lightly toast all of this for about a minute, then pour in the coconut milk, and regular milk. Throw in the pinch of salt, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer, cooking for about 20 minutes.
  6. Now you are ready to serve.
  7. Ladle in the Indian coconut soup into a small soup bowl, and dig in.

 

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