Korean Style Zucchini

Gochujang has become my new best friend. If you are not familiar with gochujan, it is essentially a Korean condiment that is a bit spicy, lightly fermented, and one that just has this sweet and savory taste that it just gets highly addicting. Gochujang is commonly used in Korean recipes such as bibimbap and soups, and the thing I love about it is that it has just the right amount of spice that is perfectly balanced by this sweetness. Don’t judge me, but I always lick the spoon when I am using this condiment.

With that said, you have probably known for the last few weeks that I am continuing to harvest zucchini from our garden. This is when the idea sparked to make chicken lettuce wraps for the kids, and as the Koreans are known for having banchan (small dishes that accompany a meal), I figured making these Korean style zucchini. I fell in love with this, and I think you might as well.

Korean Style Zucchini
Korean Style Zucchini

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small to medium sized zucchini, cut into 1 inch coins, then quartered
  • 2 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tbsp Japanese Sushi Seasoning, often called Furikake (optional)

Simple, right? The only small challenge may be finding the gochujang paste, but you can probably find this in your Asian grocery store, or in the ‘ethnic’ aisle in your grocery store.

Korean Style Zucchini Ingredients
Korean Style Zucchini Ingredients

Start by heating a medium skillet on medium heat. Toss in the zucchini, as well as the gochujang. Give a good stir, and gently mash in the gochujang. Add the water to assist in making a thinner sauce. Continue cooking until the zucchini is heated through, and the sauce coats the zucchini. Toss in the furikake if you desire. This adds that additional distinct flavor that you would find in a standard sushi roll.

Korean Style Zucchini
Korean Style Zucchini

Serve as a side to any dish. The end result is the perfect crunch of the zucchini, and then the awesome punch from the gochujang. Trust me, this Korean condiment will have you thinking endlessly of what it can be used on, and this was only one of those ideas. Hope you enjoy!

Korean Style Zucchini
Author: 
Recipe type: Sides
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small to medium sized zucchini, cut into 1 inch coins, then quartered
  • 2 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tbsp Japanese Sushi Seasoning, often called Furikake (optional)
Instructions
  1. Start by heating a medium skillet on medium heat. Toss in the zucchini, as well as the gochujang. Give a good stir, and gently mash in the gochujang. Add the water to assist in making a thinner sauce. Continue cooking until the zucchini is heated through, and the sauce coats the zucchini. Toss in the furikake if you desire. This adds that additional distinct flavor that you would find in a standard sushi roll.
  2. Serve as a side to any dish.

 

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Cheesy Corn Casserole

Summer is almost over <sigh>, but with that said, there has been some really, and I mean really good corn this year. We have tried a variety, but there is one batch that my coworker brought in from Fondy’s Farmers Market that was probably hands down the best corn I’ve had in quite some time. The texture was spot on and the sweetness just blew our mind, plus they were some of the larger types of corn I have seen in some time now. With that said, my coworker brought in two large paper bags of corn, loaded to the top and said take what you want. I probably took about 12 or so ears of corn, and this recipe was inspired not only by the corn, but a conversation my colleague and I had about a cheesy corn casserole. His idea sounded so good I was going to go out on a limb and try coming up with my own version.

Cheesy Corn Casserole Recipe
Cheesy Corn Casserole Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 lb thick cut ham, cubed
  • 2 whole banana peppers, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted, mashed
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

Start by heading a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add in the butter and let it melt until it comes to a bubble. Next, toss in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon so that all of the butter soaks up the flour. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour. Don’t let it get too dark, just a light golden, if any color at all. Now add in the milk and continue to stir. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens. This is your standard bechamel sauce.  Once the sauce thickens, add in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, as well as the garlic salt. Lower the heat, and stir until all the cheese is melted, and you have a smooth consistency.

Cheesy Corn Casserole Ingredients
Cheesy Corn Casserole Ingredients

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To a large mixing bowl, add in the corn, the cubed ham, black pepper, banana peppers, roasted garlic, and tomato. Mix to combine everything. Next, pour in the cheese sauce, and continue to stir until everything is nice and coated.

Add the mixture to your casserole dish, top with the bread crumbs. Place into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered. The top should be nice and golden brown, and the casserole itself should be a bit bubbly. Carefully remove, and get ready to dig in.

The end result is nothing short of fantastic. You get the sweetness and the pop from the corn, the cheese blend (don’t get me started on how good that is), and the savoriness from the ham. Did I mention the garlic? Good Lord this stuff is great and is perfect for your backyard gathering, plus this one feeds a small army. Comfort all around, even in the summer. Hope you enjoy and hoping everyone has a great rest of your summer!

Cheesy Corn Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 lb thick cut ham, cubed
  • 2 whole banana peppers, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic, roasted, mashed
  • ½ tbsp garlic salt
  • 1½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Start by heading a medium sized pot on medium heat. Add in the butter and let it melt until it comes to a bubble. Next, toss in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon so that all of the butter soaks up the flour. Continue to stir for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour. Don’t let it get too dark, just a light golden, if any color at all. Now add in the milk and continue to stir. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens. This is your standard bechamel sauce. Once the sauce thickens, add in the cream cheese and cheddar cheese, as well as the garlic salt. Lower the heat, and stir until all the cheese is melted, and you have a smooth consistency.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  3. To a large mixing bowl, add in the corn, the cubed ham, black pepper, banana peppers, roasted garlic, and tomato. Mix to combine everything. Next, pour in the cheese sauce, and continue to stir until everything is nice and coated.
  4. Add the mixture to your casserole dish, top with the bread crumbs. Place into the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered. The top should be nice and golden brown, and the casserole itself should be a bit bubbly. Carefully remove, and get ready to dig in.

 

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Kale and Mushroom Open Faced Quesadilla

It seems like we are always consuming tortillas in my house, whether that be flour or corn tortillas. Maybe because we have the usual taco Tuesday, or taco Thursday for that matter. One of my son’s favorite lunch time meals is probably a cheese quesadilla, and a couple of weeks ago, when I got back from our farmer’s market, I decided to use some of the things I had laying around and make something for my wife. I had some white cheddar cheese that I needed to use up, and that’s when this idea came up to make an open faced quesadilla. Now sure, feel free to fold this sucker over, I don’t mind, but whatever the case, the combination of these ingredients was really, really great, plus it’s meatless, so it’s even better.

Kale and Mushroom Quesadilla Recipe
Kale and Mushroom Quesadilla Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of lacianto kale, chopped
  • 1/2 cup portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, cubed

Start by heating a skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the canola oil, and bring it up to temperature.

Add in the kale and the mushrooms, and cook until the kale is nice and tender, about 15 minutes. Stir periodically.

Kale and Mushroom Quesadilla Ingredients
Kale and Mushroom Quesadilla Ingredients

When the kale and mushrooms are softened, remove and place them in a bowl, and wipe out the skillet.

Return the skillet to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in the flour tortilla. Top with about 3/4 of the white cheddar cheese, then scatter the kale and mushrooms over the top. Place any remaining cheddar cheese on top of the mushrooms and kale.

Kale and Mushroom Quesadilla Recipe
Kale and Mushroom Quesadilla Recipe

Slowly cook the quesadilla until the tortilla gets nice and crisp and golden, and the cheese fully melts. Feel free to place a cover on the skillet to assist with melting the cheese.

When the cheese is fully melted, plate and serve.

The combination of kale and mushrooms in itself it awesome, but then you get this great sharpness from the white cheddar cheese that brings it all together. My wife loved it, and I loved every second making this for her. Hope you enjoy!

Kale and Mushroom Open Faced Quesadilla
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 flour tortilla
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • ½ cup of lacianto kale, chopped
  • ½ cup portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • ½ cup white cheddar cheese, cubed
Instructions
  1. Start by heating a skillet on medium-low heat. Add in the canola oil, and bring it up to temperature.
  2. Add in the kale and the mushrooms, and cook until the kale is nice and tender, about 15 minutes. Stir periodically.
  3. When the kale and mushrooms are softened, remove and place them in a bowl, and wipe out the skillet.
  4. Return the skillet to the stove on medium-low heat, and add in the flour tortilla. Top with about ¾ of the white cheddar cheese, then scatter the kale and mushrooms over the top. Place any remaining cheddar cheese on top of the mushrooms and kale.
  5. Slowly cook the quesadilla until the tortilla gets nice and crisp and golden, and the cheese fully melts. Feel free to place a cover on the skillet to assist with melting the cheese.
  6. When the cheese is fully melted, plate and serve.

 

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Kale Chips with Parmesan Cheese

Kale chips are one of those awesome snacks, that amazingly enough, that all of my kids eat. I’ve always been surprised that my kids love them, probably because it has the word chip in it, and trust me, my kids love chips. As I normally bake the standard curly kale, especially when it is on sale, I decided to try something different this time around. When I went to my farmer’s market last weekend and visit with my favorite farmer’s, they had a bunch of lacinto kale, commonly known as dinosaur kale, and it looked really good. When I asked them about the kale, they really came out with excitement and stated it was their favorite and that it was less bitter. I was sold, and that night I decided to make these baked kale chips with parmesan cheese as an appetizer for the family.

Kale Chips with Parmesan Cheese
Kale Chips with Parmesan Cheese

These were so good, and if you are not a kale fan I dare you to try them, that they were instantly gone. I kind of wished I would have bought two heads of the lacianto kale, but maybe I’ll do that this weekend instead.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of lacianto kale, rib removed from each leaf
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Simple stuff, and that’s what I love about these. The farmer’s had it right, these kale chips were slightly less bitter than the standard kale, and now I’m a total fan. I always thought that because the lacianto kale was a bit thicker that it would not make for a great kale chip, but now I know I was wrong the whole time, and that’s a darn shame.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

During this time, prepare your kale, and make sure you remove the leaves from the ribs. Place these into a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and season with the salt. Use kitchen latex gloves for easier cleanup if you have them, and lightly toss the kale, ensuring that all of the leaves are lightly coated.

How to make kale and parmesan chips
How to make kale and parmesan chips

If you have parchment paper, go ahead and use it and line a baking sheet with it. If not, don’t worry. Line your kale leaves onto the sheet, being careful not to overlap them. You can bake these in batches.

Place them into the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or so, until they are nice and lightly crisp. Once they are lightly crisp, take a bit of the parmesan cheese and sprinkle onto the kale chips.

Bake another few minutes, then remove from the oven and serve. Repeat with all remaining kale.

The kale itself was awesome. No kidding. I know everyone is tired of hearing about kale, but not only am I a fan, but I’m totally sold on this lacianto kale. These are a must make, especially with the grated, and lightly melted parmesan cheese. Hope you enjoy!

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