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Cheesy Zucchini and Corn Fritters with Herb Sour Cream

If you grow your own summer squash, or belong to a CSA, the weekly glut of produce can be overwhelming. Our solution? Shred it, squeeze it, mix into a cheesy batter and fritter it away. Literally. 

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Loaded Summer Nachos with Grilled Corn and Bourbon BBQ Chicken

We take what we love about most about nachos (crunchy chips and an unapologetic amount of cheese) and loaded them up with the best flavors of summer. Grilled corn, fresh tomatoes, avocado, pickled radishes and shredded chicken with bourbon-brown sugar BBQ sauce. 

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Crostini with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Burrata and Chive Oil

The building blocks of a classic Caprese salad are re-imagined in these summery toasts. First, cherry tomatoes are blistered in a skillet until bursting with juice. Then creamier burrata takes the place of the more standard mozzarella. And in place of basil leaves, a quick and easy chive oil adds an herbal accent. The result makes for a great snack or light meal.

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Crispy Shrimp Cakes – Thai Style

Crispy Shrimp Cakes – Thai Style

Crispy Shrimp Cakes - Thai StyleWe made these again and finally took pictures so I’m re-posting. I also changed the recipe a little, adding a bit of cornstarch to the batter and reducing the panko. 

I used to make a similar kind of cake with salmon which was delicious but a little trickier to make since salmon doesn’t stick together as readily and can overcook very easily. Once I tried it with shrimp, I haven’t gone back to the salmon ones (I love salmon, but tend to like it seared with crispy skin).

These cakes have a lot of cilantro in them so if you don’t like that flavor you could add a bit of parsley and/or basil instead or just leave it out. Matt loves how green they are. They’re really tasty served on rice or rice noodles with this Vietnamese style Dipping Sauce. Sometimes I’ll serve them on slider buns with some Asian Spicy Mayo. I always, always serve them with a Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad on the side. So perfect together. I want them again right now!

Note: If you like them extra-crispy, dredge them in a little panko or cornstarch before frying. It gives them a crunchier crust but masks the shrimp flavor a little.

Ingredients for Crispy Shrimp Cakes

Divided shrimp for crispy shrimp cakes

Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad

Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad

Pickled Cucumber and Avocado SaladI’ve already admitted that I’ve become obsessed with cucumbers since discovering my dog loves them so much. I love them in cocktails, dipped in Feta-Yogurt Sauce, even just plain. But lightly pickled with rice vinegar and sesame oil is my all time favorite.

This is an incredibly quick and easy side dish with Thai Shrimp Cakes. It’s also great with seared salmon or any other fish. It takes seconds to make. It’s also vegan and gluten-free, to boot!

Pickled Cucumber and Avocado Salad

Vietnamese-Style Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese-Style Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese-Style Dipping SauceI’m not sure what it is about fish sauce but it’s kind of like flavored crack to me. It’s salty and fermented and shouldn’t be addictive but I’d sneak this sauce into rehab and drink it in the bathroom if I had to. What? Stop looking at me like that.

[It’s worth pointing out that we like Squid Brand fish sauce – other sauces may be available, but we like to stand up for the cephalopods in this household. They can’t stand up for themselves, after all – Matt]

It works really well with Thai Shrimp Cakes or anything that needs a salty/sweet/sour kick. Ready in seconds.

Garden Fall Wrapup

Garden Fall Wrapup

Garden potatoes

It’s October, and the bulk of the vegetable garden is finished for the season. Of course, our herbs are still going strong on the deck, and we’re still pulling out ripened tomatoes, but the soil beds are now empty. For our first year, we didn’t do too badly. Here’s a recap.

Although last winter wasn’t particularly cold, it was really long – snow persisted through March, and this meant that nothing happened in the garden until early April, when I built the raised bed. Emily’s mom Diane had given us a gift certificate from White Flower Farm, so we ordered potatoes, leeks, zucchini, cucumber, garlic, shallots, and a selection of herbs. I also picked up some carrot seeds from the supermarket. The farm sent us plants when they were ready, so from early April I planted each set of vegetables as they arrived.

The garlic and shallots were apparently doing very well, until we returned from our three-week trip to the UK and found them rotted. Our theory is that they got too wet. I do want to try again with both of these, since we use them all the time in cooking. Garlic can certainly be planted in fall for an earlier harvest, so I’ll get the raised bed ready to plant again probably around late October. We picked up a few bulbs of hardneck garlic some weekends back from the Cold Spring farmers’ market; I’ll try diverting these cloves from the kitchen table to the garden bed in a few weeks. (What’s funny is, some of the “failed” garlic I abandoned in June is now re-sprouting there. I don’t know if it will yield anything, though.)

Herbed Lamb Burgers with Feta-Yogurt Sauce

Herbed Lamb Burgers with Feta-Yogurt Sauce

Herbed Lamb Burgers with Feta Yogurt Sauce

Herbed Lamb Burgers with Feta-Yogurt Sauce

For me, lamb is definitely hit or miss. I either really enjoy it or really, really, really don’t. There is very little middle ground. If it’s too gamey, I don’t like it. Overcooked, blech. Undercooked, even worse! Needless to say, I’ve made some expensive lamb mistakes.

What I’ve realized though, is that ground lamb is not only much less expensive than other options, but it’s also a lot easier to handle. Matt loves lamb chops, so I’ll make them once in a while on a special occasion, but lamb burgers are a much more affordable indulgence.

I used to make lamb burgers with more of a North African flavor thing going on (lots of spices like cumin, cinnamon and paprika) but the way I like them best is more Mediterranean. Lots or herbs, like rosemary and mint. Very lemony.

To be honest though, the star is this Feta-Yogurt Sauce that is so simple to make, but so good. I always make extra so we can have it on grilled vegetables (it’s killer with roasted eggplant). We’ve used it as a dip with pita chips or sliced cucumbers. This recipe makes about 2 cups, which is enough to top 4 burgers with maybe a little extra. If you happen to have a tater-tot on hand that accidentally falls into a bit of this sauce, you’re in for a treat.

***WARNING*** This will be your dog’s face as you eat this burger. Do not give her any (because burger is too good and onions and garlic are poisonous to pups!) She MAY have captured a tater-tot though.

Arya Lamb Burger watcher

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