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Can't find the butter man

August 28th, 2007 | 10 Comments »

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Several years ago, there was a popular song that you may remember:

‘she lies and says she’s in love with him
can’t find a better man’

Anyone know who sang it? I sure don’t. And boy was I curious when I first heard it as to WHY someone was trying to find a ‘butter man’.

Then one day, lo and behold, while I was cooking, there appeared ‘the butter man’. When I looked into the pan and saw the little guy forming, for a moment I was quite stunned, especially as it grew larger by the second, then I composed myself, and grabbed the camera to catch the moment forever in infamy.

Strange isn’t it… what can happen when you cook? ;-)

Calabacitas con Crema

August 19th, 2007 | 7 Comments »

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Calabacitas con Crema

From Tasting Spoons blog
Source: Rick Bayless, restaurateur, from his book Authentic Mexican
Servings: 8
1 lb zucchini — (about four small)
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh if possible
1/2 whole onion — thinly sliced
2/3 cup heavy cream (or use fat-free half and half) – optional
1 whole poblano pepper — roasted, seeded, peeled and cut in thin strips
1 tsp salt
1 Tb butter
1 Tb vegetable oil — or vegetable oil
1. Chop the zucchini in large chunks (about 3/4 inch to 1 inch) and set aside. Prepare onions ahead and set aside. Grill the poblano chile directly on a gas flame, cool, remove skin, then cut into small strips.

2. Using a very large skillet, heat butter and oil until very hot. Add zucchini and toss until tender. Remove the zucchini from the pan with a slotted spoon, allowing it to drain well. In the remaining oil and butter, fry the onion slices until soft and sweet, then add the corn and pepper slices. Add the zucchini and cream and cook until nice and hot. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.

Recipe Notes: I recommend some fresh squeezed lime juice and perhaps a shake or two of chili powder just for notching up the flavor. Sour cream was my ‘crema’ of choice today and it was delicious. I did not use onion and didn’t miss it; it’s not my fave so please, if it’s yours, put it in. I used two poblano peppers, two ears of corn and three zucchini for this.

Vegetable Stuffed Shells

August 15th, 2007 | 10 Comments »

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Vegetable Stuffed Shells

1 pkg large pasta shells
1 8-oz carton nonfat cottage cheese
1 red pepper*, Cored and seeded
4 oz fresh mushrooms
1-2 zucchini*, peeled and shredded on a box grater
6 oz fresh spinach*
8 oz mozzarella cheese, grated and divided
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
½ c. fresh bread crumbs
1 t. each onion powder, garlic powder, dried basil and dried rosemary
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 jar pasta sauce of choice (optional add-in could be chopped roma tomatoes and some extra mushrooms)

Cook shells in boiling water until firm but tender, do not cook for full amount of time stated on package. Shells should still be firm to the feel. (they will stuff and cook better this way) Heat oven to 375

Place entire contents of cottage cheese in bowl of food processor and process until smooth, it should resemble ricotta cheese. Scrape into large bowl. Add red pepper chunks to food processor and pulse 3-5 times or until finely minced. Add to bowl with cottage cheese. De-stem mushrooms and break into food processor bowl, pulse 2-4 times or until finely minced. Add to cheese mix, repeat with spinach, pulsing until finely minced. Add seasonings and bread crumbs. Stir cheese and veggies to mix. Grate 4 oz of mozzarella cheese into bowl, add all grated Parmesan and stir thoroughly to mix. Spread about ½ c. of pasta sauce on bottom of 9×13 pan. Stuff shells with cheese/veggie mix and place in pan on sauce. Spoon remaining sauce on top of shells and top with remaining grated mozzarella. Bake until heated through and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.

*Recipe Notes: Fresh vegetables have a lot of water in them, and to avoid having a watery finished dish, squeeze the excess water from the pepper once it is chopped in the processor. I placed it in a wire mesh strainer and pressed out the liquid. With the zucchini, I grated it into a colander and tossed it with kosher salt, then let it drain for 10 minutes. Rinse well. Press it in a wire strainer also. Fresh spinach shouldn’t be too weepy; should you use frozen, make sure to squeeze out the water. I wouldn’t recommend adding fresh tomato to the mixture as it will make them watery.