Test Kitchen Tuesdays: Zucchini & Tomato Sauté and Mushroom Quinoa

This week for Test Kitchen Tuesday there are two recipes to choose from—the first, Zucchini & Tomato Sauté, is a “recipe” that I made up last night while sautéing zucchini for a veggie pizza.  Since it was ad-lib in my head, there is no doubt the measurements may be off or something missing from the instructions. However, it does sound good so I am hoping it turns into a real recipe worth keeping around. The second recipe, Quinoa Pilaf with Crimini Mushrooms seemed like a nice bed for the zucchini dish, so I am planning to make it at the same time.

So, if you join me this week for Test Kitchen Tuesday, please let me know your thoughts about the zucchini recipe title (it doesn’t sound very inspiring or creative) as well as any suggestions or substitutions.  Thanks!

In the next week or so:

1.  Make the recipe(s) (posted below)
2.  Leave a comment describing your experience, opinion, adjustments, or suggestions.  ♥ If you do focus on altering it to economize, choose healthier ingredients or techniques, make it gluten-free/allergy sensitive, embellish for entertaining, or incorporate into batch/once-a-month cooking, please mention that too.
3.  Subscribe to comments so you can see what others have done.
4.  If you are feeling especially proud of your creation, snap a photo and send it to me at savoringtoday@comcast.net so it can be included.

Zucchini & Tomato Sauté

Serves: 4
2           tablespoons  extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2   cups  zucchini squash — sliced 1/4″ thick
1 1/2   cups  yellow squash — sliced 1/4″ thick
1           cup  stewed tomatoes — hand mashed, drained
2           cloves  garlic — thinly sliced
1/2       cup  fennel bulb (optional) — sliced
1/3       cup  fresh basil — chopped
Parmesan cheese — freshly grated
salt and pepper

In a large skillet, saute garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until lightly toasted (it turns quickly, so keep a close eye). Remove slices of garlic from skillet and set aside. In the remaining oil, add squash and fennel; allow to cook over medium heat until lightly browned or caramelized.  A little more oil can be added, but it is easier to brown the vegetables when they are a more dry than wet.  Add a little salt and pepper.

Once the squash and fennel are lightly browned, yet still al dente, add tomatoes (be sure to drain off excess liquid from tomatoes before adding), basil and toasted garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 3-5 minutes.

Serve topped with freshly grated Parmesan.

NOTES: Sweet yellow onion can be substituted for the fennel.

Quinoa Pilaf with Crimini Mushrooms

Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/quinoa-pilaf-with-crimini-mushrooms-recipe/index.html
Serves: 4
1            tablespoon  kosher for Passover olive oil
1            small  shallot — peeled and chopped
1/2       cup  crimini mushrooms — wiped clean and thinly sliced
1 1/2    cups  quinoa — rinsed well and drained
1/2        teaspoon  fresh thyme leaves removed from their stems
1             bay leaf
1 1/2    teaspoons  kosher salt
3            cups  vegetable stock — or water
Freshly ground black pepper

Place a saucepan on high heat and get it hot. Add the olive oil and swirl it around to make sure the entire surface is covered with oil. Add the shallot and sweat (cook until translucent but not brown). Add the crimini mushrooms and cook until brown. Add the quinoa, thyme leaves, bay leaf , kosher salt and black pepper to the pan and stir. Let the ingredients heat up and roast a little to bring out all their fullest flavors. The steam coming up should be very aromatic .

Slowly and carefully add the vegetable stock (it will spatter because the pan and ingredients are hot). When it comes to full boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover and allow to steam for about 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, remove lid and fluff the quinoa and then replace the lid and allow to sit for about 10 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary. Serve.

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3 responses to “Test Kitchen Tuesdays: Zucchini & Tomato Sauté and Mushroom Quinoa

  1. I was always intrigued with quinoa, I haven’t tried it yet? How does it taste? We don’t have that here in NZ

    • I don’t think quinoa has a strong or distinct taste unless toasted a little before cooking, then it is a little nutty in flavor. I believe it is the texture that makes it most distinctive with a mouthfeel similar to cous cous, but more firm. It is gaining in popularity, so maybe you will see it in NZ soon 🙂

  2. Well, this week I got busy with it and made these recipes last night–Mmm, they are both a good addition to my side dish recipes, with a few adjustments.

    Zucchini & Tomato Saute (still looking for a better title)
    1. used an entire can of stewed tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cup)
    2. will add one more clove of garlic next time–the toasted garlic was quite nice in this, left me wanting more
    3. increase basil to 1/2 cup so there is enough fresh to sprinkle on top when served.

    Quinoa Pilaf with Crimini Mushrooms
    1. In my opinion, this recipe needs a lot more mushrooms, so I increase the mushrooms to 2 cups, coarsely chopped.
    2. 3 green onions instead of shallots (1/4 cup)
    3. 1/4 tsp dried thyme; didn’t have fresh
    4. Chicken stock instead of veggie.
    5. It turned out a little heavy on the salt for me. Next time I will reduce the salt to 1 tsp.
    I’m not sure who they were feeding when preparing this recipe, but it will feed more than 4, for sure — I would estimate 6-8 as a side dish.

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