Post 41 – Transitions

The sun rises and sets earlier now I’ve begun to notice. Now when I wake up at 6:00 am the sky hangs dark and seemingly cloudy, instead of the summer sun telling me I’ve slept too long. Then in the evening when Sam and I sit down for dinner too late, we have to turn the light on instead of relying on the lingering sunlight to illuminate our table. I know, it’s all part of the transition from summer to fall and onward, but I hate transitions. They’re rough.

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Transformation, on the other hand, is beautiful. Taking flour and flavor and frying it into little puffs that are soft and fragrant makes me grateful that things can change. Ingredients can change if nothing

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I had to go back to work today after a whole week off last week (I know, wah wah wah) and suddenly the transition from summer mode to work mode is making me itch. I did “work” this summer, but the job definitely felt more seasonal because it was a short stint and the weather and constant guests stopping in kept me happy. It’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. After getting past the transition and into the new routine nothing is ever really that bad, but it’s the in between that gets uncomfortable.

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When it comes to making transitions easier, familiar foods can help. Or you can just buck up and accept that things are changing and try a new recipe for goodness sake! That’s the approach we’re taking here – do one thing every day that scares you! Remember that?

So a few weeks back I teased you with some pictures of a sausage stuffed zucchini without sharing the recipe. So here’s the scoop: kitchensurfing is doing a special Boston restaurant week menu where people pay a fixed price for a three-course meal that a chef offers, and I am offering this beautiful sausage, onion, and red pepper stuffed zucchini with goat cheese as my main event. Assuming none of you are going to go giving away my secrets, I’ll share the recipe with you here. But please don’t tell! Trust is the word.

I also FINALLY used the chickpea flour (after enjoying experimenting on gluten free chocolate chip cookies and gluten free cornbread – both highly successful) for a panisse­-like recipe: chickpea fritters. These babies are gluten-free, tasty little nuggets flavored with cumin and coriander and pumped up with fresh scallions. They are kind of falafel-like except smoother and softer. Serve them as an appetizer just as they are, with a homemade yogurt dip, or tzatziki sauce.

Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium zucchini, the fatter the better

1 lb. Italian sausage or ground beef*

½ of a medium yellow onion, diced

½ of a red bell pepper, diced

4 oz. plain or herbed goat cheese**

In a large saute pan, heat a tablespoon of canola oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and pepper and saute for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften and brown slightly. Add sausage or beef, breaking it into bite-sized pieces as you brown the meat.

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Meanwhile prepare the zucchini. Wash the zucchini and remove any blemishes with a vegetable peeler. Cut the zucchini in half length-wise and using a spoon or vegetable peeler, gently scrape out the inside seeds and pulp so that you have a little zucchini boat. Lightly spray a casserole pan or deep baking sheet and arrange zucchini in the pan, skin side down.

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When the meat and vegetable mixture is done cooking, distribute the filling evenly between the zucchini halves by spooning it. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees for about 30-40 or until zucchini are soft. Remove the pan and the foil and crumble the goat cheese over the zucchini, allowing it to melt. Serve hot.

Using ground beef

Using ground beef

Using Italian sausage

Using Italian sausage

*If you use ground beef instead use 85% lean and be sure to salt each layer, adding about 1/2 tsp in total to start (and then season according to your taste). I also added 1 T. fennel seeds to give it that sausage flavor. I found the sausage was salty enough without adding any extra salt. Don’t drain the fat from the beef as I feel there wasn’t much of it and it added some flavor and moisture.

**I added fresh chopped rosemary and basil to spruce up my plain goat cheese the second round.

For the chickpea fritter recipe, I followed Joanne’s at Fifteen Spatulas, leaving out the onion, curry, and garlic powders and adding about 3 chopped scallions. I used canola oil and just a little bit in non-stick pan to fry them.

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