Warm Grilled Shrimp, Zucchini and Orzo Salad

I made this delicious warm pasta salad right before we left for Europe, thinking that I’d get a little Greek going on before we got there (feta, seafood, lemon, herbs…). If vacation turns out the way I’ve imagined it, I might be eating something just like this as you are reading – probably something even better.

I adapted this salad from this Ina Garten recipe. She developed the salad to be served cold, but my version was delicious hot (and cold as well – the leftovers are amazing!). A few changes: I used grilled zucchini instead of raw cucumber, and left out the dill and red onion (I realize all of these changes make it less Greek…that’s okay). I halved the original recipe and, even with three people, we had a ton of leftovers.

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Zucchini Ribbon Pasta

Have you heard of using zucchini as a substitute for pasta? I’ve seen it in raw and cleanse recipes here and there but I never thought it would be something I would be interested in. When I found some beautiful zucchini at our local farmer’s market, I wanted to do something a little different from the usual. Combined with some fresh herbs, garlic, parmesan, and some wonderful black pepper fettuccine that we picked up at the LA Farmer’s Market, it was seriously, surprisingly fabulous!

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Salt and Pepper Zucchini

One of my old friends has a new woman in his life. They’ve gone on a couple cute dates, they have great chemistry, and he’s cooking her dinner this week! So sweet. I’m not using any names here, but my friend has been asking me for cooking advice. He knew he wanted to keep his menu simple so he could spend time with the girl and his dog, and he knew he wanted to start with a salad, and then serve lemon pepper chicken as his main dish (cooked on his new barbeque – fancyyy). Sides was where he was drawing a blank.

I suggested cous cous as the grain, because it cooks in literally five minutes; Near East makes a great one that I like to cook in chicken broth and add fresh, chopped rosemary to. We couldn’t decide on a vegetable though, partially because the salad took tomatoes out of the equation and he is kind of picky about vegetables (typicalll!).

One of my favorite easy veggies is this zucchini recipe. It is best made in the microwave…I know!….and takes under 10 minutes to prepare – perfect for what my friend was looking for! My parents used this recipe in their restaurant (I think sans-microwave, though) and have passed it on to me. It’s best in summer, alongside grilled entrees.

Of course, turns out my friend doesn’t like zucchini either. Oh well…more for us!

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Linguine with Tomatoes, Baby Zucchini, and Herbs

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My boyfriend, Brian, just moved into a new house-his first without roommates!  It’s an adorable one bedroom with a teeny kitchen and a tiny bathroom.  It has a little porch out back and a gigantic, fat palm tree out front, which I’m completely in love with (Christmas lights come December, anyone?).

Last night, I brought over everything it takes to make this dish – from the pot and knives to the Parmesan and herbs (he’s not completely moved in yet).  It was very exciting to play house…only it’s not pretending because it’s actually his house! Oh my goodness.

Brian had fun watching me chop things and I enjoyed watching him clean up my mess; we ate at his coffee table and it was all very precious.

saucy

I chose this dish for a few reasons.  1. It’s tomato season and our garden had lots that I needed to use up. 2. It’s pretty healthy – veggies and olive oil.  3. With the fresh ingredients and no-cook sauce, it’s very summery.  4. It didn’t take very long to make.  This pasta definitely met our expectations…and there were tons of leftovers!  Yess! Continue reading

Grilled Gruyère-and-Zucchini Sandwiches with Homemade Pesto

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Confession: I’m a vegetarian.  I eat eggs, cheese, chicken broth, and ahi tuna, but no actual meat (besides the raw tuna).  My family grills out a lot, especially in the summer, and sometimes I get sick of the old veggie burger routine (although I’ll never say no to a Morningstar Farms Garden Veggie Burger…so delish).  Tonight was one of those nights, so while the kids I nanny for were at swimming lessons, I looked up some good grilling recipes and found this gem.  Swiss Gruyere, Grilled Zucchini, Pesto, and an English muffin – sounded like perfection to me, and then I saw the wine pairing.  Robert Mondavi’s Fume Blanc!! My favorite wine!!  Just let me tell you, it was amazing, and so easy to throw together.  ENJOY!  You definitely will!!

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