Ghalayet Kousa (Sauted Zucchini)

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Sorry guys, this is a zucchini blog now. Iranian ghaliyeh kadoo, meet your Palestinian cousin, ghaleyet kousa. Just as delicious a zucchini dish, ghalayet kousa is a little mintier, a little spicier, and sans turmeric. If you love zucchini like I do, you’ll be making this easy dish all summer long.

Ghalayet kousa

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
6 zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 serrano chili, minced
1 teaspoon dried mint
Salt

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the zucchini and saute for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili and let the zucchini cook down, stirring occasionally. Season with salt.

2. After about 10 minutes, add the mint and mix with the zucchini. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mutabal Kousa (Zucchini and Yogurt Dip)

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I first made this Palestinian zucchini, yogurt, and tahini dip last summer when we had way too much zucchini on our hands and didn’t know what to do with it. One bite of the creamy dip flecked with garlic, lemon, and mint, and I was hooked. So naturally, I ended up making this a hundred or so times last summer — and plan on doing the same this year, too. Like Iranian ghaliyeh kadoo, you can serve mutabal kousa with flatbread, or if you’re like me, you can eat it straight out of the bowl.

Mutabal kousa

Ingredients:

1/3 cup olive oil
4 or 5 zucchini, cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 serrano chili, minced
1 teaspoon dried mint
Salt
Flatbread to serve

1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and saute the zucchini with 1 teaspoon of salt, until golden grown. Remove from the heat.

2. Smash the zucchini in a bowl with a fork to achieve a chunky texture. Add the garlic, lemon juice, tahini, yogurt, and salt, if needed.

3. Add the chili and dried mint and mix to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Ghaliyeh Kadoo (Iranian Simmered Zucchini)

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Ghalieh kadoo is one of those dishes whose sum is greater than its parts. This Iranian garlicy stewed zucchini never comes out 100% like my maman’s (does anything ever come out like our mamans’?) but it’s delicious nonetheless. Serve it with flatbread, or eat it plain like I do, because it’s really that good.

Ghaliyeh kadoo

Ingredients:

10 zucchini, diced
Salt
1 head garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons turmeric
Pepper

1. Salt the zucchini in a colander for a couple of hours to release excess liquid.

2. In a saucepan, lightly sauté the garlic in the olive oil until just starting to turn golden. Add the turmeric, then add the zucchini. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until reduced, about 20 minutes.

3. Add pepper to taste, cover, and simmer on low, stirring every once in a while for another 10 minutes, adding a bit of water if needed to keep from scorching. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Smash Burgers with Secret Sauce

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I never really loved burgers (outside of the ones my maman makes) until Gott’s Roadside came along. A Napa institution, Gott’s has made its way around the Bay Area. The produce is fresh, the meat is local, and there are no iffy secret ingredients. We occasionally have Gott’s as a treat, and this is how I’ve come to love burgers. And now I make a homestyle version myself, and truth be told, it’s the sauce that really carries these burgers. Don’t skip the chipotle peppers here — they’re what take these burgers over the top.

Smash burgers with secret sauce

Ingredients:

1 cup finely chopped dill pickles
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 chipotles in adobo and sauce from a can
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more
1 1/2 pounds ground beef (20% percent fat)
4 hamburger rolls
1/2 head of romaine or iceberg lettuce, leaves separated, torn into pieces about the size of the buns
1 onion, very thinly sliced into rings
4 thin tomato slices
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 thin slices cheddar cheese

1. Heat a cast-iron griddle over high until heated.

2. Make the sauce: mix together pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup, adobo sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set special sauce aside.

3. Divide beef into 4 6-ounce portions (don’t form into patties). Place portions between 2 sheets of parchment paper, spacing 6 inches apart, and, using a meat mallet, firmly smash to create patties, about 5″ across. Transfer to a baking sheet.

4. Quickly warm the hamburger buns in the hot skillet, turning once, until buns are warmed through, about 1 minute. Spread sauce over cut sides of buns. Place 3–4 pieces of lettuce on bottom buns and top each with some onion and a tomato slice.

5. Add oil to skillet. Season patties lightly with salt. Place patties in skillet, seasoned side down, and season top sides lightly with salt. Cook, undisturbed, until outer edges are brown and undersides are crisp, about 3 minutes. Flip and place a slice of cheese on top of each patty. Cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Transfer patties to buns with toppings.

Tabbouleh with Preserved Lemon

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Studded with tons of parsley and bits of tangy preserved lemon, this lightly spiced tabbouleh shines as a summer side dish. Make this when the weather is warm and you want something healthy to eat. Don’t let it sit too long; tabbouleh is best eaten fresh.

Tabbouleh with preserved lemon

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 cup bulgur
5 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced preserved lemon
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup chopped or sliced almonds, toasted
A quarter red onion, finely chopped

1. In a medium pan, cook bulgur according to package instructions, adding 1/8 teaspoon salt. Fluff bulgur with a fork and let cool.

2. Whisk together the lemon juice, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, the preserved lemon, and spices. Whisk in the oil to make the dressing.

3. In a large bowl, toss the parsley with the bulgur, almonds, and onion. Drizzle in the dressing and mix well. Serve at room temperature.