Hummus with Spiced Zucchini and Lamb

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Continuing along our theme of oops, I grew too much zucchini this summer and now I don’t know what to do with it, I present to you this one-dish meal. (Or appetizer, if you like.) Serve this with pita bread or you know, do like me and eat it by the spoonful. It’s that satisfying.

Hummus with spiced zucchini and lamb

Ingredients:

2 15 ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 cup tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound ground lamb or beef
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, divided
1 pound zucchini, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1. Make the hummus: Process chickpeas in a food processor until ground, about 30 seconds. Add garlic, tahini, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt and process until smooth. With motor running, drizzle in ½ cup water and process until hummus is very smooth, light, and creamy. Spoon onto a large platter.

2. Make the lamb: Mix together remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, coriander, cumin, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add lamb and press into a large 1 1/2-thick patty; sprinkle with half of spice mixture and half of garlic. Cook, without moving, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn over in pieces and cook until other side is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, breaking up and stirring, until cooked through, about 4 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, scoop lamb over hummus.

3. Discard fat and wipe out skillet. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over high. Cook zucchini in a single layer, undisturbed, until browned, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining spice mixture and garlic and cook, stirring, until squash is coated and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Spoon squash over lamb. Top with parsley and serve with pita.

Zucchini Fritters with Pistou

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Did you plant zucchini this summer and now have way too many of them and don’t know what to do? Tired of zucchini salad? Enter zucchini fritters with garlicy pistou. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, I could eat a million of these.

Zucchini fritters with pistou

Ingredients:

1 handful basil leaves
1 or 2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound zucchini, grated
2/3 cup flour
1 egg, separated
Vegetable oil for shallow-frying
salt
pepper

1. To make the pistou, place the basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, lemon zest in a food processor and pulse until grainy. Gradually blend in 1/2 cup olive oil, a little at a time, until combined, then transfer to a small serving bowl.

2. To make the fritters, put the grated zucchini in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit for 1 hour, then rinse. Squeeze and drain well.

3. Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the center, then add the egg yolk and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Measure 4 tablespoons water and add a little to the oil.

4. Beat the egg yolk and oil, gradually incorporating the flour and water to make a smooth batter. Season and let sit for 30 minutes.

5. Stir the zucchini to the batter. Beat the egg white until stiff, then fold into the batter.

6. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a frying pan. Add spoonfuls of batter to the oil and fry for about 4 minutes per side, until golden. Drain the fritters on paper towels and serve warm with the pistou.

Aperol-Rum-Pineapple Cocktail

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I didn’t know what to call this cocktail, so I made it literal. There’s aperol. There’s rum. There’s pineapple. There’s more to it, but essentially it tastes like a tropical island without the saccharine sweetness that overwhelms so many tiki-style drinks. It comes together in a cinch, making it perfect for a lazy summer day.

aperol rum pineapple cocktail

Ingredients:

1/4 cup sugar
1 ounce Aperol
1 ounce spiced dark rum
1 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
mint leaves, for garnish (optional)

1. Combine sugar and 1/4 water in a bowl and mix until sugar is dissolved to make simple syrup.

2. Combine Aperol, rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, and 1/4 ounce syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake vigorously 30 seconds. Strain into a glass filled to the brim with crushed ice and garnish with mint, if desired.

Cumin Beef

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The first time I had cumin beef was decades ago at an Islamic Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. The silk road influences were obvious: cumin is often used in Ughyur cuisine in China’s Xingjiang Province, in tandem with loads of garlic and chiles. I was hooked.

This fragrant dish is a cinch to make and takes me right back to that first time I tasted Muslim Chinese cuisine. Serve this with rice for an easy weeknight meal.

Cumin beef

Ingredients:

1 pound trimmed sirloin steak
2 teaspoons Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon potato flour
1 green or red bell pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
3 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes, to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil

1. Cut the beef into thin slices. In a medium bowl, stir the marinade ingredients with 1 tablespoon water and add the beef, mixing to coat. Cut the peppers into 1-inch strips, then cut diagonally into diamond-shaped slices.

2. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a wok over high heat. Add the beef and stir-fry until just cooked, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove beef from the wok and set aside.

3. Return the wok to the heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the garlic and chili pepper, and stir-fry until hot and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Return the beef to the wok and add the cumin and dried chiles, continuing to stir-fry until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Just before removing from the heat, add the green onions and stir. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and serve.

Maui-Style Salad with Avocado and Roasted Beets

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Adapted from an Edible Hawaii recipe, this salad is labor-intensive, but worth it. Macadamia nuts, avocado, and hearts of palm provide a tropical note, and a preserved lemon-tarragon dressing gives the whole thing a bracing bite. This salad is filling enough for a light meal on its own.

Maui salad with avocado and roasted beets

Ingredients:

1 8-ounce bag mixed salad greens
1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, washed, drained, and sliced
1 avocado, peeled and diced
3 medium-sized beets
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/2 cup toasted macadamia nuts
1 bag sunflower sprouts (optional)
1 preserved lemon, rinsed well
1/2 cup tarragon, leaves stripped and stem discarded
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt
pepper

1. Wash and spin salad greens.

2. Peel and cube beets, and roast in 375F degree oven with avocado oil and salt for 25 minutes or until tender.

3. Place preserved lemon, tarragon leaves, honey, and olive oil in a blender and blend for 15 seconds until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and thin the dressing with a splash of water if it is too thick.

4. Place greens into salad bowl or platter with the beets, heart of palm and sprouts. Toss with dressing, adding more to adjust to taste. Garnish with avocado, macadamia nuts, and sprouts.