Turn yellow squash or zucchini into ribbons for a fun side

The Free Press WV

Quick-cooking and delicately flavored, yellow summer squash and zucchini are favorites in Mediterranean cuisines and perfect for a light side dish.

To create a fresh, simple recipe, we started with very thinly sliced squash, using a peeler to make even “ribbons” and discarding the waterlogged seeds.

The ultrathin ribbons browned and cooked so quickly that they didn’t have time to break down and release their liquid, eliminating the need to salt them before cooking.

The cooked squash needed little embellishment; a quick, tangy vinaigrette of extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, and lemon and a sprinkle of fresh parsley rounded out the flavors.

We like a mix of yellow summer squash and zucchini, but you can use just one or the other. The thickness of the squash ribbons may vary depending on the peeler used; we developed this recipe with a peeler that produces ribbons that are 1/32 inch thick.

Steeping the minced garlic in lemon juice mellows the garlic’s bite; do not skip this step. To avoid overcooking the squash, start checking for doneness at the lower end of the cooking time.


Servings: 4-6

Start to finish: 20 minutes

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice

4 (6- to 8-ounce) zucchini or yellow summer squash, trimmed

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine garlic and lemon juice in large bowl and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Using vegetable peeler, shave off 3 ribbons from 1 side of summer squash, then turn squash 90 degrees and shave off 3 more ribbons. Continue to turn and shave ribbons until you reach seeds; discard core. Repeat with remaining squash.

Whisk 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and lemon zest into garlic-lemon juice mixture.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add summer squash and cook, tossing occasionally with tongs, until squash has softened and is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer squash to bowl with dressing, add parsley, and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.


Nutrition information per serving: 132 calories; 83 calories from fat; 9 g fat ( 1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 318 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 4 g protein.

Turn store-bought pizza dough into an easy flatbread

The Free Press WV

Store-bought pizza dough makes this flatbread weeknight-friendly, and the perfect combination of salty and savory toppings plus a quick homemade pesto will make it a new staple in your rotation.

A hot water bath (120 F) brings the cold dough to room temperature quickly, making it easier to stretch and shape. If you have time, you can let the dough sit for 1 to 2 hours on the counter instead.

Parbaking the crust before adding the toppings ensures that it won’t get soggy. Be sure to use fresh mozzarella packed in water, not low-moisture mozzarella.

Note that you’ll need 1 cup of basil, so shop accordingly.


Servings: 4

Start to finish: 1 hour

1 pound refrigerated pizza dough

1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, plus their oil

1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives

6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup jarred whole baby artichokes packed in water (4 ounces)

Salt and pepper

1 cup fresh basil

1/4 ounce Parmesan cheese

2 garlic cloves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons pine nuts

2 ounces (2 cups) baby arugula

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 500 F. Place dough in zipper-lock bag and submerge in large bowl of hot water, squeezing periodically to warm through, about 10 minutes. Measure out and reserve 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato oil. Pat sun-dried tomatoes dry and chop coarse. Cut olives in half. Slice mozzarella 1/4 inch thick and pat dry. Drain artichokes, pat dry, and halve.

Spray rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray. Press and roll dough into 15-by-11-inch rectangle on lightly floured counter. (If dough springs back, roll into as large a rectangle as possible, then let rest on counter for 5 minutes before continuing to roll out.) Transfer dough to prepared sheet and press to edges of sheet. Bake dough until bottom is just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.

Remove crust from oven and press flat any large bubbles with spatula. Brush dough with sun-dried tomato oil, leaving 1/2-inch border around edge. Arrange olives, mozzarella, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes over crust and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Bake flatbread until mozzarella is melted and crust is golden around edges, 10 to 15 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.

While flatbread bakes, pick 1 cup basil leaves. Grate Parmesan (2 tablespoons). Mince garlic. Process olive oil, pine nuts, 2 tablespoons water, basil, and garlic in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Transfer to small bowl, stir in Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer flatbread to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. While flatbread cools, transfer 1 tablespoon pesto to large bowl. Add arugula to bowl, toss to coat, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Dollop remaining pesto over flatbread to taste, then arrange arugula over top. Slice flatbread and serve.


Nutrition information per serving: 705 calories; 357 calories from fat; 40 g fat ( 10 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 35 mg cholesterol; 1655 mg sodium; 62 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 20 g protein.

The secret to an ultra-chill sorbet is all in the pectin

The Free Press WV

Raspberry sorbet is refreshing_but it’s often too icy to be worth eating. For smooth scoops, we froze a small portion of the base separately, adding it back to the rest before churning.

Because this small amount froze so rapidly, there wasn’t enough time for large ice crystals to grow; mixing this super-chilled mixture into the larger base encouraged the growth of similarly small crystals, for a fine-textured result.

We also added pectin in addition to the berries’ natural amount to give the sorbet stability in and out of the freezer. If using a canister-style ice cream machine, be sure to freeze the empty canister for at least 24 hours and preferably 48 hours before churning.

For self-refrigerating machines, pre-chill the canister by running the machine for 5 to 10 minutes before pouring in the sorbet mixture. Let the sorbet sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften before serving.

Fresh or frozen berries may be used. If using frozen berries, thaw them before proceeding.


Servings: 8

Start to finish: 6 1/2 hours

1 cup water

1 teaspoon powdered pectin such as sugar-less Sure-Jell

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 pounds (4 cups) raspberries

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons organic sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

Heat water, pectin, and salt in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until pectin is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Process raspberries, sugar, corn syrup, and cooled water mixture in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Strain puree through fine-mesh strainer into bowl, pressing on solids to remove seeds and pulp (you should have about 3 cups puree); discard solids. Transfer 1 cup puree to small bowl and place remaining puree in large bowl; cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Place large bowl in refrigerator and small bowl in freezer and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. (Small bowl will freeze solid.)

Remove puree from refrigerator and freezer. Using tines of fork, scrape frozen puree into large bowl with chilled puree. Stir occasionally until frozen puree has fully dissolved.

Transfer mixture to ice cream machine and churn until mixture resembles thick milkshake and lightens in color, 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer to airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. Serve.


Nutrition information per serving: 108 calories; 4 calories from fat; 0 g fat ( 0g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 49 mg sodium; 28 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 23 g sugar; 1 g protein.

A new twist on grilled potatoes, thanks to rosemary, garlic

The Free Press WV

Grilled potatoes are a summer classic. We wanted to put a new spin on this dish by adding rosemary and garlic.

Unfortunately, we found it was difficult to add enough flavor to plain grilled potatoes. Coating the potatoes with oil, garlic, and rosemary produced burnt, bitter garlic and charred rosemary.

It turned out that we needed to introduce the potatoes to the garlic-oil mixture not once, but three times. Before cooking, we pierced the potatoes, skewered them, seasoned them with salt, brushed on the garlic-rosemary oil, and precooked them in the microwave.

Then, before grilling, we brushed them again with the infused oil. After grilling, we tossed them with the oil yet again. We finally had it_tender grilled potatoes infused with the smoky flavor of the grill and enlivened with the bold flavors of garlic and rosemary.


Servings: 4

Start to finish: 1 hour

This recipe allows you to grill an entree while the hot coals burn down. Once that item is done, start grilling the potatoes. This recipe works best with small potatoes that are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. If using medium potatoes, 2 to 3 inches in diameter, cut them into quarters. If the potatoes are larger than 3 inches in diameter, cut each potato into eighths. Since the potatoes are first cooked in the microwave, use wooden skewers.

1/4 cup olive oil

9 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Salt and pepper

2 pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled, halved, and threaded onto wooden skewers

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Heat oil, garlic, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 8-inch skillet over medium heat until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until garlic is light blond, about 3 minutes. Pour mixture through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl; press on solids. Measure 1 tablespoon solids and 1 tablespoon oil into large bowl and set aside. Discard remaining solids but reserve remaining oil.

Place skewered potatoes in single layer on large plate and poke each potato several times with skewer. Brush with 1 tablespoon strained oil and season with salt. Microwave until potatoes offer slight resistance when pierced with paring knife, about 8 minutes, turning halfway through microwaving. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet coated with 1 tablespoon strained oil. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon strained oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

— For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds evenly over half of grill, then pour remaining coals over other half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

— For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place potatoes on grill (on hotter side if using charcoal) and cook (covered if using gas) until grill marks appear, 3 to 5 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking. Move potatoes to cooler side of grill (if using charcoal) or turn all burners to medium-low (if using gas). Cover and continue to cook until paring knife slips in and out of potatoes easily, 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Remove potatoes from skewers and transfer to bowl with reserved garlic-oil mixture. Add chives, season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss until thoroughly coated. Serve.


Nutrition information per serving: 285 calories; 100 calories from fat; 11 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 171 mg sodium; 41 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 5 g protein.

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