Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Zucchini

Z is for Zucchini

So this is the last day for the A to Z Challenge 2016. Been fun as usual and thanks to all of you who have visited me. I have tried to return all visits but one or two of you do not have a working link which I could use.

I did Zebra for the last two challenges so figured I had better change although many of you may not know that zebra is used as a food. Zucchini is called courgette in the UK and France, Zucchini being an Italian name. It is a summer squash which can reach nearly a foot in length but is usually harvested much sooner. I know when we lived in North Carolina we were told, during the season, not to leave our car windows open too wide or we would find the car stuffed with zucchini from which I assume they are a very prolific grower. A friend in NC used to grow them large sized especially for me and I would stuff them as we did with vegetable marrow in England. I don't believe they are the same veg although Wiki seems to think they are. In my memory, they don't taste the same.

People have been figuring out how to cook zucchini forever. This sounded like a pretty good recipe.

Chicken, Zucchini, and Prosciutto

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound (about 8 slices) prosciutto
3 small zucchini, thinly sliced into half-moons
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 lemon

1. Heat oven to 400° F. Season the chicken with ¼ teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 2 minutes per side.

3. Transfer the chicken to the oven and roast for 8 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, in a second skillet, over medium heat, heat the remaining oil. Cook the prosciutto until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

5. Add the zucchini, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper to the skillet and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.

6. Add the prosciutto and zucchini mixture to the skillet with the chicken, squeeze the lemon over the top, and toss. Divide among the plates.

Serves 4.

Source: Real Simple

Have a great day

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Yam Bean

Y is for Yam Bean

I have just discovered Yam Bean is another name for Jicama. Luckily for me. This is some of what Wiki has to say about itThe jícama  or yam bean  is a vine widely grown for its large (10-15 cm diameter and up to 20 kg weight), spherical or elongated taproot. After removal of the thick, fibrous brown skin, the white flesh of the root can be eaten cooked or raw. Crisp, moist, and slightly sweet, the flesh draws comparison with that of the apple. The plant produces seeds that are comparable to lima beans, and that are sometimes eaten when young in places where the jicama is native. The mature seeds contain high levels of rotenone, a chemical used as an insecticide and pesticide. The remainder of the jícama plant is very poisonous. There seem to be different varieties grown in South America all with similarities to one another. I didn't realise the part we eat was actually the tap root nor that the beans can also be eaten although I have never come across them anywhere.

If you are a regular reader, you might know that I love dumplings. They are actually not that difficult to make if you use wonton wrappers. Admittedly I get my dumpling fix at The Mandarin when we go, at Chinese New Year especially when they have lots of different dumplings, but they always have some all year round.

Steamed Pork and Jicama Dumplings

Though these dumplings are traditionally cooked in stacked Asian bamboo or metal steamers, you can also use a pasta pot with a deep perforated colander-steamer insert. If your pot has a second shallow colander-steamer insert, you can steam 2 batches at once. The dumplings should be served
warm, so reheat them in batches as platters need replenishing.


  1. 1 large egg white
    2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
    1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    2 teaspoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup diced (1/4 inch) peeled jicama
    1/2 cup minced scallion
    1 1/2 pound ground pork (not lean)
    60 wonton wrappers (from two 12- to 14-ounce packages), thawed if frozen
    2 tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted
    2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted


    1. Make filling:
      1. Lightly whisk egg white in a large bowl, then whisk in ginger, garlic, peanut oil, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. Add jicama, scallion, and pork and mix together with your hands until combined well.
    2. Assemble dumplings:
      1. Separate wonton wrappers and restack in piles of 10. Cut through each stack with cookie cutter and discard trimmings. Arrange 6 rounds on a work surface (keep remaining rounds covered with plastic wrap) and mound a scant tablespoon filling in center of each. Lightly moisten edge of wrappers with a finger dipped in water. Working with 1 at a time and leaving dumpling on flat surface, gather edge of wrapper around side of filling, pleating wrapper to form a cup and pressing pleats against filling (leave dumpling open at top). Flatten filling flush with edge of wrapper with wet finger and transfer dumpling to a tray. Make more dumplings in same manner with remaining rounds and filling.
    3. Steam dumplings:
      1. Generously oil bottom of colander-steamer insert and bring a few inches of water to a boil in pot so that bottom of insert sits above water. Arrange 10 dumplings, about 1/2 inch apart, in insert and steam over moderate heat, covered, until dough is translucent and filling is just cooked through, about 6 minutes.
      2. Stir together black and white sesame seeds and sprinkle over dumplings. Serve immediately.
    Cooks' note:
    ·Dumplings (without sesame seeds) can be formed and steamed 1 day ahead and cooled completely, then chilled, covered. Steamed dumplings can also be frozen 1 week; freeze in 1 layer on a plastic-wrapped tray until hardened, then transfer to a sealable plastic bag. Reheat (do not thaw if frozen) in colander-steamer insert over simmering water (over low heat) until heated through, about 6 minutes.

Have a great day