Whats up with those Fruit sticker #’s???

fruit-stickers_6752  Some consumer info from your friendly, neighborhood Zig- Hey that’s me!!

OK, so you buy a piece of fruit at your local supermarket.  You look at that little label, which, lets face it- is annoying.  I, for one have accidentally eaten it many times!

But, whats up with those numbers on it.  Well the folks at ZortZort.com ( go to http://zortzort.com/crazy-facts/fruit-stickers/ )   have demystified those numbers for us. Check this info out- it will help you make your buying easier and safer for you and your family.

Honey & Sriracha Chicken


2 chicken breasts – diced
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
4 TBsp soy sauce
1/2 TBsp Sriracha sauce
3 cloves garlic- diced
5/8 cups sugar
1/4 tsp ground Ginger
3 TBsp Honey
2 Carrots- diced

Steam carrots for 7 minutes
Add chicken to wok and cook til done
Remove from wok.
Add water,sriracha,soy sauce,garlic,sugar and honey
Bring to a boil and whisk in 2 TBsp cornstarch and 2 TBsp water until thick
Add chicken and carrots to sauce

Super easy dish folks . I added diced pineapple ontop and a squeeze of fresh lime. Serve over rice

Chicken Italiano

2 chicken breasts-cut in thin slices
1 small yellow onion-diced
8 portabello mushrooms-thin slice
3 cloves of garlic-smashed
1/3 cup fresh basil-torn
1TBsp Italian seasoning
1/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 TBsp butter

Sautéed chicken in 1/2 TBsp butter and cook until almost done
Remove chicken from pan and add garlic, mushrooms. Cook until soft and add seasoning. Add wine and butter and reduce liquid.
Put in basil and add chicken to sauce- mix and serve.

So here’s a quick dinner to whip up on a week night. Its all Italian, well maybe not the butter part at the end- that’s my French side coming out.  It gives the sauce a velvety finish.  I broke the basil up by hand for a more rustic look, but you can finely dice it if you wish.  I like to use a dry wine for the sauce.

Blueberries a la Zig

1 qt. of fresh blueberries ( from NJ of course!)

6 or 7 fresh picked Mint leaves
Local Organic Honey

Wash blueberries and dry them- put in a bowl
Stack and fold mint leaves- chiffonade them( fancy for cutting them in thin strips)
Sprinkle mint leaves over berries
Drizzle honey ( to taste) over berries and mint

Living in New Jersey for practically my entire life, we always had amazing fruits and veggies grown locally. Blueberries were always at the top of my list. Buy fresh and local and you can’t go wrong.

Zapiekanka ( Polish Open Faced Sandwich)

Onion ( chopped)
Mushrooms (sliced thin) I like baby portabellas
shredded mozzarella cheese
chives( diced fine)
Mayo ( optional)
Deli Ham (optional-sliced thin)

NOTE- there are no exact measurings here- you just want enough ingredients to cover both sides of the baguette

Slice baguette lengthwise
Sautee onions and mushrooms until salt
Season with salt and pepper
Add mayo to the bread(if you want- I do not)
Put onion/mushroom mixture on top of bread
Add mozzarella cheese
Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes until cheese is melty and bubbly
Drizzle with Ketchup
Sprinkle on the Chives

Ok- so the name, Zapiekanka comes from the word “zapiekac” which means to scorch in Polish. Get it? Its a traditional Polish street food. Its basically a french bread pizza. I know the ketchup seems odd, but it really does taste awesome with everything else. It was said to be invented during the 1970’s when Poland was under Communist rule. It was cheap to make and you could walk around eating and chatting. It was very popular but then died out and is now being revived by the Polish Hipsters ( yeah- they have them too!)

Other Types of Zapiekanka:
Hawaiian style- Add Pineapple and cubed Ham
Greek style- use Feta cheese and add Olives ( Kalamata and black ones)

Soup au Pistou (French Peasant Vegetable Soup)

For the Soup:
olive oil or canola oil ( to coat pan)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 med. Red Onion (diced)
2 Tsp. Thyme
3 Bay Leaves
1 28 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
2 carrots (diced)
1 Zucchini (diced)
1 Yellow Squash (diced)
1/4 lb. fresh blanched Green Beans(cut in half)
1 14 oz. can of small Cannelini beans (drain & rinse)
5 cups Vegetable Broth ( canned is OK)
2 pinches of fresh Oregano
1/2 cup Frozen Peas
3/4 cup small uncooked Pasta
small pinch of Saffron

For the Pistou:
1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
3 cloves of Garlic (smashed and chopped)
4 Tsp. olive oil

In a dutch oven, heat the oil, onion and garlic. When tender add the Bay leaves and Thyme.
Put in squash, zucchini and green beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add broth and saffron and bring to a boil.Cover and boil for 20 minutes. Then add oregano, peas and pasta. Cook until pasta is firm.
While the soup is cooking, make the pistou. Put all ingredients in a food processor or chopper. Blend well til smooth.
Ladle soup and add a spoonful of pistou on top.

OK- I know you’re wondering what the heck is pistou! Well its the French version of pesto. Only its not made with pine nuts and cheese like the Italian kind. PLEASE make sure you add this to your soup, its just not the same soup if you don’t. Put in a little at first then adjust as you like.
The kicker here not only is the pistou but the addition of the saffron. Yes, its expensive but its so worth it in this soup. Traditionally, you use only water for the broth, hence the peasant style. But adding the veggiwe broth just rounds out the flavors. Oh yeah- its totally vegan ( just watch what type of pasta you use)

Cucumber Salsa

1 medium cucumber ( seeded and diced)
1 white onion ( diced)
1/2 cup tomatoes ( seeded and diced)
2 cloves of garlic ( smashed and chopped)
3/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 jalapeno (seeded and diced)
juice of 1 lime(fresh)
1 tsp. lemon juice

Add all ingredients to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours (better overnight).

This is a simple and quick salsa recipe. It is so fresh and flavorful with no oil!! Try the English seedless cukes- they are awesome. I like to add a variety of tomatoes- try the yellow low acidity ones!
You can add another jalapeno if you wish to spice it up. Maybe throw in some red pepper flakes- thats always a good addition.

Black Bean Sliders with Sriracha Aioli

makes 4 sliders or 2 burger size

1 14 oz. can of black beans (drain & reserve juice)
1 small onion ( grated)
1 Egg
2 Tsp. Hot Sauce ( Chouloula- Chipolte flavor)
2 cloves Garlic ( minced)
1/2 cup bread crumbs ( unflavored)
1/2 cup Corn
1 Poblano pepper ( diced)
1/4 cup fresh Cilantro ( chopped)

Sriracha Aioli:
1/4 cup Mayo
1 tsp. Sriracha sauce
1 tsp. fresh Lime Juice

Sautee onion and pepper until soft.
Combine all ingredients except corn and beans
Mash corn and beans until chunky and add to seasonings
Add bean juice just until moist
Grill or pan fry as you wish
Top with Aioli

These sliders are hardy. They fill you up but don’t make you feel like you need to run a marathon after eating them.You can pan fry or grill them- your choice.
I like to grill them-weather permitting. Just remember-this is not meat, you can’t treat it as a regular burger because everything is cooked except for the egg.
So use moderate heat when cooking. If you pan fry, it gives a deeper more even crust. If you grill it gets that charred smoky flavor. When grilling, remember to brush patties with oil. Remember- they do not shrink, like a burger, so the size you make is the size you will eat.
I like to add Pepper Jack cheese on top or a nice Extra Sharp Cheddar.
Maybe omit the aioli and add some guacamole with shredded lettuce and a thin slice of red onion.
Counting Carbs- Ditch the bun and top with Salsa!

Sweet Onion Dip


2 cups shredded Vidalia Onion
2 cups Parmesan cheese( plain old shaker cheese)
2 cups Mayo

Mix together and put in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.
(no need to grease pan)
Serve with pita chips

This is the easiest recipe I know- it comes out awesome every time and people always thin k there’s something else in there. I mean its so simple, but that’s what makes it so good.

Use the leftovers, if any, to mix in with cooked pasta. Or spread it on a toasted baguette with grilled shrimp and Boston lettuce.

Make this for your next party- I guarantee everyone will love it. If not, I’ll buy you a beer!

Do not use low fat mayo- its terrible in this dish. It gets super watery and just plain gross! Save that stuff for, well….nothing!