Grilled Zucchini Corn Tostadas with Spicy Hummus

Grilled Zucchini Corn Tostadas with Spicy Hummus

http://www.nomingthrulife.com/grilled-zucchini-corn-tostadas-spicy-hummus/

This is one of the best recipes I’ve come across in terms of effort-to-deliciousness ratio. It only takes a little bit of work, and the payoff is more than worth it. As long as you have all the ingredients on hand and have the time to grill or roast the veggies, the prep work is a snap, and you end up with a flavor-packed dish that seems like it must have been a lot harder than it really was.

If you have a grill, this is an easy summer staple, great for a light dinner or substantial snack. We technically do have a grill at our house, brand new this summer in fact, buuuuuuuuuut… it’s electric. I have mixed feelings about the electric grill. My fiancé, who is all about no-fuss cooking and alternative energy, was super excited about it, and has had mostly positive results so far. He cooks a lot more meat than I do, and has been very pleased with the grill’s ability to produce precisely-cooked, extra-juicy steaks and such. Personally though, grilling doesn’t do much for me if it doesn’t suffuse everything with that smoky, charred charcoal flavor. We do have some hickory chips for smoking; sometimes they make a difference? But mostly, food isn’t on the grill long enough to really absorb the smoke. I will admit that the setup and cleanup are much less hassle than with a standard charcoal grill. But with some things, the extra work is worth it, and for me summer grilling is one of these things.

That said, when I myself am already roasting from the heat of the day and just can’t deal with the idea of turning on the oven, the grill does a totally adequate job of cooking veggies.  If you’re looking to avoid heating up your kitchen, you can definitely go this route.  When the weather is cooler, I generally use the oven for this recipe.  I don’t roast the vegetables whole in this case. Instead, I dice the zucchini and cut the kernels off the corn, then spread everything in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Add some salt and pepper, toss/stir a bit to combine, and then roast at 425 for about 20 minutes. Your time & temperature may vary; sometimes I bump it up to 445 and roast for a shorter time. You do have to stay in the kitchen and keep an eye on it to avoid ending up with a blackened mess (ask me how I know), but I like to have a little bit of char on roasted vegetables, and the higher temp is great for that (as long as you pull it out in time).

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Once you have your grilled or roasted veggies, it’s just a matter of assembly; spread your hummus on tostadas or tortillas, then top with veggies. I also add feta cheese or queso fresco on top, which I highly recommend. The recipe includes a tasty basic hummus recipe, but naturally you can use any hummus you like, including storebought; if you’re not making hummus from scratch (or are using previously-prepared hummus), it cuts down the prep time even more. I do find that spicy hummus really shines in this recipe, moreso than regular hummus (and I say that as a total lightweight when it comes to spicy foods) – I never order above a 1 at Thai restaurants, but I do like a little spice in this. If you only have regular hummus on hand, you can always throw it into the food processor with a little cayenne pepper or chili powder.

Also, I find that I actually prefer regular tortillas to tostadas here. The tostadas are tricky to eat; they tend to drop toppings if you try to eat them with your hands, but they still crumble awkwardly if you go after them with knife and fork. A soft tortilla can be rolled up like a burrito, and is more convenient in my opinion. Alternatively, you could serve these like nachos, with either tortilla chips or pita chips – a unique & tasty appetizer, easy to whip up in small or large amounts.

I’m always excited to find quick, healthy vegetarian recipes that deliver strong flavors, and this one doesn’t disappoint. I come back to it every couple months and it’s solid every time. You could definitely experiment with other veggie toppings, too: roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, or really anything you like. Hope you’ll give it a try this summer and let me know how it goes!

Deliciousness score: 8
Easiness score: 9

2.2 pinterest

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Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops with Rice Noodle Salad

Vietnamese Grilled Pork Chops with Rice Noodle Salad

http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2017/06/vietnamese-grilled-pork-chops-cold-rice-noodle-salad-recipe.html

I lived in Saint Louis, Missouri for a number of years after college, and there was an unassuming little Vietnamese place in my neighborhood called Pho Grand, which remains my favorite restaurant to this day. I had my favorite dish there (lemongrass tofu), which I got 90% of the time, and my second favorite dish (some other kind of tofu), which I got when I felt like I should be more adventurous and not just get the same thing every time. I tasted bits & pieces of friends’ dishes from time to time, and I just never had a bad dish there; literally everything was good. It made me fall in love with Vietnamese cuisine.

For some reason, I’ve never tried Vietnamese cooking at home. I guess I assumed that I couldn’t recreate an authentic taste like the ones I loved from Pho Grand. But when I stumbled across this recipe from Serious Eats, it looked so tasty (and so similar to what I remembered from the restaurant) that I thought I’d give it a shot.

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Nothing about this recipe is particularly difficult, but there are a lot of steps, since there are two condiment recipes in addition to the main dish. Additionally, one of those condiments (the pickled vegetables) needs to be made in advance. I intended to make mine the night before, but forgot and ended up throwing it together the morning of. I have to admit that I was feeling a little bit grumpy as I stood in my kitchen julienning carrots (poorly) while my scone waited for me temptingly on the table. But in the end, it was 100% worth the effort.

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I couldn’t find a daikon radish at my grocery store, so I used a few regular radishes instead. While not strictly authentic, they tasted fine to me. They did turn the entire pickle jar pink, which is kind of a perk in my opinion. I also mixed up the nuoc cham dipping sauce that morning. Really, the ideal plan would be to do all this prep the night before; the pork can be marinated in the fridge for 12 hours. By the time I finished the dipping sauce, I was really feeling my scone calling to me and wasn’t up to dealing with the marinade. I just did the 30-minute option at dinnertime instead, letting the pork marinate at room temperature before putting it on the grill.

Once all the prep is done, the dish comes together quickly. While the pork is grilling, you can boil the rice vermicelli, which takes just a few minutes. Because I was using an electric grill on a chilly day, my pork took longer to cook through than expected. (I’m not a huge fan of my electric grill, at least not on cool days, when it has a hard time holding its temperature.) But it does have the advantage of keeping meats juicier than a standard grill, so even though it cooked longer, the texture was still decent.

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And the taste was seriously amazing. All the fresh, bright flavors I remembered from my old favorite restaurant were there. Lime juice, garlic, a little sugar, and the sharp pickled veggies were perfect complements to the savory pork. It’s an especially nice recipe for summer: cool and refreshing, with no oven required.

All in all, this is one of my favorite recipes of the year, and I’ll definitely be making it again. I’ve had good luck with Serious Eats in general, and am excited to try more of their dishes. (Tune in later this week for another Serious Eats find, an amazing restaurant-style General Tso’s Chicken from the renowned J. Kenji Lopez-Alt.)

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Deliciousness score: 9
Easiness score: 6

6.1 rating