She might not be a pretty vessel….

…but she is my vessel. There is a lot of food that gets cooked /baked/picture-taked in this house that does not make it to these pages. Lots of delicious (sticky citrus glazed drilled drumsticks anyone?), yummy (with a side of shaved asparagus and zucchini salad in a thyme basil vinaigrette?) & decadent (no holds barred peanut butter & chocolate chip cookies?) foods that simply don’t make the cut.

My cut.

Why? Because yours truly was not born a chef/photographer/writer. I was born a banker. (Yea me).

My interpretation of a smart food blog is the perfect storm of three elements – the food, the pictures, the words. For me, all three have to come together for the result to end up here. The trifecta has to amount to something that was not only good to eat, but written from the heart and is of a visual quality that I hope tingles at least one person’s salivary glands.

The words usually come easiest – I have lots of them & the challenge usually lies in cutting them back. The cooking (notice “cooking” NOT “baking) also tends to amount to some level of residential success. I’m blessed with a foodie partner and a Little born with a bottomless pit of a stomach so that helps. The pictures don’t come so easy. And at the end of the day people eat with their eyes...

…or do they?

The thing I love most about food (beyond the years of comfort is emotional consumption has brought me) is that it brings people together in eager anticipation of an exciting and pleasant experience. I love LOVE going to a loved one’s (or liked one’s) home for a meal and as it’s presented they are telling you what it is, where it’s from, why they made it, how they made it and how you should eat it. And the best meals are usually not food styled in perfect lighting. It’s not one particular element that stands out – its how it all comes together.

The post I did on the Beet Sliders, almost did not come to be. I LOVED those damn sliders. It was fun to make them and they tasted great. But after reviewing a zillion photos, I did not like any of the pics.

Not one.

So I deleted them off my camera - figured would just have to try make them again one day. Oddly, a few days later I was uploading (as the kids call it these days) and turned out the pics were still there. I loved the whole experience so much, I went through them again and decided to post them. They have since been published by outside sources and turned out to be one of my more popular posts.

I am learning (shocking as Mr. & I consider myself a bit of a ‘know it all’) that it’s not the three perfect elements coming together that will inspire folks to cook good food. It’s the three imperfect, heartfelt & genuine ones.

This is an original recipe I put together in my personal goal to stop throwing out produce that rots in my fridge. I had a package of 6 beautiful zucchini from TJ’s staring me down all week and today was their judgement day – compost or tummy. The dish came together because I have been seeing lots of squash being used as “vessels” for food and these colder fall days have me craving comfort food.

I love love a twice baked potato. My waistline hates hates a twice baked potato.

So I thought I would try re-create the feeling of one, hopefully without the extra calories. It was working nicely, till I decided to add the chorizo I found in the freezer. But then again, there is kale in it…. And it is served in a zucchini…. So I figure it all evens out.

These pictures aren’t necessarily pretty, but I loved the challenge of using what was in my fridge, in a new and turns out, pretty enjoyable way. I’m going to work on expanding my definition of what’s worthy of sharing here in hopes of self-critiquing a little less, and sharing a little more of what gets cooked around here. In the meantime, welcome to my vessel…

She’s not always pretty….

…but she’s all mine.

Twice Baked Chorizo & Kale Stuffed Zucchini Boats

6 - 7 small to medium zucchinis (I use one more zucchini than I have boats) 1 chorizo sausage, diced. splash of red or white wine 1/2 white onion, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 cups kale, chopped 3/4 cup shredded cheese of choice 2 T. chopped chives

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut the zucchini lengthwise in half. Using a small spoon, scoop out as much flesh as your can (gently, sometimes the boat will break) and set aside. Line of zucchini on a baking sheet.

3. Heat a heavy metal frying pan or dutch oven (not teflon) over medium heat and add the chorizo. There should be enough fat in the chorizo to negate the need for any oil. You want to cook the chorizo until it gets nice and brown and leaves some brown on the bottom of the pan. When this starts to happen, deglaze the pan with the splash of wine and scrape the "brown bits" of flavour heaven off the pan.

4. Add the scooped out zucchini, the onions, the garlic. When onions are translucent, add the kale and cook until chorizo is cooked and kale is wilted. Spoon mixture onto a cutting board and run a large knife through it, giving it a rough chop. It will fit nicer in the boats.

5. Gently spoon the mixture into the boats, top with shredded cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until zucchini is pierced easily with a fork. Garnish with chives and enjoy.