Tag Archives: zucchini

Summer Winner Dinner

This is one of those dishes that pops into my brain every once in a while, and then I can’t stop thinking about it until we make it for dinner. If you ignore the fact that it requires the oven, it’s the perfect summer recipe. It’s very simple, and does a great job featuring the flavors of fresh garden tomatoes, basil, and zucchini.

All you do is roast sliced tomatoes and zucchini…

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And layer them with a mixture of ricotta, egg, basil, garlic, and Parmesan.

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Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Easy as crustless ricotta summer vegetable pie.
Actually it’s more like a lasagna without the noods.
(That’s noodles, for those of you who didn’t go to college with me… As featured in the self-explanatory dorm-friendly meals of buttery noods and saucy noods.)

Here’s the recipe.
It’s a Washington Post recipe from 2 summers ago. The recipe says to sprinkle the garlic on top, but we mix it in with the cheese mixture. I’m sure both are good. Or double the garlic and do both. That’s probably good too. It’s one of those recipes that’s hard to ruin. If you do manage to
ruin it you can always call on the backup dinner of buttery noods… : )

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Green & Black

Lately I’ve been looking for a little more chocolate in my life, but our house has been sadly devoid of it.  Luckily, I have the power to change that.

Hold on… that doesn’t look like chocolate.

Well, just you wait.

I cobbled this recipe together when I worked as an Americorps member for the nutrition program at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Tioga County in Owego, NY.  There were certain restrictions on the recipes we could recommend to people under Eat Smart New York (the CCE nutrition program).  I don’t remember them all, but I know it couldn’t have more than 35% of calories coming from fat or 10 grams of added sugar per serving.  We wanted a recipe using zucchini, and in my search for zucchini bread recipes, I came upon this one.  To healthify/modify it to meet the recipe requirements, I made a few tweaks involving applesauce, reduced sugar, and whole wheat flour.  The result was fabulous: deep, chocolatey, and cake-like.

We’ve had a couple zucchini lying around, and I decided to make them into chocolate.  It’s like a water-into-wine situation for the chocolate religion 🙂

I made one more modification for this version.  I love oats, and I tend to think they improve most things.  So, for half of the cup of whole wheat flour called for in the recipe, I substituted half a cup of oat flour.  Actually, to be more specific, I used half a cup of regular, ol’fashioned oats, ground into flour with a few quick spins of the food processor.  Simple.

The result was lovely.  Now this bread is even more like cake: moist, dark chocolate cake.  Mmmmmm.

It’s healthy enough to be a snack (or breakfast if you’re feeling fancy) but decadent enough to be dessert.  As seen here, a la mode.

No lack of chocolate in this house now!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups Shredded Zucchini (this was 1.5 big-ish ones)
  • 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Oat Flour (or 0.5 cup oats, ground until powdery)
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/4 cup Canola Oil (or oil of your choosing)
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 tbsp Milk (of your choosing)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)
  • However many chocolate chips suit your fancy

How-To

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a loaf pan (or a muffin tin).
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg, then add the oil, applesauce, sugars, milk, and vanilla, and beat until well blended.  Fold in zucchini.

Wet Ingredient World

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

I was in a hurry and cheated a little. I just placed the dry ingredients on top of the wet, mixed them together a little on the surface, then...

  • Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until just combined.  Fold in walnuts and/or chocolate chips.
  • Transfer the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake 55 to 60 minutes (about 25 minutes for muffins) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  • Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and cool completely.  Or not- I don’t blame you for wanting to sample it warm out of the oven…

Nutrition Facts – calculated using caloriecount.com, without chocolate chips, since I have no idea how many you could be adding…:)
Based on 12 Servings
Calories 148
Calories from Fat 65
Total Fat 7.2g
Saturated Fat 0.9g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 16mg
Sodium 166mg
Total Carbohydrates 20.0g
Dietary Fiber 2.1g
Sugars 11.2g
Protein 3.1g
Vitamin A 1% Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 3% Iron 6%

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When Life Gives You Cheese

Make Pizza!

(A a good decision, given that the other option would be Cheese-Ade)

 

We have so much cheese!  Cheddar, goat, cambozola, mozzarella, fresh mozzarella, gouda, parmesan, cottage, cream, and more!  I had the day off yesterday, so I was able to put some of that cheese to work.

Here’s the dough, in need of kneading…

The recipe is from my beautiful “Anna’s Favorite Recipes” binder that my wonderful friends gave me for my birthday this year. They contributed recipes to it, and I have added recipes from magazines and my experiences.  It’s the best.

I feel Katie may have had something to do with the fact that it matches our kitchen (even if only subconsciously)...

 

You are now entering the pizza section.

This recipes is from Mer.  It’s the best crust recipe I have yet to encounter.  And, of course, it is impeccably presented.  If you are interested in the recipe but can’t read it from the picture, leave a comment and I’d be happy to type it out for you!

Pizza #1 is pan-browned zucchini and sauteed red peppers with fresh and not-fresh (what do you call it? Is it aged?) mozzarella.

Toppings, ready for topping.

Before...

After!

Pizza #2 is cambozola (if you like blue cheese but have never tried this one, go buy some- you will absolutely not regret it), caramelized onions, walnuts, and mozzarella.

Before (Pizza #2 doesn't photograph as well)...

Pale in color, but not in flavor!

 

They were both so good in their individual ways.  On pizza #1, the sauce was garlicky from a huge clove of home-grown garlic, and I simmered the sauce for a long time, so it had that concentrated tomatoey sweetness.  Cooking the vegetables beforehand gave them a more intense flavor; in my opinion they suit a pizza better that way than when they only cook for the 8 or so minutes the pizza is in the oven.  Pizza #2 had that super-savory, uninterrupted cheesiness of a white pizza, especially since the cheese was a blue, and with the addition of the onions and toasty walnuts.  Mmm now I wish there was more of it.

Our cheese drawer is not empty, to say the least, but the assortment is now more manageable.  If anyone has any brilliant ideas for using cheese, don’t hold back!

 

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HowD’Ya Do to Three That Are New!

Don’t you love when dishes just volunteer themselves to be made?  When you have a line-up of ingredients awaiting their destiny, and the recipes just look at you and say “duh…”  That’s the reason I tried three new recipes last night.  Also lovely was how smoothly the assembly went, thanks to my brother who acted as sous chef for me 🙂  He is an enthusiastic chopper of all things choppable.  And an expert dressing-maker.

New Recipe #1: An Asian-Inspired Veggie Salad from Versatile Kitchen

Except we added avocado, too.  Never a mistake.

Great contrasts of texture, and very nice flavors in the dressing.  We were thinking a  hint of wasabi would be a good addition- it would add another dimension, as I like to say 🙂

New Recipe #2: Zucchini Fritters from Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer

Fritters, frittering.

I used zucchini from our garden, but of course made the good ol’ mistake of not taking stock inventory before shopping, and we only had half the weight the recipe asked for.  So I took a vote, and everyone seemed to think carrot would be an acceptable substitute for the second half.  Which it was.

Finished Fritters

I usually prefer to prepare garden vegetables in more simple recipe where their flavor can shine, but I’m glad our garden zucchini enabled us to make these.   My mom made a yogurt/sour cream/garlic/mint dipping sauce, and it was fab.

New Recipe #3: Aromatic Herb Salad from Cooking Me Softly

I don’t have a picture of this one.. but it looked much like the picture on her blog.  We only used the juice of one lime (whereas the recipe calls for two), but it was plenty limey!  It was (unintentionally) a very nice dish to connect the Asian-inspired vegetables with the Greek-y (due to the mint and feta) fritters.

We probably set a record for amount of herbs used in one meal.  Absolutely everything (salad, rice, fritters, yogurt sauce) contained herbs, and most things had more than one kind.  Antioxidants (not to mention flavor) everywhere!

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