Friday, October 14, 2011

Zucchini Parmesan

The last of the zucchini is in.  We've been eating zucchini for months, and amazingly, it still tastes good.  But it's a challenge to find something easy and different to do with it.  The zucchini in this recipe is firm, not mushy. It's beautiful, and smells delicious.

Zucchini Parmesan

1 large zucchini
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 C bread crumbs
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp dried basil or 1/2 tsp fresh, chopped
1/8 tsp dried oregano or 1/4 tsp fresh, chopped
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 C spaghetti sauce (homemade or jarred)
1 C grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice the zucchini on the diagonal into 3/8 inch slices.

Mix the egg and the olive oil.

 Mix the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, basil, oregano, and salt.

Dip each slice of zucchini into the egg mixture then the bread crumb mixture.  Place on the baking sheet.  Bake the zucchini for 20 minutes, turning half way.  Spoon spaghetti sauce over the zucchini slices, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

That's the recipe format.  Here's the reality. I do not actually measure anything. I have never yet made bread crumb / parmesan amounts come out right when I measure.  I use equal amounts of parmesan and bread crumbs and add the herbs, and hope for the best.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Carrot Muffins

I love carrot cake.  We had carrot cake as our wedding cake 27 years ago, made by my mother and decorated by her caterer friends.

I also love muffins.  Muffins used to be a special weekend breakfast.  Then we moved to the farm, and now we have muffins all the time.  Muffins are the perfect to-go breakfast, for days when a bowl of cereal seem like just too much cooking to manage before morning chores.  So I bake a dozen muffins before bed, and the next morning is so much easier.

This recipe takes carrots from the garden, adds all the goodies from my mom's carrot cake, and bakes it all into a convenient little package.

Carrot Muffins

1 C whole wheat flour
1 C unbleached flour
1/2 C granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C crushed pineapple, drained
1 C buttermilk (or a mix of milk and yogurt, if you're out of buttermilk)
1/4 C oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 C finely shredded carrots
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1/2 C shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 375.  Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.

In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla extract until well blended, Stir in the carrots, walnuts, and coconut.  Stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly into the 12 muffin cups. Bake 20-22 minutes, until the tester says it's done.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Here's my favorite chocolate zucchini cake. This recipe took months to develop and caused me to gain 20 pounds.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 cups flour (you can use gluten-free flower in this - it is still delicious)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 eggs
1 cup sunflower oil
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Use cooking spray on a 9x13 baking pan.

Mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon).  Add eggs and oil, and mix well.  Fold in the zucchini and nuts, and stir until it is evenly distributed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top.  Bake 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Once I forgot to sprinkle the chocolate chips before I baked it.  I sprinkled them on after the cake came out of the oven. They melted, and I spread them to make a smooth, easy frosting.

This version is with nuts, and without chocolate chips.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Easy Zucchini Lasagna

The zucchini is in.  Those sneaky things hide in the leaves until they are too big to sell.  But they are still tender and taste fabulous. This is a good way to use those over-sized squash.  (This works well with patty pan, too.)

Easy Zucchini Lasagna

2 large zucchini
1 quart of spaghetti sauce (if you are lucky enough to have homemade, otherwise just use a jar of sauce from the store) or Homemade Marinara
16 oz ricotta cheese
8 oz grated mozzarella
1 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4" slices.  Sprinkle with salt, and set aside for 1 hour to let the liquid sweat out. Dry them with a paper towel.
2. Spray a 2 quart casserole with cooking spray.
3. Start layering
 - 1/3 of the zucchini
 - 1/3 of the sauce
 - 1/2 of the ricotta
 - 1/3 of the mozzarella
 - 1/3 of the Parmesan
 - 1/3 of the zucchini
 - 1/3 of the sauce
 - 1/2 of the ricotta (all of the remaining)
 - 1/3 of the mozzarella
 - 1/3 of the Parmesan
 - 1/3 of the zucchini (all of the remaining)
 - 1/3 of the sauce (all of the remaining)
 - 1/3 of the mozzarella (all of the remaining)
 - 1/3 of the Parmesan (all of the remaining)

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.  Let set for 10 minutes before serving.

This recipe is so easy, it feels like it's cheating.  Using zucchini instead of noodles lowers the carbohydrates and cranks up the nutrition. If you want to give it more umami flavor, you can add another layer after the ricotta. Use browned ground meat of your choice, crumbles, or sauted mushrooms.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Broccoli Cranberry Salad

We are finally harvesting the broccoli that we started from seeds back in September.  Broccoli is so sweet when it is fresh.

Broccoli Cranberry Salad

4 cups broccoli florets
1 - 2 shredded carrots
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sliced scallions
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs honey

Toss the broccoli, carrots, walnuts, cranberries, and scallions. Stir the mayonnaise, vinegar and honey until thoroughly combined, and stir into the broccoli.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Chicken Kale Soup

The more I eat kale, the more I like it.  Here's an easy recipe for

Chicken Kale Soup

6 cups chicken stock (home made, if you have it)
1 cup brown rice, raw
1 large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, sliced
2 cups diced tomatoes (home canned are good, if fresh ones are out of season)
3 cloves garlic
4 large kale leaves
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 tsp dried
3 cups cooked chicken
salt and pepper to taste

Bring the stock to a boil.  Add the brown rice, onion, carrot, garlic, and kale.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add tomatoes, thyme, and chicken.  Simmer for another 15 minutes.