Tag Archives: zucchini

Zucchini Swirl Bread

It’s freezing outside and they say it’s going to S-N-O-W! I’m a city girl and a big scaredy pants in winter weather! So, with bad weather a-threatening outside and the kitchen so warm and inviting inside, I’m in the mood for baaaaking!

Zucchini bread—it surprises me every time. How can something so green and bitter become so moist and sweet? And how come it doesn’t taste anything like zucchini??? “I don’t know. It’s a mystery!” (Gold star to anyone who knows which film that’s from!) I used a recipe I found on CookWomanFood.com, and the only thing I changed was to add a cream cheese swirl—an excellent addition in my opinion.

Anyway, this was just delightful. No butter—love that (I might even replace the oil with applesauce next time); all my favorite warming spices—hooray for fall; and lots of lots of crunchy bits—I do adore those. 🙂 It’s irresistable; my mama couldn’t stop eating it!!

Enjoy!

Zucchini Swirl Bread (from CookWomanFood.com)

printable recipe

Makes 2 loaves

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour

1 cup white sugar (I used raw cane)

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup vegetable oil

4 cups chopped zucchini

3 eggs

1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)

1 cup golden raisins (I used regular)

8 oz cream cheese at room temp, plus 1/4 cup sugar, or to taste

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the flour, sugars, baking soda, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. In a blender, mix together vegetable oil, zucchini and eggs until smooth.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined. Add in raisins and nuts and again, stir in quickly.
  5. Mix together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Fill each loaf pan to half full. Then, spread the cream cheese filling equally among the two pans. Pour the remaining batter into both pans. With a knife or end of a wooden spoon, gently draw a few swirls in the batter to marbleize it.
  7. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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Yummy, Yummy Sweet Potato Coconut Bread

I avoided zucchini breads for a long time, kind of grossed out by the idea of a sweet vegetarian meatloaf. But I was so, so wrong.  Veggie desserts are actually weirdly wonderful things, especially those with sweet potatoes in them.

So I recently signed up for an every-other-week CSA service with my brother. And so far, each time I’ve gotten sweet potatoes, which I haven’t known what to do with. Until now. I’m reminded of the saying, “when life gives you lemons…”; but in my case, when CSA gives you too many sweet potatoes, make sweet potato bread!

In this quickbread recipe (courtesy of Joy the Baker), sweet potato and zucchini are combined with hardy whole wheat, buttery coconut and spicy cinnamon-nutmeg. I love both veggies in sautés, in salads, gratins and sandwiches. But in this bread, humble veggies are transformed into a sweet and dense cake loaf that really is sugar and spice and eeeeeverything nice.

I couldn’t really taste the zucchini, though I like the green speckles it adds. The sweet potato and coconut are the dominating flavors. Also, the addition of whole wheat and applesauce make it feel almost healthy.

Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Coconut Bread (recipe adapted from Joy the Baker)

Makes one 9x5x3-inch loaf

INGREDIENTS

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes (the small, non-sticky kind)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup apple sauce

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup grated zucchini

2 cups peeled and grated sweet potato

1 cup chopped walnuts (I used almond flakes)

1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C).  Butter and flour a 9×5×3-inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flours, coconut, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract.  Mix in the grated zucchini and sweet potato.  Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and stir just to combine.  Fold in the nuts and dried fruit; stir well.
  4. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan.  Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes (Mine was done after 1 hr 10 min).
  5. Cool bread in pan on a rack for 15 minutes.  Then using a butter knife, loosen the edges of the bread and turn out onto a rack to cool completely.  Can be prepared 1 day in advance.  Wrap in foil and keep at room temperature.

Honey Mustard Red Cabbage Salad with Sauteed Chicken, Eggplant and Zucchini

I’ve been eating a lot of red cabbage and cilantro these past few weeks. For two reasons: they’re totally budget-friendly (1 head of cabbage and 1 bunch of cilantro lasts me an entire week) as well as figure-friendly, or at least that’s what my mom and sister say. They both swear they’ve lost inches off their waistlines just by replacing lettuce with cabbage. Save money AND lose weight? Sounds good to me.

This salad was so awesome. Super crunchy from the red cabbage, kicky from the cilantro and sweet from the dressing. I made the dressing with non-fat greek-style yogurt instead of mayonnaise, and I sauteed the chicken thigh, eggplant and zucchini in only a drizzle of olive oil. So fat content is pretty minimal as well. You can of course play around with ingredient combination. I use canned tuna a lot or go completely vegetarian and use sweet potato instead.

Try this. It’s AMAZING.

Honey Mustard Red Cabbage Salad with Sauteed Chicken, Eggplant and Zucchini

Serves 1.

INGREDIENTS

Salad

1 chicken thigh, trimmed and patted dry with a paper towel

1/4 cup zucchini, sliced

1 round slice of eggplant, halved

a drizzle of olive oil

salt and pepper

1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1/8 cup red onion, finely chopped

1 oz blue cheese, crumbled

Honey Mustard Dressing

1 large tbsp non-fat greek-style yogurt

juice of 1/2 small lemon

1 tsp mustard (any style)

1 tsp sugar or honey

salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

  1. Put the sliced zucchini and eggplant in an unzipped Ziploc bag and microwave for 1 minute. Remove and set aside.
  2. In a pre-heated non-stick skillet, fry the chicken thigh in a little olive oil, ca. 2 min. Do not move or flip during this time. Grind salt and pepper over the top.
  3. Then, flip the chicken and push to the side. Put in the zucchini and eggplant. Grind a little salt and pepper over the vegetables and other side of the chicken. Fry for about 2 minutes, moving the vegetables around to ensure even browning.
  4. Turn off the heat and let sit for a few minutes while you prepare the salad and dressing.
  5. In a medium-sized salad bowl, combine and mix together all dressing ingredients. Add the chopped onion, cabbage, cilantro and crumbled blue cheese and toss to coat.
  6. Slice the chicken at an angle. Put the salad on a large salad plate, topping with the sauteed veggies and sliced chicken. Grind a little more salt and pepper over top.

Ratatouille Stuffed Crepes Gratin

Some people are natural-born hosts. I am not one of these people. I stress about who to invite, whether they’re going have things to talk about or even LIKE each other, what to make, what drinks to serve, and, and and…

This Saturday’s potluck dinner was no different: I was late, people couldn’t find parking, my cheesecake didn’t gel properly. And, to make things worse: roommate drama. Major. (FYI: It has since been resolved. :D) Everything came together in the end, though. Awesome food and wine and scintillating conversation with my favoritest people in the city.

The baking and cooking part during the day was good too—actually, it was great. 3 straight hours of uninterrupted slicing, frying, stirring and baking. I finally got to use the frozen lucuma I brought back from Lima for a lucuma cheesecake (will post recipe soon). I also got to make this lovely vegetarian gratin (inspired by this recipe found on In Praise of Sardines)—I’ve been baking so much lately that I forgot how good it feels to be able to cook by feeling and not have to measure anything.

The original recipe is vegan, including the socca crepes which use chickpea flour instead of all purpose. My version isn’t vegan and is also a gratin. Visualize braised-all-day veggies wrapped in light-as-air crepes, smothered in creamy bechamel, and baked until golden on top and a melting pot of flavors in the middle. Love it.

Enjoy.

Ratatouille Stuffed Crepes Gratin (adapted from In Praise of Sardines and Epicurious.com)

Makes one 9×13 gratin dish, ca. 10 servings

INGREDIENTS

Ratatouille Filling:

1 lb any combination of red, yellow and/or orange bell peppers

1 lb zucchini

1 lb eggplant (I used the entire eggplant, ca. 1.2 lbs)

1/2 lb red onions

6 cloves garlic

4-6 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dried basil (would have used herbes de provence if I had had it)

1 tsp dried rosemary

salt and pepper, to taste

Crepes:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 1/2 cups milk (I used non-fat)

1 large egg

2 egg yolks

1 tsp olive oil

Bechamel:

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 cups milk (non-fat is fine)

salt and pepper, to taste

pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

Assembly:

handful grated parmesan

1 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

METHOD

Ratatouille

  1. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil.
  2. Roast the peppers over a barbecue grill, the gas flame on your stove, or under your broiler until black and blistered all over. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a plate to allow to continue cooking in their own steam. When cool, peel off skin (use a paper towel if needed). Seed and cut into one-inch pieces, preferably triangles.
  3. Cut the zucchini and eggplant into one-inch pieces. Place eggplant pieces in a colander over a sink or bowl and sprinkle lavishly with salt. Allow to sit for at least half an hour.
  4. Cut out a cone-shaped piece from the tops of the tomatoes and mark the bottoms with an X. In the boiling water, blanch the tomatoes for 20-30 seconds. Allow to cool briefly, then peel off and discard the skin. Cut tomatoes into one-inch pieces.
  5. Dice the onions into 1/2-inch pieces and slice the garlic as thinly as possible. In a large, shallow pan over medium-low heat, sweat the onions in 2-3 tablespoons of the oil, covered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After a few minutes, season the onions with salt. If the onions start to color, reduce the heat to low. Add garlic, cover, and cook 15 more minutes until meltingly tender. Remove the lid and add the herbs, the tomatoes and the cut peppers. Turn the heat up to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in another pan (preferably non-stick) large enough to hold all the zucchini in one layer, sauté the zucchini in 1-2 tablespoon oil over high heat. Your goal is to caramelize the zucchini all over, without letting it burn or cook all the way through. It should take about 5 minutes. Remove from pan, season with salt, and set aside when done.
  7. When the tomatoes and peppers have cooked for about 10 minutes, add the zucchini. Cook for about 5 minutes until almost tender then add the eggplant and cook 5 more minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.Using several paper towels, gently squeeze the eggplant dry. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the eggplant as you did the zucchini, for about 5 minutes until caramelized.
  8. When the tomatoes and peppers have cooked for about 10 minutes, add the zucchini. Cook for about 5 minutes until almost tender then add the eggplant and cook 5 more minutes until all the vegetables are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for a few hours, in order for the flavors to “marry”.

Crepes

  1. Sift together flour, salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste into a bowl. Whisk together milk, whole egg, and yolk in a small bowl, then gradually whisk into flour mixture.
  2. Heat a dry 7- to 8-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot. Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter into skillet, tilting to coat bottom. (If batter sets before skillet is coated, reduce heat slightly for next crepe.) Cook until underside is lightly browned, 6 to 10 seconds, then loosen crepe with a spatula and flip. Cook until just cooked through, about 20 seconds, and transfer to a plate. Make 10-12 more crepes in the same manner.

Bechamel Sauce

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the butter and let it melt. Whisk in the flour, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Allow the mixture to cook for about 1 minute.
  2. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the milk, again stirring constantly to fully incorporate ingredients and also to avoid scalding.
  3. Once the mixture is smooth and already starting to thicken, add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk as well as the salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Reduce the heat to low and whisk until thick. Remove from heat. (The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.)

Assembly

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F (oven rack in the center). In a 9×13-inch gratin dish, ladle in half of the bechamel sauce, making sure to coat the bottom completely.
  2. Spread 1/4 cup ratatouille filling across the center of 1 crepe and roll into a cylinder. Fold in the ends and transfer, seam side down, to the baking dish. Assemble the remaining crepes in the same manner, fitting them snugly. (You’ll probably have leftover crepes and filling.)
  3. Pour the remaining bechamel on top of the crepes, spreading evenly. Sprinkle grated parmesan over. Distribute the butter pieces evenly on top. Cover with a foil tent.
  4. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil. Broil on high for 5-10 minutes, or until golden on top.
  5. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.