Tag Archives: zucchini

Back to School Chocolate Strawberry & Zucchini Muffins

20 Aug

In June and even in July, summer seems like an endless stretch of time to cross items off your to do list, see people whom you don’t see often enough, and simply to relax. But as August starts to rear its ugly head, reality hits and you suddenly realize that the lofty plans you made for the summer will just have to wait some more. School and cold weather are just around the corner and no matter how tempting it may be to bury your books under your bed and forget about them, there’s no way to ignore rapidly approaching fall.

Rather than wallow in remorse over unaccomplished summer hopes and goals, focus on the exciting aspects of fall. This means that it’s almost close enough to Halloween that you can start planning your elaborate costume without sounding like a crazy person. This means it’s time to go shopping for new coats, boots, sweaters, or school supplies. This means that it’s gradually becoming time to resume your normal schedule of cozy nights indoors that your mind and body will appreciate even if you do not. And most importantly (for me at least) this means it’s starting to cool back down enough to turn back on the oven and stove to cook tasty, heart-warming meals and goodies.

Instead of resenting or resisting the passing of summer, set an example for those in your life who may not quite be ready for the change of the seasons by baking them tasty goodies to celebrate the best of summer produce in a form that is perfect for hectic fall mornings. By that I mean, bake them these Chocolate Strawberry & Zucchini Muffins, of course!

 

While these muffins are not exactly for picky eaters, they are delicious and nutritious, the perfect way to quell any chocolate cravings first thing in the morning while still getting in some veggies too. These muffins rely on shredded zucchini and applesauce to keep them nice and moist without the addition of any butter or oil.

Back to School Chocolate Strawberry & Zucchini Muffins

Yield: 18-20 muffins

Adapted from From the Little Yellow Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, rounded (or add 2/3 cup for sweeter, more traditional muffins)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 15 large strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups), chopped, plus 5 more, sliced for garnish
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or you can chop up 1 bar of dark chocolate into tiny pieces-I had some left over from s’mores, so that’s what i did)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffins tins with silicone baking cups. Muffin batter sticks to paper liners too much, so invest in a few sets of silicone liners to avoid eating paper and cut down on waste.
  2. Coarsely grate the zucchini, then place in a colander and sprinkle it with a pinch of salt. Let it sit for about 10 minutes while combing the other ingredients to leach out the excess water from the zucchini.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Then add the applesauce and yogurt, and stir well.
  5. Use paper towels to gently press the zucchini in the colander so that it releases any remaining excess liquid. Add the zucchini to the wet mixture and stir.
  6. Use your hands to form a well in the center of the dry mixture, then pour the wet mixture into the well. Stir until just combined. Fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips.
  7. Fill each baking cup about 3/4 full, then gently press a strawberry slice into the top of each muffin.
  8. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Allow the muffins to cool on cooling racks, then keep them refrigerated for up to 4 days or freeze them for a quick and easy breakfast or afternoon snack.

 

Advertisements

Fresh Corn Grilled Salad

19 Jun

This recipe is for…wait for it…a salad! I’ve never posted a salad recipe on my blog before because I feel like it’s cheating. When I make a salad, normally I just chop up whatever vegetables we have lying around and top it with some salsa or lemon juice with salt and pepper, but this salad is different. This salad is special. This salad is an adaptation of my very favorite salad, the Fresh Corn Grilled Salad.

Whenever I go to Fresh Corn Grill in Westwood I get this salad because even though there are half a dozen other things on the menu that sound good, nothing can be as delicious as this salad. I get this salad whenever I meet friends for lunch or whenever I’m in the neighborhood and feel like treating myself to a takeout dinner. It’s that good. Unlike most salads, it feels like a complete, filling meal purely from vegetables. The warmth of the freshly grilled veggies in the salad make it feel comforting ad satisfying without the addition of unnecessary cheese, nuts or other add ons.

For a get together with friends the other night, I decided to try to recreate the salad on my own simply by going off the ingredients for the salad that are listed on the menu: corn, zucchini, asparagus, tomato, avocado, mixed greens, and vinaigrette. Easy right? Well the real problem lied in the name of the salad itself, grilled.

I don’t know how to grill and I wasn’t about to make the night that I’m having friend over the night that I decided to experiment, so I decided to use our Cuisinart Calphalon Double Grill Pan to grill the vegetables over the comfort of the stove.  I simply oiled the pan and put it over two burners and I was able to get the beautiful grill marks and texture without the hassle of setting up the big, intimidating grill.

Once the grilling was over, the rest was easy. I just chopped the grilled veggies, added avocado, mixed them with greens and whipped together a simple vinaigrette to go with it. Easy!

The salad lived up to my delicious expectations, but the rave reviews that I got from my friends were a total surprise. Never had I seen teenagers fighting over salad so much in my life! My friends were actually going for seconds, thirds, and maybe even fourths of this salad. So Anita, Liz, and Ginelle, here’s the salad recipe especially for you.

Fresh Corn Grilled Salad

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 4 ears of corn, husked
  • 3 zucchini, cut lengthwise into long slices
  • 3 tomatoes, cut widthwise into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 bundle of asparagus (about 15), bottoms removed
  • 1 bundle of scallions (about 8), bottoms and tops removed
  • 1 avocado, peeled with pit removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 pound of mixed greens
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoons honey (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions: 

  1. Drizzle the grill pan (or grill) with 1-2 tablespoons oil and allow it to heat up. Grill the scallions and tomatoes for 5 minutes. Grill the asparagus and zucchini for 10 minutes, turning often. Grill the corn for 10-20 minutes, turning a few times. Each time that you load a new layer of veggies onto the grill, add another tablespoon or two of new oil.
  2. Allow the veggies to cool for 5 minutes then cut the corn off the cob and cut the rest of the vegetables  into 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. In a salad bowl, gently toss to combine the veggies, avocado, and mixed greens.
  4. In a small bowl mix together the mustard, garlic, honey (if desired) salt, pepper, and vinegar. Start to drizzle in the oil into the vinegar mixture while whisking rapidly.
  5. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and serve!

Homemade Italian Style Vegetable Soup

9 May

The sudden arrival of Spring means two things. One, the weather gets warmer so that frolicking outdoors starts to seem more appealing than slaving away in the kitchen.  Two, the farmer’s markets are full of the freshest, cheapest delicious produce. To take full advantage of the best of both situation, I highly suggest that you make this soup!

Now I know that making soup just as it’s finally starting to get warmer out may seem counterintuitive, but I promise, this really is a good idea… This soup is chock full of delicious vegetables to provide you with energy without weighing you down. By making this soup now, you can have it stored away in your freezer for easy, nutritious meals all summer long. My logic is, stock up now so that you don’t have to think about it later!

Homemade broth

This soup makes a veggie-filled accompaniment to any lunch or dinner. Store it in individually-portioned glass jars in your freezer, so that you can take it out the night before and have a delicious, preservative-free soup ready when you want in.

Mishmash of delicious veggies

This is an incredibly flexible soup to which you can add any vegetables, herbs, or spices that you have on hand. Feel free to add beans and pasta to make it more of a traditional Minestrone. Or top the soup with a bit of pesto to give it a French provincial flavor. You can even substitute the basil, oregano, and thyme for some miso paste and siracha sauce to give it a slightly Asian taste.

Delicious and nutritious and ready to go!

Homemade Italian Style Vegetable Soup

Servings: 8

Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of assorted vegetables in less than pristine condition (onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, leeks, ect)
  •  2 bay leaves
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 3 cloves of garlic, lightly chopped
  • 1-2 sprigs of rosemarry or other herbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 leeks, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced or chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups of frozen green beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspooon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen spinach or kale, defrosted

Directions

  1. Dump your assorted vegetables, bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, and herbs into a large stock pot and fill the pot with enough water to just barely cover the vegetables. With the stove on high, bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. In the mean time chop up and prepare all of your vegetables for the soup itself. Use a strainer to remove the vegetables, and then set the remaining vegetable broth aside. Alternatively, if you don’t have the time, you could skip this step altogether and use boxed or frozen vegetable broth.
  2. Using the same stock pot as before, lightly saute your celery, onion, leeks, and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add your carrots and zucchini and continue to lightly saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes, green beans, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, and broth (from step one).
  4. Allow soup to simmer for 30-45 minutes, then add in the spinach or kale, and allow it to cool for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Ladle into bowls and serve (or freeze). Enjoy!