Zucchini and coconut quickbread

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This week’s theme has been all about one of my favorite vegetables: zucchini. First it was zucchini pizza, then I shared a recipe for zucchini soup. Now it’s time for one of my favorite zucchini recipes! Funny story…I almost forgot to put the zucchini in the batter before placing in the oven. Luckily I didn’t, the the bread turned out just perfectly. I love the texture of the coconut with the zucchini, but you can hold back on the coconut if you’re not a fan. Chocolate chips are also a yummy option!

  • 1 cup shredded raw zucchini (1-2 zucchini)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup safflower, corn, vegetable, or canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place rack in center of oven. Butter (or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray) a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Grate the zucchini. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended (about 1-2 minutes). Beat in the grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then fold in the coconut. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. You can also serve with your preferred type of icing.

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Chocolate pear cake

Chocolate pear cake

We had some pears in our last box of produce that I really wanted to use. Then I went back through some recipes I had saved months ago and found this one! I love chocolate and pears, especially after the pears are roasted and tender. Goes perfectly with a gooey, chocolate cake!

  • 1/2 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Pears – skinned & Halved (look for smaller sizes)

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and thoroughly grease 4-5 ramekins with oil.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the egg then add the milk, sugar and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

Fill ramekins 1/2 full with batter. Slowly lower a pealed half pear into each ramekins.

Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check if it has baked fully (it is ready if the toothpick comes out clean) Let it cool completely then enjoy!

Zucchini, squash and bell pepper pizza (homemade dough)

Dough:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

Pizza:

  • 3 tablespoons marinara sauce
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup arugula

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Beat well until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Form dough into a round and roll out into a pizza crust shape. Spoon the marinara sauce over the dough evenly. Layer the zucchini, squash, bell pepper and onions.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Take the pizza out, add the arugula and feta cheese, then put back in the oven for another 5 minutes, then serve!

Butternut squash soup and butternut squash quickbread

So, it’s been about a month since my last post. That’s probably an indication of how busy I’ve been, but the time away from my blog has been eating at me. Within the last month, Richard came back to the states from Australia and now he is on his next adventure at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena, California. We did lots of cooking while he was here, and you will be seeing more blog posts with those recipes later.

But another exciting development since my last post is the move to my new apartment with my new room mate! After many trips back and forth with a dolly, we finally got settled in. But all that work was worth it because the apartment is absolutely beautiful and we feel right at home!

Of course my first blog post from my new apartment had to be about the first meal I cooked in my new kitchen! What meal is more home-y than a nice bowl of soup? I think you’ll really like the spices in this soup. The quickbread isn’t too bad, either!

For the soup:

  • butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 cups chicken broth (or 6 cups water and one bullion)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the squash in half horizontally; then cut both pieces in half vertically, so you have four pieces of squash. Clean out the seeds and cut the bottom half into two more pieces (you will now have six pieces of squash).

Rub 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the squash, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper. Put squash on a baking sheet skin side down, and roast for 30 minutes, or until you can easily pierce with a fork.

In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and tender (about 10 minutes).

Use a spoon to remove the squash from the skin and add it to the stockpot with the vegetables, along with the broth, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Using a blender, immersion blender or food processor, blend the soup in batches until smooth. Return to the pot and keep warm.

For the quickbread:

  • 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c unbleached bread flour
  • 1/4 c rolled oats
  • 1/8 c wheat germ
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 TBS ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 c browned butter
  • 1/2c agave nectar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 c butternut squash puree*
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour one 9×5 loaf pan.

For squash puree (if making with the soup you can knock this step out at the same time.)

Cut the squash in half horizontally; then cut both pieces in half vertically, so you have four pieces of squash. Clean out the seeds and cut the bottom half into two more pieces (you will now have six pieces of squash).

Rub 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the squash, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper. Put squash on a baking sheet skin side down, and roast for 30 minutes, or until you can easily pierce with a fork.

Place in food processor and puree.

In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix.

In another bowl, combine browned butter and agave. Mix in eggs until well combined, about 1 minute. Mix in squash puree and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

Slowly add in dry ingredients, a little at a time, until just mixed in. Do not over mix.

Pour into pan and place on bottom rack of oven, and bake for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

 

Portabella and goat cheese sandwich with roasted veggies and avocados

Whenever Richard is home, he makes the most delicious sandwiches with me! We love to stop at Central Market and pick up some of their fresh baked bread.

  • Sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Portabella mushroom, sliced
  • 1 red bell peppers, chopped into strips
  • 1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 cup Ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of marinara sauce (had some of Richard’s home made marinara sauce leftover)
  • Chipotle sauce (we used Richard’s home made Chiptole sauce)

Preheat oven to broil.

In a pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook the zucchini in batches by flipping. Cook each side for about 4-5 minutes. Set aside on a plate.

Add the other tablespoon olive oil and cook the bell peppers for about 6 minutes. Add the Portabella mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add the marinara sauce to the pan and turn the heat to low.

Place the bread on a cooking sheet and put it in the oven. When you toast the bread by broiling, you usually do 1-2 minutes per side, but watch very carefully so it doesn’t burn.

Take the bread out of the oven and add the Chipotle sauce. Layer the zucchini, portabella and bell peppers. Add the avocado and top with Parmesan and Ricotta cheese.

Savory zucchini and sprouts quickbread

Do you ever have left over ingredients that you don’t know what to do with but you don’t want to throw them out either? Well I had some sprouts from my veggie sandwich and I thought I could mix it in with the batter for my zucchini bread for an extra punch of vegetables. Turns out this bread is quite amazing! And it goes perfectly with a nice hearty soup!

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup sprouts

Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sift flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and cinnamon together in a bowl.

Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and sprouts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for about 60 minutes and rotate the pans around halfway through. Use a tester to insert in the middle and make sure it comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan and enjoy!

Cheesy corn muffins with fresh chives

  • Butter, for greasing pan
  • 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Yellow Corn Meal
  • 2 tablespoons Sugar or Honey
  • 1 tablespoon Butter, Melted
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
  • 3/4 cup Fresh or Frozen Corn {thawed and patted dry if frozen}
  • 2 tablespoon Fresh Chives, chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously butter 12 muffin cups {1 muffin tin}, and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, kosher salt and baking soda.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. In the center of the well; add the egg, buttermilk, melted butter, corn and chives. Mix just until everything starts to come together, then toss in the cheddar cheese and mix just until the cheese is incorporated.

Spoon the corn batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until tops are lightly golden. Let cool in pan for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. Serve still warm with butter.