Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Although the combination may seem a bit odd, I can promise you that this cake will not disappoint. I remember baking my first Chocolate Zucchini Cake when I was in France as a teenager. It has since been one of my favorites.
 The zucchini is undetectable as far as flavor goes- but lends its properties to create one of the moistest cakes you will ever try. If you have a veggiaphobe in your house, don't even tell them the Zucchini is in there. ;)

This recipe is originally from the Bon Appetit Cookbook however I have made some adjustments.


1 1/4 Cup Sifted All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Sifted Cake Flour
2/3 Cup Unsweetened  Sifted Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Stick Salted Butter
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Large Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Buttermilk
2 Cups Grated Unpeeled Zucchini
1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Preheat oven to 325

Butter and flour a 9x13x2 inch baking pan.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

Beat the sugar, butter and oil until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla. 

Mix in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk. 

Mix in grated zucchini. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts.  

Bake until tester comes out clean. About 55 min.

*** As added flavor and decadence you can mix in 1 cup of Nutella to the batter. When cake is done and mostly cool, drizzle Nutella over the top of the cake. The easiest way to do that is to put the Nutella into a sandwich or ziplock bag and cut a small piece out of the corner and use like a pastry bag. It gives you more control and looks nicer. ***

Zucchini Fritter Cakes

2 Cups Shredded Zucchini
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Small Onion (Finely Grated)
3 Eggs
3 Tablespoons Buttermilk (regular milk is OK)
Salt & Pepper 
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Vegetable Oil

If available: Chives and Sour Cream for topping.

Preheat oven to 325

In a food processor or with a hand held grater, shred the zucchini with the skin on. Combine in a large bowl with the flour, eggs, buttermilk and grated onion. Add 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. You should have a thick, pasty consistency. If you need to alter the measurements to get the consistency, that is fine. 

On medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. 

Place a 1/4 scoop (more or less) of the batter into a the oil. Let brown 2-3 min on each side, until golden brown. You may need to adjust the heat if it gets too hot. You  may also need to add more butter along the way if the fritters are absorbing too much oil.

Remove from the pan and place on a plate covered with paper to absorb the oil.

Move to a baking sheet and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. 

Top with grated cheese. 

**These would be fantastic with sour cream but, I didn't have any on hand. If you have sour cream availble put a dollop on top of the fritter after you have put the grated cheese on. You want the cheese to melt from the heat of the fritter. Garnish with chives if available.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Artichoke and Brown Rice Stuffed Zucchini

Ingredients (for 2 servings) :

1 Large Zucchini
1 1/2 Cups cooked Brown Rice
1 Shallot Finely Chopped
1 Artichoke Heart Chopped
1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Sharp White Cheddar Cheese Grated
1 Mozzarella Ball
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.

**For the artichoke heart- steam an artichoke prior to collecting the ingredients for this recipe. Remove all leaves and clean out the heart. Leave at least 2 inches of the stem. Chop into small cubes about the size of an almond.**

**Cook the rice in Chicken Broth for extra flavor. **

Cut the zucchini in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle baking dish with olive oil and place zucchini in the middle. Season with salt and pepper and more olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven to fill. 

Sauté the shallots with butter adding the chopped  artichoke heart after shallots have begun to brown. Sauté until the shallots are golden.

In a medium bowl combine the rice and 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese.

Then add the artichoke and shallot mixture.

Stuff the zucchini evenly with the mixture.

Top with sliced mozzarella and freshly grated white cheddar. 

Bake for 20 minutes. Broil lightly at the end to brown the top.

Sun-dried Tomato and Feta Meatloaf

This is a twist on an old favorite. Hylton is not a fan of sun-dried tomatoes so I chopped them very small (smaller than a raisin) and hid them in the meatloaf. The taste of the tomatoes adds flavor but it is not overwhelming. After he tasted it, he said it was the best meatloaf I have ever made! So don't be weary if you aren't a fan of Sun-dried tomatoes- give it a try!! 

1 lb Ground Sirloin
1/3 lb Ground Pork
1 Small Onion Finely Chopped
3 Tablespoons finely chopped Sun-dried Tomatoes
3/4 Cup Whole Wheat Breadcrumbs (regular are fine to use)
3/4 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
2 Eggs
3 Tablespoons Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.

Combine the ground meats in a medium bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sautee the onions in butter until they are golden brown- let cool slightly.

Add the breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup and balsamic vinegar, then onions and sun-dried tomatoes and mix well ( I always use my hands as nothing else works as well)
Then add feta and distribute evenly. 
**If you think it looks too wet then add more breadcrumbs.
 If it looks too dry then add more vinegar and ketchup. **

Transfer to a loaf pan. Take 4 pieces of softened butter, about the size of a small grape and stick them into the meatloaf, evenly spaced.

Cook for one hour.

For a side dish I made Brown rice with Feta and Parmesan which accompanied the taste of the meatloaf very well. For the rice you will need:

1 cup (dry) Short Grain Brown Rice
2 Cups Chicken Broth
3/4 Cup Crumbled Feta
1/2 Cup Parmesan 
3 Tablespoons Butter

Bring the rice, broth and 1 Tablespoon of butter to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for 55 min.
When rice is tender add the rest of the butter and 2 cheeses. Don't add salt until after you have tasted it as they are salty cheeses.
You can add more or less cheese to your liking. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Turkey Pesto Sandwich

Organic Baguette with Roasted Turkey, Mozzarella and Organic Romain Lettuce from the Farmer's Market with a homemade Pesto Mayo.

I used the leftover Pesto from our dinner to make this delicious addition to an already delightful sandwich. 

Prosciutto and Gruyère Rolled Chicken Cutlets with Garlic Baked Butter Beans and Pesto Pasta

This is based on a serving for 2. Up the quantities based on how many you are cooking for.
Chicken Cutlets (Buy one for each person) 
Prosciutto (For a serving of 2 I used 4 oz)
Gruyère Cheese ( at least 1 Cup Shredded) 
1 Can Butter Beans
Garlic Gold Sea Salt (or similar)
Olive Oil

Preheat the oven to 365.

Place cutlets on a clean flat surface. (Be careful not to salt them much because the prosciutto and Gruyère are salty. ) Place a few strips of the prosciutto in the middle of the cutlet and top with shredded cheese. Roll tightly and place seam down in a pan with a thin layer of olive oil.

Sprinkle Gruyère  over the chicken then add a thin layer of Prosciutto 

After about 15 minutes remove baking dish add the Butter Bean Mixture.

In a small bowl combine can of Butter Beans and remaining cheese- leaving a bit to put over top the chicken. 

Sprinkle well with Garlic Gold Sea Salt and mix well. (If you don't have Garlic Gold available to you- try a nice grainy sea salt and garlic flakes or similar.)

Spread the mixture evenly through baking dish and return to oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Homemade Pesto

Ingredients :
Bunch of fresh Basil
1/2-3/4 cup Pine Nuts
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Combine the Basil, Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese in a food processor. Secure the lid and combine. Slowly drizzle Olive Oil in. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and combine well. 

This is a recipe I usually just free hand. If you want more cheese add more cheese and so on. It is super simple and keeps well.

With the leftovers (if there are any)- I like to make a Pesto Mayo perfect for Turkey Sandwiches.
Take remaining Pesto and combine a Tablespoon of mustard per 1/3Cup of Pesto. Adjust to your palate.