Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Really I should have posted this earlier when zucchini was in abundance. I feel like the crop is dwindling at this point.

If you do have a massive zucchini kicking around and you aren't sure what to do with it, make this. Make this for your friends. Make this for your coworkers. People love this cake.

I brought this over to another couple's house for a dinner. I should have just said it was a chocolate bundt cake because the husband wasn't so sure about eating a cake with zucchini in it. He ate it. He enjoyed it. But I think he was a little freaked that it had a vegetable in it. That is what makes it healthy! DUH!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Source: The Food Librarian
Yield: 12 servings

2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Glaze (directions follow)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.

Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.

Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes!) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to cool thoroughly.

Drizzle glaze over cake.

Glaze: Mix together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Cut in thin slices to serve.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Starbucks Mocha Frappe

Being pregnant really wears you out!! I find that I can do housework for about an hour and then I need to take a break. The other night I didn't take a break and by the time my husband got home at 8:00 my vision was blurry and I was sure I was about to pass out!

A good excuse to take a break? A good book and a coffee drink. I found the recipe for these frappes in the Food Network Magazine which I adore. I enjoyed this drink while reading "The Help" for book club. Both lovely.

(This chocolate sauce is amazing and I used the extra to put on my ice cream.)

Starbucks Mocha Frappe
Source: Food Network Magazine
Yield: 4 drinks

For the coffee ice:
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups warm strong coffee

For the chocolate syrup:
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ounce milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frappes:
1 cup reduced-fat milk
Whipped cream, for topping

Make the coffee ice: Stir the sugar into the coffee until dissolved, then let cool. Pour into a 16-cube ice-cube tray and freeze until solid, about 3 hours.

Make the chocolate syrup: Combine the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan and slowly whisk in 2/3 cup hot water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking, until the sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes; do not boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, honey and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Make the frappes: Puree 8 coffee ice cubes, 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate syrup and 1 cup plain ice in a blender until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses, then repeat to make 2 more drinks. Top with whipped cream and more chocolate syrup.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baked Maple Cinnamon Donuts

If you love donuts but try to be must own a donut pan. I got mine on Amazon. I saw one at Stonewall Kitchen over the weekend. You can find them. It is worth it to have warm donuts without all the fat.

I've tried a few recipes and have a few more to try. These were decent, not fantastic. Of course, I thought the best part was the cinnamon sugar on the outside. Or maybe the fact that they are lower fat so I could eat two and not feel guilty.

Anyway, go out and buy yourself a donut pan and give these a whirl. Or you could search Food Gawker and find another pumpkin donuts. Or chocolate. Mmhmm.

Baked Maple Cinnamon Donut Recipe
Source: Cooking with my Kid
Yield: 8-10 donuts

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 6 oz container of non fat vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter (melted)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the cinnamon and sugar together and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. In another bowl stir together oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, egg and yogurt. Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the hole. Gently fold everything together until combined. Divide batter evenly into a greased donut pan. (I put the batter in a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off to get it into the pan) The batter will be pretty thick and airy.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few moments and then flip over onto a cooling rack while still warm. Use a pastry brush to butter your donuts and then dip each donut in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Makes 6 donuts.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Zucchini Whoopie Pies

I did it! I found a fabulous zucchini whoopie pie recipe. I tried to make up my own recipe by altering a muffin recipe. Nope. That didn't work very well. Then I found this old recipe in my binder, and by old I mean over 10 years old. I didn't realize my recipe binders were that old!!

Seth and I were invited to his coworkers party a month or so ago. I offered to bring a treat and one of the girls wanted something with pumpkin. I said it wasn't quite pumpkin season so I decided on zucchini. Now, Seth is a retail manager so he tends to work with younger people. We went to the party and boy did I feel old. Seth was the only male and the girls were around 20-24. There was a lot of giggling and lot of shots. I remember those days.

God I'm old.

Anyway. These whoopie pies were a hit. I filled them with my own filling but if you wanted to do a cream cheese filling you could do that too. Yum!

Zucchini Whoopie Pies
Source: I dunno...the binder?
Yield: A dozen or so

1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup white sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups plus 2 T flour
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix zucchini, sugar, shortening and egg. Sift all the dry ingredients and add to the zucchini mixture alternating with the milk. Mix until smooth. Bake 8-10 minutes. Fill with your favorite whoopie pie filling.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shaker Fish Pie

Pair this with some mashed potatoes and some peas and you have one of my favorite meals. This recipe comes from my mother in law and she makes this often. It is delicious. Make sure to flake the fish a bit when you add it at the end. You do want chunks of fish but you want them to be distributed evenly.

I know fish pie sounds REALLY odd but I swear to you...this is awesome.

Shaker Fish Pie
Source: MIL!
Yield: About 6 servings

1 9in. baked pie shell
1 lb haddock
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 T parsley (I don't always have this on hand so I don't always add it)
1/2 t thyme (I usually add a little more because I love thyme)
2 T flour
3 T butter
1 c. light cream
1/3 c. bread crumbs
2 T melted butter

Preheat oven to 325. Steam the fish. In a saute pan cook onions and celery in the butter until tender. Stir in parsley and thyme. Blend in the flour, salt and pepper to make a nice roux. Cook for a few seconds. Add the cream and stir until bubbly. Add the fish and pour into the pie crust. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle with butter. Bake for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maple Oat Scones

I thought I would whip up a batch of these one morning. I took out two sticks of butter to thaw. Then I got making the dough, holy crap! A pound of butter?!?! Are you kidding me?? I had already started so I kept going and finished the recipe but dang. That is a lot of butter! I only keep a pound in stock!

I ended up with massive sized scones. I brought a bunch to my father's house to share with them and I froze some too.

The next time I make these I would definitely halve the recipe. IF I decide to make them again. They are very yummy and they don't taste overly rich and buttery but I do have a limit! (hard to believe...I know)

Maple Oat Scones
Source: Food Network Magazine
Yield: 12ish HUGE scones

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash

For the Glaze
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-size pieces. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs and add quickly to the flour-and-butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough may be sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 to 1 inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into 3-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.

To make the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. When the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes and drizzle each scone with 1 tablespoon of the glaze. I like to sprinkle some uncooked oats on the top, for garnish. The warmer the scones are when you glaze them, the thinner the glaze will be.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vegetable Tian

This is a fantastic way to use up your summer veggies.

I noticed that some bloggers used potatoes, some just squash, zukes, and tomatoes. I used what I had; zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes.

This is such a light, fresh, beautiful dish. I served with baked haddock and couscous. Perfection.

Vegetable Tian
Source: Linden Tea
Yield: 4 servings

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus more to drizzle over the vegetables
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Whatever veggies you have (zukes, summer squash, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant)
Herbes de Provence
2-3 thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan, add the onion, sauté for a few minutes, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes, add half a teaspoon of herbes de Provence, and season with salt, layer the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish. Slice the veggies. Arrange the vegetables tightly over the onion mixture, sprinkle with thyme, herbes de Provence and kosher salt. Drizzle a little olive oil over the vegetables and bake until the vegetables are cooked and tender.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

M&M Ice Cream

In Maine, we had a heat wave at the end of August. Being 32 weeks pregnant...that wasn't fun. Not at all. I had really been hoping that fall was around then corner and then we had 5 days of 95 degree weather. Ick.

My hopes of making soups and pumpkin whoopie pies turned into thoughts of ice cream. I wanted something creamy and dreamy so I chose this vanilla ice cream and added M&Ms. Yes. This helps.

M&M Ice Cream
Source: Adapted from David Lebovitz
Yield: 8 or so servings

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup frozen M&Ms

Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warmed milk, and then add the bean itself. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let steep for 30 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl, and set a mesh strainer over the top. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, and then scrape back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (don’t boil!). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the vanilla bean to the custard, stir in the vanilla extract, and then stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture in your refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is nearly done add frozen M&Ms.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tomato Overload

Last year my tomato crop was a bust. I ended up getting horned tomato worms and it was a very very wet season. I think I got just a handful of tomatoes and a big bowl of cherry tomatoes. So this year I bought 16 tomatoes plants. I am absolutely drowning in tomatoes. I have big beefy ones, small juicy ones, heirlooms, and cherry tomatoes. I'm not tired of them yet though!

This actually worked out really well because I figure that after the babe is born I'm not going to feel like cooking all the time. I've used my bounty to make various tomato dishes and freeze them. Then in November when I want to have a nice meal all I have to do is thaw something.

I've made 8 meals so far. I have no more room in my freezer!

This little tutorial is on making crushed and diced tomatoes to use for soups, chili, or pasta sauce. I hope you find it helpful.

What a silly little tomato this is.

To peel the tomatoes, score an X in the bottom.

Then put them in boiling water for one minute. Take them out and submerge them in an ice bath. This will peel back the skins for easy peeling.

We're in good shape!

If your recipe calls for crushed tomatoes, just crush them up in your hands. I really liked doing this.

You can also dice them.

From there you could can them, freeze them, or use them right away. I chose to use them to make pasta sauce and tomato soup.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dark Chocolate Brownies

First of all I want to apologize for the photo of these brownies. I could have done better. I should have done better. I was in a hurry. It was raining outside so I couldn't bring them out. I just snapped a quick shot so I could post them. So, Readers, I'm sorry.

I like brownies. We've talked about it. I've made my fair share of brownies.
The Ultimate Brownie (I'm so over this.)
On the Fence Brownies (I still like these a lot)
Brownies with Peppermint Frosting

I expected a little more from these brownies. Joy says they are moist but I found them a wee bit dry. It could have been me. Maybe I over cooked them. Maybe I measured wrong. Maybe it was because I halved the recipe. I did like them. And I did share them with my lovely friends in book club. And I did freeze one and top it with homemade chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream.

I'll have to try again.

Dark Chocolate Brownies
Source: Joy the Baker
Yield: 12 big or 24 small

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with foil and butter the foil. This will make brownie removal much easier.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Place butter and chopped chocolate in a medium sized heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, being sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. Stir until chocolate and butter are completely melted. Use pot holders to remove the bowl from over the boiling water. Lets mixture sit for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and espresso powder. Whisk until pale and thick. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk until completely incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and whisk to incorporate. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip

I served this at a party and it was a huge hit. It was so simple to put together, it made enough to serve about 12 people and you could dip just about anything into it! Pretzels, carrots and other veggies, smear it on bread, or it would be great in a sandwich too.

Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip
Source: New York Times
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes (3 to 4)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, more to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling.

In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process to a rough purée.

With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tablespoons water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.

Spread out dip on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt.