Tag Archives: Zucchini

Carrot-Zucchini Bread

19 Aug

Thank you Alice for the amazing tip on the easiest apple pie ever! I now have a packet of puff pastry in my freezer for those last minute dessert needs.

So we’ve explored quite a few fruit desserts recently, but how about a sweet vegetable bread?

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Being the end of summer here in Minnesota everyone has an overabundance of zucchini from their gardens, so why not make bread with it?! This recipe from Leite’s Culinaria intrigued me because of the addition of carrots and candied ginger to a basic zucchini bread recipe. Yum!

Carrots & Zucchini

I grated the zucchini and carrots in my greatly loved, ancient but usable food processor.

grate!

They can very easily be grated with a hand grater as well. Just take care with your knuckles!

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See, so pretty!

My friend and sous chef Karen measured out all the dry ingredients.

dry ingredients

We got to try the candied ginger, which was delicious and quite expensive. After a bit of poking around, I think I might try to make my own as it doesn’t look too difficult to do. David Lebovitz has a lovely recipe that I mean to try shortly.

candied ginger

I mixed the eggs in the mixer until they were frothy,

eggs

then added sugar, oil and vanilla. Once they were all well combined

eggs and sugar

I tossed in the shredded veggies and mixed those in as well.

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At that point the dry ingredients were tossed in all at once and stirred together just until combined.

add dry to wet

While I was mixing and combining, Karen had gotten a loaf pan and a muffin pan all ready for the batter by greasing them with spray oil.

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We filled the baking pans and into the oven they went.

symmetrical

Because the recipe gave baking directions for the loaf but not the muffins, I improvised and checked the muffins at 30 mins. They were perfectly done.

funfetti

They looked like party muffins with the green and orange flecks and then every once in a while there was a spicy chunk of candied ginger to liven things up.

The loaf baked for a full hour at 325°F/162°C.

Carrot Zucchini Bread with Ginger loaf

It was quite delicious plain, but slathered with butter is even better.

Carrot Zucchini Bread with Ginger

I experimented with the zucchini loaf and some sharp cheddar in trying to make a grilled cheese sandwich. It was quite tasty, but the slices of the bread should be very thin to allow the cheese to melt before the bread starts to burn.

Carrot Zucchini Bread grilled cheese

CARROT-ZUCCHINI BREAD RECIPE
via Leite’s Culinaria
Makes two loaves or 24 muffins

INGREDIENTS
Nonstick cooking spray
3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup minced candied ginger
3 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup zucchini, grated

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (162°C). Coat two loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray or butter. You could also make them in two muffin tins.
2. Sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Stir in the salt and candied ginger.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until light and foamy. Add the canola oil, sugar, and vanilla, whisking vigorously until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the carrots and zucchini.
4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture all at once and stir with a wooden spoon just until blended. Divide the batter evenly between the pans.
5. Bake until the zucchini bread is well risen and firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour for a loaf pan or 30 minutes for muffin tins. Let the zucchini bread cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert them and finish cooling them right side up on the rack. Of course, a thin slice for the cook while the loaves are warm isn’t out of the question.

Spiced Zucchini Chips with Tahini Dipping Sauce

13 Feb

B’s roasted chickpeas are a hard act to follow. Healthy and delicious snacking.

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I think zucchini chips, alongside a tangy and healthy sauce fits the bill. The kind of thing you could whip up when the zucchinis are taking over the back yard, or on a summers day when people are coming over for a drink. They are tasty, in a way you don’t think zucchini will be.

The tahini sauce I served them with, is something I love and a reminds me of a dressing I once had on a celery heart salad that I will never ever forget, from Rumi in Brunswick, Melbourne.

This is how I made them…

Ingredients

with zucchini, some spray oil, salt, pepper, sweet paprika and chili powder.

I used the food processor to slice the zucchini, but you could slice by hand. I then prepared all of the trays I have (two baking trays) with baking paper and a very brief spray of oil. I would use cookie sheets if you have them. One zucchini filled one tray.

slicedpansspice

I sprinkled sea salt sparingly over the slices, gave a grind of pepper, and then sieved the other spices over the top with a tea strainer. Be careful not to over spice, as they shrink so dramatically, the flavour is intensified.

Then I placed them in a very slow oven for one and a half hours. I turned the oven up a little after an hour to ensure they got crisp and browned nicely. Your oven may vary the times. I kept a close eye on them for the last 10 or so minutes, and pulled out those that cooked before others. They are perhaps a little time consuming to be an every day thing, but I enjoyed them so much I made another batch the next day. I only have the two trays, but I would make more if I had more trays!

The tahini sauce was just…

Ingredients_sauce

tahini, lemon, garlic, salt, pepper and a little warm water. I mashed the garlic to a paste with a little salt, using the back of a knife.
garlic

Then I mixed all of the ingredients together in a bowl. I sprinkled with a little sumac to serve, but you could also use paprika.

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Yummo. Crispy.

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ZUCCHINI CHIPS

ingredients to suit two trays 

2 medium sized zucchini, sliced to the thickness of a quarter, or 20 cent piece here in Australia. A food processor slicer works well, as would a mandolin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 140C/285F

Cover two baking sheets or trays with baking paper and spray very lightly with the oil. Placed the sliced zucchini on the trays, with no overlaps, and spray very lightly with oil again. Season with the salt and pepper. Season also with the chili powder and sweet paprika. Using a tea strainer to apply lightly and evenly works well.

Bake in slow oven for around 1.5 hours, keeping an eye on them. I found I needed to turn the oven up toward the end, to around 155C get them crisp. They shrink dramatically, so please don’t get a shock at the final product. My suggestion is to make as many trays as you can fit in your oven/have on hand.

These chips soften up after a few hours, so make them just before devouring.

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SIMPLE TAHINI SAUCE

ingredients

1 Tbsp tahini
2 tsp garlic – mashed with a good pinch of salt
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Generous grind of black pepper
2 Tbsp warm water

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl, and taste. Add more seasoning if needed. If the consistency is too thick, add a little more water.

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Grilled Zucchini with Pine Nuts, Currants and Fetta

3 May

It feels such a luxury to be back in Melbourne and to be totally spoiled for choice with ingredients. Fresh and vibrant produce, cheeses, spices and meats. So good.

My step mother, Betsy, is always an inspiration with food, and we cooked this dish together a few weeks ago. I’m not one to normally be amazed by zucchini, but this dish is something else. We ate it alone as a first course. It is also something that would go well alongside a simple cooked meat, perhaps something on the barbecue or chargrill pan given you have already fired it up.

The original recipe is below, and it is from one of the ‘it’ Melbourne chefs, Andrew McConnell. I would dine at his restaurant, but I am not so interested in a three hour wait. I add a bit more pine nut and currant, but other than that I pretty much stayed on track. I made double quantity, because I figure it keeps well for the next day’s lunch.

You will need zucchini, lemon, currants, pine nuts, fetta, mint, sumac spice, olive oil and a little salt.

First I turned on the barbecue to get it warmed up.

Then I soaked the currants in some warm water, and toasted the pine nuts in a dry pan.

I zested a lemon, and sliced up four medium zucchini. I didn’t see any baby zucchini, like the recipe calls for, so I left them out.

Into a bowl I poured a few good glugs of olive oil, added a big pinch of salt, and squeezed the juice of a lemon. And then gently tossed the zucchini through it.

I laid each piece of zucchini on the heated grill in batches, and let it cook until it had nice stripes, and some charcoal flavour, but was still firm. You want it to maintain a bit of crunch. I reserved the liquid left in the bowl for the dressing.

To the reserved oil mixture I added the lemon zest, drained currants and pine nuts. If you need more oil at this stage, by all means add some.

I gently tossed the cooked zucchini through, and then placed it on a serving plate. I finished it off by crumbling over it some sheep’s milk fetta, roughly torn mint leaves and a smattering of sumac spice.

This is almost too good. For me, zucchini has never known these heights.

Nice to be back to our regular format again… and so with that, over to you B!

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GRILLED ZUCCHINI WITH PINE NUTS, CURRANTS AND FETTA
Original recipe from the book Cumulus Inc. by Andrew McConnell

ingredients
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 teaspoons currants
2 medium sized zucchini, topped and tailed and then cut lengthwise into 3mm slices (just over a tenth of an inch)
3 baby zucchini halved lengthwise
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
8 mint leaves, roughly torn
50g (2oz) fetta, preferably barrel-aged, crumbled
pinch of sumac

Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan until golden. Soak the currants in water for 10 minutes to rehydrate, then drain and pat dry.

Preheat a barbecue or chargrill pan. Gently toss the zucchini with the salt, the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Briefly grill the zucchini on the hot barbecue or chargrill pan for a moment on each side, just until they are lightly grill-marked and wilted without being cooked through.

To serve toss the zucchini with the lemon zest, pine nuts, currants and the remaining olive oil (I used the oil and lemon juice mix left from the zucchini bowl earlier). Arrange the zucchini on a platter and strew with the mint. Crumble the fetta cheese over and finish with a pinch of sumac.

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