Thursday, August 29, 2013


You're going to start to wonder why I didn't call this blog "Real Zucchini. All day. Every day." and for someone who has been luke warm to the zuke before this year, I am surprised at my own enthusiasm for this favorite summer squash.
So today, for the last time (I promise), I have just a couple more zucchini recipes to share.
The first is a basic chocolate zuchinni cake. You can Google chocolate zucchini cake all day long (and I encourage you to explore), but here's one of my old faithfuls, if you don't want to spend any time searching. Best Ever Deep Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake
I used the proper Dutch cocoa from the Bulk Barn and it does add a little extra element of flavour.  This is not an overly sweet cake, but my favorite kind of chocolate is the 70% cocoa, dark kind, so it suits me just perfectly.  For my less enthusiastic dark chocolate lovers, I made a quick ganache to go on top, that I just dipped the cupcakes in and let sit until cool.  My ganache was basically just what I had on hand, which was 2 oz. of bittersweet chocolate and as much cream as I could skim from one jug of our jersey milk (sorry I can't be more specific on that measurement, but a good splash of cream will do it.)  Melt together and let sit until cool enough to not drip, but warm enough to dip. Add a pinch or two of sugar if it's not sweet enough for you.
Jen mentioned freezing zucchini, pre-shredded in the right measurements and that's a fantastic way to take this diverse ingredient into the cold, short days of winter.  And if you think these cupcakes look good now, imagine how great they'd be about mid-February! 

For my last zucchini recipe, it's one I threw together myself, so the measurements, again, will be lacking.  (Sorry Jen, I know that makes you crazy. haha.)  I made it a kid project in the hopes that they would be more interested in eating them, with some success.  They certainly enjoyed helping cook them at least.

Crispy Zuke Pucks

Zucchinni, sliced into discs, at least 1/4 inch thick.
Bread crumbs, or crushed organic cereal
Spices of choice (cayenne, paprika, dill, salt, pepper, garlic, etc. etc....let your spice rack speak to you)
1 egg, beaten
Dip of choice (we used tomato sauce)
Slice, dip in egg, dip in bread crumbs, fry until crispy on the outside, and soft when pierced.

My only tips would be to make sure you have a hot pan to ensure good crispiness and to slice them thick enough that they have time to get crispy without getting too mushy in the middle.  And don't be afraid of lots of seasoning.  There isn't much about zucchini's nature flavour to conflict with other flavours, so have fun with the bread crumb mixture.  And the finer the dry mixture, the better.   A food processor is one of my favorite kitchen tools.

I can't wait for next week. I've got an awesome broccoli recipe that uses the whole head, stem and all that I want to share.
Enjoy the zucchini now because although when it rains it pours with zukes, there does come a dry season when you just might find yourself missing them.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Insert Clever Title here...

I've been a bit slack in the recipe department lately, so I'm including a couple in this post.  The first is all veggies. The second focuses on chicken and zucchini. Enjoy!
Growing up, I was under the impression that Hodge Podge was a New Brunswick thing, but I suspect that like many things claimed to a specific province, it's more regional and likely a 'PEI thing' as well.  In any case, if you happen to not be familiar with Hodge Podge, there really isn't an easier way to enjoy the simplicity of good quality, FRESH summer veggies.

Basically you just boil any summer veggies you want.  I did a fairly classic Hodge Podge here and included potatoes, carrots, beans and an onion, adding the quicker cooking ones, like beans, near the end.  It's a good idea to cut everything into bite size pieces, as cutting things with a soup spoon at the table can be annoying for everyone.  
So just barely cover the veggies with water, boil until tender crisp.  The water amount is sort of crucial because too much will mean too much broth in the final product, so you might want to strain off a bit, once you're happy with the cooking.
The important ingredients are a cup of milk (or cream!) and a couple tablespoons or butter.  Serve hot with salt and pepper.  And bread for sopping up broth. :)

 Once again, I failed to take pictures of this next recipe during the cooking, but I at least managed to snag a shot of the final product, along with a picture of the kale salad we all love. :)

I found this video of this recipe from Canadian Living, but I couldn't imagine ever cooking something that would require that many pots and pans or that much shifting food around.  So my version uses many of the same ingredients, but with a lot less work.  (And I've discovered that left-over chicken works just as well- if not better because it's easier!)

So... Sally's Quick Zucchini Chicken Bake

-Cook 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic in olive oil in a large skillet, until golden.  (If you're using raw chicken, add it here, in dice-sized pieces and cook nearly through.) 
-Add 2 chopped zucchini, along with a shake of oregano and some basil and cook briefly, about 3-4 minutes (don't let it get mushy!). If using left-over chicken, add it along with the zucchini so it has time to pick up some of the flavours, but not so early it gets dried out and sad. haha.
-Add half a jar of tomato sauce to the skillet and stir in.  Top with some cheese and bake until bubbly. 
-I served it on rice, but most anything or nothing would do just fine.

Zucchini is easy to dismiss as a boring vegetable, but it's so versatile and underappreciated that I feel obligated to promote it.  Enjoy the underdog!!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fancy Leftovers

So, if you haven't noticed, I don't really do fancy food.  And not just because of my sub-par food photography.  Partly due to my circumstances of many (un)helpful hands, usually limited time, multi-tasking and the simple requirement of making many nutritious meals per week, my food tends to be fairly utilitarian and purposeful.  Like many other parts of my life, 'fancy' does not climb the ladder of priorities very often.
But I've been in love with these heads of gorgeous lettuce for a while now.  In fact, last year, I half-joked with Jen about starting an eco-wedding business, using organic, edible products for decorations, etc. etc. and I thought that the colourful head lettuces' should be the centrepieces of the bouquets.  So it's been an ongoing love story and I've been looking for ways to honour the 'fancy-ness' of the sweet little inner leaves of the heads.

Thankfully this also incorporates leftover chicken, since my chicken CSA members were 'blessed' with larger chickens this week and I'm sure are looking for ways to use up some of the leftovers.
Continuing the theme of love, this recipe comes from my honeymoon in Scotland.  We had stopped by a little cafe for lunch one day and I had been trying to order something I'd never had before at every meal so I asked for the Coronation Chicken (which might show some of you how sheltered I am, since it's not all that unknown) and loved it!  So this is my take on what I remember from that lunch (apologies for more curry recipes-I warned you though!).

Coronation Chicken served on Lettuce Leaves
Leftover chicken, chopped up
Curry powder
Green onion, or small regular onion, diced small
1/2 Apple, peeled and diced small
Pinch of sugar
Salt and Pepper

So it's basically chicken salad, with curry.  But better.  And I hate including quantities because I think a lot of what I cook is 'to taste', so I want you to add as much of whatever ingredient, as you like.  Add enough mayo until you're happy with it and then add curry powder until you like the flavour. Stir in some raisins and add more if you want more, etc. etc.  Typically we have it on bread or crackers but as long as I have some of Jen's bib-like head lettuce, we'll have it on that.  I especially like those smaller, silky inner leaves, so I'll usually use the outside leaves in my regular salads and save the inside ones for this.  The kids call them chicken boats and Mark and I enjoy knowing it's even better for us, without the bread.  They make a really nice addition to a potluck table and take plain ol' leftover chicken to a higher place.

I've been away from my kitchen for a bit, but I'm back now and eager to show you one of my favorite zucchini recipes (also incorporating fresh or left-over chicken...coincidentally...:).  I will get some pictures taken and posted in the next day or two, so come back soon!