Monday, May 31, 2010

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread & Quinoa with Grilled Zucchini and Chickpeas

I had a great time yesterday in the kitchen making some delicious dishes. This is one great tasting bread…it has a beautiful deep chocolate color.

foodblog 057

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 cup grated zucchini (about 4 medium sized)
  • 3/4 cup mini or regular chocolate chips
  • optional: zest from one orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans and set aside.

Place flours, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

With a stand or hand mixer beat oil, apple sauce, white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs until combined and slightly fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla and yogurt and mix until combined. Gently stir in the grated zucchini.

Take a spoonful of the flour mixture and stir in with the chocolate chips (that will help keep them evenly distributed).

Add the remaining flour mixture to the batter and stir just until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine. Divide the batter between the two pans. (I made one large loaf and four minis to share.)

foodblog 055

Bake in your preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. It’s ready when a cake tester comes out clean and the top is golden brown and slightly cracked.

foodblog 056

Recipe slightly adapted from Our Best Bites

Quinoa with Grilled Zucchini and Chickpeas

Fantastic summer grain salad, serve it at room temperature which allows all the spices to really pop. I added roasted red peppers to the mix.

foodblog 054

  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, divided
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika,* divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa (about 6 ounces),** rinsed well, drained
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium zucchini (about 5), trimmed, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Combine garbanzo beans and lemon juice in large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons oil; press in garlic and stir to combine. Let marinate at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups water, quinoa, and coarse salt; bring to simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare barbecue (medium high heat). Place zucchini on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Toss to coat evenly.

foodblog 046

Place zucchini on grill; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Grill until tender and browned on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to work surface. Cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Add zucchini, red bell peppers, green onions, and parsley, then garbanzo bean mixture to quinoa. Toss to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Epicurious

After my cooking adventures we headed over to Kristin & Laurence’s home for a fun evening of dinner and games.

foodblog 064 foodblog 065

Andy had a great idea to bring over a pitcher of these with us…

Frozen Strawberry-Lime Daiquiri's

foodblog 061

Serves 4

  • 3/4 cup light rum
  • 3/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar (or make simple syrup w/ lime zest and 1/4 cup water, chill)
  • 1 (16 ounce) package frozen whole strawberries
  • 1/2 cup ice, if needed

Pour rum and lime juice into blender container. Add sugar and whirl to dissolve. Drop frozen berries into blender container, a few at a time, blending until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses.

Our cocktails were enjoyed with a delicious chilled dip that included Beans, Peppers, Corn, and Salsa and topped with cheese and sour cream.

foodblog 063

Little Ellie had her 2nd birthday last week; after finishing her snack she broke into the gift we brought her. I loved watching her peak inside of the tall package as she unwrapped it.

foodblog 058

Kristin had previously ordered her butterfly flower garden and the two of them spend time tending to it and watching the plants grow. We got Ellie her own little garden kit (shovel, spade, and water bottle)…she had fun outside spritzing all the plants.

foodblog 060

In the meantime, the food prep was underway…grilled corn on the cob

foodblog 066

Memphis Ribs (with a dry rub spice blend and sauce)

foodblog 067

Corn, Quinoa and Zucchini, RIBS!!

foodblog 068

I tried a Purple Haze tonight, wheat ale with a hint of raspberry, I’m a sucker for wheat brews and thought it was really nice.

foodblog 069

The rest of the evening was filled with PB Brownie Cups, Catch Phrase and Trivial Pursuit :D

foodblog 050

Oh, I went back to the last daiquiri too and that led to more tortilla chips…sprinkled with shredded cheese and microwaved for 30 seconds…an old childhood favorite snack of mine.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


Monday: Blue Cheese Burgers and Roasted Potato Salad

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: Chicken Parm Sliders and Roasted Green Beans

Thursday: Brinkley's Farm CSA pick-up and Yoga@Duke, leftovers

Friday: Dinner @ Four Square Restaurant

Saturday: Grilling-out with Leigh & Wes, Roasted Summer Squashes w/ Caper Gremolata

Sunday: Chicken and Waffles

Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

Peanut butter cups are my all time favorite junk food, I’m pretty stoked about trying one of these bad boys tonight that pairs the same flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate. They by no means look professional, but I had fun making them and piping the pb frosting out.

We’re taking these to share with our friends tonight, they’ll be putting ribs on the bbq! Yummy! I’m making a couple other items to take along too…it’s a fun day in the kitchen.

foodblog 051

  • 1 box brownie mix (used guiltless brownie mix)
  • Eggs, as needed for brownies (mine called for yogurt only)
  • Oil, as needed for brownies (ditto)
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese, softened (used reduced fat)
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened (omitted)
  • A dash vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Prepare brownies according to package directions, portioning the batter into miniature muffin cups before baking. (I used standard muffin cups, my batter made 10.) Cool baked brownies completely.

foodblog 047

When the brownies have cooled, in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the peanut butter, cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and butter until fluffy, about 2 minutes.

foodblog 048

Add the vanilla and milk, and continue beating until smooth, about 1 minute. (If the mixture is still thick, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth and fluffy). Transfer the frosting to a zipper lock bag and push the mixture down into one corner. Cut the corner of the bag off or use a decorating tool.

foodblog 049

Pipe the frosting on top of each miniature brownie. Serve.

foodblog 050

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rhubarb Sauced Pancakes or Waffles

My very favorite breakfast growing up was when Mom would make rhubarb sauced pancakes. My sister and I would gobble them up like no other! Rhubarb season is a short one so these are always a special treat. I now buy a couple extra stocks so that I can wash, chop, and store them in the freezer.

I sure wished the two of them were here with me this morning to enjoy my waffles that I topped with it.

foodblog 044

Rhubarb Sauce

  • 6-7 rhubarb stalks, washed and sliced into 1-in pieces
  • 1/4 cup (or more) sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 drop red food coloring, optional

Place stalks in a sauce pan with very little water (~2 Tbsp).  Cook over medium heat, covered.  Let cook about 10 minutes.  Stir and chunks should shred apart. 

Then mix sugar and cornstarch.  While stirring, slowly pour in cornstarch mixture.  Continue stirring about 1 minute and then adjust water or more sugar/cornstarch to desired consistency.  Add more sugar to taste.  Can add one drop of red food coloring if needed.

foodblog 046

Pete’s Whole Wheat Pancake/Waffle Mix

Andy’s grandmother “Pete” has been making this for years and we all love them! This makes a lot of mix, and you can use it as you want it. Pete freezes it in 2 cup packages.

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole bran cereal (Bran Buds)
  • 1 1/s cups nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking powder
  • 1 T salt

Mix all ingredients and store as suggested.

When ready to use measure out 2 cups of mix and add 1/4 cup canola oil, 3/4 cup (or more) water, and 1 egg. (You don't want it to be too thick.)

foodblog 041

The boys were quite interested in what all I was doing in the kitchen this morning. I love how they sit right next to each other most of the time.

foodblog 048

After breakfast we headed out for some exploring.

First we stopped Durham Central Park

foodblog 055

and walked through the new skate park…(which is safely located right across from the District Police Station)…

foodblog 053

Andy did a little “shoe-boarding” himself.

foodblog 051

We continued on across the bridge…

foodblog 054

foodblog 056 foodblog 057

foodblog 058

to the farmers market. I think our market is the perfect size; there’s a great vibe and it’s full of cheery faces but it’s not overly crowded in anyway.

foodblog 059

So what did we get? We were already stocked on veggies from our recent CSA pick-up, but aren’t these beauties!?

foodblog 066

I thought the cookie stacks were so darling too…but that isn’t what I picked up either…

foodblog 065

I went for the Dolly Mama Roasted Local Beet & Dark Chocolate cupcake with 70% Ganache + Cocoa Nibs…I’m forecasting that dessert tonight will be an excellent one!

foodblog 071

We then headed over to the old minor league Durham Athletic Park to catch the tale end of the Doughman Quadrathlon.

foodblog 063

The competition involves teams of four that eat, bike, swim, and run. “The DOUGHMAN is the world's premier Team Relay Quadrathlon - combining competitive eating with a traditional triathlon.” Last year even “Man vs Food” had a team and participated in the challenge.

We caught the final teams eating their Nosh cupcakes and Locopops

foodblog 060

and then running the warming track around the ball park to the finish line.

foodblog 061 foodblog 062 

(Check out Local Yogurt they’ve shared some great photos of the start-off.)

You still with me? Andy’s more of a savory breakfast kind of guy, so we walked back towards the market and picked up a breakfast for him from the Only Burger truck.

foodblog 068

Today’s special was a Fried Green Tomato & Egg Burger with Pimento Cheese!! I got to savor a single bite, delicious!

foodblog 070

The final stop of our morning was to King’s Red & White market, a super cute country grocery store that sells local meats, produce, and dairy.

foodblog 072

We picked up chicken tenderloins, a new local bbq sauce to try and Maple View Farms’ ice cream flavors Mint Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon.

foodblog 074

I’m off to see what else I can get into today, enjoy the Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Smoked Salmon Dip

I decided on an indulgent treat to start off the long weekend and make a Friday night even more pleasurable after a hectic week. This dip is super creamy and perfect topped on sliced baguette that’s been crisped in the oven.

foodblog 049

  • 1/4 cup mayo (used Greek yogurt)
  • 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1 Tbsp capers
  • 1 Tbsp red onion
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, divided
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, garnish

Combine all ingredients and TWO ounces smoked salmon in a food processor, process until smooth. Remove blade and stir in the remaining 2 ounces smoked salmon, coarsely chopped. Top with chopped fresh parsley and serve with crostini.

foodblog 051

Recipe courtesy of Everyday Food, May 2010

Brinkley's Farm Spring CSA - Week 5

foodblog 045

2 heads green buttercrunch lettuce $4.00
2.5 lbs zucchini $5.00
1 pint sugar snaps $3.00

Updates on Our Garden

The tomato plants our thriving, they have really taken off and even have numerous little green tomatoes now!!

foodblog 041

The pepper plants aren’t too much further behind, they are at the bloom stage.

foodblog 042

Fingers crossed that I will get a few figs this year off of my newly planted Fig Tree last fall. There’s some little buds progressing…

foodblog 043