Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lemon Zucchini Bread

Given the abundance of zucchini I picked from my garden this week, I decided to make some zucchini bread for a family gathering. I found this recipe for Lemon Zucchini Bread at Allrecipes. The lemon and zucchini make a really good combination, and it is a nice change from the usual spiced zucchini bread that is so popular. I did make some changes to original recipe. I added more lemon zest and shredded zucchini to the bread and I decreased the amount of sugar. I also made simple glaze of lemon juice and confectioner's sugar to pour over the top of the bread.

Lemon Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Serves 8

2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. lemon zest

-Juice from 1/2 a lemon
-1/2 to 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar


-Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8x4 inch loaf pan.

-In a bowl, stir together the zucchini, sugar, egg, and oil. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; stir in the cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. (I just mixed this by hand, there was no need to use a mixer.)

-Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from heat, and cool about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
-Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine the lemon juice with the confectioner's sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. How much sugar you use depends on how thick you like your glaze. I used about 3/4 of a cup.
-Once the bread has cooled, drizzle the glaze over the bread and enjoy!

Notes: This is a wonderful recipe for zucchini bread. I got compliments from people who claim not to like zucchini bread at all, but they liked this version. I think I will make this many more times. I plan on also trying a healthier version by substituting applesauce for the oil and using whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. I would probably add even more lemon zest next time because I really love the lemon flavor in this bread.

TWD: Summer Fruit Galette

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection is from Michelle of Michelle in Colorado Springs. She chose for us to bake the Summer Fruit Galette from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. You can find the recipe here. For my galette I decided to use some nectarines that were on sale at my local market. I used apricot preserves and gingersnaps instead of graham crackers as well.

Notes: I found this recipe to be fairly simple. I used my food processor to make the pie crust, which is, in my opinion, the easiest way to make a pie crust from scratch. I wasn't able to fit near as much fruit as the recipe calls for. I only used about 5 nectarines for my galette, and it seemed like enough. Additionally, I was only able to get about 4 tablespoons of the custard mixture into the fruit. Nice, simple summer dessert that I am sure I will try again with many different combinations of fruit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Garden

I went out to check on my garden today, and was amazed at everything that had popped up, just in past few days. I am so happy that it has started producing in the past week (this is my first garden), and I am going to have fresh produce up to my ears all summer. I took a few photos today, because everything looked so beautiful. I can't wait to try loads of new recipes with all of these wonderful veggies.

This is what I picked today, a ton of zucchini (more than that, but I gave some away already to some relatives and neighbors), a few jalapenos, and one tiny cherry tomato.

Here a few other things that I will soon be putting to good use:


Jalapeno and cayenne peppers

Mutiple varieties of tomatoes (roma, cherry, yellow, beefsteak)


and zucchini

TWD: Cherry Apple Cobbler

This is my first Tuesday with Dorie. I joined the group this week, and I am very excited about it. Basically, each week, a different member from the group picks a recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, and all the members participate in baking that particular recipe. This week's selection was chosen by Amanda from Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake. Here you can find the original recipe for the Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler. I really haven't eaten a lot of rhubarb, so I was excited to try this, but I went to 3 stores looking for it, and I had no luck. I decided to go with 3 large Granny Smith apples instead, since they, like rhubarb, are quite tart. The only other substitution I made to the recipe was to add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the fruit mixture to prevent the apples from turning brown.

Notes: As far as cobblers go, this is a pretty good one. I liked the different type of biscuit topping. The whole wheat flour gives the topping a denser, nuttier flavor that goes well with the fruit. I think the recipe might have a bit too much butter in it because the next day it looked as if some of the butter from the biscuit topping had seeped down into the filling and solidified. Other than than, good flavors all around. Can't wait to post another Tuesdays with Dorie selection.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Spicy Lemon Garlic Grilled Shrimp

Serves 2

8 jumbo shrimp (count 16)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
Juice from half of a lemon
Salt to taste.

-In a plastic bag mix the shrimp with the olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, and lemon juice.
-Let the shrimp marinate for at least 10 minutes, but no more than 30 or the lemon juice with start to "cook" the shrimp.
-Drain the shrimp and thread the onto skewers. (If using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling.). Season the shrimp with salt.
-Grill over high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the shrimp have turned pink and are firm to the touch.

Notes: I served the shrimp alongside the Italian Pasta Salad and some grilled bread. It was a great summer meal. Make sure to watch the shrimp closely when they are on the grill, as they only take a few minutes on each side to become fully cooked. If the shrimp are overcooked, they will be tough and rubbery.

Italian Pasta Salad

Serves 3-4

8 oz. pasta
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (I used Kraft's Light Zesty Italian)
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
2 Tbsp. red onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
4 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
2 Tbsp Italian parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

-Cook pasta according to directions in a pot of salted water, drain and cool to room temperature.
-In a bowl combine the pasta and the salad dressing and toss to coat the pasta.
-Mix in the next six ingredients, season to taste with salt and pepper. (For my taste, I found that I did not need to add any extra salt. I did add a generous amount of pepper.)
-Refrigerate the pasta salad for at least an hour to let the flavors blend.
-Just before serving, sprinkle with parsley.

Notes: This pasta salad is very light and not too heavily coated with dressing. It would also be good with some grilled chicken or shrimp mixed in.

Cinnamon Almond French Toast with Blueberry Sauce

Serves 2

French Toast:
4 slices white bread
3 large eggs
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup sliced almonds

Blueberry Sauce:
1 1/4 cups blueberries fresh or frozen (if frozen do not thaw)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. cornstarch
1-2 Tbsp. sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries)
1 tsp. lemon juice

Confectioner's sugar (optional)


-Prepare the blueberry sauce first. Rinse the blueberries and place them in a small saucepan set over medium high heat.
-Mix the cornstarch into the water until dissolved and add to the blueberries, stir together and add the sugar and the lemon juice.
-Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until the mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes.
-Meanwhile make the French toast. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
-In a shallow bowl whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon together.
-Spread the sliced almonds onto a plate.
-Dip the slices of bread into the egg mixture then the sliced almonds.
-Cook the toast for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown (be sure to watch carefully so the almonds do not burn).
-Place 2 slices of French toast on each plate and divide the blueberry sauce between them. Dust with confectioner's sugar if desired.


Quick and easy weekend breakfast. Like I mentioned in the directions, the almonds can burn quite easily, so make sure to watch the toast carefully. The almonds provide a pleasant crunch that is a nice change to ordinary French toast.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My First Post: Mini Citrus Bundt Cakes

I wasn't sure what was going to be my first post, but as fate would have it, my new cookbook, How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson arrived in the mail today. Therefore, I decided to adapt the mini bundt cake recipe found within this cookbook (also because I had all of the ingredients on hand). These mini bundt cakes are light, yogurt-based cakes, with a hint of citrus.

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used non-fat plain yogurt)
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
zest of one lemon and one lime
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt (I used kosher salt)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
milk, if needed

Juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (or more depending on desired consistency of icing)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
-Coat 4 mini bundt cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.
-In one bowl, mix the melted butter, yogurt, eggs, and the zest (don't worry if the mixture appears curdled, this is just due to the combination of butter and yogurt).
-In a separate bowl, sift flour and baking soda, then combine with salt and granulated sugar.
-Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix the batter or the cake will become dense. I added about 2 Tbsp. of milk to thin the batter a bit because it seemed too thick to me.
-Divide the batter equally into 4 mini bundt cake pans and gently tap the pans on the counter to level the batter then place on a baking sheet.
-Bake cakes for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
-Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 5 minutes then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.
-After the cakes have cooled, drizzle the icing over the cakes and enjoy!

My dog Riley, checking out the cake.

Notes: I really liked these mini cakes. I actually added the icing to one of the cakes when it was still warm, and the icing formed a bit of a sweet crust on the cake which was nice. The cakes were a bit "eggy", so next time I might eliminate one of the yolks or add more flour. Other than that, they make a great, summer treat.