Zucchini & Tomato Pasta

 

Hi all– Still “tomato time” around here.  So many tomatoes!  We are eating them twice a day–lunch and dinner (so far no tomatoes have slipped into our breakfast cereal!)  And this is my favorite use of our “crop” so far.

The little cherry tomatoes burst and shed their juices.  And this mixed with parmesan and garlic makes a lovely rich sauce.  Throw in some pasta and its a pretty perfect summer supper.  I was excited that we had leftovers to enjoy it all over again!

ZUCCHINI & TOMATO PASTA
8 oz. of your favorite pasta
6 oz. pancetta (or 6 slices of bacon), chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped to bits
garlic salt & freshly ground pepper
4 cups cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/2 cup fresh basil, cut to shreds

While you are making the tomato topping, put the pasta on to cook.

Cut the pancetta to small bits and cook it in a large nonstick skillet.  When it’s cooked crispy, remove the bacon from the skillet, leaving the fat in the pan.

Put the chopped zucchini in the skillet.  Sprinkle with garlic salt & freshly ground pepper.  Cook 4 or 5 minutes until the zucchini starts to brown, but is still crispy (not soggy!).  Take out the zucchini and set aside.

Then add the tomatoes to the skillet.  Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper and cook on high heat, 7 or 8 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and release their juices.  Add the minced garlic to the skillet the last couple minutes the tomatoes are cooking.  Stir in the parmesan romano, stirring to melt it a bit.

Finally add the zucchini & bacon back to the skillet. Stir in the shredded basil.   Spread the drained pasta on a platter and then top it with the tomato mixture.  Enjoy!

Chicken & Summer Veggie Tostadas

Hello all– If you go into our back yard and peek through the fence, you can see our neighbor, Mr. Wicks’ garden!  Really more of a mini-farm.  Fruit trees and all kinds of squash,  green beans and loaded tomato bushes eight feet tall!  And he’s generous.  Giving out fruit and his famous roses to neighbors who pass by.  And we are the often happy beneficiaries of his bounty– this week zucchini and yellow squash!

And of course, the best way to use any lovely food is to roll it into a taco, in this case a tostada.  Thanks Mr. Wicks.  They were delicious!

 

CHICKEN & SUMMER VEGGIE TOSTADAS
1 tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
1 medium zucchini, chopped to small bits
1 cup fresh (or frozen, defrosted) corn kernels
1/2 cup sales verde
3 tab. chopped cilantro
6 standard corn tortillas
1 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup colby jack, grated
garnish: cilantro, avocado slices

 

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet.  Mix the cumin, salt & pepper in a bowl.  Cut the chicken into flat filets and dredge it in the cumin mixture.  Set it in the hot pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Take the chicken out of the pan to a cutting board and cut it into small bite size pieces.

In the same skillet, add the chopped red onion, zucchini and corn.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the salsa verde and cilantro.  Mix. Take it off the heat.

Set the tortillas onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Brush the tablespoon of olive oil onto the tortillas.  Set them under the broiler on a medium heat setting for 1 or 2 minutes until they are crispy and lightly browned.

Then stir the chicken into the zucchini mixture and heap it onto the tortillas.  Sprinkle the cheese over the tops and set them back under the broiler for just a minute until the cheese melts.  Garnish with cilantro & avocado.  Add a crispy salad and dinner is ready!!

Lemon Zucchini Bread

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Hello cooking buddies–  It’s been a quiet week for me here.  Staying with my dear Mom as she recovers from a couple hospital stays last week.  Mostly I’ve been sitting and working on some unnamed Christmas gifts (just in case any of the recipients are reading… I mean you Laurel!)  We watch old movies and eat soup.  A unique and actually sweet time with Mom.

So all I have to share with you is a luscious lemony loaf of bread I made a few weeks ago for friends.  It’s tender and tart and looks a little bit like sunshine on the plate.  If you’re looking for something sweet to give away this Christmas, you might just like this pretty bread.

LEMON ZUCCHINI BREAD

Bread:
2/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
2 tab. lemon juice*
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tab. lemon zest (peel)*
2 cups grated zucchini (2 smallish zucchini)
1 tsp. vanilla

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tab. lemon juice*
2 tab.grated lemon peel*

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To start out, grate 2 smallish zucchini with a box grater (largest holes) to produce 2 cups of grated zucchini.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the canola oil, yogurt, lemon juice, eggs and sugar until blended and smooth.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  And finally fold in the zucchini and vanilla.

Spoon the batter into a standard loaf pan (9″x 5″) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the bread rest a few minutes while you stir up the glaze.  Whisk together the powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  If you like it thinner, stir in the 2nd tablespoon of lemon juice.  Drizzle over the cake.  And sprinkle the lemon peel on top.  Enjoy!

*One large lemon or two smaller lemons should be enough.

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Cheddar Zucchini Rice

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Hey there– here’s a new favorite side dish, easy, fast, fresh and creamy delicious.  It is a good match for a whole list of main dishes.  I made it a couple weeks ago when my dear friend Jenon came for dinner– lime salmon, asparagus, sturdy bread, a bright salad and this yummy rice.  Add in easy conversation with an old friend and it makes a fine dinner…

CHEDDAR ZUCCHINI RICE
2 tab. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 zucchini, grated to shreds
1 cup grated cheddar cheese*
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds over low heat.  Then stir in the rice, water and salt.  Bring up to a low simmer and cook 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Stir the uncooked, grated zucchini and the cheddar into the hot rice. Taste and add salt and/or pepper if you want to season it a bit more.  Easy, beautiful and delish!

*I used Colby-jack cheese, any easy melting cheese will do.

Tomato Zucchini Ricotta Pizza

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Hi there–Went over the Jac & Jackie’s for dinner with a table of friends this week.  There were huge fragrant sales of lasagne and a bright summer salad for dinner.  And to start us off with a little glass of celebratory bubbly wine (one more retirement toast!!), I brought along this “pizza.”  It’s more of an appetizer than a full meal, cut into small slices, but could be a lovely summer lunch or supper as well.

TOMATO ZUCCHINI RICOTTA PIZZA

Crust (makes enough for 2 12″ pizza crusts):
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water*
1 tab. sugar
2 tab olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Cheese Topping:
3/4 cup ricotta
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (about 2 oz.)
3 tab. chopped basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tab. milk

Tomatoes & Zucchini:
1 pint small tomatoes (varied colors are nice)
1 small zucchini
3 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
a little more chopped basil for garnish

Let the yeast dissolve in the water and then stir in the other ingredients.  Knead 3 to 4 minutes (you can add a little more flour if it feels too sticky)  and stretch half the dough onto a 12″ pizza pans that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Wrap the other half of the dough in saran and save for another pizza soon.  Cook the dough for 7 minutes at 350 degrees without toppings.

While it’s cooking, mix the ricotta, feta, 3 tab. chopped basil, garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt and milk in a bowl.  Set it aside.

Slice the Tomatoes and lay the slices onto a paper towel to drain off extra moisture.  Then with a peeler, shave the zucchini not thin slices.  Mix the zucchini and with 1 1/2 tab. olive oil.

Spread the ricotta mixture over the partially cooked crust.  Layer the zucchini over the top.

Then in a bowl, coat the tomatoes with the other 1 1/2 tab. of olive oil and layer them over the zucchini.  Season with salt & freshly ground pepper.

Pop the pizza into the 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is browned and the ricotta is bubbly.
Sprinkle on a little more chopped basil when you pull it from the oven.  Cut in slices and serve hot.

Zucchini Walnut Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_2717Hello there– This tidy little cake stood in for the birthday cake for Larry’s birthday– He doesn’t like too much sweetness (unlike his wife!) and I thought this would be just about what he would like in the way of cake.

I wish I had taken a picture with the tall red candles burning away on top!  But you’ll just have to imagine.  Happy Birthday dear Larry!

ZUCCHINI WALNUT CAKE WITH HONEY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Cake:
1 1/2 cups zucchini, grated (about 1 medium zucchini)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped*

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
4 tab. butter (1/2 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. honey

Candied Walnuts:
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sugar

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Grate that zucchini and set it aside.

Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl– the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then stir in the vanilla, oil and eggs.  Finally fold in the zucchini and walnuts.

Scoop the thick batter into a 9″ square or round cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and bake it at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.  Poke it with a thin knife to be sure it’s cooked through (it takes longer than you think it should).

Let the cake cool before you frost it.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla and honey.  Spread it on the cooled cake.

To make the candied walnuts,  drop the 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/4 cup sugar into a small skillet and stir continuously over medium heat until the sugar completely melts and turns a beautiful golden color.  (Be careful.  This is so hot!)

When the nuts are all coated, turn them out onto a piece of foil and let them cool (it just takes a couple minutes) before you arrange them on top of the frosted cake.

*1 cup is a whole lot of walnuts for this small size of cake.  Maybe you’d want less (like 1/2 a cup).  I just love nuts so I overdo them, I afraid.

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P.S. I’m loving my new/old white plate sitting under the cake.  I picked it up in a thrift store settled into a little white clapboard church building along the way on our drive through rural New York this summer.  A $1 bargain plate–just my kind of shopping!

Fresh Corn & Zucchini Pie

IMG_1346Hello there– It’s that zucchini time of year.  I wish I could say we have a bountiful, beautiful zucchini patch in our side yard.  But not this year.  So I’m depending on the market for m supply. But zucchini –and that fresh corn just taste like summer. So here it is…

FRESH CORN & ZUCCHINI PIE
2 smallish zucchini, cut into slices
2 yellow crooked neck squash, cut into slices
1 small yellow onion, chopped
splash of olive oil
2 ears fresh sweet corn
1/2 tsp salt*
1 tsp. dried basil
2 cups shredded cheese
(I used half colby jack & half mozzarella)
3 eggs

IMG_1351Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Then add the sliced zucchini, squash and onion.  Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then.

While that’s cooking, slice the corn kernels off the cob.  After the first 5 minutes, throw the corn into the pan and cook 5 minutes more.  Season with the salt and basil.

In a large heat proof mixing bowl, beat the eggs til frothy with a whisk.  Stir in the cheese (but save a little handful aside to sprinkle on top)  and then scoop in the zucchini, squash and corn from the skillet into the bowl.  Mix it up and pour it into a 9 or 10″ baking dish that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.

Cover the dish loosely with foil (try to keep it from touching the zucchini etc.) and pop it into a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Then remove the foil and bake 10-12 minutes longer to brown up the top.

Let it sit about 10 minutes to firm up and then cut into warm, delicious slices.

*I used garlic salt instead of plain salt, just because I love that stuff.

P.S.  This makes great leftovers to tote to work for lunch.  Eggs suffer the microwave well, and I like a nice warm dish for lunch,  tastier than the routine sandwich.