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Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

I realized this week that there is only one month left of my children’s summer vacation.  It was a punch to the stomach.   Only one month left to get out there and drink in the summer, to make memories.  They are 7 and 5, and for anyone that has or has had children of these ages, you probably understand why I feel that these ages are perfect.  They love to be around Radd and me, yet are independent enough to do things on their own.  All the hassles of tiny babes and toddlers are gone and we’re left to enjoy these perfectly sweet, intelligent, and hilarious tiny human beings.  Leaving the house is easy.  I remember when it used to be such a production:  diaper bags, extra clothes, baby food (in a cooler), etc.  Life is so effortless right now and I want to bottle this up and keep it forever.  Because it won’t be long before they’ll pick hanging out with their friends over being with us.  I know change is on the horizon and I can’t stop it.  I hate change– have I ever mentioned that before?  I do. It’s just how I am wired.

Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

But not only is school break about to end, I’m grappling with the realization that I have one month left of my thirties.  A big (gulp) birthday is just around the corner.   I wish I could be one of those people that welcomed it, but again, I hate change.  So instead, I’m working on trying to embrace it as well as trying to enjoy the heck out of this next month.  We’ll be doing the things I love– just more of them.

Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

Wait.  This is a food blog, right?  Okay, enough of the existential wrangling.  One of the things I’ll also be doing is tinkering in my kitchen, as I always do.  Recently, I made these fantastic corn and zucchini fritters.  If I’m being honest, I needed an acceptable way to eat the cilantro-mint chutney without simply drinking it and I figured a corn and zucchini fritter with an Indian flare would be perfect.  Indeed it was.  Eating a ton of vegetables that have been formed into a patty and crisped-up in olive oil is always a good idea.  These fritters are somewhat fragile, meaning you can’t pick them up with your hands.  I didn’t want to over-do the amount of flour that was in them.  They’re more of a “hash brown” texture.  And they are absolutely perfect with the cilantro-mint chutney.  I like to add some heat to mine with a jalapeño.  They are simple to make and come together rather quickly, which makes them perfect for a weeknight meal.  They are a wonderful meal on their own, or serve them alongside something else as a side.  Either way, I know you’re going to love them.

Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney | Relishing It

The Recipe: Curried Corn and Zucchini Fritters + Cilantro Mint Chutney

(makes 9 3-inch patties)

For the Corn and Zucchini Fritters:

2 ears of fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob

1 pound zucchini, coarsely grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (GF flour can be substituted)

1/2 teaspoon sweet curry powder (this is subtle, use more for more of a punch)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

freshly ground pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

olive oil, for frying

For the Cilantro Mint Chutney:

1/2 cup cilantro, slightly packed

1/2 cup fresh mint, slightly packed

3-4 tablespoons plain yogurt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon freshly minced ginger

squeeze of lime

pinch of sugar

kosher salt to taste

minced jalapeño to taste (I used 1/4 of a large one)

To make the Cilantro Mint Chutney:  combine all of the ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Season properly with sugar, salt, and lime.  Set aside so the flavors can combine.

In a colander placed over a medium-sized bowl, combine the grated zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Then gently squeeze the liquid from the zucchini with your hands. You want the zucchini to be as dry as possible, so it will crisp when fried.

In a medium-sized bowl, using your hands, gently combine the zucchini, corn, garlic, flour, curry powder, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pepper together.  Making sure to evenly coat the vegetables with the flour.  Then add the egg and mix again using your hands until everything is evenly moistened.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a hot skillet–cast-iron worked well.  Form 3-inch patties that are about 1/2-inch thick with the zucchini mixture and gently place them in the skillet. Fry as many as will fit into the pan at a time.  Fry on medium-high heat until the underside is a deep golden brown, then flip.  Repeat until all of the mixture is gone.  Be sure to add more olive oil into the pan each time.  The fritters are best eaten immediately.  Top with the chutney and enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

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Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

Zucchini is not my favorite vegetable.  There, how’s that for an opening statement?  It truly isn’t, or wasn’t, rather.  It’s not that I really disliked zucchini, but in the past, if given the choice, I generally chose other ingredients to work with.  I thought of it as bland and lacking “personality.”  As it turns out, I’ve really come around to enjoying this wonderfully subtle vegetable.  It just took a little coaxing from a very good, very talented friend.

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing it

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

My friend, Amanda Paa, from HeartBeet Kitchen, has just published her very first cookbook, “Smitten with Squash”, dedicated entirely to that vegetable.  I first met Amanda a few years ago at a mutual food-blogger friend’s cabin.  I loved her ever-present smile and her calm demeanor.  She was chopping vegetables endlessly in the kitchen and more than happy to be doing so.  To say this girl is lovely doesn’t do her justice.  We both belong to the group Fortify (a local food group), so we continued to run into each other at events.  We eventually discovered that we live just a few blocks from one another.  We frequent the same restaurants, coffee shops, and farmers markets, and we never ever tire of talking about food together.  We’ve become wonderful friends and I couldn’t be happier to share a recipe from her new cookbook with you!

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

It’s fun to have the inside scoop on someone’s book-writing journey.  In some small way, it made me feel like I was part of it.  She worked so hard and spent much of her winter huddled-up writing.  The result is this wonderful book full of recipes for both summer and winter squash.  Sweet or savory, she’s covered it all and then some. If you’re looking for inspiration for this particular vegetable, this is the cookbook you need.

During her creative process, I had the opportunity test a few of her recipes.  This wonderful zucchini cauliflower gratin is a heaping dish of chopped vegetables seasoned with herbs and parmesan cheese. There is just enough cream in it to give it a proper gratin feel, but the added milk keeps it from being too heavy.  And every single bite is laced with just enough rosemary to keep you wanting another.  Lastly, the parmesan crust on the top adds a little cheesiness, with a nice contrast in texture.  I pile this gratin high on my plate with no regrets.  It’s perfect paired with a grilled meat and a glass of wine.  Not to mention my kids and husband all love it, too.

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It

I’m giving away a copy of Amanda’s book to one lucky reader (only in the US– sorry)!  You want this book, you really do.  She gets so creative with this vegetable– you’ll want to cook through the entire thing.  Even if you aren’t the winner, I would encourage you to order it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble— you won’t be disappointed.  To enter, follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter link below.  Good Luck!

Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin | Relishing It And to you, Amanda– I am so happy to call you a friend.  You are one of the most selfless and giving people I’ve met.  Congratulations on your beautiful book– I’m truly excited to see what comes next for you.

Enter Giveaway Here — a Rafflecopter giveaway

Update: The winner is Carolsue Anderson!  Thanks to all who entered.

The Recipe: Zucchini Cauliflower Summer Gratin

(serves 4)

1 large head cauliflower

kosher salt

1 1/4 pounds zucchini, coarsely grated

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour)

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup grated parmesan, divided (or more!)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Prepare the cauliflower by removing the core and breaking the rest up into smaller pieces.  Then, using a food processor (or a sharp knife), pulse the cauliflower until they are tiny pieces that resemble rice grains.  Be care that the mixture doesn’t get mushy.  You may have to do this in batches.  You should yield about 3 1/2 cups.

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with olive oil and set aside. Stir 1 teaspoon salt and grated zucchini together, then place colander set over a bowl to drain.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add onions and a big pinch of salt, and cook stirring, until softened, about 4-5 minutes.   Meanwhile, squeeze handfuls of zucchini over a bowl to catch the juices, removing most of the water from the zucchini, yielding 2/3 cup shreds.

When the onion is softened, reduce heat to medium and stir in the cauliflower, garlic, zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper.  Cook for about 7-8 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.  Sprinkle flour over the mixture and stir to combine.  Gradually stir in reserved zucchini water, milk, and cream, maintaining heat at medium so dairy does not curdle.  Cook for 2-3 minutes so liquid absorbs slightly. Remove from heat.  Stir in 1/3 cup parmesan, rosemary, and parsley.  Pour into prepared dish and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with remaining cheese (or more, if you like).  Return to the oven for another 10 or so minutes until gratin is brown and bubbly.  Sometimes I put the gratin under the broiler to brown up a bit faster for the final minute or two.  Enjoy!

Check out these other great blogs for more recipes from “Smitten with Squash”.  If you happen to live in the Twin Cities, be sure to stop by Solo Vino in St. Paul from 5:00-7:30 this evening for Amanda’s first book signing– I’ll be there, too!

A Farmgirl’s Dabbles — Bumper Crop Spicy Squash Pickles

Fresh Tart — Chimichurri Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

Robin Writes — Garam Masala Dusted Pattypans & Crispy Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce

Dolly and Oatmeal — Banana and Oat Streusel Summer Squash Muffins

Healthy Green Kitchen — Cherry Tomato and Summer Squash Cobbler with Rosemary Biscuits

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

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Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | Relishing It

As you know I sent my little girl off to Pre-Kindergarten on Monday– and she is absolutely loving it.  I sometimes like to bake treats for their lunch boxes, or for an after-school sweet when they get home.  I distinctly recall getting off the school bus as a kid and walking into the house to the smell of something wonderful that my mom had made during the day.  She’d have batches of cookies ready, or even racks (yes, racks) of pies on the counter.  And she always timed it out so they were ready when my brother and I walked through the door.  However… I’m a little hesitant to bake such delights using all of that sugar on a daily– or even weekly– basis.  Don’t get me wrong, my kids get their share of sugar, but it’s nice to be able to put something a little healthier, something more substantial, into their little growing bodies.

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | Relishing It

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | Relishing It

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | Relishing It

I was able to create a healthy muffin recipe that was made with whole grains, healthy coconut oil, and no processed sugar (alright, there are chocolate chips, but they’re optional…kind of.  You’ll want them in there).  These muffins are also loaded with vegetables, and your kids will be none the wiser!  What more could one want?  They are perfectly chocolate-y, but not overly sweet.  They stay very moist– quite like a small cake.  I really have no guilt about giving this treat to my kids, or eating it myself for that matter.  I hope you like them as much as we do!

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | Relishing It

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins | Relishing It

The Recipe:  Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

(makes 12)

1 cup white whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry flour works, too)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (warmed to the liquid state, but not hot)

1/2 cup honey

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 1 medium)

3/4 cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli 60 % Cacao Bittersweet are the best, in my opinion)

Note:  The coarsely grated zucchini is definitely visible in these muffins, which is how I prefer them.  If you don’t fancy that, simply grate the zucchini finer.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Spray or butter a 12-cup muffin tin.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift, then whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa.   Toss the chocolate chips into the mixture. Set aside.

In another large bowl, thoroughly mix the honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and eggs together until uniform.  Add the zucchini and mix until evenly coated.

Combine the two bowls together, mix until everything is wet.  Do not over mix. Evenly distribute the batter–1/4 cup per muffin is about right.  Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into a muffin comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 3 – 5 minutes before removing from the pan.  Keeps well for days in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This is the cake that conjures up childhood memories every time I make it.  The original recipe is nestled in one of those tattered  ‘Hometown Cookbooks’ that was a staple for those of us who grew up in the rural Midwest.   My Mom made this cake while I was growing up, as did half the residents in my tiny town.  But my specific memory of this cake takes me to the farm of my childhood best friend several miles down a gravel road east of Regent.  Most everytime I shared a meal with Allison at her family home, her mother would make chocolate zucchini cake.  I loved it.

While I loved the recipe as written, I’ve made several changes that add more wholesome ingredients like whole grains, reduce the sugar, and intensify the chocolate flavor.  I tested the changes on my Dad (also a chocolate fanatic), who thought it was perfect.  My Mom, on the other hand, thought it may be too chocolate-y.  I took this as a good sign since there’s no such thing as too much chocolate, and she’s not crazy about it like my Dad and me.   This is a delightful, versitile everyday cake.  It’s well- suited for coffee, ice cream, a cold glass of milk, and friends. It’s very moist due to the zucchini, has nice texture because of the nuts, and the rich chocolate  flavor is impressive.  It’s a comfort dessert, or maybe that’s just me, thinking about my hometown.

Speaking of my hometown, I figure this is as good a place as any to give you a glimpse at western North Dakota.  On our recent trip over Labor Day, Radd and I took the kids down some of the old country backroads– including the short-cut between my hometown of Regent and Radd’s hometown of Bowman, 60 miles away.  We drove that road (below) nearly every weekend to see each other 20 years ago.  While it wasn’t that impressive to our two and four year olds, it sure brought on the nostalgia.  Enjoy the pictures– and the cake!

The Recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (canola or vegetable oil can also be used)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup milk (2%)

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour ( I prefer King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill Flours)

1 cup white whole wheat flour (substitute all-purpose, if you don’t have this)

1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa, plus more to coat pan

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 1 large)

1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1 cup chocolate chips (Ghirardelli 60% cacao are my favorite)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Generously butter a 9 x 13 -inch cake pan, then sprinkle with cocoa powder.  Tap off any excess.  In a small skillet toast the walnuts over medium heat, until they become fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.  Making sure to stir them during that time.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and espresso powder, set aside.  In a liquid measuring cup mix the milk and vanilla together, set aside.

 In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, oil, and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.  Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture.  Starting  and ending with the flour.  Be sure to scrape the bowl down when necessary and make sure not to over-mix the batter.

Remove paddle attachment and gently fold the zucchini into the batter with a rubber spatula.  Pour into the cake pan and spread flat.  Top with toasted walnuts and chocolate chips.  Bake for about 35-45 minutes.  A cake tester should come out with a few dry crumbs clinging to it.  This cake keeps extremely well.  I think it’s almost better served the day after it is made.  Make sure to enjoy it with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Source:  Inspired by recipes in cookbooks from my hometown of Regent, North Dakota.

Thanks for stopping by today — hope you all have a lovely weekend!
Laurie

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