Monday, October 05, 2015

Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been on vacation for a couple weeks so I didn't make any cookies for a little bit! Today is my first Monday back at work so I tried to pick out a recipe that would make everyone happy. Eleven (11) people posted a recipe on my Facebook for these pumpkin snickerdoodles with cream cheese in the middle, but they seemed like a lot of effort for something that inevitably would be disappointing - in previous years, pumpkin snickerdoodles have failed to win accolades. So I agreed to make something pumpkin-spice, but I searched for a better recipe.

I picked this one because it has oats and chocolate chips to add texture and flavor, instead of just relying on the baby-food consistency of pumpkin. Also, knowing that most people enjoy the "spice" far more than the actual "pumpkin," I tweaked the spices. Actually, first, I doubled them. Pumpkin is bland. Must spice. More spice. Then I also added some allspice and some cloves. Go easy on the cloves, but honestly I think they really helped.

Anyway, these were delicious and enjoyable. Much better than the pumpkin snickerdoodles!


Pumpkin-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cooking Classy

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups packed light-brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional - I did not add these)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger for 30 seconds, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy (occasionally stop and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl throughout entire mixing process). Blend in egg then blend in vanilla extract and pumpkin puree. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Mix in chocolate chips and pecans (if you want some chocolate to show through set some aside to press into tops before baking). Let batter rest 5 - 10 minutes (this just gives the oats some time to absorb the liquids so batter isn't so sticky and cookies don't spread so much).

Scoop dough out 2 Tbsp at a time, and drop onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 12 - 14 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 4 dozen

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Zucchini Gyro Fritters

Using some of the last zucchinis of the season, I made these quick patties. They are not gyros. Let's not pretend. I don't know when Greece started making gyros with poblano peppers in them. But I'm not the one who invented this recipe, so we'll go with it.

So! Quick little patties, pan fried and shoved into a pita with some other ingredients. From the farm, I used kale, a red onion, zucchini, garlic, and a poblano. From my backyard, I used one of the last of my tomatoes. This did not take very long and was very enjoyable. I think it could be spiced up a little more. Maybe add in some corn. Or oregano? Unsure. It could definitely be tweaked. But it was a nice way to finish up my produce for a couple weeks before going on vacation!


Zucchini Gyro Fritters
Vegetarian Times, July/August 2015

3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 lb. zucchini, coarsely grated
1 large egg
1/4 cup canned diced green chiles or
1 roasted poblano chile, diced
1 green onion, chopped (2 Tbs.)
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup roasted red pepper or jalapeƱo-cilantro hummus
3 whole-wheat pita breads, halved and warmed
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped lettuce

Stir together yogurt and lemon zest in small bowl. Set aside.

Wrap grated zucchini in clean kitchen towel, and wring out excess moisture.

Whisk egg in large bowl. Stir in zucchini, green chiles, green onion, and garlic. Sprinkle mixture with flour and baking powder, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Drop 6 heaping tablespoonfuls zucchini mixture into skillet, and gently flatten. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate, and repeat with remaining zucchini mixture.

Spread 2 Tbs. hummus inside each pita half. Fill with 2 tomato slices, 2 zucchini cakes, red onion slices, and 1/3 cup chopped lettuce. Drizzle each gyro with 2 Tbs. yogurt mixture

6 servings

Saturday, September 19, 2015

S'Mores Dip

I had a party last weekend and my amazing friends brought pretty much everything so I didn't even have to worry about food. But I did contribute this super-fast dip because we needed something sweet. Sorry it's an extra-terrible photo. I pre-gamed before people arrived. But that says something about this dip - it is possible to make when drinking.


It was delicious and gone by the end of the night. I tweaked the basic recipe floating around Pinterest to include some sweetened condensed milk to prevent the chocolate from hardening. So this is my modified version. Served with graham crackers. Yum!


S'Mores Dip
Adapted from a billion recipes on Pinterest

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups marshmallows

Microwave chocolate chips and condensed milk in 30 second intervals, stirring until melted and thoroughly mixed.

Pour into a baking dish. Top with marshmallows. Broil on high for 1 minute or until marshmallows are toasty.

Serve warm. Can be reheated midway through your party in the microwave if needed.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake

First I will follow up with a previous recipe, Refrigerator Pickled Hot Peppers. I opened it up for the first time yesterday to throw some peppers on my cauliflower sandwich (still one of my favorite meals currently). They were SO SALTY. I rinsed them off a little and then they tasted better, but oh my gosh. So salty. I wouldn't make this particular recipe again. Next year I'll try a different version.

I also made a quick casserole out of the rest of my basil and squash. I made it, baked it, and then froze it before the last step. When I'm ready to eat it, I'll thaw it, add the extra cheese to the top, and bake. I don't have a picture yet since it isn't done. I'll update you when I eat it.

Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake
Kalyn's Kitchen

2 medium-sized zucchini, cut in slices or half-moon slices
2 medium-sized yellow squash, cut in slices or half-moon slices
2 T chopped fresh basil (or even less, depending on how much you like the flavor of basil) (2 to 4)
2 T thinly sliced green onion
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup + 1/2 cup low-fat white cheese
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Spray an 8" x 8" baking dish with olive oil or non-stick spray. Wash the squash and cut in slices or half-moon slices. Wash basil, spin dry or dry with paper towels and finely chop. Slice green onions.

Combine the sliced squash, chopped basil, sliced green onions, dried thyme, garlic powder, and both kinds of cheese and stir together until the veggies are coated with cheese and the herbs are well-distributed. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Put the mixture in the baking dish and bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes.

When the zucchini is nearly cooked through, take the casserole dish out of the oven and sprinkle over the remaining 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Put the dish back in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted and nicely browned and zucchini is fully cooked. Serve hot.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Caprese Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes

I got a small spaghetti squash from my CSA so I used up the rest of my cherry tomatoes and basil and made this for dinner. It was ok, but not great. The sauce is really sweet. I would leave out the agave nectar completely. There's also way too much of it for the ratio to the squash (or maybe my squash was just too small?). I didn't really love this.


Caprese Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes
Cookin' Canuck

10 cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp agave nectar or honey
1/8 tsp salt
1 spaghetti squash (3 lb.)
2 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
5 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

Drizzle the tomatoes with the olive oil, and sprinkle them with garlic, oregano, salt and pepper.

Roast until the tomatoes are slightly shriveled and soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Roughly chop the tomatoes and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, agave (or honey) and salt.

Using a large, sharp knife, pierce a spaghetti squash in several places.

Place the spaghetti squash in a glass baking dish and cook in the microwave on high for about 15 minutes, turning the squash halfway through cooking.

Before handling, let the squash stand for 10 minutes. Cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and fibers. Using a fork, twist out strands of the spaghetti squash flesh and place in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature.

Add the roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and dressing to spaghetti squash. Toss gently to combine. Serve.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pickled Okra 2

I already made Pickled Okra once, about 6 weeks ago. It wasn't quite ready to be eaten, but my mom LOVES pickled okra, so I brought it with me on a visit last week. She ate them ALL. I personally didn't think it had absorbed as much flavor as I would have liked, and I didn't feel like the dill flavor was prominent, despite using fresh dill from my garden.

So! With the remainder of the summer's okra, I tried a different recipe. We'll see how it goes. I'll update you in a month.


Pickled Okra (2)
Gourmet magazine, November 1982

1 pound okra (3 1/2 to 4 inches long)
6 garlic cloves, peeled
3 cups cider vinegar (24 fluid ounces)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons dill seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Special equipment: 6 canning jars with screw bands and lids, an instant-read or candy thermometer

Sterilize jars and lids:
Wash jars, screw bands, and lids in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Dry screw bands.

Put jars on a rack in a boiling-water canner or a deep 8- to 10-quart pot and add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered with lid, and boil 10 minutes. Heat lids in water to cover in a small saucepan until thermometer registers 180°F (do not let boil). Keep jars and lids submerged in hot water, covered, until ready to use.

Make pickled okra:
Drain jars upside down on a clean kitchen towel 1 minute. Tightly pack jars with okra, stem ends up, then put 1 garlic clove in each jar.

Bring remaining ingredients to a boil in a 2-quart nonreactive saucepan, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Divide pickling liquid evenly among jars, leaving 1/4-inch space at top, then run a thin knife between okra and jar.

Seal and process jars:
Wipe off rims of filled jars with a clean damp kitchen towel, then firmly screw on lids with screw bands.

Put sealed jars on rack in canner or pot and add enough hot water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered. Boil pickles, covered, 10 minutes, then transfer jars with tongs to a towel-lined surface to cool. Jars will seal (if you hear a ping, that signals that the vacuum formed at the top has made the lid concave).

After jars have cooled 12 to 24 hours, press center of each lid to check that it's concave, then remove screw band and try to lift lid with your fingertips. If you can't, the lid has a good seal.

Let pickled okra stand in jars at least 1 day for flavors to develop.

Cooks' note: Pickled okra (in sealed jars) keeps 6 months in a cool dark place.

Yield: 3 pints, or 6 half-pints

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

In my quest to use up all my zucchini, of course I looked on Pinterest for bread and muffin recipes. This one consistently came up as a most-pinned recipe. It is a slightly spiced muffin with chocolate chips and a streusel top. And it's just as delicious as it sounds like it would be! I loved it. This made ENORMOUS muffins. I ate a couple of them and then froze the rest. Delicious. I would make this in loaves as gifts for people. It's that good.



Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread or Muffins
Sally's Baking Addiction

2/3 cups old-fashioned or quick oats (60g)
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (100g)
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (16g)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter (60g) cold
optional: 1 Tablespoon (10g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar (100g)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
1/2 cup vegetable oil1 (120ml)
1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 large)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups (190g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
optional: 3/4 cup (135g) semi-sweet chocolate chips (or use pecans or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9x5 (or 8x4) loaf pan with nonstick spray. If making muffins, preheat oven to 425F degrees and spray a 12-count pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Make the streusel first by combining the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with two knives or a pasty cutter (preferred) - or you may use your hands. Mix until the streusel resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the beaten egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, zucchini, and vanilla until evenly combined. In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. Avoid overmixing.

Spread batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake the bread for 20 minutes at 350F degrees. Remove from the oven and top with the streusel - press it down into the top. The reason you are adding it after 20 minutes is to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the bread as it bakes. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I covered the bread loosely with aluminum foil after 35 total minutes to avoid the top from getting too brown. Allow bread to cool in the pan set on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before removing from the pan and serving.

If making muffins, fill 9-10 muffin cups all the way to the top. Press the streusel into the tops of each muffin. Bake for 5 minutes at 425F degrees and, keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350F degrees and continue to bake for an additional 13-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.

Store leftover bread or muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Make ahead tip: Bread and muffins freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Yield: 1 loaf or 10 muffins (I only got 7 muffins out of it)