Zucchini, Cheddar, & Parmesan Scones

I’ve been trying to write this post for well over a month now. It is an end of summer recipe and we’re deep into fall. Nonetheless, I’ve been determined to post it, simply because these are so good.

The recipe comes from the summer edition of Bon Appetit magazine (note that the url is from a different website but the recipe is the same), though the scones originate from Flora Bar in New York. It’s actually a recipe for Gruyere and zucchini scones: I bought Gruyere but then … oops… ended up eating it all before I got around to making this — confessions of a cheese addict. Instead, I improvised and used cheddar and Parmesan.

After so many years of food blogging you start to run out of ways to describe good food. These are, quite simply, really really good. Delicious, melt-in-your mouth scones. It’s one of the best recipes I’ve tried in a while. The zucchini keeps them moist, yet the melted cheese makes them a bit crispy. They’re not difficult to make and look impressive, so would be a great brunch dish or side. Warm, with a bit of butter — these are perfection.

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A new way to do roasted veg

A new, longer, more complicated way to do roasted veg, that is…..but a really delicious one.

This caught my eye a couple of weeks ago in the Graun. It’s basically a tray of roasted vegetables with a delicious sauce poured over top. Sounds good, doesn’t it?!

Ottolengh’s recipe includes potatoes, leeks, beans, peas, asparagus, and zucchini. I used only potatoes, leeks, peas, and zucchini and to be honest we found this to be plenty. That’s the great thing about this dish: it’s extremely flexible. It’s not difficult to make, but a kitchen timer is a must, because the roasting times are short and you need to keep adding ingredients. You can’t be doing too many other things at once or you’ll lose track (and make sure the veg is chopped in advance!). Also, the bechamel looks a bit finnicky,  but it comes together easily and if you follow Ottolenghi’s tip of covering it with plastic clingwrap, letting the film touch the sauce, it works really well.

I still love my traditional roasted veg, but this is a nice upscale ‘twist’ and would be great for a dinner party. The only thing I’d change is to add more lemon — it did not come out strongly enough for me; I’d recommended adding a little zest to the sauce if you like a stronger lemon taste.

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Zucchini & Basil Pasta Salad

Since we’re heading into summer, zucchini and pasta seem to be everywhere these days. It’s a good and dependable combination (see two previous dishes I’ve made — both excellent — here and here). As I was making this I was asking myself how many zucchini pasta dishes one needs in their repertoire. Not many I don’t think.

This dish looks easy by appearances, but is a bit of a faff (how’s that for a nice English word). My tolerance for faff is quite high if the outcome is good, although I realize more and more that time is becoming an increasing pressure — I’ll never have as much time to dedicate to cooking as I did when I was in Germany, until maybe I’m retired. In this case, I’m not sure the effort was worth it.

Preparing this is a four-step process: frying the zucchini, making the basil “sauce,” cooking the noodles, and then throwing the dish together. None of it is difficult, but it’s a bit more effort than one would normally go to for weeknight pasta I’d say. I followed Ottolenghi’s recipe closely except I substituted the edamame for peas. Never again. I just don’t like peas in pasta.

I’d rate this a 5/10 — it didn’t pack nearly enough punch as I thought it would — although H. thought it should be given a much higher score! I’d been planning on saving some of it for today but he ate it all. I guess I had high expectations for this combination and it wasn’t a winning one for me unfortunately.

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Zucchini Pasta Bake

One of my favourite pastas ever is this one (a Mimi Thorisson recipe). There is something about the combination of zucchini, cheese, and pasta that I really love. The zucchini somehow seems to keep it much lighter – perfect for summer.

So, as soon as I started seeing zucchini at the farmers market I knew I had to try this dish from Smitten Kitchen. I used a pasta bought from my recent trip to Italy called gnocchetti. Supermarkets there always seem to have much more interesting shapes (not to mention be more affordable — when I looked this type of pasta up at UK supermarkets, it was over £6 a kilo and I paid less than €2 for 500g). Gnocchetti comes from Sardinia and was historically made by pressing the dough on the bottom of a wicker basket. (As soon as H. laid eyes on the bag, he proclaimed that they looked like maggots!).

The dish involves a few different steps — preparing the zucchini, cooking the pasta, making the bechamel — but it comes together quickly, and it’s definitely worth it. Both H. and I thought it was the perfect summer dish — easy to make, not too heavy, and really tasty. The only thing that would make it better, for non-vegetarians of course, is adding bacon. 😉

Maggots?
Maggots?

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PS: for more zucchini recipes, see a roundup here.

Eggplant & Zucchini Curry with Millet

(aka aubergine & courgette in the UK)

True to form, H. & I were hit with the back-to-school cold a couple of weeks ago. H. got it first and I made it 5 days before I caught it as well. I made this when we were both feeling pretty low and craving something spicy and comforting (the garlic, ginger, & turmeric were definitely welcome). When I saw this post on My Darling Lemon Thyme, it was perfect. I’d had a package of millet sitting around in the cupboard since the early summer, but never used it. This was my first time cooking and eating millet and I am definitely hooked — it has more flavour than couscous and quinoa and is quite nutty-tasting.

I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe. Instead of whole tomatoes, I used canned, draining some of the liquid so the mixture wouldn’t be too wet. I also added in a couple of small zucchinis and half a red pepper that I had lying around. All in all, this was an excellent meal, perfect for a warming fall weeknight dish as the days close in on us! I would really encourage you to try millet if you haven’t before — it is on its way to becoming a staple in our household.

 

Millet
Millet

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Crostini (Garden) Party — my 300th post!

Hello again. 🙂 H. and I have been in Canada for nearly 3 weeks now (hard to believe!) and are having the best time. We spent 8 days in Newfoundland (a few pics to come) and since then have been relaxing in our summer paradise, Sandy Cove! 🙂

I have been cooking quite a bit and have several posts saved to drafts, but not posted anything because I’m trying to limit computer time here. I’m also trying to be a bit more laissez faire about my posts, i.e. not “force” anything and let them come more naturally.

So, without further ado, inspired by this link, I made crostini for a weekly garden party here in Sandy Cove.

I tried to cater for as many dietary requirements as I could, but of course they are not gluten free: tomato-y bruschetta; tomatoes and pesto; blue cheese and prosciutto; a couple of just pesto; goat cheese and pesto; kale and prosciutto; and goat cheese and zucchini.

This was really fun — easy to prepare and would be great as a make-your-own as well. There are lots of ideas at the link above or of course you can get creative and make your own! (Notes: I’d recommend lightly toasting the bread, and making them as close to eating time as possible).

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Fried Zucchini Blossoms

I am always telling myself that I need to try new things and keep challenging myself in the kitchen. It’s very easy to stay in one’s comfort zone — not necessarily making the same things over and over, but using the same ingredients. I find this to be particularly true with meat and vegetables. So, when I saw zucchini blossoms at the market this past Saturday (yes, I’ve been trying to write this post all week), I decided to buy them and give it a go.

After Googling and consulting the Italian bible, I decided to stuff half of them with anchovies and half with feta. Ideally I’d have used mozzarella but we didn’t have any, and Germany was playing so I couldn’t leave the house. 😉 After stuffing I rolled each blossom in a flour/water paste, and then lightly fried.

The flowers are delicate in both handling them as well as taste. I wasn’t sure what to expect. They were pleasant, but not strongly flavoured. I found the anchovies way too salty — I would not go for that option again (apparently there are two types of anchovies — I obviously have the wrong ones). The feta ones were good though. We had them with a side salad of mixed greens, which made for an easy light summer meal!

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Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini post #4 (see previous pastacake, & chips/crisps)

This is my last zucchini post for a while (I think, anyway). Even though I’ve eaten tons of it over the last 6 weeks or so, I couldn’t stop myself from buying more at the market earlier this month. It is such a versatile vegetable.

I tend to love fritters of all kinds so was really looking forward to making some with zucchini. For the recipe, I loosely based it on a combination of this one that I saw in the September House & Home magazine along with an old German magazine cutout sent to me by my friend K. I used flour and breadcrumbs as the binding agents, not potatoes, but did include the feta as per the H&H recipe.

I’m a fritter freak, especially with any kind of yogurt-based dipping sauce, so these went down really well in this house! The pumpkin version on the H&H website looks really intriguing too and may be a nice alternative for fall. 🙂

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Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Post #3

I made these zucchini chips for a garden party in Sandy Cove. They were very easy to make and SO tasty – the perfect amount of crunch. I’d already eaten a handful before I remembered they were supposed to be for other people! A new discovery and one I would definitely recommend.

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With other GP food items!
With some other GP food items.

Chocolate & Zucchini Cake

Zucchini Post #2

Chocolate and zucchini is an old and well-known pairing. There’s even a blog and book named after them. On one of our last nights in Sandy Cove my aunt held a big dinner party for 11 members of my family and I was responsible for dessert. She suggested chocolate cake and I found this recipe in the summer ’13 edition of the Food Network magazine. I had a couple of zucchinis in a bowl on the counter, so it was the perfect match.

This cake was delicious — everyone raved about it (although that may just have been politeness! 😉 ). It was very moist and not too sweet (I did cut the sugar) which are two of my top “musts” for cakes. Highly recommended!

It kinda looks like a giant cookie here!
It kinda looks like a giant cookie here!