Thursday, September 30, 2010

bizzy: zucchini brownies

Oh I've been away! There was a sorority alumni party, and a Glee premiere party, and a Grey's Anatomy premiere taco night, and a dinner to meet bf's best friends, and a 5 hour flight to Utah, and a pre-wedding BBQ with s'mores, and a 3 mile hill run and a 4 mile hike, and an outdoor wedding at Sundance, and an hour-long massage, and some pulled pork nachos, and a redeye flight home, and a long day at work, and a 5 mile run in Central Park, and drinks with a friend to catch up, and oh! Now it's today.

I'm tired. It's all been great, but I. am. tired.

But I know I've been away and I'm back! It's almost a new month after all, can you believe it? October, where did you come from?!

To celebrate the end of September I'm rounding out the month with my last zucchini recipe of the year. It sounds nuts but these brownies are fantastic! Even bf liked them, and he can be kind of a traditional eater.

Pull that last zucc out of your fridge crisper and try this chocolatey treat!

Zucchini Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium-large zucchini)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oil, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the zucchini and walnuts. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. Cool brownies, cut into squares and serve slightly warm.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

farm in your face: fresh corn quiche

This weekend was another farm-friendly adventure for us and I'm starting to believe in my childhood aspiration to be a (part-time) farmer. On Saturday we escaped the city and headed north for the first apple picking of the season. We left Fishkill Farms with close to a bushel of Jonamac, Cortland, Empire and Macoun apples and drove on to New Palz, NY for lunch and a stop at a few other farmers markets.

And today, we checked out the Back to Basis Good Food Festival down on Gansevoort Street and treated ourselves to 4 "tastings" for brunch. Basis is a mission-driven company that is committed to traditional, localized and 100% traceable food. They partner with farmers and local communities to sell good food in NYC, and this weekend they celebrated the fall harvest with a food festival in the meatpacking district featuring some of the city's top restaurants (including Colicchio & Sons, Minetta Tavern, Craft and Gramercy Tavern among others) and local farmers.

So after all of this farm in my face, here's what I've decided:

1. I should have a farm
2. With my own chikkins
3. And grow my own vegetables
4. And have a cow to milk so I can make ice cream

Sounds great, right? And I think I would be really fulfilled if I were a farmer. My friends Caroline and Jon are my inspiration - aside from being the coolest wine-making cats I know, they are now running Italy Hill Produce and selling their amazing fresh veggies to lucky Finger Lakes residents. Sounds like a dream and even though I don't know them well I love that they're living the life and making it all happen. Even if you don't live on Keuka Lake, sign up for Caroline's weekly email newsletter ( to get her favorite recipes to go with the seasons ripest vegetables. This week it was Moroccan Tomato Soup using late season tomatoes and Tomatillo and Yogurt Soup...Yum!

Sigh... until I move into my 1700's farm house upstate and start cutting fields and putting up fence posts - IT WILL HAPPEN - here's a recipe from tonight's Football Sunday dinner filled with the goodies we picked up this weekend. Hope you enjoy!

Fresh Corn Quiche

3 large eggs
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup fat-free half and half
3 tbsp. butter, melted
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from 2 1/2 ears)
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
1 deep-dish whole wheat frozen pie crust, thawed

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine the first 4 ingredients in food processor, blend until onion is finely chopped. Transfer to large bowl. Add half and half, butter, corn, spinach, and cheese and mix until incorporated. Pour into crust. Bake until filling is slightly puffed and top is golden, about 50 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool slightly. Serve warm.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

simply breakfast: kale & tomato scramble

A while ago I stumbled upon a blog with the most beautiful photos. The images are clear, crisp, simple, and stunning. Blogger/photographer Jennifer Causey takes a photo almost every morning that is artistic and perfectly staged... and it's Simply Breakfast.

On the mornings I check out her posts I have unavoidable breakfast-envy. She makes healthy, farm-fresh meals that make you salivate, and she has this really cool brown coffee mug that I covet.

Her breakfast last Thursday morning inspired this post. She posted sauteed kale with egg whites and it couldn't have looked more delicious. It popped back into my head yesterday morning when bf and I took a trip across town to St. Stephen's Greenmarket (82nd Street between 1st and York). For being such a big city, I think New Yorkers are probably more food-conscious than most anywhere else. We eat organic when we can, we save our produce shopping for the green markets on the weekend, and we try to live as farm-to-table as possible (at home and when choosing a restaurant).

We picked up kale and heirloom tomatoes from Anthill Farm (Wayne Country, PA), "Misty Morning" cheese from Calkins Creamery (Wayne County, PA), walnut/raisin whole wheat bread from Bread Alone (Ulster County, NY), and a pint of fresh chocolate milk from Milk Thistle Farm (Ghent, NY) and headed across the park to make our own simple breakfast.

It ended up being an egg scramble of sorts, complete with toasted (and buttered) raisin/walnut bread as the perfect crunchy sidekick. Thanks Jennifer for the inspiration!

Saturday Kale & Tomato Scramble

1.5 tbsp. olive oil
a bunch of kale, washed, de-stemmed, and roughly chopped
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
5 eggs, beaten
salt & pepper, to taste
a pinch of Aleppo pepper, to taste
1 tomato, sliced thin
3 tbsp. shredded cheese

Saute the kale, shallot and garlic with olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until tender. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Beat the eggs and mix in salt, pepper, and aleppo pepper. Pour into same skillet as used before and scramble over medium heat. Add kale mixture, tomatoes and shredded cheese and mix until eggs are scrambled and cooked through. Serve immediately.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

fall has fell: zucchini cookies

Thanks for the support on my passport bad luck, friends! Turns out I chose a good week to be "stranded" at home. As my friend Tom posted on Facebook today, "fall has fell" in NYC and we're all smiles from our goosebumped skin to our pashminas wrapped tight. I mean right now it's 62 degrees in Central Park!! AND we've got a 10-day forecast without one day over 80 degrees. Can you even?? It feels like we've waited all summer for this sweet kiss of fall... and we're ready for it.

A few things I'm psyched about:

NFL [Steeler] football
apple picking (and apple
pies, cobblers, galettes and cakes...)
jeans and equestrian boots
snuggly mornings wrapped in blankets
cold wooden floors
homemade vegetable soups
the smell of leaves falling in the park
cozy sweaters
chilly morning runs
pumpkin ice cream
Sara Bareilles new album "Kaleidoscope Heart"- GET IT
zero humidity
trench coats
Glee, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice
no more air conditioning
dark nail polish

It's so close I can taste it and it tastes like a cinnamon spice latte from Starbucks. Mmmm....

In the meantime, I got a little zucchini-happy at the market the other day when I bought the zucc's for that DELICIOUS chocolate zucchini bread (I mean, it's out of this world - seriously). So today the squash baking continued in the form of Zucchini Cookies. Who even knew there was a website called I mean... I didn't. Google lead me there and these cookies are pretty darn good - actually they taste like little chocolate chip banana breads in your mouth. If you needed a visual.

Extra garden zucchini lying around and sick of zucchini bread? Try these and don't be scared of the dough before you mix in the grated squash - it will work, I promise!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies
adapted from

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 small zucchini, grated
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg, flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt gradually, mix well.

Stir in the grated zucchini, then fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls with two inches between each cookie onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until golden (do not over-bake). Let stand to cool 2-3 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

passport needed: chocolate zucchini bread

I am blogging to you live right now from... my apartment in NYC. Nope, I didn't just jump out of the infinity pool to log a post. No, there is no beach native bringing me my third pina colada of the day. Apparently, one needs a passport to fly to Mexico. And that passport can not be 5 days expired. Even if you find out about it once you're standing in front of the JetBlue agent at 6:30am on Labor Day with your bag packed ready to fly to Cancun.

So, I'm in the city for the week instead of lying pool-side with a book or hiking around Mayan ruins with my parents. I'll save you the freakout (that happened yesterday when I came home from JFK) and instead I'll give you a fabulous new recipe. See, when life gives me lemons, I bake them into lemon bars. So tonight, I channeled that thought and grabbed some of summer's last squash.

I was perusing Tastespotting last weekend and bookmarked a few recipes to make after vacation. This was one of them. I shredded my zucchini fine and the loaf came out perfect - moist, chocolatey, and delicious. Summer's almost over so don't let those zucchini pass you by - they're in their prime and perfect with a little chocolate!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 cups shredded, raw zucchini
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or spray with nonstick spray a 9x5x3" loaf pan.

Grate the zucchini using a medium-size grater. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Set aside.

In a bowl of your electric mixer, beat the oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until well blended - about 2 minutes. Fold in the grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the bread has risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean, about 55 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the bread from the pan and cool completely.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

buon giorno: first look at eataly nyc

My boyfriend is Italian. Like, black hair, olive skin, 6'3" Italian. Like, his Dad has a mustache and his Mom makes amazing food Italian. I, however, am a Euro "mutt." Scotland and Ireland, I think, with a little English thrown in at some point. So, despite my best efforts I look... American. Like, light brown hair, hazel eyes, 5'11" American. Therefore, I find my boyfriend's heritage completely fascinating and feel the need to tease him about it at all times. When he makes fun of me, my response is, "Oh yea? Why don't you go pull some meatballs out of your pocket." At some point he actually suggested us sharing a bowl of spaghetti like Lady & the Tramp.

It's fascinating for a Midwestern girl who grew up without a sense of family heritage that tied back to one specific country or another. So I'm embracing it with open arms and was thrilled when I learned that NYC's famed Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Lydia Matticchio Bastianich teamed up with Eataly co-founder Oscar Farinetti to create Eataly NYC, a giant Italian food and wine marketplace in the Flatiron district.

After MUCH hype this week, Eataly opened last Tuesday to throngs of New Yorkers looking to get their slice of Italy. I meandered in on Friday around 4pm to see what the madness was all about and, wow. The hype is hype for a reason. They've got everything you'd want, it's like a foodie/locavore's paradise wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with olive oil. I wandered through the space, careful not to bump into the hordes of people and exited with a burning appetite (and a prosciutto di parma panini on the freshest "rustic" bread I've ever had).

They've got fresh produce. And a butcher. And fresh seafood. And amazing breads with crusty crusts. And pizza's! And fresh (and dry) pasta's! And olive oils and sauces imported from Italy! And a cheese section where they give you a giant slice to sample before you buy! You just want to fill up your basket to the brim and walk quietly home on cobblestone streets to your apartment with a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean (or... to your studio apartment on 88th Street).

Oh, and everyone speaks Italian, which makes you want to get Rosetta Stone immediately so that you can fit in and feel fabulous saying things like "Vivi e lascia vivere!"

I couldn't wait to share this Batali-described Italian food "temple" with the bf so we went back today for a closer look. We emerged with more panini, a loaf of "rustic" bread, 1/2 lb of Taleggio, thinly sliced Coppa, fresh squash ravioli, a jar of tomato basil marinara and hazelnut/pistachio gelato for me - chocolate/vanilla gelato for him.

Bottom line? I will be going back. Maybe tomorrow :)
Eataly NYC
200 5th Avenue, across from Madison Square Park
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