Zucchini Apple Harvest Bread

I have been back pouring through my mom’s stash of recipes and found this gem.   We always had a small garden growing up and I remember the abundance of zucchini during late summer.  My mom would freeze grated zucchini in the portions she needed for various recipes, perfect to have on hand when she was ready to bake anything with zucchini, including Zucchini Apple Harvest Bread.  The addition of a shredded apple makes this recipe unique, very moist and a wonderful bread to serve with a cup of coffee or tea.

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Zucchini Apple Harvest Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 apple, shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans.   Whisk eggs in a mixing bowl.  Add sugar, zucchini, apple, vanilla and oil.  Mix well.   Combine dry ingredients,  add to zucchini mixture.  Fold in walnuts.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 45 - 50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.  Cool 10-15 minutes before removing from pan.

Eggplant Caponata

I always make notes on all of my recipes, this one had a note “Excellent – December 2003”   Hard to believe it has been that many years that I have been making this recipe.  It is just as delicious now as it was fourteen years ago.  I always find it interesting when the recipes I make are the memories I note years later.

 

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Eggplant Caponata

Ingredients

  • 2 eggplants
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 16 oz can diced Italian tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant into 1" cubes.  Sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons of salt and let stand in colander for approximately two hours.  Squeeze gently after the two hours to remove excess moisture. Saute eggplant in olive oil until brown on all sides.  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon.  Brown chopped onions until soft, add tomatoes, celery and olives, cook slowly until the celery is tender.  Return eggplant to the pan add capers.  Heat vinegar, stir in sugar until it is dissolved.  Pour mixture over eggplant mixture, add garlic, basil, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Serve hot or cold.

Three Ingredient Biscuits

My husband thinks I should have titled this recipe The Best Biscuits Ever, however, I opted to name them Three Ingredient Biscuits.  I wanted the title to explain just how easy these biscuits are.  I shake my head when I see cans of biscuits in the refrigerated section of the market that are full of ingredients that I cannot even pronounce. This recipe is so quick and easy you must try them.  Maybe my husband was right – perhaps I should have named them The Best Biscuits Ever!

 

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Three Ingredient Biscuits

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Once combined, turn dough our onto a flour dusted board.  Knead dough 5 - 6 times until smooth.  Roll dough 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with a 2 1/2 - 3 inch round biscuit cutter (or you can use the top of a drinking glass) dusted with flour.  Place biscuits on parchment lined cookie sheet approximately one inch apart.  Bake 10 - 14 minutes, until golden brown. 

Tomato and Red Wine Skillet Chicken

I am definitely a spur of the moment cook. Last week was a very busy week and I was planning on making baked chicken in a herb sauce.  Thinking I had chicken broth at home I started to gather my ingredients for dinner, but to my surprise I did not have the chicken broth that I thought I had on hand.  So, time to conjure up a new recipe.  I think this one is a real winner.  Just like our grandmothers, you make dinner with what you have available.  One look around my kitchen and I came up with an onion, garlic, red wine, chicken breasts, crushed tomatoes and a few other additions and an hour later, one of the best chicken recipes I think I have made!

5 from 1 vote
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Tomato and Red Wine Skillet Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2-4 chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh basil, minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Salt and pepper chicken.  In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat add olive oil and butter.  When hot, place chicken in skillet skin side down, cook until skin is golden brown.  Remove chicken from skillet.  Add remaining ingredients and cook 1 - 2 minutes, add salt and pepper, to taste. Nestle the chicken into the sauce.  Place skillet in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.  Remove from oven, top with fresh basil and serve from the skillet.

    Serve with a side of pasta, if desired.   


Herb Roasted Tomato Halves

I am pretty sure that I have mentioned in previous posts that I could eat tomatoes every day.  Well, during peak season, I think I could eat tomatoes three times a day!  Especially farm fresh tomatoes from the Farmers’ Market!  This time I made Herb Roasted Tomato Halves to serve with grilled pork.  The herb crust with Parmesan cheese is so good combined with the sweet tomato.  These are perfect to serve along side any grilled meat or fish.

 

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Herb Roasted Tomato Halves

Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon Herb De Provence
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Core tomato and slice in half.  Place tomato in a baking dish.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl.  The mixture should hold together when mixed, add more olive oil if needed.   Cover tomato halves with the herb mixture.  Bake for 30  minutes.  Serve hot.

    Roasted Garlic

    To roast garlic, cut the top 1/4 off of a head of garlic.  Place garlic on a square of foil, drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap completely in foil, bake for 55 minutes at 350 degrees.

Parmesan Bread Puffs

Looking for a new side dish to serve?  Parmesan Bread Puffs are something new and different to try. They are savory puffs perfect to serve with grilled meats or along side your favorite roast.  I have even served them as an appetizer.   These puffs are a unique version of that classic baked strata, my version is not for breakfast or brunch any more!

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Parmesan Bread Puffs

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups Italian bread, cubed into 1/2 inch cubes

Instructions

  1. Grease 8 muffin cups or ramekins.  Divide bread cubes evenly between the well greased cups.  Heat milk in a microwave safe container for 2 minutes on high.  Put garlic in warm milk and let sit for 15 minutes.  Whisk eggs, parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.  Strain milk and then slowly add to egg mixture while whisking. Stir in the cheese.  Pour egg mixture over bread cubes - cover and refrigerate until ready to bake 1 - 24 hours.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake puffs for 45 minutes, remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.  If using muffin cups, carefully remove from cups by running a knife around edges.  Serve warm

Hummus/Interesting Find – Lebanese Bistro, Burke, VA

We recently ate at a Lebanese restaurant in Burke, VA, Lebanese Bistro. It is a gem tucked away in a strip shopping center.  Roland and Maria, the owners, invited us for an unbelievable dinner.   It was so fun, I never saw their menu since they ordered all of their specialties for us to try.  Every bite from every dish was just great.  I must admit I ate myself into a “food coma”  you know what that is – when everything is so good you just cannot resist a bite.  Maria graciously shared her Hummus recipe with me after I mentioned how delicious their hummus was.  One note, she never uses canned chickpeas.  This was not new to me since I have made other recipes with dried chickpeas, but you might not be familiar with cooking with dried chickpeas.  Similar to other dried beans that you cook, you soak them overnight and then simmer them until done.  I think this step is the key to her wonderful hummus.  

Photo of the hummus served at the Lebanese Bistro 

 

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Hummus- Lebanese Bistro

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tahini sauce
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Process all ingredients in a food processor - Voila - exceptional hummus thanks to my friend Maria and the Lebanese Bistro, Burke, VA.


    To cook chickpeas - cover dried chickpeas with water to cover plus a few inches.  Cover and let sit overnight.  Drain and rinse.  Place in a saucepan and cover with water, plus a few inches, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 1/2 - 2 hours until soft.

 

Below are a few photos I took during dinner…

                                        

 

Blackberries, Blackberries, Blackberries

How could I pass up beautiful blackberries this week at the Farmers’ Market.  Well, as you can tell I didn’t pass them by.  I headed home and made two of our favorites;  Blackberry Breakfast Bars and Blackberry Custard Pie.  Both so easy to prepare and both recipes highlight the taste of these exquisite berries.  

 

 

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Blackberry Breakfast Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water mixed with 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Prepare the filling:  in a medium saucepan combine the berries, sugar, water, lemon juice and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat continue boiling for 8 minutes, stir occasionally.  Add cornstarch water mixture, return to a boil and boil an additional one minute, stirring constantly.   Remove from heat.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and butter.  Stir until well combined.  Reserve 1 cup of mixture for the topping.  Press the remaining into a parchment lined 9 inch square baking dish.  Bake crust for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, spread with blueberry filling and crumble remaining 1 cup of oat mixture over the top.  Bake an additional 25-25 minutes.  Cool, cut into bars.

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Blackberry Custard Pie

Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked pie shell
  • 3 cups fresh blackberries (you could also use peaches)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Arrange blackberries in pie shell.  Mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined.  Pour over berries.  Bake 10 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake an additional 30 - 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool prior to slicing.  Top with whipped cream, if desired.  Store pie in the refrigerator.

Frozen Chocolate Crepes with Rum Butter Sauce

All I can say about this recipe – one of my favorites and you just have to try them.  You can make ahead and freeze the filled crepes, trust me on this one – a real winner!

 

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Chocolate Crepes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend on low for 30 seconds  Allow batter to stand at room temperature for one hour prior to cooking.  Heat crepe pan or 7 - 8 inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Grease pan lightly.  Pour about 3 - 4 tablespoons batter into the pan, tilting pan to spread evenly.  When crepe is light brown and set, flip to brown other side  Remove from pan and cool on rack.  Cover and refrigerate cooled crepes until ready to fill.   Makes 20 - 22 crepes.

 

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Chocolate Mousse Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 12oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, heated to boiling
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites, beaten until stiff

Instructions

  1. Place chocolate chips, salt and vanilla in blender, blend on low speed 30 seconds.  Add boiling cream; blend 30 seconds.  Add egg yolks all at once, blend 5 seconds.  Add a small amount of the chocolate mixture to the beaten egg whites.  Carefully fold in remaining chocolate mixture.  Refrigerate filling 2 - 3 hours or until set.  To assemble crepes, place 1 heaping tablespoon of filling on the center of each crepe.  Fold side over.  Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet, cover tightly.  Freeze until ready to serve.

 

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Butter Rum Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons light rum
  • whipped cream
  • shaved chocolate
  • chocolate syrup

Instructions

  1. Combine brown sugar, salt, half and half, corn syrup, butter and run in a medium saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, reheat sauce in the microwave, spoon 2 - 3 tablespoons of sauce on dessert plate, top with one crepe (let sit at room temperature approx. 25 minutes prior to serving), garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, drizzle with chocolate syrup and top with shaved chocolate.

Grilled Lebanese Style Burgers

We have a favorite Lebanese cafe near our home where we love to stop to pick up great Lebanese dishes.  One of our favorites are Sambousek’s; small pastries filled with seasoned beef and spices and then fried.  We always comment on how delicious the meat filling is with spices including cinnamon.  After seeing all of the interesting hamburger varieties at the meat counters, I decided I wanted to recreate our favorite Lebanese flavors in a burger.  After a bit of experimenting, I think I have the perfect combination of flavors.  I served these with warm pita bread, assorted greens, fresh sliced tomatoes, and a cucumber yogurt dressing.  Let’s just say the flavors danced in our mouths!  

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Grilled Lebanese Style Burgers

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine egg, onion, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt, pepper and spices in a medium bowl.  Stir well to combine.  Crumble in ground beef and combine all ingredients together until all is evenly incorporated.  Form into 4 patties.  Grill over medium heat (350-400 degrees) 12 - 15 minutes on the first side, flip and grill an additional 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

    Serve with desired condiments - pita bread, hummus, cucumber yogurt dressing, lettuce, and/or tomatoes.