Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

About 2 weeks ago, Steve turned to me and said, "I want to start eating desserts." We'll i'm not gonna be one to argue with a statement like that, so we've been eating delicious cakes after our meals. You would think this would be bad news from the healthy eating dept, but actually having a set dessert, like a piece of cake, after dinner, reduces our snacking. However, I'm probably going to have to look into some more healthy desserts if we are to keep up with this.

This is a Zucchini Cake that I found from tastespotting.com (blog). It was a really delicious cake and extremely rich. It definitly doesn't fall into the healthy category (butter AND oil, cocoa powder AND chocolate chips.), but it's so rich you really can't eat to much at one time. I think this cake would be really good without any frosting because it's very moist and delicious or a good vanilla or buttercream frosting would be good. I can't believe i'm saying this but I think as I made it, it's a little tooo chocolately.

The zucchini also adds a nice touch, I think without the frosting it would be like a rich chocolate zucchini bread. I think it helps balance out all the sweet from the chocolate.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) Flour
  • 3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional but tasty - we didn't use
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10″ zucchini, about 12 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
For the frosting
  • 6oz heavy cream
  • rest of chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325 and grease a 9x13 cake pan. (One day i'll have nice bakeware that hasn't been burned to bits, until then I have to put foil down on mine...sigh)

Shred your zucchini and set aside.

In a mixing bowl cream together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Then beat in the eggs. (I forgot the eggs for a bit...oops so I added them later, seemed to work out fine though!)

Next mix in the flour and yogurt. Alternate 1/4 cup yogurt, stir, 1/2 cup flour, stir, until it's all mixed in.

Then add the cocoa, mixing till smooth.

Then fold in your chocolate chips and zucchini.

Bake the cake for about 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

While that's cooling whip up your frosting. This is a ganache, which I just had to look up, is a type of frosting made from chocolate and cream.

Pour your chocolate chips into a bowl. On the stove heat your cream in a pan til it begins to simmer. Pour the cream onto the chocolate chips and let sit for a few minutes.

After it's sat for a minute stir it for a bit and eventually a chocolate icing will form.

Pour this on your cake and let sit for a while.

Now in theory your ganache should harden up nicely and you're cake will be all ready to go. If however, it's 1000 degrees in your apartment, you're icing is not going to get firm so at this point I would suggest sticking it in the fridge :)


Monday, August 03, 2009

Spicy Potatoes & Pan-Cooked Chili-Chicken

We were sooo close to not cooking tonight despite having a menu made up for the week. We were tired and hungry and we didn't want to wait for anything to cook. I'm glad we did though (and so are our wallets) because this meal turned out wonderfully and we cooked together which was fun...awww.

So I made the potatoes and Steve made the chicken. The recipes come from 1,000 Indian Recipes by Neelam Batra.

Spicy Potatoes with Onions and Tomatoes Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp ghee ( optional, we didn't use)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 to 3 chili peppers ( I used 1 jalapeno and 1 other onion from the farmers market)
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (we didn't have)
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala (I forgot to add this :( )
Boil the potatoes until tender. Let cool. While those are cooling prep your other things.

Cut your peppers



and get your spices together

Once the potatoes are cooled, peel and cut into cubes.

In a wok heat the oil over medium high and cook the onion until nice and brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the peppers and tomato and cook for another couple minutes, about 4.

Add all the spices and cook for another minute then throw in the potatoes.

Reduce heat and cook for about 8 minutes until the potatoes are heated through and everything is mixed together nicely.

In the meantime, Steve is making the chicken

Chili-Chicken Thighs Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 5-7 dried chili peppers ( I only let Steve use 5).
  • 2 pieces peeled ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs
  • 1 cup cilantro (not used)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
First cut everything up - ginger




Hot Peppers

In a big pan heat the oils and cook the peppers and ginger until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. (Action Shot!)

Add the onions and cook until browned 8-10 minutes.

Add the garlic, paprika and chicken and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the vinegar, water, salt, and black pepper. Cook over high until it boils then turn down to medium heat until chicken is done. About 20 minutes.

Serve and

Enjoy! :)

Corn Chowder & Broiled Polenta

We got a great deal on corn on the cob at the farmers market and while flipping through cookbooks this recipe for corn chowder caught my eye. "Ohhh" i thought, this will be easy. Nope. Between this and the polenta I pretty much spent my entire Sunday cooking. and it was hot, not a great time to have the broiler on.

HOWEVER, it was soooo good and soooo worth it.

The corn chowder recipe comes from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman and the polenta recipe comes from The Cooks Book.

Polenta Ingredients

  • 6 Cups Water
  • 1 3/4 cup Cornmeal
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
Pour the water and salt into a big pot and bring to a boil.

Slowly sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking constantly so you don't get clumps.

Reduce heat to as low as it goes and let cook for about 40 minutes or until pulling away from the edges. I found mine only had to go for about 30 minutes.

While this is doing it's thing grease up a cookie sheet.

Once the polenta is done, pour it onto the cookie sheet and let cool for a while. While that's in the fridge lets make the chowder shall we?

Corn Chowder
  • 6 ears of corn
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1/2 cup scallion ( I used an onion)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1 potato
First I decided to roast the corn. Not a necessary step and maybe if I had thought about it longer in relation to the temperature of my kitchen I might have skipped it, but I think it helped the flavor. Rub oil on the corn and stick in the oven at 450 for a bit, turning often. Once they get brown they are done.

Once the corn is roasted get everything chopped up (onion, potato). Remove the kernels from the cob and set the kernels aside.

In a pan with 2 cups of water throw in the kerneless cobs. Add some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil reduce heat and cover. Let cook for about 30 minutes.

Once that is done remove the cobs and reserve the corn broth for later.

In a large stock pot melt the butter and add the onion and sugar. Let the onion soften for a minute then turn the heat down to medium and stir in the flour.

Stir the mixture constantly for about 5 minutes.

Next add the milk and corn broth, again stirring constantly. Turn the heat up to medium high and cook until flour has dissolved and mixture has thickened. Roughly 2 minutes.

Stir in the corn kernels and potato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally.

While that's finishing up lets cook up the polenta.

Cut your polenta into whatever shapes you desire and brush them with olive oil. Stick under the broiler about 5 minutes per side depending on how thick your shapes are.

The polenta is excellent with the soup either thrown into it or used as a dipping implement.

Enjoy :)

Zucchini Curry

With zucchini still in season, I knew I needed to do something more with it than just make zucchini bread. I looked at different ideas, but nothing was really jumping out at me until Mike and Rachel finally updated their blog ( :) ) and this was on it!

This was delicious and we have already decided to make it again this week but with different adaptations. (we are gonna use chicken, eggplant, basil, and maybe something else that I can't think of). I recommend everyone try this while zucchini is still in season.

The original recipe comes from Epicurious.com

Zucchini Curry


  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped fresh jalapeño chile including seeds
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 medium green or Cocozelle zucchini (3 lb), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 (13 1/2- to 14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk, well stirred
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Adaptations we made:
  • 1/2 cup roasted pecans, chopped
  • golden raisins

First thing you have to do is toast your mustard seeds and cumin (we used powder).

Next you have to make the curry paste. I never realized how simple this was, but this combination is perfect, it tastes just like the curry I get at Taste of Thai. I'm really excited to have discovered this and will be using it in many other curries to come.

Since we don't have a mortar and pestal we had to do this part kinda ghetto style. You have to pound/smush the garlic, jalapeno, and ginger into a paste with some salt. We used the handle of a big knife ( be very careful!).

Then add in curry powder, coriander, and mustard and cumin.

Next get some oil heating in your pan. Throw your onions in there for about 8 minutes or until nice and browned.

Turn the heat down to medium low heat and throw in your curry paste for about 2 minutes.

Next throw in your zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes. They say until it looks moist. hmm...I don't know it looked moist the whole time so....

Add coconut milk and some more salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer covered for about 15 minutes or until zucchini is nice and tender. I cut my pieces bigger so it had to go longer.

Serve topped over rice with a handful of pecans or cashews and some raisins.

Enjoy :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers

I'm somewhat backlogged with posts so I'm gonna try and get a few up today. The first one is stuffed bell peppers. This was an easy and tasty dinner. The great thing about stuffed bell peppers is you can pretty much take whatever you have on hand and throw it all together. I really enjoyed these.

I'm not gonna post the ingredients to this one because I kinda of just threw things together and I didn't measure things. Really though like I said, throw in whatever you want.

First I sauteed up some onions then browned my beef.

yay all ready. Drain grease.

Threw in some tomatoes and green peppers

Cooked until the tomatoes got nice and juicy and I smushed them up.

In the meantime while that's simmering away, cut your peppers in half and clean them out.

Mix your meat concoction with some rice that you already cooked and stuff those peppers.

grate up some cheese and throw that on top.

Now pour chicken broth into the pan so it comes up the sides a little bit and cover. Stick in oven for about 30-40 minutes until nice and hot. The tops will be all crispy.

Enjoy :)