Posts Tagged 'zucchini'

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Rice and Beans

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Recovery from Wildflower is going really well.  I ended up taking 3 complete rest days, and then somehow found myself committing to a marathon that’s 5 weeks away.

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My sister’s last race marathon was in San Francisco two years ago, and she wants to get revenge on the course (it was a rough day).  “Hmmm maybe” turned into “registration confirmed” within 24 hours, and the best part is that my dad is doing it too!

I’m planning on running 16 or 17 miles this Saturday, I have a trail half marathon next weekend, and I’ll do a 20-miler the week after that.  It will definitely not be my best marathon, but I think it will be fun (which is kinda weird, since just a few weeks ago I was fairly certain it would be years before I signed up for another one).

We started getting a CSA box last week, and our first two deliveries have been awesome.  There was some zucchini this week, and although I usually hate it raw, it’s fine if it’s shaved into ribbons.  I usually keep some kind of cooked grain in the fridge, and this week it was brown rice, so I just tossed that with some black beans, green onion, cilantro, lemon juice, and sunflower seeds for a quick, healthy dinner.

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Cornmeal Crepes with Black Beans and Zucchini

I’m not good at handling stress.  I fidget, I feel sick to my stomach, I make a million lists (which kind of stresses me out even more), I snap at Mike even when he’s being incredibly understanding and helpful.  Sometimes he just looks me in the eye, and tells me “I think you might need to go for a run right now.”

He’s usually right, and it usually helps.  Cooking sometimes helps too (unless I’m at that point where all I can do is shove a peanut butter sandwich in my face and keep bouncing around the house attempting to cross multiple things off the to-do list simultaneously).

The beginning of the school year always gets me a little stressed, but now that it’s my third year of teaching I’m starting to handle it a little better…so slightly less fidgeting, slightly fewer peanut butter sandwiches, and more cathartic cooking projects like this one.  And now, thanks to that half Ironman looming in the distance, 5 AM trainer rides! (Thanks so much for documenting this for posterity, Mike).

These are about as labor-intensive as enchiladas, but the crepes make them feel a little fancier.  If you already have salsa made (or a jar of it), you can just make the batter, prepare the filling while the batter rests, and then cook the crepes and assemble your meal.

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crepes adapted from Epicurious

Mixed Vegetable and Farro Salad with Goat Cheese


The other night I spent almost three hours last night making some Ethiopian food. One of the perks of only working part-time in the summer is having a lot of time to cook!


I made injera, collard greens, red lentils, and mushrooms. <– (none of the recipes are mine)

I had two really pathetic days this week and ran just over a mile (just to keep the stupid streak going), but yesterday things started to turn around and I ran my usual 4.5 mile loop, pushing the stroller, at just under 8:00/mile pace.  Then today I ran nine miles at 7:35 pace.  Hopefully that means I’m officially out of whatever funk I was in.

If you don’t have the time or want to take the time to put together a big involved meal, this salad is pretty great.  You can cook the farro and  chop and/or  grill/roast the vegetables in advance if you want to. Once that’s done all you need to do is whisk up the dressing and crumble some goat cheese over the top.  I roasted the vegetables, but if you’re one of those lucky souls that lives somewhere it gets too hot to turn on the oven at this time of year, you can grill them in a basket.

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Spinach and Mushroom Quiche with Vegetable Crust

Yesterday’s run was the best I’ve had yet! I may have broken my casual “no more than 5 miles” rule (barely), but it was beautiful and I felt great. 5.03 miles, 9:43 min/mile Next week I think I’ll bump my long run up to 6 miles, but stick with the every other day plan.

I ran past the finish line of the Nike Women’s Marathon, which they’re setting up right now.

That race was my first marathon back in 2005, when I was far more focused on my social life than training, my longest run was 16 miles, and I swore, after finishing in 4:41, that marathons just weren’t for me.

I’m glad I gave them another chance!

I’ve started a new thing with my meal planning and grocery shopping, where I go to the Farmers Market on Thursday, buy a ton of produce, and then plan my meals around what I’ve bought, instead of planning before I shop. It’s been working out really well for the past few weeks, but sometimes I end up with a ton of random vegetables that I’m not sure what to do with.

Salads are great, obviously.

My current salad obsession involves lettuce, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, basil, cilantro, and mint, with the best dressing EVER. It’s just tahini, lemon juice, and Bragg’s liquid aminos in about a 3:1:1 ratio (or to taste). I love it so much.

Quiches are also awesome for using up vegetable odds and ends. Especially this one, which has vegetables in the crust too. The crust doesn’t get crispy like a normal pie crust would, but it’s a lot healthier.

I don’t have a quiche pan, so I used a 9″ springform pan. Since they sometimes leak, I put it on a sheet pan to bake.

Recipe
(adapeted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest)

crust
3 medium zucchini, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 medium carrot, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
2 small red potatoes, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp melted butter

quiche
1 tbsp butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
8-10 button mushrooms, sliced
6 oz bag baby spinach
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 eggs
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

To make the crust, toss the shredded zucchini with salt and place in a mesh strainer for about 15 minutes. Squeeze to remove extra liquid.

Combine the zucchini, potatoes, and carrots, and stir in the flour and melted butter. Press into a quiche pan or springform pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden.

Remove from the oven to cool while you prepare the quiche.

Heat the butter in a skillet and add the onions and mushrooms. Cook for about 7 minutes over medium, or until the onions are very soft and the mushrooms have browned. Stir in the spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook just until the spinach wilts.

Sprinkle the parmesan over the crust. Top with the spinach mixture.

Whisk the eggs and milk together and pour over the vegetables and cheese. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, or until set.

Miso-Curry Roasted Vegetbles with Tofu


Let’s go ahead and file this one under “Things I never thought would go together but definitely do and I’m now borderline obsessed with.”

White miso and red curry paste. Who ever would have thought those would be so amazing together when tossed with vegetables? Oh yeah, Heidi. That woman just gets food. I’m envious.

I was looking back over my epidural post (THANK YOU for all the fabulous comments!) and realized I kind of made it sound like I’m completely uneducated when it comes to having this kid, but that’s not entirely true. While I haven’t taken a class or read a book, I HAVE been talking to my doctor, read a lot of things online, and talked to people who’ve had multiple children. So, I do really feel that I’m making an informed choice, which it may not have seemed based on that post. Just wanted to throw that out there.

In other news, I’ve been trying really hard to up my vegetable consumption lately. We had friends in town over the weekend and seriously slipped in the 5-a-day department. This dinner helped me get back on track, though, and so did kale chips.

That may be my absolute favorite way to consume vegetables. Kale + olive oil + red wine vinegar + salt –> Bake at 350 until crunchy. Amazing.

AND! Mike has decided he wants to cook more. Gee, twist my 38.5-week pregnant arm! Last night he sat down with his favorite cookbooks and found a bunch of recipes to make. I married a winner, for sure.

I made this dinner, though. And we both loved it. I adapted the original recipe to use up the zucchini I had in the fridge (and to save kale for chips). I also upped the tofu to make it more filling. I can’t wait to try the miso-curry combination on other vegetables too!

Recipe:
(adapted from Super Natural Every Day)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cups white miso
1 tbsp red curry paste
4 medium zucchini
6 small red potatoes
1 lb extra firm nigari tofu, diced
3 tbsp pumpkin seeds
juice of 1/2 a lemon
chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Whisk the olive oil, miso, and curry paste together until smooth.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then into 1/2″ thick half circles. Dice the potatoes into 1/2″ cubes.

Toss the zucchini and potatoes together with about half the miso mixture and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.

While vegetables are roasting, heat a little oil in a skillet and cook the tofu cubes until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the pumpkin seeds.

Combine the tofu and vegetables in a large bowl and add more miso mixture to taste. Add the lemon juice and mix well.

Serve sprinkled with fresh cilantro.

Spelt Zucchini Bread


The weather lately has been so perfect it’s kind of unbelievable. I was led to believe that Daly City was the foggiest place on Earth and I would never see the sun, so the fact that it’s been in the low 70s and sunny for the past week or so makes me deliriously happy.

I’ve been doing okay with the fact that I’m no longer running, but Sunday morning was not easy. Mike ran a 5K in Golden Gate Park, and between the perfect weather and beautiful course, it kind of killed me a little bit to be stuck on the side taking pictures. I love the energy at races, even small ones like this… definitely something you DON’T get from doing the elliptical at the gym every day. (Honestly, as much as I miss running, I’m just happy I can still work out, even if the elliptical is totally lame).

I’ll be back out there soon enough.

I am starting to accumulate a bunch of different kinds of flour. It’s not really a bad thing, but my cupboards are FULL and we are moving in 11 days. The usual suspects, cake flour, whole wheat flour, bread flour, and all purpose are being crowded out by stuff like garbazno and spelt flour (and I need to make room for coconut flour, which I’ve heard so many good things about). Um, can I use the word flour a few more times?

Spelt flour is one of my favorite substitutes for all-purpose because it isn’t too dense so a 1 to 1 sub is easy, and I like the slightly nutty flavor it adds. I think it may be slightly more nutritious, too, which is always a bonus. For a bread like zucchini, which isn’t too exotic or exciting, it adds a little something extra that just plain flour doesn’t.

This recipe originally came from Cooks Illustrated, which I know doesn’t really appreciate having its recipes altered. I really liked the changes I made though… I decreased the sugar and subbed sucanat for half of it, and added some cinnamon. Bridget recommended scaling down the fat and replacing half of the butter with canola oil, and it worked beautifully. Draining the liquid out of the zucchini is completely brilliant because it keeps the bread from getting too soggy.

Recipe:
(adapted from The Way The Cookie Crumbles)

2 cups spelt flour, plus more for dusting
1 pound zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stems removed, cut into 1″ chunks
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar (+ 2 Tbsp for mixing with zucchini)
1/4 cup sucanat
½ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp canola oil

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease an 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Dust with flour and shake out excess.

Put the zucchini chunks in the food processor with 2 T sugar and pulse until coarsely shredded. Put in a mesh strainer and drain for 30 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and toss with the walnuts.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugars, yogurt, melted butter, and oil.

Squeeze any remaining liquid out of the zucchini, then mix into the egg mixture and stir well.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring gently until all traces of flour disappear. Pour into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 50-60 minutes.

Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then turn out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Potato and Zucchini Pizza

The homemade pizza Friday tradition has been going strong since we moved up here, and I don’t see it dying any time soon. There are just far too many possibilities! This idea came from Jamie Oliver, whom I completely adore. In fact, one of the ways I knew Mike was a keeper was the fact that he had a Jamie Oliver cookbook on his bookshelf.

Anyway, in his infinite wisdom, Jamie recommends cooking some new potatoes, slicing them up and tossing them with herbs, then layering them over pizza sauce with a few torn up pieces of mozarella to fill in the gaps. I used thin slices to maximize cheese coverage, and I added zucchini because we had some, and because it has worked its way up my vegetable ranking over the past few months. I used to hate the stuff and now I can’t get enough!

I found tiny fingerlings at Trader Joes and sliced them lengthwise, but any small potatoes should work well. Although I normally use the Big Sur Bakery dough made a day in advance, I had a lot going on and forgot to make it, so I used this quick version instead, and although it’s not quite as good, it works pretty nicely.

Recipe:
(adapted from Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver)

dough for 2 10″ pizzas
cornmeal
about 1/2 cup pizza sauce
4-6 very small potatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
2 sprigs rosemary (leaves only), roughly chopped
4 sprigs of thyme (leaves only)
2 tbsp olive oil
6 oz mozzarella, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 500 F (with a pizza stone if you have one).
Boil the potato slices in a medium saucepan until fork-tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well and toss with the oil, rosemary, and thyme (and a pinch or two of salt).

Sprinkle a handful of cornmeal on a cookie sheet. Stretch or stretch the dough out to a 10″ circle and place on the cornmeal. Spread about 1/4 cup sauce over the crust (more if you like), then layer with cheese, zucchini slices, and potatoes. Shake the pan a little to make sure the crust isn’t sticking anywhere. If it is, gently lift it up in places to sprinkle some more cornmeal.

Slide the pizza carefully off the cookie sheet and onto the pizza stone. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Slip the cookie sheet under it to remove it from the stone, then prepare and bake the second pizza just like you did the first.



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