Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zucchini Cakes

Raise your hand if you buy an ingredient w/ grand ideas of making something fabulous recipe you saw somewhere only to allow the ingredient get shoved behind the mountains of other things in your fridge and find it several days (or weeks if I'm being real) later with spots of mold and rot forming?  

*hand sheepishly raises*

I ended up using FIVE eggs instead so they're pretty hearty.
Could be used on top of salad as a light dinner or as a healthy breakfast.

That was the exact story of these beautiful zucchini I saw at the store after I was inspired by the award winning zucchini bread I posted about a while ago.  Um, yeah..  I read the recipe through and realized I'd only be using ONE freaking zucchini.  Plus, there were so many steps with the streusel, and choices between muffins or cakes, etc., etc., etc. I abandoned that and remembered about zucchini cakes.  

Zucchini Cakes

I did a little research and found several different versions and came up with my own mish-mash (that's a technical term) of several different versions out there using what I had on hand. 

Love the texture on these.

Zucchini Cakes

makes roughly a dozen 3" cakes

2-3 med/large zucchinis, grated and wring dry in a clean dish towel
1 c panko breadcrumbs (I'm sure regular breadcrumbs would work well too)
1/2 c grated parmigiano reggiano
5 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder (you can also use fresh)
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
light oil for frying

As with most cooking (NOT baking), this recipe's pretty forgiving so if you don't have exactly what's written here, don't worry - they should still turn out ok.  If you have more zucchini, add a little more egg, less, subtract and so on.

Grate zucchini on the large shred side of your box grater, should yield about 4 to 4.5 cups.  Next in a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, wring out the excess moisture of the grated zucchini in batches.  You'll want the shreds as dry as possible so they don't end up a soggy mess when you're frying them in the pan.  What's left should be about 3.5 cups of shreds that should be mostly dry to the touch.  Mix eggs, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders together.  Fold grated cheese and breadcrumbs in to eggs then transfer the egg mixture into the zucchini and incorporate.  Let the mix stand for a few minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a frying pan or cast iron skillet on medium heat.  When the pan is radiating heat (not yet smoking), heat 1/4" of oil in the pan until the oil starts to shimmer.  Drop in 3" heaps of the cakes and fry for a few (3-4) minutes until golden, flip and fry for another minute or two on the other side.  This will vary depending on how hot your stove is - I ended up having to turn down to low heat, they're a lot like cooking breakfast pancakes, first batch may or may not be sacrificial.

It's important not to crowd the pan or else you won't get a nice crispy texture on the outside of your cakes.  Transfer to a wire rack and finish frying the remaining batches.  When the cakes are done frying, put them in the oven for 5-10 minutes to set the middle of the cakes.  

Make ahead tips: you can actually freeze these after you've pan fried them and bake from frozen instead of finishing off or split the batch and only stick what you plan on eating in the oven, freeze the rest.  Just bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until they're warmed through.

These are great w/ ranch or some tzatziki (thx Karen!) for dipping.   

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Listing a List of Lists #5

Food I'm Loving:

Grilled pizza seems so intimidating, no?

There have been a bunch of zucchini breads in my feed lately.  Wanna try this one. And anything claiming to be 'award winning' always gets my attention.

I love stratas - this cheesy bacony mushroomy spinachy one is on my list.

Summer snacky.  Can't get enough of Trader Joe's plantain chips.

How adorable are these macarons?  Someone please teach me how to make these.  Oh, and her polka dot icing cake is pretty gorgeous too.

This chickpea salad - looks so yum and refreshing.

Salted caramel apple pie bars.  Daaaaaaang.

Spicy Kale and Coconut Stir-fry.  Drink!

You had me at 'big river of cream cheese' - banana bread.

Jos/Jessie: If you lived closer, I'd totally make this for you (or this) after Charlize is born!  

Interesting to Me:

Honey: please stop reading here.  Everyone else: In honor of World Cup fever, I give you this.  The commentary is almost as good as the photos. I just left the page on #23 for a while.  Then made it down to #20. #15.  #1 - I need a hot tub full of Italian soccer players. Just wow.  I also saw Michael Ballack doing some commentary on ESPN and that dude is pretty damn fine as well.

Storing different types of flour - helpful! 

I'm guilty of this.  Sorry.

Flew through all three Study Series books by Maria Snyder.  I love young adult lit and I don't care if you're judging me for it.  Thank you, WA Post.

For all my pregos out there - go find a doctor like this.

More on Saved By the Bell..I know, I'm obsessed even after all these years and I definitely want to watch this.  But can I just say these guys don't look nearly as hot as the original cast?!

Speaking of which.. still in love w/ Zack Morris.  I remember all those Saved By the Bell references.  Don't judge but I kinda want to read Screech's tell all "Behind the Bell" - juicy!

I think I spent an entire day watching this gif and sent it to anyone who would listen - thanks Karen!

No more microbeads.  NO!

Really enjoyed this TED Talk about how schools kill creativity.  

Just for Fun:

Anyone w/ toddler-aged children has more blurry photos than usable ones.
Kuen in a particularly adorable dress I was NOT able to capture..

4th of July parade!  And yes, we were absolutely the most un-patriotic people there.  Oops!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Listing a List of Lists #4

Food I'm Loving:

Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk.  Beautiful and very intriguing.

I have issues.  I bought blueberries 3 separate times in the past 2 weeks.  Haven't cracked open a single one yet to enjoy.  Bookmarked these for when they are on the brink: blueberry muffin skillet,  blueberry waffle cookies (oh wait, I need a damn waffle maker first)

Salted Caramel Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies.  WOW.

I made raspberry preserves so naturally I had to make these crazy good biscuits (again) meaning we should probably buy an at-home AED.  Or some butter futures.  Dairy futures maybe?  Is there such a thing?  There should be. 

Have several aging apples I need to use up.  Thank you SBA for posting an apple recipe in June!

These sound so refreshing.  Is there any possibility of residual gin on the container if I make these grown-up popsicles?  I do not support toddler alcoholism.  

Not sure why we don't think to buy it year round but summer is the start of this yummy beer at our house. 

Dangerous information to know about whipped cream.  Note to self: DEFINITELY buy an AED.

Or I can take that 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream I have in my fridge and make salted caramel sauce instead.  Plus I would be eating it all myself since I'm the only one who likes caramel in this house.  (wrings hands)

People with flat stomachs probably aren't making recipes like this which is probably why I'll never have one.  A flat stomach, not chocolate cake.  Obviously.

Can you even call this 'chili'?  Looks pretty good but I think calling it chili is a stretch.

Fried pickles are seriously my favorite thing right now.  I can't justify frying anything at home (but I'll gladly use 4 sticks of butter in a biscuit recipe) so instead we order them if they're on the menu anywhere.  The only place I've found them in Seattle is this movie theater that serves food for $9.50 (!!) a basket.  We're talking like 10 chips per person max.  

Just look at this Lobster BLT - holy mother of *&#^%@$!

I love egg salad!  This is looks like a delicious spin on the traditional recipe.  How about with a side of pickled grapes?!

Lemon confit.  How fancy schmancy.

Peonies are my fave.

Interesting to Me:

So lucky to live in Washington!  Not only are we headed in to one of the most beautiful times of year here: summer (yes, we DO have summers here - they just tell you it rains all the time so you won't move here too), but I saw this article - true!

How adorable is this produce bag out of an old t-shirt?  Hon - your "Octopy Wall Street" shirt with the holes in the armpits is in the (forgive the expression) cross-hairs.  Gross.

Faux calligraphy - how cute!

Gabe jokes I'm turning Amish because I hang a lot of my delicate clothes to dry and want to make my own detergent (but it's purely because I don't like looking at those fugly liquid laundry detergent dispensers).  Has anyone else tried doing this?

She's been pretend answering the phone lately yelling: "This is Gabe!"  

Just for Fun:

Update on the old laundry closet.  First, let's never mention that chevron wall I tried.  It was an epic fail!  I peeled the tape off the wall and hated it.  So I didn't take any pictures and painted over it.  Let's never speak of the chevron wall again, ok?

Second, I love how it turned out.  I removed all the ugly wire shelves, installed stainless shelving, painted, installed a drying rack, hung retractable laundry line, decluttered the whole thing and now it's my favorite part of the house!  Still not 100% done with it but I'm loving the results so far and I use the space all the time now.  

It's a small enough space so that the crazy burst of color isn't overwhelming

I wonder if people named Susan are offended by this term.

If there's one thing I've learned living in this tiny condo, it's that you shouldn't wait to change something if you hate it.  Even if you're not planning on living at your current home for long, it's worth it to make it a place you absolutely love.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

These are dangerously easy to make - like 5-10 minutes to put together and stick in the oven.  They are equally dangerous to have sitting on my kitchen counter.  I made 2 pans of these in the past week.  GAH.  The first batch was made w/ a mish-mash of fruit preserves in my fridge I needed to get rid of.  Which, getting a picture of those would've been like spotting Bigfoot - they were gone.  Does anyone remember/love Harry and the Hendersons?  Aww.

Strawberry and raspberry are tied for favorite, blackberry is a close second (only because those damn seeds get stuck in my teeth).

I use a food processor which takes maybe 5 minutes from start to putting the pan in the oven.  I should probably rethink using that method and cut the butter in by hand to avoid the temptation of making these so often.  But they just go down so smoothly as a dessert w/ (decaf) coffee or as an indulgent bfast.  Definitely sub in whatever fruit preserves you have on hand.  

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
adapted from this Pioneer Woman recipe
8" or 9" square pan
makes 16 small bars
* If you are using fruit preserves out of your fridge, you may want to take the jar out and let it come to room temp or microwave for 30 seconds so it's a little easier to spread 

1/2 c cold butter, diced (yes, that's one stick)
1 c rolled oats (not quick cooking!)
3/4 c AP flour
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 to 1 c strawberry preserves (or whatever flavor tickles your fancy)

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray your pan with cooking spray or grease.  

Throw everything in a food processor and pulse a few times until blended, maybe for 10-15 seconds max.  There will be large, pea-sized pieces of butter, calm down, it'll all be ok!  The mixture is going to look very loose but I promise everything they'll turn out great.  If it makes you feel better, pulse a few more times until it's a little more blended.  

Scoop out 1/2 the mixture and layer on the bottom of the pan.  Distribute the preserves as evenly as possible on top of flour/butter mixture.  Sprinkle the rest of the flour mixture as evenly as possible on top of the preserves and bake for 40 minutes. 

The texture..I can't.  I just can't.

The first time I made these I was really freaked out it would be pulling a pan full of loose flour out of the oven but the butter and preserves are going to pull everything together.  As stated above, you can always nuke the jar in the microwave (sans lid people) for 30 seconds to loosen them up before spreading.  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Listing a List of Lists #3

I've been so lazy lately!  Recipe is in the works and coming, maybe later this week.  No promises.

Nom nom nom.

Food I'm Loving:

Lemon Thyme Cake - wow.

If this cake isn't the cutest idea to have at your next bbq..Not sure the whipped cream would stay on, but still - such a unique presentation.

On a tofu kick recently.  This Tofu Chickpea stir-fry looks super yum.

Tell me this chopped salad doesn't look good.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies. Daaaaaaaaang!

Turkey Sloppy Joes - totally making this.  

And speaking of delish things between a bun: Epic Meatloaf Sliders. I'll take 2.

Drunken Mussels look so good.  Does cooking shellfish intimidate anyone but me?

For your upcoming trip to LA (Allen & Jeanine!).  We have Cactus here too and their guacamole is so addictive. 

Muffin top, get it?  Love this gift from Allen & Jeanine

Recipe was a Blueberry Coconut Flour Chia Seed Muffin (top) - very delish.

Interesting to Me:

PLEEEEEASE pray I remember to do this when Kuen starts turning into a crazy (ier?) person and has to apologize for misbehaving.

I could spend days browsing this Huff Post site.

As if I needed one, but another reason I love Michelle Obama.

Who's excited for summer blockbuster season?  *hand shoots up, waving uncontrollably*  Hello dude from Parks & Rec.  

Since I can't find time to actually read and finish any of the books I start, I'm listening to audio books on the drive home from work.  Currently listening to this suuuuuuuper fascinating book right now.  Not in to parenting books at all but it's so interesting to see how behaviors in developing humans shape how we act.

Favorite TED Talk currently: Brene Brown on shame.  I was doing the ugly cry.  The first one on vulnerability is also very powerful.  She's a great speaker.

Just for Fun: 

I'm remodeling our laundry closet.  I was inspired by Tien's chevron laundry closet makeover but a lite version - like no 3 color pallet like she did.  Even though Home Depot is literally 1 minute down the road I can't bring myself to buy more paint so I'm using old stuff I have already.  I grew up in a household where we couldn't open a new box of cereal until we finished the old one so this mentality permeates all corners of my life.  I worked through the project contemplating the depths of my own IQ since messed up twice on the taping.  Seriously, brain? The mission was painting some damn stripes on the wall.  Sheesh.

"I think I can, I think I can.."
I'll do a before/after shot when it's presentable, which, if you don't see any photos, you'll know why (so pls have the decency to NOT ask).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Listing a List of Lists #2

Food I'm Loving:

An update: I finally tried whipped coconut cream and I've done a comparison w/ real whipped cream.  It's a little gritty whereas whipped cream is just velvety and smooth but that doesn't bother me at all.  Whether you're vegan, lactose intolerant or just a coconut enthusiast, definitely make some.  

Definitely going to try these chicken fingers.  They're not fried so they seem healthier.  ish.

Combining several things I love love love.  Lemony coconutty goodness.  Coconut should be a drinking game on this blog.  "She said coconut again?  Drink!"

Can we just pretend this spinach salad is health for a minute?  GAH.

Are these people killing me w/ all these damn brownie recipes?   Yes.  Caramel Coconut Brownie (drink!).  Peanut Butter Brownies.  Jeeeeeeeeez.

Nut milks (would someone please come up with a better name?) I'd like to try but am too lazy (Vitamix wielding and all..still too lazy): Hazelnut, Vanilla Almond, Cashew.

Homemade Cheezits?  You've gone and done it now.

If this isn't the most insanely over-the-top BLT.  Another reason I need a waffle iron.  Wow!

I love my scones.  Need this meyer lemon raspberry one in my life like right now.

Interesting to Me:

Doesn't matter what side of the fence you're on, these are always hilarious.  "What if they gave Mitch McConnell a pulse?!"  Dying.

Tien got me this dachshund ring holder several years ago and somewhere along the way, he lost his little bejeweled left eye - and now looks just like Tucker!  PS: I may have a slight obsession with ring holders.

Tucker and his magic eye can play catch better than any two-eyed dog.
These kitchens.  Wauw.  Just waaaauw.  The celebrity kitchens at the bottom link are fun too.  

This new sitcom based on this book (which I'm totally reading now) is *hopefully* going to be awesome.  That scene w/ the Asian supermarket is TOTALLY true.  PS: Fun fact, I was reading this book in our shared Kindle app and I inadvertently posted something to Gabe's Facebook profile about it.  Whoops.

Allllllmost peed my pants watching this.  Those Big Mouth Bass things always cracked me up.

Hello, beautiful waterfalls!  We were just at Multnomah Falls a few weeks ago.  Iguazu Falls and Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia look absolutely amazing..bucket list.  And check out #21 - Snoqualmie!  Who knew there were such beautiful waterfalls in Kentucky and Tennessee??!

Oh, Kitchenaid.  You've really thought of everything, haven't you?

Easy hacks for increased energy efficiency in your house!  #5 also led me to..

How to store veggies w/o plastic - so granola!  I could picture some artsy display of produce in cups of water on my counter.

To all the other girls with big feet - can I get an amen?  #9, #20, #29 made me smile.  Who knew Audrey Hepburn was apparently a 10.5?!

Whose oven door looks like this?  *slow hand raise*  Need to try this stuff.

Just for Fun:

Kuen is talking up a storm these days.  It cracks me up when she says "look" but she hasn't quite mastered Ls yet so she pronounces them as a Y.  Yook!  She's also doing this hilarious thing where she sticks stickers on her belly then covers them quickly with her shirt and laughs this big huge belly laugh and runs away.  I find little stickers on the floor later and can't help but chuckle.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Leftover Makeovers: EGG-cellent Frittata (see what I did there?)

I have issues w/ portion control both cooking and eating.  We're a family of 3 yet I inherited this gene from my mom where I always just cook for like 10 people meaning we eat a lot of leftovers.

Waka waka waka

Most leftovers get eaten as lunch or dinner the next day.  Some get lost and turn in to unintentional science experiments in the back of the fridge.  Sad face.  True story.

Little annoys me more than wasted food.  No, that's a false statement.  Many things annoy me. One of the several things that annoy me greatly is wasted food.  There we go.  Yes.

If I've gone particularly crazy on the leftover front and have more than say 2 days worth, I like to give the leftovers a little makeover before they're relegated to science experiment status (a.k.a. Poltergeist).  This frittata is VERY adaptable and works well w/ pretty much any leftovers: potatoes, broccoli, chicken, ham, roasted veggies always work really well, whatever.  

Puffy and golden!

Frittata is good for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner.  I love a slice of this paired with salad.  It also freezes well so you can bake and stick it in the freezer for when you don't want to cook which is me for the months of June, July and August when it's hot. Give it a try!

Leftover Frittata

makes 8 servings in a 9" (oven safe!) pan

2-3 c leftovers (try using dryer foods like things that weren't cooked w/ sauces)
       I happened to have some leftover steamed broccoli, about 1/2 cup of ham, diced, and    
       some roasted fingerling potatoes for this one)
1/2 c shredded cheese of choice (I've even used sliced cheese on top)
5-7 eggs (depending on how many leftovers you're starting with)
1 tbsp fresh chopped herbs such as parsley, basil or green onions (if using dried, 1 tsp is fine)
1/2 c milk (I've used half and half)
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven 425 degrees.  Start with an oven proof skillet on medium heat.  Unless yours has a metal handle, make sure it's oven safe (to 450) before beginning or else you'll have to transfer to an oven safe dish (or a greased pie plate works) before sticking it in the oven. Heat oil in skillet and drop in your leftovers to warm them through.  While those are going, crack your eggs and add milk, salt and pepper.  Depending on how well seasoned your leftovers are you may need to use more or less salt.  Hard to tell until it's done but when in doubt, underseason - you can always add more later but not the other way around!  Whisk in the flour, herbs cheese and olive oil to the egg mixture and stir lightly.

Add the egg mixture in to the pan and move everything around a few times until the eggs start to set - 2-3 minutes.  Put the entire pan in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes.  The bake time will actually depend on how deep the pan is so for fully set eggs, bake it until the middle is puffed and golden.  When you pull it out of the oven the center should bet set completely.  Cool for at least 30 minutes.  

You can cool and freeze the whole thing or wrap up individual slices for a quick meal.  If freezing whole, thaw in the fridge overnight before serving. Either microwave or put it in the oven for 350 for about 20-30 min.

Yummy for bfast, lunch or dinner!


I got rid of my nonstick skillets a long time ago and while before stainless I would've never have attempted a frittata in anything but a nonstick skillet, just make sure there's a light coating of oil on your skillet if you are using steel or aluminum.  I can't say I have experience with nonstick pans going in the oven but do recall reading the box on one in the past and saw it was rated for up to somewhere in the 400 degree mark so do your research.  Or just use a dang pie plate but make sure you grease or spray it or you'll be cursing my name as you're scraping egg shards off it.

You can always just saute the veggies in the pan if you don't have leftover issues like me.