Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Breaded, Pan-fried Zucchini

So, this garden of mine has started producing, and it hasn't stopped.  Sometimes I'll go out to water and there will be a full grown zucchini when I am quite sure there wasn't one there yesterday.

Needless to say, I have been trying to find different ways to prepare them (and people to give them to).  This particular way gives some nice texture and flavor.   Just for reference, the ones in the picture are cut just a little too thick--the insides didn't quite cooked through when the outsides were finished.
Breaded, Pan-friend Zucchini


  • 2 medium zucchini, cut about 1/3 inch thick.
  • about 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • about 1 cup Italian style dry bread crumbs 
  • pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, to garnish
Toss the zucchini slices with the salt.  Place the slices between several layers of paper towels for 10-20 minutes.  This draws out the moisture, letting them cook more evenly and firmly.  Dry off each slice with a paper towel, removing any excess salt.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Dip the zucchini slices in the egg mixture, then coat with the bread crumbs (I add some pepper to the bread crumbs, but you decide to taste).  Place the slices in the pan (don't crowd them), and cook about 4-5 minutes a side, until golden brown.  If they're browning too quickly, turn down the heat because you want them to cook through.  

Serve warm topped with some Parmesan cheese. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Peaches and Cream with Raspberries

This is a simple, clean, easy dessert that really showcases some of summer's best.  I love myself some fresh peaches, and my fridge will often have several during the summertime (there is nothing as refreshing as coming home on a hotter-than-Hades day and sinking your teeth into a cold, juicy peach and having the juice run down your chin and it's amazing; trust me).

Now, you can whip the cream if you want (you'll want to use whipping cream, in that case, rather than light cream), but I prefer just a bowl-full of peaches in liquid, so that's what I give here.  You go do whatever you want.
Peaches and Cream with Raspberries


  • 1 peach per person
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • light cream (you can use heavier if you want), about 1/2 pint for every 4 peaches
  • white sugar
  • vanilla
  • fresh raspberries
for the peaches
Preheat the oven to 400.  Butter a casserole baking dish.  Cut the peaches in quarters, and toss with a generous helping of brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon, to coat.  Bake until soft, about 15 minutes (although this can vary widely based on how firm your peaches are to start).

for the cream
For every 1/2 pint of cream, whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon sugar, until incorporated.

Dish out the peaches into bowls, giving them as much of the pan juices as you can.  Evenly distribute the cream among the bowls.  Top with the raspberries.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sautéed Yellow Squash

I hope this doesn't sound morbid, but guys, I grew that squash myself and I have been so excited to eat it.  It was grown in the coolest community garden you've ever seen.  I've had a few squash casualties along the way, so I was pretty happy to get this one out alive and whole and perfect and amazing.  I served it with a little rosemary from the garden, too, making it amazing.   

My good buddy taught me a while ago to sweat zucchini and squash before sautéing them.  This draws out quite a bit of the moisture in them, letting them sear and brown rather than get all squishy.  As excited as I was  to eat the thing, I'm glad I took his advice.  The finished project was beautifully browned and just a little crisp and full of love and earthy goodness.

Sautéed Yellow Squash

  • one large yellow squash
  • up to 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • A pinch of chopped herbs, like rosemary or oregano
  • Pepper to taste (plus salt, if necessary, but likely not)

Cut of the ends of the squash, and cut into rings, about 1/2 inch think.  In a bowl, toss the squash slices with some salt until well coated.  Place the slices on a few layers of paper towels, then top with a few more layers. Press down lightly, and let sit about 20 minutes.  Adjust the paper towels if they're getting too damp.  When done, give each slice a little rub-down with a paper towel to remove excess salt and moisture.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over medium heat.  When hot, add the squash slices in a single, uncrowded layer.  Top with a little pepper and herbs.  Let simmer a few minutes, until slightly golden.  Flip them, and repeat on the other side.  Serve and enjoy summer's bounty.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Coconut Lime Cake

So, I'm cheating right now. Usually I don't like to just copy someone else's recipe entirely, but this one is going to have to be a little exception. I love this cake, and I make it very frequently. Unlike the original recipe (which I gratefully and humbly pilfered from SmittenKitchen), I usually serve it with a raspberry or strawberry coulis, it's not exactly the radical reinterpretation or perfected product of experimentation I usually strive for. Instead, this is just an old stand-by, tried and true recipe that you should make, because it's really good.

The cake is kind of crumbly, I've found, which I do not think is a bad thing. The icing topping gives it some necessary structural integrity. You should also be very careful about the cake sticking to the pan, so grease and flour it well (and seriously just have the patience to let it cool entirely before you pull it out of the pan--it's a tragic mistake I've made many times).

Coconut Lime Cake


for the cake

  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • about 3 tablespoons lime juice
for the icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • about 3 tablespoons lime juice
for the raspberry sauce
  • 1 small bag frozen raspberries
  • about 2 heaping tablespoons sugar
  • coconut milk, to garnish (optional)
For the cake.  Carefully brown the coconut on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees.  Watch it carefully to avoid burning; stir once or twice if the edges brown faster than the rest.

Cream the butter, sugar, and lime zest together in a mixer until even and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between until even throughout.  

Mix half of the toasted coconut into the flour.  Also mix 2 tablespoons of the lime juice into the milk, and stir vigorously.  With the mixer on low, add some of the flour mixture, then half of the milk, then some more flour, then the other half of the milk, then the rest of the flour.  Make sure the mixture is smooth and even between each addition.

Pour the batter into a well-greased and floured 8x8 square baking pan.  Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, make the raspberry sauce by putting the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan on the stove on medium-low.  Allow it to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are very soft.  Smash them up, somewhat, for a chunkier sauce, or puree until smooth in a blender if desired.  Let cool.

Prepare the icing by mixing the powdered sugar with 3 tablespoons of lime juice, stirring until smooth.  If it's still too thick, add a little more lime juice (or milk, if you think the icing is too tart).  

When the cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool completely (seriously, completely).  Run a knife along the edges of the pan, place a square plate or platter on top, and flip it over onto the plate.  Tap the pan if it needs a little convincing.  Turn the cake right-side-up onto another serving dish, and pour the icing over, followed by the remaining flaked coconut.  Serve with some of the raspberry sauce, with a little coconut milk swirled into it for contrast.