Honey Lemon Zucchini Bread

Honey Lemon Zucchini Bread

I’ve been staring at two giant zucchini in my fridge for a couple weeks now.

One came from our garden here on the homestead, and the other came from my co-worker who had no use for it. Obviously when fraught with what to do with this giant zucchini she thought, “Liza will take it.”

Because, obviously. I’m like Mikey with the Life cereal when it comes to garden bounty.

Giant Zucchini

I spent 15 minutes shredding those two suckers, and ended up with a little over 6 cups of zucchini bits. Two cups got frozen, and the rest was used for zucchini bread.

We love zucchini bread over here. It’s one of my daughter’s favorites for lunch, two slices slathered with cream cheese and eaten like a sandwich. My son happens to like his plain OR warmed up with a little butter. (YUM!)

Honey Lemon Zucchini Bread

I could eat zucchini bread any way it’s served, any time (although I do have a soft spot for a warm buttered slice).

Today I tried a new variation on my regular ol’ zucchini bread recipe: the addition of honey and lemon. It has a sweet brightness that’s both unique and mouthwatering.

Of the 4 loaves, I gave one to my parents (Hey – my mom did grow one of those zucchini, so I feel like I owe them. Plus, food’s always more fun when you can share!), saved one in the fridge for this week, and froze two to use over the coming weeks.

Can’t wait for breakfast tomorrow! Mmm….

Honey Lemon Zucchini Bread
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 cups shredded zucchini
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • ¼ cup honey (preferably local)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Use non-stick spray to coat 4 large loaf pans.
  2. Use a whisk to combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs and oil until they turn a creamy color, then add the sugar, honey, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla and continue whisking the ingredients for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Fix the paddle attachment to the mixer. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture about a cup at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next cupful. Once all the dry ingredients have been added, mix until it's just combined. The batter will be very thick!
  5. Add the zucchini to the batter, and using the mixer on low, gently incorporate the two. The moisture from the zucchini should loosen up the batter and make it easier to mix.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pans about half-way, and then bake them for about an hour (or until the top springs back when you press gently with your finger, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).
  7. Let the loaves cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, and the remove them. Continue letting them sit on a rack until they've cooled completely.
Notes
TIP: If you plan on freezing these, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap once they've cooled, and then put them into freezer zip top bags.

 

Whipped Parsnips and Potatoes

Parsnip and Potato Mash

This week my Hometown Harvest bag included parsnips. Parsnips! Also a variety of other goodies including kiwi, apples, potatoes, rainbow carrots and zucchini. I joked that this week’s theme was “long and lean” after lining up a few of the veggies and Instagramming the shot! Love it.

Parsnips

Right?

So, back to the parsnips. I’m a fan, having had them in various restaurant purées over the years. They’re kind of sweet like a carrot, but without tasting like carrots. And they cook and mash up like a potato, but definitely have more flavor than potatoes. And there’s a spicy undertone that I can’t quite place…. Almost like nutmeg or cinnamon. Almost.

Even though I happen to like parsnips, my husband and kids have never tried them. These days they’re pretty open to trying new things, and while a few years ago parsnips may have cause a serious case of the eye-rolls, tonight everyone took the new food in stride. BE BRAVE, I told them. (LOL!)

It probably didn’t hurt that the parsnips were mashed with potatoes, plenty of butter and salt, and a hefty splash of whole milk. “How bad can that be?” as Ina would say.

We all agreed that whipped parsnips and potatoes is no substitute for classic mashed potatoes, but they were delicious nevertheless, AND ready in 20 minutes – which is perfect during the work week!

Whipped Parsnips and Potatoes
 
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Add a twist to your everyday mashed potatoes with parsnips!
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1" thick rounds
  • 4 large red potatoes, diced into 1" cubes
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • ½ cup whole milk (a little more or less depending on how thick you like them)
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 1 tablespoon for the water
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
Instructions
  1. Add the parsnips, potatoes and 1 tablespoon salt to a large sauce pan. Fill the pot with enough water to just cover the tops of the potatoes and parsnips. Set the pot to boil over high heat. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to keep the water at a gentle boil and cook the parsnips and potatoes for 16 minutes. Drain.
  2. Turn the heat down to low and return the pot to the stove. Add the butter and the milk. Once the butter has melted, add the parsnips and potatoes back into the pot, along with 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper and Parmesan.
  3. Using a hand-held mixer, whip the parsnips and potatoes until they're smooth and creamy. Serve with extra butter.

Hometown Harvest is a blog sponsor, which means they are compensating me for things like referrals, sharing product info and talking about my experience using their services. In a nutshell, for spreading the word! As always, all opinions are my own, and I only choose sponsors whose missions I support.

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

The other day I was in the mood for Italian food, but not spaghetti, fettuccine, or baked ziti. Something else….

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

I had one bunch of kale left over from my last Hometown Harvest bag, and thought maybe that would be tasty in a lasagna, sautéed first with some garlic and olive oil, and then added into the ricotta mixture. My vegetarian sister happened to be in town from Brooklyn (and eating with us!), so I thought she’d be a fan of the combo too.

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

I warmed the olive oil and minced the garlic. Then, I pulled the kale out from the fridge.

“Hmmm…this kale looks odd,” I thought.

Then, I quickly realized what I had leftover wasn’t kale at all! It was bok choy.

Well played.

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls

I decided to use it anyway.

Vegetarian Lasagna Rolls
 
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{Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis' Lasagna Rolls Recipe}
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked to al dente
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh bok choy, spinach or kale
  • 1 15-oz container of whole milk ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 1-1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup marinara
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and use a tablespoon of butter to grease the bottom and sides of a 9x11" baking pan.
  2. For the bechamel sauce: melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it's smooth, and then let it cook for 1 minute. Pour the milk in all at once, add ½ teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper, and continue whisking until the bechamel becomes thick and bubbly. Pour it into the bottom of the buttered baking pan.
  3. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Chiffonade the bok choy, then give it another quick dice - you should have around 2 cups' worth. Throw it into the skillet along with the garlic. Sauté the bok choy for 3 minutes, then add ¼ cup of water, cover the skillet and let it cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, egg, ½ cup cheese, basil, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in the cooked bok choy.
  5. Spread 3-4 tablespoons of the ricotta mixture on one lasagna noodle. Roll it up like a jellyroll, starting on one of the short ends. Lay the lasagna roll seam side down in the baking pan, on top of the bechamel. Repeat with the remaining lasagna noodles.
  6. Top the lasagna rolls with the marinara, the remaining 1 cup of cheese and some more fresh basil. Cover the baking pan tightly with aluminum foil, and bake it for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and continue baking for 5 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly and golden.
  7. Leftovers reheat well, and the individual rolls will freeze great too.

Perfect Baked Potatoes

Perfect Baked Potatoes

Cooking perfect baked potatoes as simple as a slathering of olive oil, a generous sprinkle of sea salt, and a hot oven.

Seriously.

No need to coat the potatoes with a bunch of butter (although…yum!) nor wrap each separately in foil.

Who needs the extra fuss? Not me!

The hardest part of cooking perfect baked potatoes is waiting 50 minutes for them to be done! And you know they’re done when the outsides are crispy, but the insides give with a gentle squeeze. Mmmm….

Let’s not forget about….

My favorite baked potato topping is the traditional (but not boring!) salt & pepper, butter, and sour cream. In that order.

The husband likes his baked potato loaded – all of the above, plus cheese, bacon and green onions if I have them.

My 8-year old is a traditionalist like me. And, my 5-year old gags at the mere thought a bite of potato. Any potato. Except French fries.

What are your favorite toppings?

Perfect Baked Potatoes
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 russet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Poke each potato a few times with a knife. Coat the outsides of the potato with olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt, and then set them on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake the potatoes for 50 minutes, turning the potatoes over once half-way through.
  4. Serve the potatoes hot with your favorite toppings!

 

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