A Delicious Way to Use Up All of Your Zucchini

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, chances are, you’re swimming in zucchini right now. Brian and I haven’t been to the farm in a few weeks, so we’ve been stocking up on the summer staple at our local farmers’ market. Remembering how much we enjoyed the carrot fritters we made earlier this year, we set out to do something similar with the zucchini we had hanging around. We wanted to try a version that was baked, not fried, so we wouldn’t feel as guilty when I went back for seconds.

Baked Crispy Zucchini Cakes by somethingwewhippedup.com

Baked Crispy Zucchini Cakes by somethingwewhippedup.com

We’re quite pleased with how these baked crispy zucchini cakes turned out. They work just as well as a dinner or lunch side dish as they do a quick grab-and-go breakfast option. Heating them up on a rack in the oven after they bake is essential in making them crisp up on all sides. So be sure you don’t skip that step if you make some for yourself. These cakes are quite good on their own, but we especially enjoyed them when we paired a few with a bit of our homemade caramelized onion dip.

Baked Crispy Zucchini Cakes

Makes about 12

  • 2 eggs
  • 5 to 6 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed and drained (see note below)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup shredded yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Add the eggs to an extra-large bowl and beat until scrambled. Add the zucchini, carrot, onion, salt and pepper. Mix until combined. Add the flour and toss to coat, making sure no lumps of flour are left behind.

2. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Place a scoop (about 1/4 cup) of the zucchini mixture into each well, filling to the top. Press down gently to make the top flat. Give the top of each cake a light coating of cooking spray. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top of each cake is browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before removing from muffin tin. Reduce oven heat to 300°F.

3. Transfer the cakes to a baking sheet (preferably one lined with racks) and warm in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp on all sides.

SWWU Tip: If you have one, use a food processor to shred the zucchini, carrot and onion and save yourself a bit of time. Take a few minutes to transfer the vegetables to a towel in batches, about 1 cup each, and squeeze out the excess liquid before combining with the other ingredients.

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Just a Bite

Brian and I attended a lovely potluck picnic in the park this weekend. Sure, we had lots of ideas for yummy things to make, but none of them were quite right for this event. We needed something that wouldn’t melt (chocolate desserts were out), didn’t need utensils to be enjoyed (who knew what the hosts would have on hand), it needed to be super portable (we were going to have to walk to our destination) and we needed to whip it up the morning of the event. I decided to experiment with a cheddar corn muffin that I’ve made dozens of times before. But this time, I added in some fresh basil (thanks to my coworker’s garden) and a bit of tomato paste and reduced the serving size.

Tomato, Cheddar and Basil Bites

Tomato, Cheddar and Basil Bites by somethingwewhippedup.com

The end result was quite fun. The mini muffins had a flavor reminiscent of a fancy pizza, but the basil really freshened up the whole experience. The size of these also turned out to be a bonus. The potluck was filled with so many yummy treats that everyone wanted to try. I’m glad they could enjoy just a bite of our dish and then go back for seconds if they had room later. I came home with an empty tray, so I guess they did!

Tomato, Cheddar and Basil Bites

Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Fill a mini muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix until well combined and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and buttermilk. Slowly whisk in the cooled melted butter. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing well between each. Stir in the tomato paste until well combined and then fold in the cheddar cheese and basil. Fill prepared muffin pan with batter (each cup should be 3/4 of the way full) and cook for 11 to 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a cooling rack. Repeat until remaining batter is used up.

SWWU Tip Make sure these have plenty of time to sit before you serve them, about 6 hours. If you dig in too soon (like I did), they won’t have enough time to cool and the paper liners will stick.

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Unexpected Treats

It’s funny what we do and don’t know about our coworkers. I once knew the ins and outs of a former colleague’s tumultuous relationship all because she spoke just a little too loudly while she was chatting on the phone with her girlfriends. Sure, it’s an interesting story, but please, leave your drama at home. This week, I learned something much more appealing about one of my current coworkers: she has a green thumb. A really green thumb! Check out the treasures she shared with me from her home garden:

Unexpected Treats by somethingwewhippedup.com

Unexpected Treats by somethingwewhippedup.com

I was so excited to get the beautiful tomatoes and fresh herbs (including rosemary, basil and parsley) home so I could whip something up. Brian was out for the evening, so I had the kitchen and the menu planning all to myself. Instead of going straight for the tomato-basil combination, I decided to make something that would highlight the fresh rosemary. I had a sheet of puff pasty in my freezer and some shallots and goat cheese hanging around, too. This is how they all came together:

Summer Tomato Pastry Puffs by somethingwewhippedup.com

Summer Tomato Pastry Puffs by somethingwewhippedup.com

I paired the pastry puffs with a small salad and a glass of crisp white wine. It was the perfect summer dinner to treat myself with. I recommend you do the same sometime soon.

Summer Tomato Pastry Puff

Makes 6 puffs

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 7 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • good quality olive oil
  • sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Divide the pastry dough into six equal rectangles (see picture below). Place on prepared baking sheet, brush with the egg and sprinkle rosemary on top. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden and puffy. Remove from oven.

2. Meanwhile, place the garlic and butter in a medium pan and heat over medium until butter is melted. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until caramelized. Once browned, remove to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

3. To assemble, top each puff with a bit of the goat cheese and caramelized shallots. Arrange tomatoes on top of each. Drizzle olive oil over the top and sprinkle with sea salt.

SWWU Tip: Don’t care for rosemary? You can substitute any fresh herb when prepping the puff pasty pieces: thyme, flat-leaf parsley and, of course, basil, would all be delicious.

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Relishing the Radish

It wasn’t until last year that we started to appreciate radishes. Sure, they’re pretty, but we didn’t have too much experience with them beyond the kitschy carved flower garnishes that were popular platter adornments in the 80’s. Our love affair started out simply, with a quick appetizer, and now we’re using the peppery vegetable in everything from side dishes to main entrées. We’re hooked! Here are three delicious ways we’ve recently featured this surprisingly versatile veggie:

Radish Bites by somethingwewhippedup.com

Radish Bites by somethingwewhippedup.com

Radish Bites

This appetizer couldn’t be easier to put together (or a better value), especially when last-minute guests show up. Simply cut a baguette into thin pieces, top each with a thin coat of good-quality, room-temperature butter (this is where you should splurge a bit), then sprinkle with sea salt. Top each with 1 to 3 pieces of radish (cut very thin) and serve.

Roasted Radishes by somethingwewhippedup.com

Roasted Radishes by somethingwewhippedup.com

Roasted Radishes

We served this slightly sweet side dish at our Easter dinner this year. It’s a quick one that you can easily make while multitasking on other projects. Just slice radishes down the middle and add olive oil, salt and pepper; toss to coat. Roast in a 375°F oven for 15 minutes, turn and cook 15 minutes more or until tender. Remove from the oven and drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice and toss with roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Caramelized Shallot, Radish and Arugula Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Caramelized Shallot, Radish and Arugula Pizza by somethingwewhippedup.com

Caramelized Shallot, Radish and Arugula Pizza

We whipped up this last dish after a long day of farm projects. We got a little help from some time-saving store-bought dough, but feel free to make your own. Roll out prepared dough onto a pan and brush with olive oil. Cook in a 475°F oven for 6 minutes or until lightly browned (pop any bubbles that form with a fork). Remove from oven and top with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, thin radish slices and caramelized shallots. Cook for 4  to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted, then top with arugula and a few thin slices of Manchego cheese. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes more or until the arugula has wilted and the cheese has melted. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

SWWU Tip 1: Flavor does matter with this veg. We’ve noticed that grocery-store finds tend to be a bit bitter and less sweet than the ones available at the farmers’ market. Buy radishes with the greens still on for the best flavor. And don’t toss them out! You can add a few to a salad or cook them down like you would spinach greens.

SWWU Tip 2: You’re likely to see a few different colors and varieties of radishes at your farmers’ market. Try them all out and see which one suits your own tastes. We’re especially liking the mild flavor of the French breakfast variety these days.

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Putting Some Roots Down–To Snack On!

While spring is just around the corner (fingers crossed) our local farmers’ market is still just sliding by with what’s left of the winter picks. That means there are tons of potatoes and turnips, but not a lot of color. A giant pile of carrots did catch our eye though and we figured they could provide a pretty pop at a dinner we were hosting. We ended up shredding  them along with some scallions and transforming them into crispy cakes with a caramelized shallot crème fraîche topping. They were a big hit with our friends and we’ll definitely be making them again.

Carrot Fritters with Caramelized Shallot Creme Fraiche by somethingwewhippedup.com

Carrot Fritters with Caramelized Shallot Creme Fraiche by somethingwewhippedup.com

Carrot Fritters with Caramelized Shallot Crème Fraîche

Makes 18 fritters

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil, plus more for frying
  • 2 eggs
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 6 scallions, shredded
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1 8-ounce container crème fraîche

1. Add the butter and shallots to a large pan over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and caramelized, about 15 to 20  minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon canola oil, eggs and a pinch each salt and pepper; whisk. Mix in the carrots, scallions, garlic and 1 tablespoon parsley and toss until combined.

3. Fill a large heavy-bottom pan with a 1/4-inch of canola oil and heat over medium. Once bubbling, add the carrot mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, and press down to form a cake. Cook for 1 to 3 minutes or until browned, then flip and cook an additional 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a rack lined with paper towels and continue until all of the carrot mixture is used, using additional oil as needed.

4. Transfer the fritters to a baking sheet (preferably one lined with racks) and cook in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Meanwhile, combine the crème fraîche, scallions and remaining parsley; add salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside the heated fritters.

SWWU Tip 1: Make quick work of prepping your ingredients by shredding the carrots, scallions and garlic in a food processor fitted with the grater disk.

SWWU Tip: Fritters can be made up to one day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Just wait to heat them in the oven until just before you serve them.

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