2 Bean Chili

If you’re tired of turkey, here’s your reprieve.  I wanted something that was healthy, that I could make a lot of and that would store or freeze well.  Ok so I’m still feeling the tryptophan from the turkey or maybe I’m turning into a bear but my main goal this week is to not spend all my free time hibernating on the couch.  I realize, however, that if I don’t have healthy pre-made food in the house, I will be living on a diet of chocolate chips and peanut butter, with some cheese crackers thrown in to make it more gourmet.  Yes, my life can be a little unattractive sometimes.

This chili is rich, satisfying and other than simmering for a while, isn’t labor intensive.  Plus it’s high in fiber, magnesium, potassium and a lot of other iums that I can’t pronounce but will apparently make me ready for a spring marathon when I finally emerge from my cave.

I sometimes do a vegetarian version using Seitan (not to be confused with the guy in a red suit carrying a pitch fork) and taco seasoning, instead of meat, which seems to satisfy the most hard-core carnivore.   Well worth a break in my hibernation cycle.

2 Bean Chili

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 Sweet Onion

3 cloves minced garlic

2 4 oz cans of mild green chilies (medium or hot if you are adventurous)

2 Tbps Worcestershire (omit for Vegetarian version)

1 Tbs Soy Sauce

1 lb low fat ground beef (ground turkey or Seitan if you want to go lighter)

1 can diced tomatoes undrained

1 can chili beans undrained

1 can kidney beans drained

1/4 cup molasses

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup chicken stock (or Veggie Stock)

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 Tbs chili powder

S&P to taste

In a large skillet add chopped onion and garlic and heat in olive oil until soft.  Add green chilies and stir.  Add ground turkey and mix with onions, garlic and chilies until meat is browned.  Add tomatoes, Worcestershire Sauce and soy sauce and mix together.

Transfer to crockpot or large cooking pot and let simmer on low.  Add beans, molasses, chicken stock, turmeric, coriander, chili powder and S&P and allow cook for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Serve with crackers or top with some shredded cheddar cheese.  Also works well with football, basketball or a good chick flick!

Update:  My avocado green, 1970’s Crockpot died after many years of good service.  Funeral arrangements are being made and a moment of silence will be observed this week on Thursday night when I’m supposed to make a stew.  Donations towards a new Crockpot will not be rejected.

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Creamy Broccoli, Mushroom and Cheddar Soup

I believe that it was growing up hearing about the starving children in China (Colin learned of the starving kids in Africa, as his Dad was stationed there during the war), but the upshot is that I hate to waste food. This fact, combined with the dreary, gray day I woke up to, ended in my preparation of this yummy Broccoli Soup made with the 2/3 of the remaining Cotsco bag’o’broccoli  I had purchased prior to our trip.

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Butter, divided

1 Tbsp EVO

1 Yellow Onion, chopped

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

4 Cups Broccoli Flowerets

6 good size Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

3 Tbsp Flour

1 Cup Lowfat Milk

2/3 Cup Cheddar, shredded

1 Egg Yolk

S&P

1 Tsp Dried Tarragon

LouisianaHot Sauce or Tobasco

2 cans Low Fat, No MSG Chicken Broth

Preparation:

Melt 1 Tbsp Butter and EVO in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add onion and garlic and stir for a couple of minutes.

Add mushrooms and broccoli and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, in a small stockpot, melt 1 Tbsp Butter and slowly stir in flour to combine into a roux. Gradually add the first can of chicken broth until your roux is smooth. If needed whisk to remove the last lumps.

 

Add the second can of broth and the milk which has been combined with the egg yolk. Stir to make a thickened broth and then add cheese, vegetables, S&P and Tarragon. Stir to combine and heat to boiling.

 

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon and place in the bowl of a Food Processor with knife blade. Pulse to combine vegetables into a somewhat mushy paste. Don’t over process and don’t worry if a few larger pieces remain.

Return vegetables to the soup pot and stir to combine. Season with Hot Sauce to taste.

 

Yum!!!

Thanksgiving Oink Fest

So we went a bit dark over the holidays….so sorry. The Brit and I travelled to Tahoe for the holiday to share it with close friends and the added bonus for me was to cook in her dreamy kitchen. In my next life I too will have a Sub Zero, plus two added HUGE freezer drawers, two equally enormous refrigerator drawers, warming drawers, a heating station nestled under my exhaust fan and a Wolf stove. I am honestly not certain that I am any more enamored with her Wolf oven than I am with my Electrolux oven, but I do have gas burner envy!

There were ten of us for Thanksgiving dinner and we had enough food for fifty. Note to self, next year take menu and cut off at least one third of the dishes.

The preparations began in earnest Wednesday and with three of us cooking, we all agreed it was pretty much stress free. The hero chef of the hour was definitely Emerson, boyfriend of Samantha, my BFF’s step daughter.

              

Here is M expertly removing the backbone and breaking the breast of our butterflied 26 pound turkey, which we brined for 24 hours. I am fairly certain that I got this recipe from Food and Wine a couple of years ago. I know that this was the third year I made it, but sadly my recipe copy bears no logo or name, other than Katherine’s Butterflied Turkey with Apple Cranberry Glaze.

Brine Ingredients:

2 ½ cups Kosher Salt

1 ½ cups Light Brown Sugar

½ cup Coriander Seeds, cracked

6 Star Anise Pods

2 tsp White Peppercorns

6 in unpeeled piece of Ginger, thinly sliced

6 cloves Garlic, smashed

2 tsp ground Corriander

Preparation:

Bring 6 quarts of water, the spices and the sugar and salt to a boil over medium heat. Make sure to dissolve the sugar and salt. Add another 6 quarts of cold water to cool. Place turkey in double bagged garbage bags, add brine and keep cold for 24-48 hours before cooking. We kept ours outside and turned it every 6 hours or so. Make sure to rinse turkey well before baking to avoid a salty bird.

Glaze Ingredients:

6 cups Apple Cider

1 4 in piece of Ginger, thinly sliced

2 cups Fresh Cranberries

3-5 dried Red Chili Peppers

1 cup Molasses

1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Preparation:

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened and reduced by about half. Whisk occasionally. This will take 30 minutes.

Turkey Preparation:

 

Preheat oven to 375. Place butterflied turkey, breast side up, on rack in pan. Roast for an hour and 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 155 to 160. Continue to roast, brushing with the glaze every ten minutes until brown and crisp. This will take about a another 45 minutes to an hour. Our 26 pound bird cooked in 2 ½ hours total.

The entire menu was as follows:

Appetizers:

Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, Capers and Red Onion, served with Crackers

M’s Sriracha Steak-This was a knock out and I have written to ask for the recipe. Stay tuned! They served this with Skewers and sliced French Bread. I just guzzled the juicy pieces of meat and didn’t burden it with bread.

M’s Caprese Salad –Again, awaiting recipe. They used Cherry Tomatoes and small balls of Fresh Mozzarella. Hmmm, hmm good. They served it with slices of French Bread, like a Brushetta.

Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops with a Spicy Remoulade

First Course:

                          

Betsy’s Simple Caesar with homemade Parmesan Crustini

The Main Event:

                                                                                                                      

Turkey

Cranberry, Sausage and Sage Stuffing

Brussel Sprouts roasted with EVO, Garlic, Lemon and Parmesan

Spicy Stuffed Pumpkin Stew

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Pumpkin Souffle

MashedYukonGold Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chives

Homemade Cranberry Sauce withOrangeJuice, Zest and Cointreau

Deserts were the usual suspects: Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan Pie. Surprise, surprise: they were barely touched!

 

Fast, Easy and Cheap Chicken & Pasta

It’s not just for girls anymore!!!

Anyway, Saturday night rolled in and we had company coming for dinner. We were both thrilled to see Pilar, she is one of our favorite people, and I did not want to be spending the little time we seem to have together in the kitchen. I was also a tad bit cooked out, as both Margo and I have been cooking up a storm, testing holiday recipes and preparing for a hibernation of some sort, judging by newly acquired layer of fat.

I post this recipe here not because this was the most wonderful meal I have ever made. Rather, I post this recipe as a testament to my kitchen philosophy that anyone can throw things together without a recipe and 99/100 times it will be good, if not great. Eschewing this philosophy will also allow you to utilize whatever is in your refrigerator and pantry and see far less food go to waste; another pet peeve of mine left over from the starving children from China who I grew up with.

Ingredients:

Serves Four

1 whole Chicken Breast

2 cloves Garlic, minced

10 Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced

Penzey Mural of Flavor

S&P

1 Tblsp White Sugar

1 Tbslp Grated Lemon Zest

1 Tbslp EVO

1 cup Greens (I used Beet Greens because I had them, but I would have preferred Kale)

8 large Broccoli Florets, blanched

½ Medium Red Onion, quartered and sliced

¼ Cup Shredded Parmesan

¼ Cup Organic Half and Half

1 can Chicken Broth

2 Tblsp Capers

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 Box Pasta- I used Whole Grain Spirals

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Preparation:

Cut Chicken Breast into 4 pieces and pound with Meat Mallet on a Board, until about ½ in thick. Sprinkle generously with S&P and Penzey’s Mural of Flavor on both sides.

As you can see in the pictures, I had dredged my chicken pieces in Panko mixed with Herbs and a bit of Shredded Parmesan. I would not do that again. It didn’t really add anything other than carbs to the dish!

Heat EVO in a large Skillet over medium heat. Add Garlic and Red Onion and stir for a couple of minutes until soft. Sprinkle with salt and sugar, stir and add mushrooms and cook for another minute.

Add Chicken and cook for about a minute on each side, just to brown. Add Greens and cook about 2 minutes to wilt.

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Add Lemon Zest, Capers, Chicken Broth and Lemon Juice. Stir in, cover, reduce heat and simmer on low to reduce liquids by half.

Meanwhile cook Pasta to Al Dente, drain and place on serving plates.

When broth has been reduced, stir in Parmesan and Half and Half. Add Broccoli and serve over pasta.

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Chocolate Cupcakes and Espresso Buttercream Frosting

There comes a moment in every woman’s life where chocolate ceases to be a food group and becomes medicinal.  I had that moment on Thursday night and started baking.  My favorite cupcakes are those that make you feel tender emotions towards the cake part and a sense of indulgence when you dip your finger in the frosting and come out with something that melts on your tongue in an absolutely sensual manner.  So this recipe is always my medicinal, chocolate go to.

The problem is that once I was finished eating one, I had 11 big cupcakes and 12 little ones left over.  I decided to take them with me to offer to up at my volunteer job and watched as they disappeared faster than a cat being offered a bath.  I enjoyed the fact that everyone wanted to know what bakery I got them from.  My ego convinced me to compromise my secret identity as a baker and I’m hoping that I’m not going to be included in a fund raiser bake sale, but those are the risks one takes to spread a little joy.

OK so I did keep a few little ones, in case of emergencies.  If you don’t frost them, they will freeze for up to a month and still be delicious, tender and awaiting frosting when they are thawed.

Chocolate Cupcakes

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1/3 c (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa

3/4 c hot coffee

3/4 c (4 1/8 ounces) bread flour

3/4 c (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar

1/2 tsp table salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

5 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp coconut oil (make sure it’s room temperature and liquid)

2 large eggs

2 tsp white vinegar                 

1 tsp vanilla extract                

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard-size muffin pan with baking-cup liners. Place chocolate and cocoa in medium bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool, about 20 minutes. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk oils, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Divide batter evenly among muffin pan cups. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack. Cool to room temperature before frosting, about 1 hour.

If you are at a high altitude, like I am, you don’t want to overfill the baking cups.  If you fill them about half way, they turn out perfectly.  Lower altitudes mean you can add more batter to the cups but I feel a little sorry for those who don’t wind up with enough to make the minis, which are perfect with morning coffee.

Espresso Buttercream Frosting (Not for the calories conscious)

1 cup butter (room temperature)

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp espresso powder

Using a stand or hand held mixer, whip butter until fluffy (about 5 minutes) on medium speed, stopping to scrape the sides.   Reduce the mixer speed to low and add powdered sugar a little at a time.  Scrape the bowl and mix on medium high until fluffy. Add espresso and vanilla and continue to mix until ingredients are all incorporated.

Frost cake or cakes using whatever method works, if you don’t have that baker’s funnel thing (by now I should know the correct name but don’t), you can spoon the frosting into a plastic freezer bag and cut a corner to off of it  to make pretty swirls or in a crisis situation, a knife always works.  Make sure the frosting is at room temperature for optimal spreading!

What in store for me, now? I have a date with the gym and with every minute I spend on the elliptical, I’m going to lick my lips and tell myself that every bite and every calorie was worth it!  Happy Baking!

Moist Mango Meatloaf

One thing that I pride myself on is my ability to cook. I know I am a great cook, as I get a tremendous amount of feedback, in the way of praise, from EVERYONE I cook for, with the exception of my husband. The Brit and I have been married just under two years now and his lack of enthusiasm for the meals I lovingly create for him has made me keenly aware of the fact that marriage is about thinking about your partner, in every way, including menu preparation!

When I have asked Colin how he feels about my cooking, he tells me that if he has eaten all the food on his plate then that is a good indicator that he liked the meal. I attributed this at first to his being British, but now I know that this is not so. I lean towards Pescatarian, with a small amount of poultry thrown in for good measure, but it appears that my husband is a carnivore. It is not that he dislikes fish or chicken, he just LOVES MEAT!!

My decision not to eat meat has never been a moral one, but rather one of health. I actually enjoy beef occasionally and by using organic, grass fed beef (http://www.dakotabeefcompany.com/) I created an area of compromise in my relationship! Last night I made an adulterated version of Amy Reilly’s “Moist Mango Meatloaf” from her cookbook “Fork Me,SpoonMe.”

( http://www.amazon.com/Fork-Me-Spoon-sensual-cookbook/dp/0977412008 )

Not only did the reserved Brit groan and exclaim “Well done” between every third bite, but he woke up this morning extolling the virtues of last night’s dinner!

Here is my Adulterated Version of Amy’s Moist Mango Meatloaf:

Ingredients:

2 lbs Dakota Organic Grass-Fed Beef (available at Cotsco)

2 tsp salt

2 tsp Green Curry Paste (available locally in Denver at H-Mart)

2 eggs

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 Tblsp Golden Plum Sauce, plus a little more to glaze loaves

1 mango, peeled and diced

¼ cup Panko Bread Crumbs (Japanese Bread 

 


 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs with Green Curry Paste and Golden Plum Sauce

Mix meat into Egg Mixture to blend, then stir in Onion, Panko and Mango. Mix thoroughly with hands and then fill loaf pans with meatloaf.

Brush with Golden Plum Sauce.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before baking for one hour.

You can vary the amount of Green Curry Paste depending on your affinity for heat. I love spicy foods and Colin really enjoyed this, however, he mentioned it was at his outside comfort line for heat!

I paired the meatloaf with a Simple Roasted Cauliflower:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut a head of cauliflower into 1/8th chunks and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with Olive Oil, sprinkle with Kosher Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper, and Oregano. Sprinkle with bread crumbs (I used the Panko because they were already out, but you could use Seasoned Bread Crumbs, or evenRye would be nice) and Grated Parmesan Cheese. Drizzle a tad bit more Olive Oil over the bread crumbs and cheese. Roast for about 40 minutes.

Bon Apetit! If you do try this recipe, please write back and let me know how you like it. Thanks!

Panko, Mustard and Mushroom Crusted Rack of Lamb

The Thanksgiving rush is upon us now: menu planning, cooking, shopping, cleaning and yet life does not stop. All the more reason to find delicious, easy, fast non-poultry dishes to make.

So tonight, in between trying to figure out how to drive more traffic to this blog ( I need to believe that someone out there is reading this), preparing a dish for Saturday’s Environmental Learning for Kids Potluck and creating and procuring a list of things to bring for our Thanksgiving trip to Tahoe, I made this sumptuous Rack of Lamb:

Ingredients:

Rack of Lamb (mine was 1.2 pounds and was more than enough for two)

S&P

Bouquet Garni

3 cloves Garlic

3 Baby Bella Mushrooms, finely chopped

3 Tbslp.DijonMustard

½ Cup Panko (Japanese Bread Crumbs)

¼ Cup Grated Parmesan

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400- I set mine to Convection Roast

Rub Lamb Rack with Salt & Pepper.

Slice garlic into slivers (resembling slivered almonds) and with a small paring knife create slits into the lamb meat in which to insert the garlic slivers.

Heat a small broiling pan over medium heat on the top of the stove. Brown the garlic studded Rack of Lamb for about a minute or so on each side. Hold with fork to brown ends. Remove from heat.

In a small mixing bowl, mix Mustard, Panko, Parmesan and chopped Mushrooms. Sprinkle generously with Bouquet Garni (I probably used 2 tsp.) and mix to form a paste.

Cover the Rack of Lamb with the Panko, Mustard, Mushroom Mixture, pressing it lightly with your fingers to adhere and smooth.

Roast in preheated oven for about 20 minutes (will be medium rare)

 I served this with thick Eggplant slices, which I rubbed with EVO and Crushed Garlic and then sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese. I also roasted some Baby Beets, rubbed with EVO and sprinkled with Sea Salt and Baked Potatoes.

I put the potatoes in first, an hour prior to serving time, then put the vegetables in 20 minutes later and finally the Rack of Lamb 20 minutes after the veggies.

Delish….

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Spicy Pumpkin Soup and decorative gourds

Ok, so I promise that this is the last of the pureed pumpkin I roasted last week! And yes, I did give the dogs chucks of freshly roasted pumpkin last night mixed in with their food. They loved it and so will you.

As my BFF Betsy and I prepare our holiday menu I am beginning to have trepidations that perhaps Southwest will not allow me to board my return flight home due to weight restrictions. Although we are including some healthy and delicious sides, such as Roasted Brussel Sprouts and my now infamous Spicy Pumpkin Stew, I am well aware that I will be consuming close to a weeks worth of fat and calories in a day. It is for this reason that I am trying to fill this weekend with healthy, lean foods such as this hearty soup made with vegetables, chicken broth and yogurt.

I will warn you that when I say spicy you should take me at my word. I like heat. That said, the Brit can only take so much and if you lean more towards his taste, I suggest that you reduce the Chipotle to a generous dash.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

1 inch piece of Ginger, finely chopped
½ medium Onion, finely chopped (a sweet Vidalia is best, but any onion, but red, will do)
2 Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 rib Celery, sliced
1 small Parsnip, sliced
2 cups pureed roast Pumpkin
1 ½ Tblsp EVO
2 cans low sodium Chicken Broth
½ cup non fat, plain Yogurt
¼ tsp ground Chipotle
¼ tsp dried Thyme
¼ tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Cinnamon Stick
Salt to taste
1 tsp Brown Sugar

Preparation:
Active Prep Time is about 15-20 minutes. From start to bowl will run 1 hr 20 minutes

Heat EVO in small stockpot over medium heat. Add ginger, stir and cook for about a minute then add onion and sauté for an additional minute.

Add carrot, celery, parsnip and spices. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, stirring often.

Add pumpkin and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for about an hour.
Put contents of stock pot in a food processor and process to make a smooth soup. You may have to do this is batches.

Return soup to pot, add yogurt and brown sugar and mix with whisk to incorporate.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

The large Tupperware container full of pureed pumpkin sat starring at me last night and I simultaneously realized I was craving something sweet. I tried repeating my daughter Chelsea’s mantra: “Nothing tastes as good as thin feels”, but it was overpowered by the ghost of Jewish Mother’s passed who tell me I should never let good food go to waste. They won!!

 

Personally, the next time I make this I will cut back on the Chocolate Chips, as I felt they overpowered the Pumpkin, but, since Margo strongly disagrees, I will leave the recipe as I made it.

 

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

 

Preheat oven to 350 and spray loaf pan with Canola Spray-I like the one with the flour in it.

 

Recipe

 

1 ½ Cups Flour

1 tsp Baking Soda

¼ tsp Baking Powder

¼ tsp Salt

½ tsp Cinnamon

¼ tsp Allspice

¼ tsp Ground Ginger

3 Eggs

½ Cup Brown Sugar

½ Cup White Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

½ Cup Coconut Oil

1 ½ Cup Pureed Pumpkin

1 Cup Chocolate Chips

 

Preparation

 

Whisk first 7 ingredients in a large bowl.

 

In a smaller bowl, mix Eggs, both Sugars, Coconut Oil and Vanilla with an electric beater. Do the best you can to get most of the lumps of Coconut Oil out, but you will not succeed in getting them all. Do not worry, they will melt when baking.

 

Pour egg mixture into flour mix and stir to combine. Add Pumpkin and mix to incorporate. Add Chocolate Chips and once mixed in pour into prepared loaf pan.

 

 

Bake 55-60 minutes at 350, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

 

TDF Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I am not a gardener. Oh, I would like to be a gardener and reap the benefit of delicious fresh vegetables plucked from their stems and thrown into my pan, but alas my many attempts at gardening have been ill-fated.

When my first husband and I purchased our first home way out in the country, it was situated on a 2 ½ acre parcel of land. One of the first things we did was to hire a man with a Rototiller to come out and create a large garden plot for us. We proceeded to plant lovely rows of tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow squash, brussel sprouts, zucchini, carrots, beets, watermelon, and herbs. We rimmed our garden with marigolds and it looked divine….that was until the weeds began to grow along side of our sprouting plants and I could not tell which was which!

It took me decades to recover from this failed attempt at becoming a gentlewoman farmer, but a couple of summers ago, having read about the promise of container gardening, I tried again. This time I purchased several large pots, filled them with fresh, fertilized potting soil labeled “For Fruits and Vegetables”, purchased starter plants from a local, reputable nursery and plunked them in my pots.

Our backyard offered these plants full sun and I watered them faithfully and surrounded my tomato plants with tomato cages, so they would be protected and supported. I fed them plant food, again labeled “For Fruits and Vegetables” and then I waited anxiously and dreamed of my Heirloom Tomato masterpieces, my Fresh Roma Tomato Marinara and my spicy Gazpacho that I would craft from my harvest.

That year my container garden yielded 8 tomatoes all season, along with enough basil to make a Pesto and I threw in the towel, or should I say my spade?

This summer I made a new friend. Her name is Pilar and she is a Master Gardener in my mind. She invited me over and showed me her bulging patch, plucking Cherry Tomatoes, Beefsteak Tomatoes, all kinds of spicy peppers and Zucchini the size of Little League Baseball Bats.

Yes, of course I made Ratatouille. I also sliced the Zucchini into rounds, brushed them with EVO mixed with crushed Garlic, sprinkled them with S&P, Panko and Parmesan and stuck them under the broiler.

I also dredged sliced Zucchini in an egg wash, then in a bowl of herbed bread crumbs, fried them up and served them with a reduction of fresh red Fresno Peppers, garlic, fresh Tomatoes, Capers and Balsamic. But the hands down winner of my very own Zucchini Cook Off were this Chocolate Zucchini Bread:

TDF (To Die For) Chocolate Zucchini Bread 

1 ½ cup Shredded Zucchini

1 cup Flour

2 Eggs

½ cup Good Cocoa-I like Dagoba Xocolatl made with dark Chocolate & Chilies

1 tsp Baking Soda

¼ tsp Baking Powder

¼ tsp Salt

1 tsp Cinnamon

½  tsp Allspice

½ cup Coconut Oil

½ cup White Sugar

½ cup Brown Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

¾ cup Semi Sweet or Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat Oven to 350 and place rack in center of oven.  Grease a loaf pan.  Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat eggs, coconut oil, brown and white sugars and vanilla until well blended.

Fold in zucchini.

Add flour mix and mix well.

Add chocolate chips.

Bake 55-60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Convince yourself that it is really a meal: it has vegetables, protein and healthy dark chocolate…..of course you shouldn’t feel guilty for indulging in a second piece!

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