Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread - The Leftovers Club

I swear, time is just speeding up over here.  Didn't I just post this awesome cake like three days ago? Anyways, it's that time again.  If you're unfamiliar, The Leftovers Club is a group of foodie type bloggers who send each other food once a month.  If you have a blog, you need to do this.  There are free treats.  In the mail.  Waiting, at your home, for you to eat.  Best. Idea. Ever.  Also, new people come to visit your blog, and you make new friends.  I love all these things.

This month, I have been paired with Kim, who blogs at Feed Me Seymour.  You should definitely check out her blog ASAP; she's got some amazing looking recipes, including Tomato Bacon Jam.  I mean, hello, she made jam out of bacon, she has precious puppies, and she hates raisins.  This is the beginnings of a beautiful friendship.

Anyways, I have this CSA thing in my house, so there is a lot of zucchini.  And lettuce, but I couldn't figure out how to turn that into a baked good that people might want to eat, so I went with zucchini bread. Specifically, the kind with chocolate chips.  Because chocolate chips make everything amazing.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread - Adapted from Mom on Timeout

This is the basic "dump things into a bowl, stir, put it in the oven" type quick bread recipe.  Definitely my favorite kind.

1 1/2 Cups Mashed Banana (3-4 bananas)
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
6 Tablespoons Butter
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Grated zucchini (most of a decent sized zucchini)
1 1/4 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Chocolate Chips (I don't like to put amounts on this, because it's not up to me to tell you how to live your life.  Put as many as you damn well please in there)

Pre-heat the oven to 325.  While it's heating up, mash the bananas up.

Then, add in the butter, egg, vanilla, and brown sugar.  When that's all nice and combined, stir in the the zucchini. 

Add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  

Dump in the chocolate chips.  Stir and put into a greased baking pan. 

Cook at 325 for around an hour, or until a fork comes out clean.  

This stuff is delish, it ships decently, and with the bananas and zucchini, it's pretty much a health food. I did wait until late in the day to bake it, because it's hot.  Milton is melting. 

Now, go forth and see what other goodies people have made!! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chicken Sausage, Tomato, and Greens Pasta

I feel like only I post pasta related recipes.  But then, I realize that I eat a ton of pasta, so I guess this makes sense.  Anyways, this one was extra good, and when I got tired of bringing it for lunch, I added some dressing to it and turned it into pasta salad.  Love me some versatility.

The broccoli rabe & sausage pasta combo has been around for a while.  I suppose you could call it so classic.  There's no real "sauce", instead you just use a little bit of the cooking water to coat the pasta, and that kind of brings it all together.  So, despite the sausage, it's actually a pretty light dish.  I think I'm going to be making a solid amount of things like this this summer, because my CSA keeps me in greens.  And by that, I mean I have more green things that I know what to do with.

Chicken Sausage, Tomato, and Greens Pasta - adapted from Macheesmo

1 Pound Pasta (I used Elbows)
1 Pound Sausage Links (I used a Gruyere and Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage)
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted
1 Bunch Greens (Broccoli Rabe is traditionally used in this kind of dish, but anything is fine, I used a combo of several things I already had)
2 Cloves Garlic
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Pasta Water

First up, roast your tomatoes.  Pre-heat the oven to 400.  Cut the tomatoes in half and toss them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast them for a bout 20 minutes (if you're looking for more details on veg roasting, try here)

Next up is the sausage.  Mine was pre-cooked, and if you have that, you can definitely just chop it up and throw it in there.  But, I like to make things harder for myself (and thereby usually better tasting...), so I browned them up.  It doesn't take long (maybe 6-8 minutes per side) and you don't even have to put oil in the pan.  Just do it, it makes it better.  Chop them up into coins, unless you have little ones, then you should cut them however they're telling people to do this now.

While that's happening, get a big pot of water salty and boiling.  You're going to use it first for the greens, and then for the pasta (less dishes = happiness).  When it's boiling, throw the chopped greens in there for about a minute.  You're not really looking to cook them, just mellow them out a little.  Use tongs to pull them out at the end, so you can save the water.

After the greens, toss the pasta into the water.  Cook it for the amount of time you typically cook pasta.  I like mine on the al dente side, so I always go with less than what the box says.  VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: when you drain the pasta, keep about 1 cup of the cooking water.  You need it for the sauce.

While the pasta is cooking, add the chopped sausage to a pan (I used the same one I had used to cook it) with the garlic.  This lets the sausage finish cooking, if needed, and adds in garlic.  Great for keeping Team Edward off your back.

After a few minutes, toss in the greens.  Then, add in about 1/2-2/3 cup of the pasta water.  Toss in the tomatoes, see how it looks.  If you feel it's going to be sticky, add a bit more water.

Toss all this delight with the pasta and enjoy.  Top with the parm, I mean come on.  It's pasta.

I hope that you don't see the number of quasi-simultaneous steps in this and get turned off, because it's actually rather easy.  The sausage and tomatoes can actually be done ahead of time, or really not at all; feel free to use un-roasted tomatoes and pre-cooked and chopped sausage.

Now, go forth and eat.

Question of the Day: 

What's your favorite green?