Yeasted Lemon Zucchini Bread

We are lucky enough to have wonderful neighbors who share produce from their vegetable garden year-round. So when they brought over a monster zucchini recently, I decided to make some zucchini bread. But not just any zucchini bread!

While I love traditional zucchini bread — usually a quick bread leavened with baking powder — there is something really satisfying about baking yeast breads. The smooth feel of well kneaded dough, watching it rise, shaping it — not to mention the physical work and patience required. Plus, you can’t beat the soft, fluffy texture!

So I set out to make a yeasted zucchini bread, something with the flavors of the traditional recipe and just a touch of sweetness, like a breakfast bread. It’s delicious served warm with plenty of butter!

 

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups bread flour (stir your flour before measuring to loosen)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
cooking spray

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and yeast. Add the zucchini and lemon zest and stir to incorporate. In a separate bowl, combine the water, honey and olive oil, then add to the flour mixture.

Knead until smooth. I like to do the bulk of the kneading with an electric stand mixer using the dough hook attachment (for about 4 minutes), and then finish it up by hand. The dough starts out a little wet, so add small amounts of flour as you go (not too much) to keep it from sticking to your hands. The end result should be smooth and slightly tacky, but not sticky. (King Arthur Flour has a nice kneading tutorial here.)

Oil your bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside. Spray the top of the dough, then cover loosely with plastic wrap or a cotton towel. Let rise in a warm place until roughly doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently for about a minute. Shape into a sandwich loaf (see this King Arthur Flour tutorial) and place into an oiled standard loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a cotton towel and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Bake until golden brown and internal temperature registers at 190 degrees, about 45-60 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Let cool another hour before serving.

Pictured: Corning Ware Blue Cornflower P-315-B Loaf Dish, Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl, Pyrex Spring Blossom 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl

Balsamic Vinaigrette with Honey and Mustard

Homemade dressing: There couldn’t be a quicker or easier way to impress guests and make any salad special. And if you’re like me, you already have the ingredients in your pantry. (Or at the very least, they are readily available at your nearest grocery store.)

The slight sweetness of this dressing works especially well with a strong cheese. I recently used it with a simple salad of mixed greens, shaved carrots and Gorgonzola crumbles.

Ingredients

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp whole- or coarse-grain mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Whisk all ingredients together until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld before using.

Pictured: Pyrex Salad Bowl 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Federal Batter Bowl

Warm Potato Salad with Bacon and Spring Onions

I love most kinds of potato salad, but my least favorite ingredient in the typical dish is the mayonnaise. You won’t miss the mayo one bit with this version, which is dressed with a mustard vinaigrette instead. Bacon and spring onions top off the flavor punch. It’s best served warm or at room temperature, which makes it easy to bring to a potluck or picnic too!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

2 lbs small red potatoes, quartered (unpeeled)
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium spring onions, chopped (bulbs and light green stalks)
2 tbsp whole grain or coarse grain mustard
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped parsley

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, fry the bacon pieces until crisp and golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a bowl. Drain the excess grease from the pan, reserving about 1 tbsp. Next, saute the spring onions until softened and starting to brown. Add the spring onions to the bacon and set aside.

Put the potatoes in a large pot and add water until covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, honey, olive oil and salt. Stir in the bacon, spring onions and parsley. Add the potatoes and stir gently until well coated.

Let sit for at least half an hour to let the potatoes absorb the flavors, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Pictured: Pyrex Gooseberry 444 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Le Creuset Flame Skillet

Easy Lemon Sriracha Aioli

Normally, I don’t keep mayonnaise around the house because nobody in my family likes it — but this flavor-packed lemon sriracha aioli might just change that. It couldn’t be easier to whip up, and it makes an amazing spread or dipping sauce for so many things: think salmon burgers, steamed veggies like artichoke or asparagus, sweet potato fries — anything that can do with a zing of lemon and a little spice.

Ingredients

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp sriracha (or Cherry Bomb Pepper Sauce)
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated (about 1 tsp)
salt

Whisk together the mayonnaise, sriracha and lemon zest. Add salt to taste. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Pictured: Pyrex Spring Blossom 441 Cinderella Mixing Bowl, Glasbake French Casserole, Corning Ware Snack-It Plate

Quick Spicy Miso Ramen

Allow me to convince you that miso paste should be a staple in your refrigerator. It’s great for marinades (this Grilled Miso Shrimp recipe from Food & Wine is fantastic) salad dressing (try this Miso-Sesame Dressing from the Food Network) and best of all, you can make a totally delicious miso broth in seconds — just add water.

This quick miso soup (inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Classic Miso Soup with Greens and Tofu) is a great way to use veggies or leftovers you happen to have in the fridge — it’s a recipe that really begs for improvisation, and it can be scaled up for multiple servings. This time I went with kale as the main vegetable, but any leafy greens can be substituted — spinach, chard, bok choy, etc. Do you have leftover steamed green beans or brussels sprouts or asparagus? Throw them in. Are you stuck with frozen peas and corn? Use that instead. If you don’t have jalapeños, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes can also work. You can’t really go wrong.

Note: You can use Top Ramen-style instant noodles here, but if you are shopping for miso at your nearest Japanese market, pick up some more interesting noodles while you’re there.

Serves 1

 

Ingredients

1 egg
3 1/2 cups water
3 oz ramen noodles
3/4 cup lacinato kale, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
5 slices fresh jalapeño
2-3 tbsp white miso paste
1 tbsp sriracha

Take an egg from the refrigerator and leave it on the counter for half an hour to lose its chill. Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Gently lower the egg into the water with a slotted spoon. Cook for 7 minutes with the water just barely bubbling. Remove the egg from the pot and plunge it into a bowl of ice water for about 30 seconds, then set aside.

In a separate pot, bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the ramen noodles and cook according to package directions (usually about 3 minutes). Use tongs to remove the noodles and set aside.

Remove about 1/4 cup of the water and add it to the miso paste in a separate bowl. Whisk until smooth (this helps prevent clumping).

Add the kale to the pot and simmer until slightly tender, about 6 minutes. Add the green onions and jalapeño slices and simmer 1 minute more. Stir in the noodles, miso mixture and sriracha. Top with the egg, peeled and sliced in half (the yolk should be soft but not too runny — the consistency of jam). Simmer briefly to make sure everything is hot, then serve.

Pictured: Corning Ware Harvest P-1 3/4-B Saucepan, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl, Pyrex Measuring Cup

Hummus with Sweet and Spicy Roasted Peppers

You could say that I’m a little obsessed with Pyrex divided dishes. So recently when I was in the mood to make hummus for an NBA Finals party (Go Warriors!), I knew I wanted to make two different flavors — and exactly what dish to serve them in. Incidentally, since the divided dish was originally designed to hold packaged foods, it’s not surprising that two cans of garbanzo beans make enough hummus to fill each side of the dish just about perfectly.

My starting point for this recipe was Cooking Classy’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. I wanted to make sure my two hummus flavors would be different colors, though, so I used yellow bell peppers instead of red. The yellow ones have a milder flavor, too, so they add a nice sweetness without overpowering. The red fresno chiles provide a good color contrast plus a little extra kick.

Ingredients

2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced into quarters lengthwise
4 red fresno chili peppers, cored, seeded and sliced in half lengthwise
2 15-oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
6 tbsp tahini
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
4 tbsp olive oil

Set your oven to “broil” and place the top rack about 4-5 inches below the broiler. Arrange the sliced peppers on a baking sheet and roast until charred, about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer each variety of peppers to separate Ziploc bags. Seal and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes (this helps the skin separate from the flesh). Peel the peppers and divide into two groups: 1) just bell peppers, and 2) fresno chiles plus 2-3 bell pepper slices. Chop each group into half-inch pieces and set aside.

Combine the garbanzo beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, cumin and olive oil. Pulse in a food processor or with an immersion blender until mostly pureed.

Divide the garbanzo mixture in half. To the first half, add pepper group 1 (bell peppers) plus 1-2 tsp water. Pulse until fully pureed. Test for desired consistency and add water in small amounts if needed. Add salt to taste, and set aside.

Repeat with the second half of the garbanzo mixture and pepper group 2 (fresno chiles and bell peppers).

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Optional garnishes: chopped parsley, red pepper flakes, and/or a drizzle of olive oil.

Pictured: Pyrex Royal Wheat 063 Divided Dish, Pyrex Butterfly Gold 403 Round Mixing Bowl, Corning Ware Grab-It Bowl (x2), Hazel Atlas Crisscross Orange Reamer

Pasta Salad with Snap Peas, Tomatoes and Mint

With summer around the corner, I’ve been looking for recipes that work well for barbecues, picnics and afternoons at the pool. Naturally, pasta salad is one of those recipes — plus, it happens to be my daughter’s latest favorite food.

As I was poking around the internet for pasta salad ideas, I came across Yotam Ottolenghi’s Pasta Salad with Spring Vegetables and Tomatoes on Epicurious. And I have to say: I’m sure his pasta salad is amazing. Roasted tomatoes in an orange-ginger glaze,  peas and spring onions each charred to perfection in separate batches, everything gently tossed and beautiful. But the recipe is so time-consuming! I’m just not going to spend an hour roasting tomatoes before I can even start assembling the final dish.

So instead, I’ve made a simplified pasta salad inspired by some of the flavors and ingredients in Ottolenghi’s version. I think it’s just as pretty as the original, and pretty tasty too.

Serves 6 

Ingredients

12 oz farfalle pasta (or your favorite shape)
8 oz sugar snap peas
4 stalks green onions, chopped
3 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half (red and yellow are nice)
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped fine
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
olive oil
salt
pepper

Cook pasta in salted water, according to package directions. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil to keep from sticking. Let cool to room temperature.

Blanch the snap peas by immersing in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then plunging in an ice water bath. Trim the ends and slice in half diagnonally.

Add the snap peas, green onions, tomatoes, lemon juice, mint and parsley to the pasta and stir gently until evenly mixed. Season with salt, pepper, olive oil and more lemon juice to taste.

Pictured: Pyrex Yellow 404 Round Mixing Bowl