Zucchini Walnut Feta Cakes

You know there are just some things that take you by surprise.  Well that would be the night I served my version of Zucchini Walnut Feta cakes.  

I consider our family adventurous when it comes to food.  I know we each have our hang ups, but don’t we all.  In recent years we have started eating a lot more meatless entrees and we enjoy them, though I have found certain ones tend to be more appealing to Mr. Mixture.  This recipe was one on the must make list from Little Miss Mixture.  I was excited to make it, though I had thoughts that I would be scouring the refrigerator for something else to ensure the other two were pleased and went to bed satisfied.  

Imagine my shock when not one but both Little Miss Mixture and Mr. Mixture enjoyed it and even stated they would happily eat it again.  Woohoo that is getting a 4 out of 5 Truffles rating.

The recipe was adapted from Cooking light Zucchini Walnut Feta Cakes.  I actually was going to follow the recipe but then I did not have enough dill and when it comes to seasoning I tend to go heavy rather than light.  So I improvised and decided to add fenugreek.  I have no idea why as I truly have very little knowledge of this spice, except to know that every time I order something with it at the Indian restaurant I enjoy my meal.  I have to admit I am not even sure when I bought fenugreek or what I used it for, but it worked with these flavors.  The result was a nicely seasoned cake that paired well with the cucumber sauce.

Zucchini Walnut Feta Fritter

  • 1/2 Cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/4 Cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 1/2 Cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/4 Cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2  tsp chopped dill
  • 2 tsp. Fenugreek 
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 oz feta cheese, crumbled (about 2/3 cup)
  • 2 Large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 container plain nonfat Greek yogurt (6 – ounce)
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 Cups mixed salad greens (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 tomato sliced
1. Place quinoa in a mini food processor; process 1 minute or until finely ground. Add chopped walnuts to processor; process until smooth.
2. Place zucchini in a colander, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Let stand 10 minutes, tossing occasion ally. Press zucchini between paper towels until barely moist.
3. Combine zucchini, green onions, dill, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, fenugreek, cheese, and eggs in a large bowl; stir to combine. Sprinkle quinoa mixture over zucchini mixture; stir well to combine.
4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 4 (1/3-cup) zucchini batter mounds to pan; flatten into 3-inch cakes. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and batter to yield 8 cakes total.

5. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, yogurt, cucumber, and garlic in a small bowl. Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. Top each with a couple slices do tomato and 2 fritters.  Then add about 1/4 cup cucumber mixture and Serve

Grilled Fattoush – Meatless Monday, What we ate this week

With the local produce starting to filtrate the markets I start to change over to my warm weather recipes. Warm weather recipes involve less using the stovetop and oven because when the Carolina heat hits the last thing a person wants to do is heat their house up more.  I like to have big salads and a lot of food made on the grill during this time of year.

I tore this recipe from Bon Appetit years ago when I first started to become queen of the grill. Over the years I have made some changes to it and it has become a constant during the summer months.  It is a great mix of grilled vegetables, cold vegetables and fresh herbs.  This is just another reason to grow your own herbs as you have what you need when you need it.  And nothing is more fresh than cutting it and washing it yourself for dinner.

Fattoush is in fact a salad of Levantine bread that is fried or grilled.  When I initially made the recipe I decided to use the naan bread I had in the house rather than buying a pack of pita breads.  Naan bread is slightly doughier than pita and after trying it both ways, we preferred the naan bread as it was more similar to pizza dough that is crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle.

Grilled Fattoush

2 Medium orange or red bell peppers , stemmed, seeded, halved
2 Medium zucchini , trimmed, cut lengthwise in half
2 – 3 Naan Bread
Olive oil (for grilling)
1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2 – inch cubes
20 cherry tomatoes, each halved or 1 tomato cut into small pieces, about 1/2″
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 Cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1/2 Cup fresh mint leaves (packed)
1/3 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
5 oz Feta cheese, cut into chunks or crumbled per your preference

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Directions

  1. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush peppers, zucchini, and bread on both sides with oil or place in gallon size lip lock bag with olive oil and shake to coat.  Grill peppers and zucchini until slightly charred and just tender, turning often, about 6 minutes. Transfer vegetables to foil-lined baking sheet. Grill bread until lightly charred and just crisp, turning often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to sheet with vegetables and cool. Cut bread into 2 inch pieces. DO AHEAD Vegetables and bread can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
  2. Cut grilled peppers into slices then cut the slices in half.  Cut zucchini lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in large bowl. Add cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, olives, mint, and cilantro and toss to combine. Add bread pieces. Whisk 1/2 cup oil, lemon juice, and cumin in small bowl to blend. Add dressing to salad; toss to coat. Add feta and gently mix into salad
Note: You can easily make this meal without the feta cheese.
Printer Version :  Grilled Fattoush
Recipe adapted from Grilled Zucchini and Bell Pepper Fattoush in BonAppetit
What we ate this week ( May 12- May 18)Monday – Grilled FattoushTuesday – Jambalaya – Recipe to be posted this week

Wednesday – Salad & Leftover Pizza

Thursday – Mixture of Stuff – Mr. Mixture surprised us by coming home from a business trip early. Love that but no real dinner had been planned for him. He happily ate leftover Jambalaya while Little Miss Mixture and I had Mushroom & Pepper Quesadillas

Friday – Date night, so my night off

Saturday – Artichoke Pizza

Sunday – Mushroom Swiss Burgers and Grilled Okra

Coconut Zucchini Bread

HAPPY NATIONAL ZUCCHINI BREAD DAY

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Who is behind all these national days to celebrate random food, historians, and other things in our life?  I enjoy these days but I went to share the history of this day because I myself wondered when was it created?  Is it a new holiday?  Is it an old favorite?  Did holidays such as these even exist before the world of the internet, food blogs, twitter?

Now I am at a complete loss.  I can not provide you the history as I am not even sure what day is the actual National Zucchini Bread day anymore.  Am I two days late, one day early, or just in time?  The majority of the items that come up in the GOOGLE search engine when “National Zucchini Bread Day” is typed in are from the last three years.  Most reference April 25th, but I came across a webpage from 2006 that indicates National Zucchini Day is April 23rd always.  In fact it appears the person who wrote this page had the same idea as I.  To find the history of this day. Another random one from 2014 indicated April 23rd as well.  But wikipedia, , national day calendar, and a couple of blogs such as FoodimentaryAlmanac of Eats,  and American Food and Drinks all show April 25th as National Zucchini Bread Day and yes some of these have been around since 2006 or before.

Regardless of what day it is sometime this week marked National Zucchini Bread day and we are celebrating.

I have always enjoyed Zucchini bread and have been amazed how it transforms into a sweet delicate bread, muffin, cake.  I have tried to make certain recipes healthier and I know quick breads are not the healthier way to start the day even if they do include a vegetable or a fruit, but I just cannot seem to find a whole grain version that has the delicate balance that I enjoy. The closest one I have have is this recipe by Prevention RD that I substituted 1/2 cup maple syrup for the sugar. If I am going to enjoy a muffin or quick bread, I need it to be moist and light and whole wheat version are just too dense.

I have altered several recipes to decrease the sugar and increase the nutritional benefits by using healthier ingredients.  Here is my recent favorite. The recipe provided makes 1 loaf or 2 mini loaves.  This is half the amount of most recipes as I find I prefer to make it fresh and enjoy than to freeze it for a later time.

Coconut Zucchini Bread

1/2 cup coconut oil, in melted form

1 egg plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. beaten egg (1 1/2 eggs)

1 cup grated zucchini

3/4 cup maple syrup

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour (I use all-purpose)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbsp.  and 2 tsp. shredded unsweetened coconut, divided

Optional Add ins or substitutions for the coconut: Walnuts, Chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together and pour into prepared loaf pan, reserving the 2 tsp. coconut.  Top the loaf/loaves with coconut as it will toast up nicely while the bread cooks.  If you are using a mini loaf pan like mine that the spot for 4 loaves do not forget to fill about 1″ of water in the empty ones to avoid the pan from burning.

Bake 350 degrees approx. 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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