Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Zucchini Cakes

in an effort to use some of my csa zucchini and squash, i decided to make zucchini cakes. boy were these good! even E requested i make these again. often.

a food processor makes this recipe a snap to make but you can also use a box grater and a little elbow grease to shred the zucchini and squash. you can go ahead and throw the onions in the food processor too or just mince them by hand.

they turned out crispy on the outside and warm and pillowy on the inside. they didn't reheat quite as well but they fared better in the toaster oven (or regular oven if you are brave enough to turn it on in this heat) than the microwave.
i served mine along size of simply seared salmon with a squeeze of lemon over it. the simple dish allowed the zucchini cakes to shine. a crisp glass of white wine would make for a perfect, easy, summer dinner. 

Zucchini Cakes
inspired by Paula Deen
(makes 10-12 small cakes)

1 medium zucchini
1 medium squash
1 small vadalia onion (or regular onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/8 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 small egg
1 tsp mrs. dash garlic and herbs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

shred zucchini, squash, and onion in food processor wit the grater blade. squeeze excess moisture out of zucchini and squash with paper towels or a dish towel. mix remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl.
heat 1/8 cup olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. form zucchini mixture into 2"-3" balls. drop 4 balls into hot oil and press lightly with the back of a spatula to flatten. cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. remove from pan and place on paper towels to allow excess oil to drain off. continue with remaining zucchini mixture adding more oil as needed to keep the bottom of the skillet covered. keep warm in the oven or serve immediately.

Berry Crumble Bars

sometimes when i have a night without menus to plan and grocery lists to make i find myself not quite knowing what to do with myself. more often then not, those nights, like tonight, i find myself baking something. i have a bookmark folder on my computer to "recipes to make". it's getting to be quite the folder but at least i have finally started simply bookmarking the recipe instead of printing it out. my actual pile of "recipes to make" was starting to take over the office.

it's quite possible that 50% of the recipes are from smitten kitchen. it seems every time i see a new post in my google reader from smitten kitchen, i find myself placing it in the "recipes to make" folder. not only is she an inspired cook/baker but her photography skills are so good i can almost smell them. if you haven't checked out her site, i highly recommend it. but be forewarned, you'll be hooked.
you may see where i am going with this . . . these berry crumble bars are inspired by smitten kitchen's raspberry breakfast bars. i have to admit, i used frozen berries for this recipe only because i cannot seem to keep fresh berries in this house. if we have them, they get eaten almost immediately. the wasti's love berries. of course, i had to use whole wheat pastry flour and reduce the amount of sugar, but these turned out perfectly. plus, i kind of agree with smitten kitchen. it's oatmeal, it's berries, it's suitable to breakfast, right? yum!

Berry Crumble Bars
(makes 12-15 bars)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 1/4 cup quick oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick plus 2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into pieces

preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
mix all ingredients in a large bowl with a pastry cutter or with the gifts god gave you (your fingers). mix until well combined and crumbly. press half the crumb mixture into a 8x8 parchment lined baking pan. bake 12 minutes until edges just start to brown. reduce heat to 350 degree F.
berry filling:
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs whole wheat flour
1 pound mixed berries
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
mix together all ingredients except berries. fold in berries until just covered in butter/sugar mixture.
pour berry mixture onto partially baked crust.
cover with remaining crumb mixture and press down slightly. bake @ 350 for 35-45 minutes until top is golden brown.
let cool completely before cutting into bars.
(this is admittedly ridiculously hard to do because your kitchen smells amazing by this point. taste a corner if you must, but it will fall apart unless completely cool. pat yourself on the back for being so patient and reward yourself with a cooled berry crumble bar. it was worth it, right?)

Monday, June 28, 2010

CSA Spaghetti

my goods from the farmer's market were beautiful last week!
crunchy broccoli, crisp romaine, plump zucchini, and yellow squash. i plan to use the broccoli in a stir-fry tonight but earlier last week i made some whole wheat spaghetti and topped it with a wonderful meat sauce full of ground turkey, chopped zucchini, squash, onions, and garlic. all tossed together with our favorite four cheese sauce and a shaving of parmesan cheese, and you have a csa spaghetti. it was a perfect meal to squash my pasta craving and i have enough leftover for a lunch too. what could be better?
CSA Spaghetti
(serves 4)

1/2 lb ground turkey
1 small onion, minced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium yellow squash, diced
2 cups of your favorite marinara
6 oz whole wheat thin spaghetti

cook spaghetti according to package instructions. meanwhile, brown turkey in skillet over medium heat. remove from skillet when browned through and add onions, zucchini, and squash to pan. saute over medium heat (add a little olive oil if skillet is too dry) until just tender. add garlic and saute another minute. add turkey back to skillet and pour sauce over turkey and vegetable mix. stir well to combine and spoon sauce over drained hot spaghetti.
sprinkle with grated or freshly shaved parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

seeing as i am a bit crazy about ice cream, i'm not quite sure why it took me so long to buy and ice cream maker. maybe it was a subliminal restraint for myself. if i always have the capability to make ice cream, i very well may always have ice cream in the house now ready for me to eat. however, i decided if i am going to eat ice cream (occasionally, i hope), i would like to know what is going into it.

i have been buying haagen-dazs five because it has just five, pure ingredients. but, let's just say haaden-dazs gets a little hard on the wallet. a long-time client gave me a williams-sonoma gift card for christmas, so i finally got around to using it this week. now, i am finally the proud owner of a cuisinart ice cream maker. it came with a bonus extra bowl so my first test was actually 2 different types and two different flavors.
enter blueberry frozen yogurt and vanilla bean ice cream.

dad gave be 2 pints of fresh blueberries and i used some of them in the frozen yogurt. it had wonderful flavor from the sweetness of the blueberries and the tang of the greek yogurt. it was so refreshing on a hot summer night. i topped it with a couple of blueberries and it was perfection.

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

1 overflowing cup of fresh blueberries
1/4 cup agave nectar
juice of 1/2 a lemon
pinch of salt
17.5 oz 2% greek yogurt

blend blueberries with agave, lemon, and salt until smooth. stir in greek yogurt until smooth. pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturers directions.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Free Giveaway Results

i am happy to announce the winners of GCFE's first ever free giveaway! i had 9 people enter the drawing and used a random number generator to choose 2 winners.

congrats to:
#5 - Alli 
#8 - Wayne Sr.

please email me at goodcleanfuneating@gmail.com with your mailing address and i will mail the coupons to you tomorrow.

even though participation was low, i do have another giveaway in the works so stay tuned for an exciting kitchen gadget giveaway later this summer.

i have received a couple of questions about how to prepare an artichoke, so here is my step-by-step from cleaning to steaming.

first, wash artichoke with water and dry kitchen towel.
then chop off top of the artichoke with a sharp knife
using kitchen shears, cut of the ends of each exposed leaf (there is a prickly bit on the end of each one)
cut the stem off the end
now you are ready to steam it!
i add some smashed garlic and lemon to the water to add a little flavor while it steams
place cleaned artichokes on steamer basket right side up and steam, covered, for 20-30 minutes checking to see when the leaves will come off easily.
then it's finished! a little lemon, garlic, butter sauce for dipping and you are all set to enjoy your freshly prepared artichoke. be sure to scoop out the fuzzy choke when you get to the center. scooping out the fuzzy part allows you to enjoy the heart - yum!

Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

2 tbs melted butter
1 garlic clove, finely minced
juice of one lemon
1/8 to 1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/8 tsp ground pepper

whisk all ingredients together to emulsify. serve warm as dipping sauce for artichokes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Free Giveaway - Food Should Taste Good Chips!

this is your last chance to enter my first ever good clean fun giveaway. to recap, food should taste good sent me some samples of their chips to try along with some coupons for a free bag of chips. TWO lucky winners will get a coupon good for one free bag of "food should taste good" chips.
if you haven't already, there is still time to enter. simply post a comment either at the bottom of this post or this one with your name and your favorite kind of chips and you are entered to win. i will choose 2 winners tonight @ 10pm and let you know tomorrow.

good luck and happy playing:)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies

you will not believe how easy these peanut butter cookies were yet they were so tasty E and i couldn't stop eating them. i used up the last bit of peanut butter in our house so i'm off to trader joe's tomorrow to get some more so i can make more of these cookies.
they would make great post-workout snacks too because of the protein. try these, you'll love them!

Peanut Butter Cookies
(makes 20 cookies)

1 cup creamy peanut butter (i use all natural peanut butter. the only ingredient: peanuts)
1 egg
1/2 cup sucanat

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  mix all ingredients together in a bowl. using a tablespoon (or a small scoop)
roll peanut butter mixture into balls
and place on parchment lined baking sheets. bake as-is or use a fork to press balls down and make a cross hatch imprint.
bake for 10-12 minutes. let cool completely and enjoy with a tall glass of ice cold milk!

note: i pressed dark chocolate chips into some of the balls and they turned out really good but i actually liked the plain peanut butter cookies better.

p.s. there is still time to enter my "food should taste good" giveaway. just post a comment on this post and you'll be entered to win one of two coupons for a free bag of your choice!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice Strawberry Icebox Cake

i hope everyone is enjoying the longest day of the year. we are celebrating with mint juleps, veggie and feta stuffed hamburgers and a wonderful csa salad.

the first day of summer/longest day of the year (aka the summer solstice) always makes me a little sad for 2 reasons:

1) i know the days will now get shorter (but i will be positive and still enjoy all the wonderful sun we are getting and the nice long nights)

2) strawberry season is over (but i will celebrate with a strawberry icebox cake)
this strawberry icebox cake was the perfect remedy to soften the blow on both counts. not only that but it was super easy, effortless, and beautiful. the crust came together with a quick grind of the food processor and the filling only too a quick whirl in the processor. a couple of hours in the freezer and you have a lovely, cold, refreshing summer treat. you can do this with the last of your strawberries, raspberries, or frozen berries. one thing i will do differently next time is i will toast my almonds before grinding them. or blind bake the crust a little. either way, i think the crust needed a little toasted flavor. (i apologize for the photo quality, these were blackberry shots)

Strawberry Icebox Cake
(adapted from frozen pink cheesecake from green kitchen stories)

1 cup toasted almonds (either toast in skillet on stovetop or roast in 375 degree oven for 5-10 minutes - either way, watch closely and turn often to avoid burning!)
5 pitted dates
2 tbs coconut butter
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups fresh (or frozen strawberries)
2 tbs lemon juice

1/3 cup agave nectar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
7 oz 2% plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup sliced strawberries for topping

pulse almonds in food processor until finely ground. add dates, coconut butter, and salt and process until it starts to clump together a bit. press into bottom of 8" spring foam pan (either non-stick or use a little cooking spray). place in fridge.

clean processor and add strawberries, lemon juice, and agave. give it a good whirl until smooth. add mascarpone and yogurt and blend again until smooth. pour on top of crust and set in freezer 2-4 hours until set. remove, top with berries and serve immediately.

this can be made ahead of time and frozen overnight. just place in fridge 2-4 hours before enjoying so it can soften a bit.

don't forget about my first every GCFE free giveaway. click here for more info and to enter to win a free bag of "food should taste good" chips.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

First Ever GCFE Free Giveaway!!

happy father's day to all the dads out there but an extra special one to my favorite dad!
in honor of father's day i wanted to offer my first ever free giveaway. food should taste good was kind enough to send me free samples of their chips. not only was i super excited because it's my first sample to taste and review but they also sent some coupons for free bags of chips. i thought i'd share some of the goodness with you all. they make all flavors of chips with all natural ingredients that you can actually pronounce. i haven't tried all of the flavors yet but so far my favorites are lime and multigrain.

all you have to do to be entered to win a free coupon for a free bag of chips is leave a comment to this post and tell me what your favorite kind of chips are. i will choose two winners so leave a comment and be entered to win! i will choose a winner on thursday, june 24th to give plenty of time for people to enter.

good luck and i love you dad!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CSA Salad

here is my eternal, everyday question - what should i have for lunch? it's not enough that i have to plan dinners every night but having to plan lunches sends me over the edge some days. but today, ahhhhhaahaa (heavenly music) i had the most amazing salad. it was almost literally everything but the kitchen sink - a great way to use up some leftovers and try out some of my new CSA finds.
this week was my second CSA pick-up at my local farmer's market at kenilworth. one straw farm has some wonderful greens. i had salad on the brain so i picked up some things that would make a wonderful accompaniment to dinners for the week and lunches too!

i still have some spinach and onions from last week and this week i picked up
summer crisp (never had this before),
and radishes. the salad started with chopped greens including romaine, summer crisp, arugula, and spinach.
i washed a chopped up a whole bunch of this so i can just grab some for my salads for the week. (if you wash and dry the greens really well and store in an airtight container lined with paper towels or one of the green bags they should stay good for a couple of days.) then came the "everything but the kitchen sink" part. i made a quick balsamic vinaigrette and to the greens combination. i sliced 2 radishes, added some leftover lime pork, feta cheese, raw pecans, and 1/2 an apple chopped that E had left behind this morning.
it was so delicious! i couldn't get enough of it. it tasted so fresh and summery. i just love the peppery arugula with the creamy feta and the crunch from the apples and pecans.
sometimes the salad is under-rated. look in your fridge, i bet you have some things that would taste great thrown onto a bed of fresh, local, organic greens.

so tell me, what are your favorite salad combinations??

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lime Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro Lime Rice

aside from most likely being a genius, alton brown also frequently inspires me with his recipes which are almost always excellent. when i watch his shows i always learn something and i am almost always running to my fridge to see if i have the ingredients to make what he just made on good eats.
this time the pork tenderloin in my freezer was the lucky subject of a recipe modification from mr. brown. i deem it grilled garlic lime pork tenderloin.
i whipped up some cilantro lime rice to go with it. both were amazing. too bad i can't say the same thing for my brilliant idea of grilling green beans.
perhaps there is a reason i have never heard of anyone grilling green beans. or, maybe i cooked them too long. either way, they turned out weird. that's the only word i can think of for describing the grilled beans - weird. the flavor was good but it's almost as if the insides disintegrated. i bit into the green bean expecting a crunchy bite but instead it seemed like all was eating was the outer shell of the bean. the inside of the bean seemed to have cooked away.
i am not completely deterred because i did cook them a little long (4 minutes a side). i will try again and cut the grilling time in half. but until i experiment some more i cannot encourage grilling green beans.

Grilled Garlic Lime Pork Tenderloin
(serves 4-8)

1 - 2 whole pork tenderloins
1 lime, zest finely grated
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime  juice
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt 
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder

combine all ingredients except for the pork in a small jar with a lid. shake jar well to combine ingredients. pour 3/4 of the marinade into a ziploc bag and place pork into bag. seal tightly trying to keep all air out of the bag. smush pork and marinade around in the bag and refrigerate at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.

preheat grill to medium high heat (i highly recommend charcoal for the wonderful flavor it infuses into the meat). remove pork from marinade and grill for 16 minutes total (or until internal temperature reads 140 degrees F), turning meat every 2 minutes.  remove pork from grill and place in a shallow dish. immediately pour remaining 1/4 of marinade over hot pork and cover loosely with foil. let sit at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Cilantro Lime Rice
(serves 4)

1 cup long grain rice
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
½ tsp. salt
½ cup fresh cilantro
1 lime, zested
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped

cook rice according to package directions. meanwhile, combine 2 tbs of water, salt, cilantro, lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, and garlic in food processor or blender and blend until smooth. when rice is finished, pour cilantro lime mixture over rice and stir well to combine. serve warm.
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