Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I know for the uninitiated this cake doesn't sound that appealing. Chocolate and zucchini sound like two foods that should never go together, but in reality they make a really delicious cake. Our friend gave us some zucchini from her garden and I needed to use it for something. We were going to a party and needed to bring a dish, so I decided to try this cake out on some unsuspecting party-goers. I found this recipe (appropriately) on the Chocolate & Zucchini blog. I used Droste cocoa powder (available at gourmet grocery stores, and better than the Nestle or Hershey's stuff), and used Tollhouse semisweet chocolate chips. I didn't have a 3 quart springform pan (which is a 10" pan for those of us in America), so I used my 9" springform pan which worked out fine.

This is one fabulous cake. You can't even tell that there is zucchini in it. The zucchini just makes the cake extremely moist. Now, I'm not going to kid myself and say that this cake is good for you just because there are vegetables in it. There is still a stick of butter, a cup of sugar, and several eggs in it. But it is a lot lighter than some of the other chocolate desserts I have made, and still very chocolatey. Next time (and there will be a next time) I'll try bittersweet chocolate chips instead to make the flavor a little richer. (I like my chocolate cakes rich). My brown sugar topping got a little burnt, so I might skip that and just use hazelnuts only or skip that and just dust the top with powdered sugar.

Luckily, we had to leave the party early before too many people had gotten dessert, so we got to take a lot of the cake home and enjoy it for ourselves. Some might say that's selfish, but I would call it being smart, wouldn't you? :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Penne With Zucchini and Basil

If there's one vegetable that we almost always have in our refrigerator in the summer, it's zucchini. We get zucchini or yellow squash in our CSA basket most weeks now, and we also got a few zucchini from a friend who has an abundance of them growing in her garden. I found this recipe for a quick weeknight dinner this week. I used penne because that's what I had on hand. I used three medium sized zucchini, but really should have used four. I also only used one cup of fresh basil, since that's all I had in my garden (my basil plants are still teeny). We just used Parmesan cheese in a bottle - cheap, and yes, not as good as the freshly grated stuff, but I am not that picky about the type of cheese we use and don't want to spend a lot of money on cheese.

This was a great, easy weeknight dinner. The fresh basil really makes this dish - it would have been nice to use more of it if I could!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

We got two new items in our CSA basket recently: fresh rosemary, and a variety of small potatoes. Now I know potatoes do not sound new and exciting, but they gave us an assortment of white, red, and purple potatoes - I have never seen purple potatoes before so this was a fun little treat. I have made this recipe before, but was not wowed by it - but now that I had fresh rosemary I figured I would try it again.

This time I was wowed. Fresh rosemary makes all the difference. The first time I made it I used dried rosemary - the dried leaves are so firm that you feel like you are biting into little twigs. The flavor is also different when it is dried. I loved these potatoes, and would definitely make them again. This was also really easy - you cut up potatoes and garlic, chop up the rosemary, drizzle with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and roast them! This is my new favorite way to make potatoes.