Monday, July 14, 2014

Zucchini Chips

The zucchini recipe trend is continuing. I am working to find more and more inventive ways to use this wonderful vegetable. When I am making "fried" zucchini, I normally use my Southern Summer Squash recipe, simply swapping the zucchini in for the yellow squash, for a delicious un-fried zucchini. While this is wonderful and easy, I wanted to branch out a little more last week and find a new way to make baked zucchini resulting in a crisper zucchini chip. This recipe uses panko to make a crisp outer coating without a heavy batter. These chips were fantastic! Crisp, light, delicately seasoned and the flavor of the fresh zucchini came shining through. Perfection!

1-2 Zucchini
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Water
1 1/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
5 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1. Slice the zucchini into 1/8"-1/4" thick slices.
2. Prepare your dredging bowls. Fill the first bowl with flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. The second bowl with the egg and water. The final bowl with panko crumbs. Make sure the first two bowls have their contents thoroughly combined.
3. Prepare the baking pans. You will need large baking sheets. Depending on the size and number of baking sheets used, the amount of vegetable oil will vary. You want a thin coating over the entire pan.
4. Dredge each zucchini slice through the flour, shaking off the excess. Then dip in the egg wash and panko. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
5. When all of the chips have been coated, place in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and then bake for an additional 15 minutes. When you remove the chips from the oven to flip halfway through, if the pan looks a little dry, add a little more oil for the second half of baking.
6. When deep brown, remove from the oven and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Best Zucchini Bread

Our garden is in full production mode right now. The peppers, tomatoes, corn, and squash are abundant. As we began gathering from our bounty this year, the first vegetables to ripen were the zucchini, and, just like always, when they start coming in, they come in! We only grow 2 plants because they always produce so abundantly. Everyday, we are getting 2-3 mature zucchini from the plants. For 2 people, that is a lot of zucchini! While we love grilled and baked zucchini, my husband asked me to develop a zucchini bread recipe, as he had never tried it before and had always heard of it. I was shocked! How could you grow up here and never have tried zucchini bread? Now, for those of you that are not from the South and have never eaten zucchini bread, please do not think that it is some bread that tastes like zucchini, because you would be sorely mistaken. This bread is moist and tender, filled with cinnamon flavor. For you mothers out there, this is also a great way to work some vegetables into your children's diets.

4 Cup Zucchini, Grated
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Cinnamon Apple Sauce
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to thoroughly combine and sift the ingredients.
2. Combine the wet ingredients in a large measuring cup. Whisk to combine.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, using the whisk to combine.
4. Mix the grated zucchini into the batter.
5. Prepare 2 standard size loaf pans with shortening and flour. Pour half of the batter into each prepared pan.
6. Place in a preheated 325-degree oven. Bake for 55 minutes. The bread should be golden brown and produce a clean toothpick when tested.
7. Place the pans on a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before turning out.
8. Slice and enjoy.
9. Store leftovers tightly wrapped and in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Southwestern Beans

With the Fourth of July just a few days away, we are all preparing for family gatherings and backyard barbecues to celebrate our independence. While we all expect something delicious to be coming from the grill, getting creative with the side items is always fun.
Here in the South, baked beans are a standard at any backyard gathering. The sweet, sticky, and bacon covered beans are fantastic. However, I love baked beans so much that I make several varieties throughout the year to enjoy as a meal. This recipe was inspired as a hybrid of my Mexican Campfire Beans and traditional Southern Picnic Beans. These beans are spicy! However, the heat is well rounded with the deep flavor of the chipotle powder and the sweetness of the brown sugar.
So, as you prepare for your gathering this week, consider spicing up the cookout with these Southwestern Beans.
1 Pound Ground Beef
1/2 Cup Minced Yellow Onion
3-15 ounce Cans Pork-N-Beans
1 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
1 Cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Mustard
12 ounces Pale Ale
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Chipotle Pepper Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1. Brown the ground beef with the minced onion over medium heat, breaking the meat into smaller pieces. Cook until completely browned, approximately 5 minutes.
2. While the meat is cooking, place the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker.
3. Add the beef and onions, with cooking juices, to the slow cooker.
4. Stir to thoroughly combine.
5. Cover and set to LOW.
6. Cook for at least 5 hours or up to 8 hours.