Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Baked Zucchini Fries

With it now being summer, we are blessed enough to have a bounty of summer squash and zucchini coming from our garden. While traditional methods, i.e. fried squash, are delicious, sometimes you just want something new and a little healthier to do with your produce. While I have made zucchini bread, cakes, and even fritters, today, I decided to expand on my baked squash recipe and create a crispy zucchini fry to go with our summertime grilled burgers.
Admittedly, when I first made the recipe, I was a little worried. I wasn't worried so much about the deliciousness of the meal, as I am a vegetable lover, but I was worried about how the change would be received by my husband. While he is good about serving as my taste tester, he likes his squash prepared the traditional Southern way.....fried! However, even he was surprised at the crisp texture, perfectly tender interior, and savory seasoned flavor. We will be making this again!

2 Zucchini
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Water
1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Yield; 4 Servings
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Slice the ends off of each zucchini. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. To make the fries, slice halves into 1/4-inch strips.
3. Place the flour in a resealable plastic bag. Place the zucchini slices in the flour bag. Shake to thoroughly coat.
4. Prepare the dredging stations. In a shallow dish, whisk together the egg and water. In a separate shallow dish, combine the Panko and seasonings, stirring well. Place a rack on top of a baking sheet to allow a place for the coated strips to rest.
5. Remove one strip at a time from the flour, shaking off the excess. Coat in the egg mixture and then press into the seasoned Panko. Place on the baking rack. Repeat the process until all of the strips are coated.
6. Make sure that there is room between each zucchini strip on the rack. If your baking rack seems to be too crowded, prepare two pans for baking. Too much room is much better than not enough! The room between the zucchini fries will allow them to become crispy and brown on each side while baking, just as the rack allows the bottom to crisp and not become soggy.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from the rack.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Blueberry Orange Streusel Muffins

As summer time approaches, I am thrilled to be back in the kitchen making breakfast throughout the entire week. To say that I was looking forward to my two month hiatus from work in order to focus on other personal endeavors, such as recipe development, would be an understatement. While I do make time throughout the year to make dinner almost every night, sometimes you just crave some extra time to focus on other meals and slow down to enjoy the blessings of the season.
My first endeavor since starting my summer break was to get back into my muffin addiction. I, admittedly, love a delicious, homemade muffin. There is just something about the warm scents that fill the house when making breakfast breads that comforts the soul. These muffins combine my love for warm flavors, such as cinnamon and ginger, with the tastes of the season, like orange and blueberry. Even though you may be thinking that these are just your standard orange blueberry muffins, you would be very wrong. The orange is a subtle addition to the recipe, playing a backup role while still exerting its delicious essence. The streusel topping adds a decadent, crisp layer to the tender, soft muffin.
You should make some time to try this recipe. Your family and friends will thank you.
FOR THE BATTER
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Orange Zest
1 pinch Salt
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Frozen Blueberries
FOR THE TOPPING
3 Tablespoons Quick Cook Oats
2 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Butter, Cubed
Yield: 6 Jumbo Muffins
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat the muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
3. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a large measuring cup.
4. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. The batter will be lumpy and thick. Stir the blueberries into the batter.
5. Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared muffin pan.
6. Combine the topping ingredients. Work the butter into the oats and brown sugar until it resembles a course sand. Sprinkle over the top of the batter.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and the spring back to the touch. You can test with a toothpick if you are not sure.
8. Remove from the oven and carefully run a knife around the edges of the muffins. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.