Tag Archives: Basil

Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

Sometimes inspiration comes in the form of ‘payday isn’t for 2 more days, so use what you have in the fridge’.  This recipe comes from precisely that situation. Thank goodness Trillium Haven Farm CSA and Doorganics day was yesterday, so at least there were fresh veggies from which to create goodness.  The result is Vegan Zucchini Pancakes not to be confused with a prior post, Zucchini Fritters which are definitely NOT vegan (goat cheese).

Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

Cucumber Salad (topping)

  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 2 small cucumbers
  • 1T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp EVOO

Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 zucchini or summer squash, shredded
  • 1 medium, sweet yellow onion
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt (to taste…err on the side of less)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 C egg substitute
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 T fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 T Parmesan cheese (if Vegetarian, do not include for Vegan)
Directions:
1.  To create the cucumber salad chop the tomatoes and cucumbers coarsely and top with EVOO and balsamic vinegar.  Set aside.
2.  Grate the zucchini and onion, roll up in paper towel or cheesecloth and squeeze until it is fairly dry.
3.  Combine the pressed zucchini and ionion with garlic, salt, basil, nutmeg, fake eggs, flour, salt and pepper.
4.  Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet.  Pour 1/4 C of the batter into the oiled pan.  The batter will be lumpy.  Let the pancake completely brown on one side then flip to brown the other side.  Remove from the pan and place on paper towels.
5.  When you are ready to serve, top the pancakes with the cucumber salad and enjoy.

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Thanks to a reader for writing in that the original recipe for these pancakes were too salty!  I’ve changed the recipe to account for her feedback.  If you are putting these on a bun or in a flatbread, you will need additional salt, but if just eating as a pancake, please follow the change in added salt.  Thanks!

If you plant a herb garden, you better damn well like pesto.

My herbs are staging a coup d’état in the backyard.

I’m striking back with pesto.

One of my fave 101cookbooks.com blog posts is entitled “How to Make Pesto Like an Italian Grandmother”.  She’s right.  It’s a brilliant recipe; however, sometimes I do not have 1) pine nut cash allowance (so expensive!), 2) oh, I don’t know 1000 extra calories to inhale a 2 tablespoon mouthful of wonderfulness or 3) time to chop BY HAND (wtf?!) a zillion leaves into a paste-like substance-I guess that’s where the grandmother part comes in for Heidi Swanson’s recipe; grandmothers have lots of extra time for this stuff.

Tonight when I realized my parsley was about to FLOWER for goodness sake, I took it upon myself to hack it all down, grab some garlic and headed to the food processor to make, “Certainly not an Italian Grandmother’s Pesto” while muttering to myself, “it’s a damn good thing I like pesto.”

Pesto from the Fridge

  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 2 large handfuls of something delish and green from your herb garden (could really be anything)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, 2 if you are not interested in vampire protection (TrueBlood starts at the end of the month)
  • 1/4 C good EVOO

**To make this real pesto, add 1/2 C toasted walnuts or pine nuts,  sometimes called Pinons and 1/2 C grated parm cheese to the mix then increase your EVOO as needed to get a nice puree.

Hack down a bunch of your herbs you have been neglecting, use the tender leaf part for the pesto (wash and dry it) and the stems to clean out your garbage disposal, it will make it smell better after you grind them up in there and send them to their new water home.

In a food processor, take the peeled garlic cloves, lemon juice, lemon zest and all of that beautiful greenery and blend while slowly adding the EVOO.  You might need less than 1/4 C depending on how liquidy you want the pesto.  I like mine a little bit on the dry side.

To store, I take an old ice cube container, spray a little oil in the bottom and on the sides then portion out my pesto in the little wells which happens to make a nice amount of sauce for 2 people when I decide I need a pasta fix; freeze and then pop out and store in a freezer bag.

I have also used this concoction as:

  • Tofu marinade
  • Combined with greek yogurt to make dip, or thinned with water to make salad dressing.
  • Mixed with more EVOO and a dash of balsamic vinegar to create a quick and flavorful vinaigrette.
  • Tossed with pasta and raw veggies for a quick lunch or dinner.
  • Tossed with pasta, a little pasta water, goat cheese and toasted walnuts for a yummy dinner.
  • On top of crusty bread for the base for bruschetta or plain as garlic bread.
  • Tossed with saute’d mushrooms.
  • Base for marinated olives and bocconcini (baby mozzarella balls) skewers.
  • Base for tortillini soup.
Technically this recipe might be considered a Coulis due to lack of cheese; but whatever the case, it’s a flexible, cheap, quick and yummy way to put that herb garden to use and just about any herb or green will due.  I’ve even used spinach with fantastic results.  Pulling one of these little cubes out of the freezer in February makes my heart remember spring.

Celebration Sunday!

This is a two for one blog post today.  Last minute plans had Mr. Wonderful and I running to Lansing for the weekend to celebrate his kid sister FINALLY (as her father puts it) graduating from MSU, Mother’s Day, Mr. Wonderful’s mother’s birthday, and my new job.  Whew!  Nice to celebrate!

I’m going to air a little dirty laundry, The Wonderful Family is a little bit difficult to pin down in terms of actual PLANS, so late Friday night we decided on brunch at the Wonderful’s Farm (#walterthewonderdog loves it there).  My portion of brunch was relatively painless and I made it ahead.  Goat Cheese & Asparagus Strata and Paula Deen’s Baked French Toast Casserole.  Win-win.

Warning these are not healthy recipes!

PAULA DEEN’S FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla,cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

PRALINE TOPPING

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

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Goat Cheese Asparagus Strata

Adapted from Epicurious.com’s Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Strata

  • 18 slices firm white bread (original recipe calls for English muffin bread crust free, I used French with crust)
  • 1 # asparagus tips, chopped
  • 8 ounces Dancing Goat, goat cheese from Dogwood Farms in Byron Center , crumbled
  • 4 ounces provolone, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 6 T thinly sliced fresh basil or 3 T dried
  • 6 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced*
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 c half and half
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 T butter, melted

Line bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish completely with 1 layer of bread, cutting some slices to fit. Arrange half of prosciutto evenly over bread. Sprinkle half of goat cheese and half of provolone over. Sprinkle with half of green onions and half of basil. Top with second layer of bread. Layer remaining prosciutto, goat cheese, provolone, green onions, and basil atop bread. Cut remaining bread into 1/4-inch cubes. Sprinkle over top.

Whisk eggs, milk, mustard, and salt in bowl. Season with pepper. Pour egg mixture over strata; press down on bread with spatula. Drizzle melted butter over strata. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Uncover strata and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake until center is set, about 1 hour. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Place strata under broiler until top is golden, about 30 seconds. Cut into large squares and serve.

*for your meat-eating friends