Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chopped Salad and Zucchini Bread

It’s been too long since I’ve posted – the summer is just flying by. Below are two recipes: one is with year round stand bys dressed up as a light and bright cold salad and the other is a tasty exotic zucchini bread full of flavor.

Chopped Ruby Red Salad with Tarragon and Roasted Garlic Dressing
Recipe by Julie

Beets, carrots and kale are packed full of vitamins when eaten raw which is best done in the summer time. This salad can be made lightly steamed and then chopped in the winter. Also, these veggies together can be dressed up in a million different ways. Another version was created with the help of my friend Rylyn (age 5); we like to call it Sunset Salad. Toss the beets and carrots with rosemary salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil.

1 bunch carrots (~ ¾ lb)
1 bunch beets (~ 1 lb)
1 bunch dino kale
¾ tsp sea salt, divided
2 large garlic cloves
3 tsp tarragon, chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover the unpeeled garlic cloves in olive oil, place on a baking sheet in the oven about 10 minutes. The cloves are ready when they are fragrant, golden, and soft to the touch.

2. Peel and grate the carrots and beets using a box grater or a food processor.

3. Remove the midribs from the kale leaves. You can either cut them out with a knife or place your thumb and forefinger on either side of the midrib on the cut side, hold the cut tip with your other hand and strip the leaf away from the midrib by running your fingers down its length. Stack the leaves together, roll them into a cigar and cut thin strips across the short length.

4. Place the cut kale into a bowl with ¼ tsp salt and begin massaging the kale, grab handfuls and release. Doing this with the salt helps break down the kale and will make it more palatable raw and easier to digest. Continue until the kale looks wet and wilted (see picture).

5. Combine the carrots and beets with the kale.

6. Peel the roasted garlic cloves and place them in a blender.with the tarragon, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, remaining sea salt, and some pepper.

7. Pour the dressing over the vegetable mixture and toss. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve at room temperature or cold. This salad keeps well.

My Special Zucchini Bread
Recipe by

Play around with the optional treats. I skipped the walnuts and ginger and added the poppy seeds, lemon zest, and curry powder. The curry flavor is subtle and brings a nice richness to the bread.

1/2 cups chopped walnuts, plus a few to sprinkle on top
1/3 cup poppy seeds (optional)
zest of two lemons (optional)
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fine grain natural cane sugar or brown sugar, lightly packed
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium), skins on, squeeze some of the
moisture out and then fluff it up again before using

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon curry powder (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter two loaf pans, dust them with a bit of flour and set aside. Alternately, you can line the pans with a sheet of parchment. If you leave a couple inches hanging over the pan, it makes for easy removal after baking. Just grab the parchment "handles" and lift the zucchini bread right out.

In a small bowl combine the walnuts, poppy seeds, lemon zest, and ginger. Set aside. In a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again until mixture comes together and is no longer crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Stir in the vanilla and then the zucchini (low speed if you are using a mixer).

In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and curry powder. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring between each addition.

By hand, fold in the walnut, poppy seed, lemon zest, and crystalized ginger mixture. Save a bit of this to sprinkle on the tops of the zucchini loaves before baking for a bit of texture. Avoid over mixing the batter, it should be thick and moist, not unlike a butter cream frosting.

Divide the batter equally between the two loaf pans. Make sure it is level in the pans, by running a spatula over the top of each loaf. Bake for about 40-45 minutes on a middle oven rack. I like to under bake my zucchini bread ever so slightly to ensure it stays moist. Keep in mind it will continue to cook even after it is removed from the oven as it is cooling. Remove from the oven and cool the zucchini bread in pan for about ten minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling - if you leave them in their pans, they will get sweaty and moist (not in a good way) as they cool.

Makes 2 loaves.

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