Chocolate Zucchini “Cupcakes”

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Zucchini in cupcakes never tasted so YUM!

To keep up with the cupcake rage, I adapted my chocolate zucchini bread recipe with artisan spelt and sweet rice flours topped with non-dairy coconut whip.

Although I try to avoid baking with refined sugars, I found that flavor is sacrificed if using less sugar or substituting with honey or maple syrup. Instead try unrefined coconut sugar which adds a deeper molasses taste and see what you think.

The nuetral taste of grapeseed oil lets the nut oil shine through. Of course, if you don’t like nuts or need a nut-free recipe, omit walnuts and walnut oil and increase grapeseed oil by 1/4 cup.

3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup walnut oil
2 1/2 cups zucchini, grated
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups spelt flour
1 cup sweet white rice flour
3/4 cup pure coco powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking power
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dark chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins by brushing surface with extra grapeseed oil and filling tins with large paper baking cups.

Sift flours and set aside. In a stand up mixer add eggs and sugar and beat with whip attachment until thick and light yellow.  Add oils and vanilla. Change to paddle attachment and add zucchini. Then add flours, coco powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in batches until consistency is like cake batter.  Remove bowl from mixer and add walnuts and chocolate morsels with spatula. Fill baking cups 3/4 full and bake 15 – 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool.

“Frost” cupcakes with sweetened whipped coconut cream and finish with sifted coco powder on top.

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Creamy Zucchini Risotto

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Cheese is the accent and not the main event to this garden fresh risotto.

Aborio is short grain Italian style rice, naturally gluten free. Serve as a summer main meal with grilled zucchini on the side.

It’s also the perfect accompaniment for seared scallops or grilled shrimp off the BBQ. If desired, top with lemon zest for an extra fresh punch of flavor.

1 cup aborio rice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups zucchini grated
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth, warmed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup shredded parmesan or romano cheese

In a large saute pan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onion begins to soften. Add rice and saute for 2 minutes longer until rice is thoroughly coated. Add 1 cup zucchini and 1 cup broth and keep stirring until liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring adding 2 more cups broth, 1 cup at a time.

Add last cup of shredded zucchini, basil and wine (optional) or 1/2 cup water until liquid is absorbed. Rice should be soft and creamy. Add 1/2 cup water if more liquid is needed and saute until fully absorbed. Remove from heat, add cheese and sprinkle with more chopped fresh basil and lemon zest if desired. Serve.

 

Zucchini Carpaccio

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A fresh, raw salad when summer zucchini abounds in gardens and farmer’s markets.

Dressed with simple ingredients, this is the easiest side dish to make in the heat of summer.

Size of zucchini will vary, so you determine ingredient amounts. Toss with parmesan cheese shavings and toasted pignoli nuts if desired. Use a mandoline to create the thinest of slices.

1 large zucchini
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt, black and cayenne pepper
extra virgin olive oil
a few slices of lemon, minced
1 bunch basil, chopped
cherry tomatoes, quartered

Lay slices flat on a plate and squeeze lemon juice on top. Season with salt and both peppers to taste.  Drizzle your best olive oil over the slices and arrange on plates. Top with lemon, basil and tomatoes.  Serve.

Zucchini “Lasgna” Roll-Up

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Garden fresh Italian. One rollup makes a great appy, two make a meal!

When zucchini is bursting out of the garden or a nearby farm stand mid summer, make these pasta-less lasagna roll-ups.

It’s worth seeking out fresh sheep ricotta at your local farmer’s market. Heirloom tomatoes brings this dish up several notches from delish to fabulous!

1 large 0r 2 medium  zucchinis
granulated garlic powder
extra virgin olive oil
2 cups ricotta
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
3-4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1/8 teaspoon, nutmeg, freshly grated
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1-3 heirloom tomatoes, diced
aged balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Heat grill and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice zucchini 1/4 inch lengthwise. Brush with olive oil on both sides and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Place on hot grill and do not move to form grill marks. Flip after approximately 2 minutes and grill on the other side for 1 more minute. Remove and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix ricotta with parsley, 2 Tablespoons basil, lemon zest, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Place heaping spoonfuls of ricotta on each zucchini slice making sure that the grill marks are on the bottom. Roll up to show grill marks.  Place in a greased oven proof  glass baking dish and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until ricotta filling is hot throughout.

Place diced heirloom tomatoes in individual shallow bowls and drizzle with vinegar and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Place a zucchini roll-up on top of the tomatoes and sprinkle the with chopped basil. Serve.