Cheesy Cornmeal Waffles with Spicy Honey

Smoked Gruyere Cornmeal Waffles with Spicy Honey Smoked Gruyere Cornmeal Waffles
Parks and Recreation was one of our favorite shows of all time.  We were sad to see it end a few weeks ago and had to cook something special for the finale.  I debated quite a lot about what to cook.  I could’ve done a plain hamburger inspired by the episode where Ron and Chris battle it out in a food war. We thought about doing bacon wrapped shrimp served with all the bacon and eggs the store had to offer, but I figured that might be a tad wasteful. And so we settled on waffles, as Leslie Knope would’ve wanted.  I decided to do a savory waffle with a side of bacon and plenty of melted butter and Mike’s Hot Honey on top.  Mike’s makes some amazingly spicy and delicious honey that we love putting on our pizza crusts and it’s really good on so many things like buffalo wings or smoked sausages, but it was especially good on top of this cheesy waffle!

Smoked Gruyere Cornmeal Waffles and Spicy Honey

 

Cheesy Cornmeal Waffles with Hot Honey

  • Servings: about 8 Belgian waffles
  • Print

 

  • 1 cup of self rising flour
  • 1 cup of all purpose cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil

Get your waffle iron heating up.  In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients along with the cheese and scallions.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, water and oil until well blended.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat with a fork until no dry parts remain.  Cook in a waffle iron and keep warm in a 200 degree oven until you’re finished cooking all the waffles.  Serve with hot honey, regular syrup, sweet bbq sauce, or anything you can think of. Hey, why not a fried egg on top?! And make sure you have plenty of crispy bacon alongside.  Enjoy!

 

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Savory Vegetable Souffles – Meatless Mondays Never Tasted So Good

Brussels Sprout and Cheddar Souffle Brussels Sprouts and Cheddar Souffle
Happy Monday After Daylight Savings Time!  This will be a hard week for many, getting used to the time change.  I love it once the adjustment takes place because I LOVE that it stays light outside till nearly 8:30 in the spring and nearly 10 in the summer.  We get to play later (it seems) and it’s important to not feel so closed in after months of the cold, dark evenings of winter.

I’ve been in a new, happy rut, lately.  On most Mondays lately, I’ve been making a vegetable souffle.  I hardly ever have my act together for dinner on Monday and I usually haven’t been to the store for the week (like today), but I nearly always have some sort of leftover veg in the fridge and (usually) four eggs.  Voila – this beautiful souffle, big enough for all of us to eat more than a big portion.  I’d say it would serve 4 as a side dish or 2.5 (like us) as a main. And it’s so versatile!Brussels Sprouts Souffle
The pics above were made with Brussels sprouts and cheddar and the pics below were spinach and gruyere.  I’ve done leftover broccoli with white cheddar, leek, and asparagus, too!  If you have eggs, cheese and some leftover vegetables, you have a meal!  And a really good one.  Every time I have made this, Olive has said, “this is a good meal, Mama.” Good enough for me!  It’s a wonderful vehicle for getting more vegetables into your little people, as well.
Spinach and Parmesan Souffle

Savory Vegetable Souffles

  • Servings: 4-6 as a side
  • Print

1/3 cup grated parmesan or fine bread crumbs
2 cups cooked vegetables, finely chopped.  Use boiled brussels sprouts, spinach, leeks, asparagus, kale, whatever floats your boat!
5 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
4 eggs, room temp and separated
1/2 cup grated hard cheese – cheddar, gruyere, gouda, romano, parm, etc

Heat the oven to 375F. Butter a 6-cup souffle dish or 6 one cup ramekins, if you want everyone to have a nice, neat side dish of their very own.  Coat the sides of the dish with cheese or breadcrumbs. Cook your vegetable in salted boiling water until tender.  Drain and squeeze out as much moisture as you can.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt the 1/4 cup butter over medium heat, stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.  Whisk in the milk and cook until the sauce has thickened, whisking the entire time.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add a splash more milk if it gets too thick (you want a thick gravy consistency).  Set aside off the heat.  Into your egg yolks, whisk in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream sauce to warm them and then return them to the rest of the sauce and whisk to incorporate.  Stir in the cheese and when it’s melted, fold in the vegetables.

With a mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff.  Stir a quarter of them into the souffle base and then fold in the remainder until no white streaks show.  Bake souffles on a rimmed baking sheet in the middle of the oven until risen and golden, 30-35 minutes.  The middle will be slightly wobbly if you’ve made it in one large dish.  Serve immediately!

*recipe adapted from The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone cookbook, which is completely fantastic so far.  Hasn’t steered us wrong, yet!

 

 

 

Spinach and Parmesan Souffles

Bacon and Blue Cheese Scones

bacon blue cheese scones
I’ve noticed a trend.  Every time it’s freezing, lately, snowing in particular, I post a blog entry.  I also bake something.  Today I made a banana chocolate chip bread with Olive and after putting her down for her “quiet” time (hardly ever quiet, but at least she stays in there), I came to write right away before the littler one wakes up from her nap.  Everything happens in thirty-minute windows, lately.  Feedings, naps, playtimes, snacks, lunch, cleanup, laundry folding, getting dressed, errands – it all goes like clockwork.

I remember this feeling of monotony and spinning my wheels when Olive was a baby.  I don’t know what it is about the infant phase – it is all at once sweet, boring, thrilling, gross, blissful and extremely isolating.  I think the feelings of isolation come from the cabin fever.  It’s hard to get a baby ready to go out and do something outside the home when you know you’ll have to do something baby related in another hour.  I love this phase but I am always looking forward to getting out of the house more and feeling productive.  January is the antithesis of productive as far as my photography business goes.  No hustle and bustle of bridal and engagement shoots, yet.  Everything is dead, gray and cold.  And maybe that’s okay.  It’s a big, gigantic pause button and one that I (usually) am glad to press each year.  But I’m a people-person.  And not just a little-people person.  I love interacting with grown-ups and perhaps that’s the catharsis of this blog.  It was born the year my first daughter was born and it kept me connected to all of you who love cooking just as much as I do.  I hope one day to have a cooking class.  How grand would that be?!  But the time isn’t right, yet.  For now, I’ll write about scones and look forward to hearing from you all.  And go feed the baby in another thirty minutes…

I improvised this lovely recipe from Annie’s Eats because I had neither scallions or cheddar and only about half the bacon her recipe called for.  I first made her original recipe when I went on a road trip and they were just wonderful.  My altered version was also great and amazing as a little side treat with a cup of soup.  Especially on a day like today, there’s nothing quite like the smell of bacon coming from the oven.  And with a bit of cold butter melting on top of one of these babies, you’ll be set.

Bacon and Blue Cheese Scones

Bacon and Blue Cheese Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. ground black pepper
8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk (plus up to ½ cup extra, if needed)

For the egg wash:
1 large egg
2 tbsp. water

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and then cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork until broken down and the butter resembles crumbly sand.  Fold in the blue cheese and bacon and then stir in the buttermilk.  Add a little extra to form a sticky dough if it seems too dry.  Turn out onto a floured work space and form into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into squares or circles or daisies or whatever you prefer and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Brush with egg wash.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with cold butter.

Baked Chilaquiles – an amazing breakfast on a beach in Mexico or in your own kitchen

chilaquiles with egg
I remember this one year, my friend Cali, actually paid me to go to Acapulco, Mexico and shoot her wedding.  We had moments like this:IMG_8371bridegroom
It was also the hottest I’ve ever been in my life, so I went ahead and cashed her check. 🙂  However, there were extremely enjoyable moments, and one of them was having chilaquiles for breakfast, along with various fresh-squeezed juices.  I had never had chilaquiles before (pronounced: chee-lay-quee-les) and it was a bit of a revelation.  Tortilla chips softened with a rich tomato or chili or black bean sauce, mixed with tender bits of chicken and plenty of cheese.  This is actually a pretty typical breakfast for Mexico.  That may be ignorant of me to say, as I’m sure they have cereal, too, but when we got to go back with Cali and Alex to visit  Alex’s home in Mexico City a few years later, (um, yeah, we’re lucky to know them) it was pretty common to see things we’d associate with dinner, served for breakfast.  Like enchiladas or tostadas.  Not everything had to have an egg on it like we feel compelled to do, here.  Case in point: our version of chilaquiles sure enough had eggs on it.  However, it’s a delicious addition!  Matt made us this breakfast and I shot the picture, so once again, this is a true Family Meal kinda post.  We all contribute in different ways throughout the week and I’m always so happy when he has a plan for Saturday breakfast!

chilaquiles topped with scrambled eggs

chilaquiles
Baked Chilaquiles*
serves 6

10 oz thick tortilla chips
1 – 28 oz can whole tomatoes, drained
3 serrano peppers, seeded and roasted
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 1/2  cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt to taste,about 1/2 teaspoon
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
5 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup shredded cheese, such as Monterey Jack or Mexican Chihuahua cheese

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Scoop tortilla chips into 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

In the oven, place seeded serrano peppers, cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast until blistered.  We did this under the broiler.  Take out and let cool.
Coarsely puree tomatoes and serrano peppers in a food processor or blender. Heat oil in large saucepan; add onion and sauté until golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, cook 1 minute, then stir in broth, tomato puree and salt. Heat to boil. Stir in cilantro. Set mixture aside.  In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat and scramble the eggs and a half teaspoon of salt till they’re almost done.  Remove from heat.  Pour the sauce over the chips; coating them evenly with the sauce.  Layer the almost-done scrambled eggs on top of the sauce.  Sprinkle with cheese and bake until lightly browned on top and bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Garnish with extra cilantro and a few extra chips on the side.

*adapted from Rick Bayless’ recipe, Chipotle-Baked Tortilla Casserole

Buffalo Burgers with Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables

Buffalo Burgers
Get your grill heated up this weekend – it’s supposed to be beautiful!  I actually don’t know that for sure, but I’m trying to stay positive.  I made these burgers for us this week after seeing a recipe for lamb burgers.  I couldn’t find ground lamb here and didn’t really want to pay to have some lamb loin ground up so I figured I’d go with something just as lean (the appeal of a lamb burger) and go with buffalo!  We have a very small section in our local grocery store and they have a few pounds of ground buffalo always available.  I know it’s really, really lean, so it can dry out really easily.  The trick is cooking it low and slow, so I’d suggest if you’re grilling, to keep it off the direct flame and give it some extra time.  I love chopped onion in my burgers, so I added some to these and also a little bit of grated Swiss cheese and a couple tablespoons of water – a trick I learned in making the best meatballs ever, that gives the meat that extra tender-juiciness without adding a bunch of fat.  We topped these burgers with sliced avocado, baby bell peppers, pickles and extra cheese – they were really wonderful and still juicy!

I served the burgers with some roasted carrots and potatoes.  I love roasting vegetables with rosemary and just a touch of olive oil, and had I had more root vegetables, I’d have added them right in!  I’ve done this before with beets, turnips and parsnips and I’ve loved them all!

roasted root vegetables

Buffalo Burgers with Roasted Root Vegetables

1 lb ground buffalo
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pepper
2 TBS water

In a large bowl, mix the buffalo and all the other ingredients until well incorporated and form into loose patties.  Salt and pepper both sides and cook on the stovetop over medium heat, or on the grill off direct heat for about 5 minutes per side, or until desired doneness is achieved.  I cooked mine until they were about 135F inside and that gave us a tiny bit of pink in the middle.  I served our burgers on toasted buns with mayo, sliced avocado, sliced baby bell peppers, sliced baby kosher pickles and extra Swiss cheese.  Top however you like!

For the root veggies:

A mix of carrots, potatoes, beets, turnips, etc (about 2-3 each)
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper

Heat your oven to 400F.  On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the chopped vegetables with the olive oil and rosemary and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the veggies start to get a little crispy along the edges.

Buffalo Burgers with Avocado and Swiss

How to Make a Patty Melt – without rye bread!

Patty Melt with Beet Chips
My dear sister in law called me last week and asked my advice for making a patty melt at home.  It occurred to me that I hadn’t actually ever made one, before.  I think Matt did at one point, but I wasn’t involved.  So I gave her my best guess-advice and when we hung up, ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT was eating a patty melt.  So, the next day, I went to the store and bought some ground beef and when I got home, I realized I’d forgotten rye bread.  Honey child, you simply can’t call a sandwich a patty melt if you don’t put it on rye.  It becomes a hamburger sandwich.  No go.  However, we had three loaves of homemade bread at home, already, and I felt it would be batty to go buy a fourth.  So I got creative and put the rye flavor IN the patty by toasting caraway seeds and adding them to the ground beef!  Then I added tons of diced onions and grilled the patties and then melted gooey Swiss all over the bun and patty.  It was actually perfect.  Tasted exactly like a patty melt on rye!

I highly recommend you try this method.  Now, it might be easier for you to go buy a loaf of rye than it would for you to hunt through your spice drawers and find caraway seeds, which I’m sure you’ve only used maybe once or never.  If you go that route, you can still follow my recipe – just leave the seeds out of the beef!  Cheers to you all – I’m super hungry, now.
Patty Melt

Homemade Patty Melt
makes four patty melts

1 lb ground beef (85/15 is a good fat ratio for flavor)
1/2 cup sweet yellow onion, diced small
1 TBS caraway seeds, toasted and crushed
salt and pepper for seasoning
vegetable oil for the griddle
8 slices Swiss cheese
8 slices toasted bread – any kind, I used a sweet homemade white bread, which will be blogged about later this week – so good

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, onion and caraway seeds together until well mixed.  Form four patties from the meat and set aside.  Season both sides of the patties with kosher salt and pepper.

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat and brush with vegetable oil.  Cook the patties about 5-8 minutes on each side.  Lay a slice of Swiss cheese on top of each patty and place a lid over the patty until the cheese melts all around it.  Toast the bread in a toaster, then lay a slice of cheese on the bread, top with a patty and the other slice of bread.  To gild the lily, melt a tablespoon of butter in a non-stick skillet and toast the bread again on each side.  This further melts the cheese slices and gives everything that super awesome butter flavor.

Beet Chips (I served them on the side and got a request for the recipe, so here you go)

4 large beets, peeled and rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 425F.  Slice the beets about 1/8th of an inch thick – if you’re knife skills are lacking, use a mandoline (just watch out for your knuckles). Toss in a large bowl with olive oil and then spread them out on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes and start checking them.  You’ll need to remove the smaller ones so they won’t burn and leave the bigger ones in so they won’t just be soggy.  Let them cool for about 5 minutes before serving!

Wright’s Smoked Sausage and Leek Orecchiette

sausage and leek pasta
I’m here to proclaim my love for a particular brand of sausage.  No one is paying me, I’m just that fanatic about it.  If you try it, you will feel the same way.  Wright’s has been making amazing pork products for years.  We first fell in love with their peppered, thick-cut bacon a few years back when our friend, John, made these amazing bacon wrapped jalapenos for a company party and said, “The secret is Wright’s!”  Just a couple months ago we noticed their line of ground sausage.  They have a regular, hot and spicy, sage and smoked.  The smoked is astoundingly good.  I can’t adequately describe it so I’ll just say – go buy it and put it in everything from eggs, to pizza to pasta to your sausage gravy and you will not only gain at least ten pounds at the end of your quest, but you will be happier.  At least that’s how it happened to me.

I created this little pasta dish with ground smokey sausage, sauteed leeks and crushed red pepper.  A pretty classic combination but with that smokey sausage, it takes it to a new level.  The orecchiette pasta was perfect for holding little bits of sausage and leek – this is a fast dinner that is completely satisfying and easy to throw together after work.  After you try this sausage, you will keep one on hand at all times.

leek and sausage pasta

Smokey Sausage and Leek Orecchiette
serves 4-6

8 oz orecchiette pasta, or any short and broad pasta
2 medium sized leeks, cleaned, halved and chopped into 1/4″ strips (about 2 cups of leeks)
8 oz Wright’s Smoked Sausage
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup leftover pasta water after boiling
crushed red pepper flakes

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. (More salt than you think – for a gallon pot, I’d say at least 1/4 cup of salt.  I know – the pasta is flavored by it, it doesn’t absorb it all.  Your pasta will be good enough to eat plain.) Add the pasta and cook to the package directions – usually 12-15 minutes until al dente.  While the pasta water is coming to a boil and while the pasta cooks, cook the sausage, leaving in moderate sized chunks, until cooked through.  Drain the sausage on paper towels and drain off all but a tablespoon of the grease and saute the leeks until  starting to color on the edges.  Then, add a splash of water, cover, and let steam for 10 minutes until soft.
Add the cooked pasta to the leeks and fold in the sausage.  Add the cheddar cheese and stir till melted.  Then add the 1/2 cup of pasta water and stir until fully incorporated and everything is smooth (pasta water is an instant sauce-maker for pasta.)  Garnish with crushed red pepper and serve!  The baby ate this UP.

 

Superbowl Food – Nacho Grits!

nacho grits

 

Super Bowl?  Super bowl!  Super good idea in a bowl.  Nacho grits? Not yo grits!  I’m done.

You take all the things you love about nachos and you cook a big pot of grits (which are just liquid corn chips if you think about it) and you put out bowls and let people top their grits with whatever combination they love the most!  Provide chips, too, because what jerk makes people crave nachos and then doesn’t have that as an option?  Not this gal.  After making all the toppings, I REALLY wanted super-cheesy nachos!  But the nacho grits was an awesome idea, so we had to create it.  And it was tremendously filling and amazing.

For my bowl, I went with chorizo, black olive, scallion, shredded asadero cheese, Ro-tel, cilantro and Mexican crema.  I incorporated cheese and garlic into the grits, so they already had that “nacho cheese” flavor.  Really quite delicious!  I’d recommend very small bowls for this magical side dish at the big game because it will fill your guests up very quickly!

nacho grit spread

 

Click here to see my recipe for grits and let your imagination run wild with all your favorite nacho toppings!

Cheesy Cauliflower and Rice Bake

Cheesy Cauliflower & Rice Bake
I always look for interesting sides to put with lunch and dinner every day.  It has been a challenge for me as the typical American cook to think of vegetables as a main component to meals.  For most of us, vegetables are exactly as we call them – a side dish (a side thought!) and we obligingly scrounge a bag of vegetables from the freezer to make our meals “complete” when we very rarely enjoy those components and most of them, if we are honest, get put in a leftover container and saved until we no longer have guilt about throwing them away.

Maybe this is just me.  I’ve wanted and tried this year to think of vegetables as the main component and meats and carbs as a side dish.  To balance the plate in the opposite direction.  This. Is. Hard.  I will be the first to admit that I know how to cook meats, starches and carbs MUCH better than I know how to cook a vegetable.  But I’m trying!  And I’ve looked to cuisines that tend to focus on vegetables as main dishes for inspiration.  Indian cuisine is wonderful for this approach, but even I tire of the cumin/cardamom/curry combination of flavors pretty quick.  There needs to be a balance to the approach of getting more vegetables on your dinner plate, and so for me, I’m taking winter as a wonderful excuse to make some slightly more indulgent and comforting vegetable dishes to get me in the habit of seeing them as the star of the show, instead of a side act.

Speaking of winter: I am in love with a new cookbook.  Well, I suppose it isn’t exactly new, but it’s new to me, and it’s called Homemade Winter by Yvette Van Boven.  I absolutely love when a cookbook has recipes listed by seasonal availability.  This cookbook is ALL about winter – sure, winter in Holland, but STILL!  Most winter vegetables in this hemisphere are available and relatively fresh no matter where you reside, and so this cookbook has introduced me to a season of cooking that has previously been nothing but soups and stews and squash.  Goodness, how many times can I eat squash?!

Enter: cauliflower and rice baked with swiss into a creamy but not-too-heavy dish.  I made this yesterday for our lunch and it was the main component.  In her cookbook, Yvette calls it a risotto, but I didn’t have arborio rice and so I made it with what I had – plain ol’ white, short-grain rice – and it worked beautifully.  I love a recipe that is accessible and works, no matter what you have on hand.  A lot of home cooks don’t have arborio in the pantry, yet most people have regular white rice!  The only splurge for this dish was some good Comte cheese, but I believe it could be just as flavorful with nearly any cheese you have in the fridge.

We loved it – it was warm, filling and satisfying as a main dish and perfect for a freezing day like today.  In fact, I turned the leftovers into cauliflower rice fritters today for lunch and served them along side a white bean soup I will blog about very soon, and it was an awesome lunch!  Hope you all stay warm, today and have an extra cup of coffee with me!

Cauliflower & Rice Bake

Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Bake
serves 6-8 as a side or 4-6 as a main

1 small head cauliflower
1 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup shredded cheese such as Comte, Emmentaler or Gruyere – would work with any hard cheese, though
1 cup of white, short-grain rice
2 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup panko or plain bread crumbs
drizzle of olive oil

Boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes until tender.  Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the oil in a large skillet (12″ at least). Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute more, then add the rice and stir to combine.  Saute all this for another 2 minutes or so.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in the cauliflower and cheese and cover the skillet with a lid and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until all liquid has absorbed.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before uncovering.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs and drizzle the top with olive oil and bake until the breadcrumbs are toasted, or just stick it under the broiler for 5 minutes.

Serve in bowls with lots of cracked pepper!

Zucchini Bruschetta – Hold Off on Cardigans a Little Longer…

Zucchini Bruschetta detail

The summer seems to be winding down, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we had 100 degree days well into October.  I’m getting in that cozy fall mood, already, though, and it’s dangerous because I want to wear cardigans and listen to jazz and eat pumpkin flavored things and it’s still 98 and muggy outside.  Sometimes if the summer goes on a little too long, I start protesting by wearing my sweaters, regardless of the temp.  I consider it my adult fussypants-ness.  Everyone’s got a cross to bear – mine is shorts-weather.

This recipe keeps me mildly okay with the fact that it’s still summer.  It’s so fresh and happy and has such bright, bold flavors and colors that it makes the perfect appetizer when your friends are keeping you company in the kitchen as you finish roasting the pig…or whatever it is you cook for your friends.  This is also a great way to use up the only thing you got to grow in your garden, this year.  What is it about zucchini?  Why does it:
1. Always grow
2. Grows as big as a Great Dane
3. Give you more yield than any one family could ever consume?

Zucchini gives false hope.  “Hey, you can grow me!  Now let’s see how you do with carrots!  Go on!  I want to see you try!  Loser.”

Or that’s how my zucchini plant makes ME feel…

zucchini bruschetta appetizers

Zucchini and Olive Bruschetta*
serves 6-8 appetizer sized portions

1 baguette, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 tbs olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 small zucchini (about 12 ounces)
1 large avocado (ripe, duh)
zest and juice from one lemon
12 large mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup toasted almonds or any nut, really
1/3 cup chopped catamala olives, or whatever floats your boat
2 ounces pecorino romano, parmesan or other firm cheese you enjoy

Heat oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.  Slice zucchini lengthwise into 1/3” slices and then stack the slices and cut into 1/3 “ matchsticks lengthwise. Once all the zucchini are sliced, cut them lengthwise into 1” pieces.

Place the zucchini in a colander and toss with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and set aside to drain for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, brush the bread on both sides with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crusty and brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn once halfway through to toast evenly. Remove and cool.

Peel and pit avocado then cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium bowl and toss with lemon juice and zest. Roughly chop mint leaves and add to avocados.

Line a large plate with paper towels and spread out salted zucchini. Lay another layer of paper towels on top and pat off excess moisture. Add to the avocado bowl along with the almonds and olives and mix thoroughly. Taste and adjust salt to your liking.

Top each crostini with a heaping spoonful of the zucchini mixture. Drizzle over olive oil and fresh cracked pepper. Using a peeler thinly shave cheese and top each crostini with a few slices and serve.

*recipe adapted from aidamollenkamp.com