Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gigi's Chocolate Zucchini Cake

When we were kids, our mom used to grow zucchini in the back yard, and in the summer we had tons and tons of zucchini to eat. This recipe is an updated version of our Grandmother's Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Moist, tender, and freezes beautifully. You can also bake this in a 9" x 13" cake pan and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Makes 1 cake  in a 9" x 13" x 2" pan or
2 standard loaf pans

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1  teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini (packed)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly grease the pan with either butter or vegetable oil.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and soda, spices, salt and cocoa powder.  Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. (2 mins)
4. Add vegetable oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix till well blended.
5. Add in dry ingredients, blend lightly but thoroughly.
6. Add zucchini, chocolate chips and pecans, stir in manually just until incorporated.
7. Pour into prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 - 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Thai-riffic Salad

We absolutely love Thai food, and while it may seem complicated it really is fairly simple if you keep a couple basic principles in mind. The key to all Thai food is the balance between sweet, salty, hot and sour flavours, all you have to do is balance them to your personal tastes.  We created this salad using basic pantry ingredients, no need to go out and buy a lot of unusual ingredients.  This salad is fantastic with grilled steak sliced thinly on top. Serves 4 as a side dish.

For the salad:

1 cup snow peas (sliced thinly)
2 cups bean sprouts
1 red pepper (seeded and sliced thinly)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
2 green onions (sliced)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts 
1 cup of cucumber (in chunks)
1 carrot (peeled and grated)

For the dressing:

3 tablespoons peanut butter
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha or chili sauce
1 lime (rind and juice)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1. Mix the snow peas, bean sprouts, carrot, red pepper, cilantro, mint, green onions, and peanuts in a large bowl.
2. Mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, chili paste and lime juice and zest in a small bowl. Taste and adjust for your taste.
3. Pour the dressing on the salad and toss.