Chocolate & Zucchini

Chocolate & Zucchini

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

Chocolate-&-Zucchini

I have blogged in the past about my garden success and failures, but zucchini is a standby that proliferates in any garden (ours included).  A few years ago, I stumbled across the aptly named blog chocolateandzucchini. And since I have been making this cake from her blog & it never fails to impress.  I have modified the cake slightly, but if you are interested, here is the link to the original recipe and a video in which you can watch the author prepare the recipe in French, no less. Bon Appétit!

 

Chocolate & Zucchini Cake

 

1/2-cup canola oil

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Valrhona)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1-cup (packed) light brown sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tbsp cooled coffee

2 large eggs

1 egg white

2 cups unpeeled grated zucchini, from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini

1-cup good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips

Confectioners’ sugar or melted bittersweet chocolate (optional)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 10-inch pan with butter or oil (I used a 9-inch pan)

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a food processor, process the sugar and butter until creamy (you can also do this by hand, armed with a sturdy spatula). Add the vanilla, coffee granules, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.

3. Reserve a cup of the flour mixture and add the rest to the egg mixture. Mix until just combined; the batter will be thick.

4. Add the zucchini and chocolate chips to the reserved flour mixture and toss to coat. Fold into the batter and blend with a wooden spoon—don’t over mix. Pour into the prepared cake pan and level the surface with a spatula.

5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen the cake, and unclasp the sides of the pan. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, glaze with melted chocolate, or leave plain.  This cake is also good with plain Greek yogurt.

How John Muir is Revolutionizing the Farm-to-Table Food Movement

I have long been a fan of Dan Barber, chef of New York’s pioneering farm-to-table restaurant Blue Hill.  He has long been a champion of the local, organic food movement. But now he thinks it’s time for the movement to grow up.  Read the article to gain an understanding of how our current food system came to be, and what we need to do to get it back on track.

The most meaningful paragraph in this article, for me is:

“So what is the role of the chef? It’s to help with the hitching. To show there is pleasure, good taste, and environmental sustainability in fostering connections. After all, that’s what cuisine is: the way a region’s unique ecological relationships, and place-specific advantages and challenges, become manifested through delicious food.”

The Beauty of Summer Eating

by Sherri Meyer, Corporate Dietitian

Peaches

Now that summer has officially arrived, eating has become pretty simplistic (and delicious). I welcomed the morning with juicy blueberries & farm fresh eggs. My lunch consisted of cucumbers & heirloom tomatoes (courtesy of the Lynchburg Farmer’s Market) splashed with a little balsamic vinegar & olive oil.  Most dinners include grilled summer squash and my favorite, sockeye salmon.  The beauty of summer is that dinners are simply delicious, with the emphasis on simple. No need for fancy embellishments.  Of course, all of this fresh, local food would not be possible without our fantastic farmer’s market.  If you are not a regular customer of a market I urge you make a trip to your own local market (wherever that may be).  I must admit my heart beats a little faster when I arrive at the Saturday morning Farmer’s market and take in the view of the produce paradise.  Check out this recipe that features peaches & tomatoes, two summer market stars.

 

Fresh Grilled Peach Salsa