Saturday, June 25, 2022

ChezCindy: Zucchini Banana Bread



This mash-up of zucchini and banana came by way of using what I had available.  I had one sad looking banana and 1 zucchini, each in the condition of use it or throw it out.  I decided to make zucchini banana bread.  Something I have never thought to do.  If I did an internet search, most likely I would find that such a recipe exists.  However, I simply decided to use my tried-and-true zucchini bread recipe I have used since I was very young.  I'm not sure when I hand-wrote out the recipe card, but it is still my go-to for zucchini bread.  

I had more zucchini than banana, so the bread is more of a standard zucchini bread, with just a bit of banana as a background flavor.  From the recipe card, you can see the original measure of zucchini is 2 cups.  I swapped out 1/2 cup for banana in this new recipe.  Both resulting breads are wonderful.  I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the addition of banana.  Use what you have to equal a 2-cup measure.   

Zucchini Banana Bread
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup mashed banana 
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Makes 2 loaves 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 2 loaf pans, 8"x4" in size, by lightly spraying each with baking oil spray.  Set aside.

To make this recipe, use an electric stand mixer or a hand mixer.  I used a fork and a spatula.   

Working with a large size mixing bowl, add the eggs and the oil to the bowl, mixing to combine thoroughly.  Add in the sugar, grated zucchini, mashed banana and vanilla, mixing to combine.  In a separate medium size bowl, add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon, whisking to combine.  Transfer the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Folding together until just combined.  

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pans.  Place the pans into the preheated oven, baking for 55-60 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, cooling in the pans for 10 minutes.  Remove the bread from the pans to cool on a rack. 

Sunday, June 12, 2022

ChezCindy: Carrot-top Parsley Pesto with Parmesan


It was not new to my awareness that carrot-top leaves are edible.  I don't think I had even eaten them in a restaurant or certainly had not used the leaves in my own cooking.  Their gorgeous green color and feathery fern-like leaves are attractive to the eye but sadly discarded.  I was at the farmer's market and kept seeing carrots greens peeking out of the tops of other customer's market bags.  This brought inspiration that I should make something with carrot leaves.  Carrot-top pesto came to mind and what an awakening that was.   

Pesto most commonly is thought of as being made with basil leaves.  Actually, the word pesto means to pound as traditionally made with a mortar and pestle.  Of course, we now have the convenience of using a food processor.   Pesto can be made from many types of herbs and leaves such as kale and spinach pesto, garlic scape pesto, and even sundried tomato basil pesto.  

In this recipe I use carrot leaves and parsley leaves which pair together very well.  I encourage you to taste the carrot leaves on their own in comparison to the parsley leaves.  Both are bitter, with the parsley leaves having a stronger punch than the carrot leaves.  Using them together in a standard recipe in place of basil results in a delicious flavorful pesto.  Also not surprising is the nutritional value of carrot-top leaves.  They are off-the-chart in vitamin A just like the carrots themselves, and high in potassium. 

Other uses for carrot-top leaves are to sauté carrots slices in olive oil adding chopped carrot leaves at the end of the cooking time finishing with a sprinkling of kosher salt or adding chopped carrot leaves to homemade soup as you would parsley leaves.  


Carrot-top Parsley Pesto with Parmesan
1 cup carrot-top leaves from 1 bunch of carrots, well cleaned and dried
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup roasted cashews, unsalted or lightly salted
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Working with a food processor, add the carrot leaves and the parsley leaves, along with the clove of garlic to the processor bowl.  Pulse the contents until coarsely ground.  Add in the cashews, pulsing until mostly combined.  Add in half of the olive oil, pulsing to begin to make a sauce.  Add in the remaining oil and the salt, processing until blended.  Add in the Parmesan cheese, pulsing until just combined, not over-processing. 

Serve with pasta or drizzled over crostini toasts.  Also, delicious folded into scramble eggs or an omelet.  

Summer Vegetable Tart with Carrot-top Pesto  

Make this tart using the recipe link above, substituting the carrot-top parsley pesto for the basil pesto.  

Thursday, June 2, 2022

ChezCindy: French Potato Salad with Broccoli


French potato salads are made with a mustard vinaigrette and lots of fresh herbs to dress waxy new potatoes.  Most American potato salads are made with a mayonnaise base as the dressing.  Both are delicious.  The French potato salad is best served at room temperature, making it perfect for an outdoor picnic gathering with no worries of the mayonnaise getting too warm for safe serving temperature.  In this recipe, I have taken a twist on tradition by adding steamed broccoli.  If broccoli is not for you but like the idea of adding a vegetable, steamed green beans would be more traditional.  

For a quick and easy method to steam the added vegetables, click here to learn that process. 

I used my standard Chez Cindy vinaigrette recipe using white wine vinegar and olive oil, with Dijon mustard and honey.   


French Potato Salad with Broccoli
1 pound bite-size red-skin and new potatoes
3 cups broccoli florets, steamed
1 small shallot, minced
3 tablespoons fresh herbs (tarragon, parsley, chives)
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons Chez Cindy vinaigrette

Scrub the potatoes well, leaving the skins on.  Place the whole potatoes into a saucepan, filling the pan with cold water to cover the potatoes by 1/2-inch.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat cooking the potatoes until they are just tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.  Drain and allow to cool.  

Steam the broccoli, cool to room temperature.  Tear the florets into small bite-size pieces.  Mince the shallot.  Tear or rough chop the fresh herbs.  Make the vinaigrette.  

Putting it all together:  Place the cooked potatoes and the broccoli into a medium size bowl.  Add in the minced shallot, fresh herbs, and salt, gently tossing all together.  Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture, tossing gently to coat the potatoes, broccoli and herbs.  The potato salad can be served immediately or kept at room temperature for use within 1-2 hours. 

Recipe can be doubled if desired.