Lemon Zucchini Tea Cake

The garden is winding down a bit, and I’m OK with it. It looks like my zucchini and summer squash harvesting days are over but they were very good to us this year. I am going to go on record today and say that I am all set with making zucchini bread for the year. I even had enough very large zucchinis to make a few Christmas present loaves; I know I know I know it’s way too early to be bringing that up especially since it was like 90 degrees out yesterday. But timing is everything I have everything on hand and I am a get it done kind of person.




So with being “all set” with zucchini bread and sharing my harvest with family and friends I started looking for something a little different. I came across this recipe while perusing my New Hampshire Magazine. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a recipe and thought hey I have all or at least most of the ingredients on hand and decide right then to get everything out and make it or a resemblance of it.


I have way too many lemons in the fridge, I asked my daughter to pick up a couple and she bought a bag UGH now what. Reading through the recipe I had everything except coconut oil. I have yet to get on the coconut “everything” bandwagon. I did have some applesauce in the fridge that I use in my zucchini bread recipe so why not use it in this one in replacement of the coconut oil.


I tend to always break the rule of “no new recipe on guests” I seem to use that rule as more of a guideline and always try new things on people. This time was my co-workers; we were having a birthday graze day for one and I thought there would be other things to eat if this didn’t work out.


This is my first one using their suggested amount of blueberries – we all felt every bite benefited from having a blueberry with it. Delish!!!

Well it worked out very nicely and everyone loved it, my family loved it so much and I had to use up some more of the lemons I’ve already made it again.

Lemon Zucchini Tea Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

¾ cup applesauce – or if you want coconut oil
1 ¾ cups shredded zucchini – drained
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
Handful of fresh blueberries

In a stand mixer or use your hand mixer; combine the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light in color 1-2 minutes. Add the applesauce, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla beat until well combined another 1-2 minutes. Add the zucchini, beat till combined; another minute. Sift the flour, soda, powder and salt. Add this mixture to create the batter and beat till combined; do not over mix.

Grease or spray your pan and add the batter, place in the oven for about 40-45 minutes. Bake until your wooden toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool, loosen the edges and invert the cake onto a wire rack to completely cool. Once cool, spread cream cheese frosting and top with some blueberries

I used 2-8” cake pans but could be made in one larger cake pan; it doesn’t rise like you would think as it is a denser kind of cake.

Cream cheese frosting
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 16-ounce bag of powdered sugar (roughly 4 cups – I buy mine in bulk)

Parmesan-Garlic Hasselback Zucchini

My garden has been pretty good to me this year with plenty of cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini. I really don’t want to talk about my non-existent eggplant or beefsteak tomatoes. Thankfully my cherry and roma tomato plants are picking up a little of the slack; and it also helps my husband has found a way to add tomato to his sandwich that he thinks works out pretty slick; he takes a bite of sandwich and pops a cherry tomato in his mouth and he likes that his sandwich stays dry. I say win win!


Now how to get a win with someone who doesn’t like zucchini; which I can actually relate to; when I was growing up; besides my aversion to everything green; the only way I had zucchini and summer squash was steamed or boiled to death. I was reminded of this when I was talking with my dad last week about how I prepare versus how he prepares squash. I like mine on the al dente side and he likes his well on the mush side. No thank you!

IMG_4452Before this I had only made hasselback potatoes, never even thought about another vegetable before but why not?

IMG_4453Parmesan-Garlic Hasselback Zucchini

1 Tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 tsp finely chopped fresh oregano or ½ tsp dried
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp fresh cracked black pepper
4 small or 2 medium zucchini
⅓ cup shaved Parmesan cheese

IMG_4454Preheat grill or oven
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl
Make crosswise cuts every ½ inch along each zucchini. Make sure to slice almost to the bottom of the squash but not all the way through. I use a round handle of a wooden spoon to help me get the same size cuts. Gently fan the squash to make them a little wider.
Place a shaved piece of Parmesan in each of the cuts and then brush the oil mixture over the top.
Place the squash on a double layer of foil and grill (without turning) until browned and tender about 15 minutes.



Adapted from Eating Well Magazine

Zucchini Chips and Zucchini Boats

If there were an Olympic event for harvesting the most cucumbers from just a few plants or growing the largest cabbage in a raised bed or even who can find and pick the best shaped squash; I think we could be in the running. Despite the drought and thanking my personal “water boy” my gardens are looking pretty damn good!





look how adorable my butternut squash are!!!


Now comes the task of what to do with everything. Yesterday I spent the day baking zucchini bread that will last probably till next year, I actually did have to rotate last years bread to the front. I have also been kind of obsessed with fried Parmesan zucchini chips. I think I have made them at least 3 times in the last month; I also made a couple of zucchini hasselback packets for out on the grill. Last night I decided to use up some items I had in the fridge. When I was going through my freezer I noticed a container of last years processed tomatoes that I made into a nice Italian sausage marinara sauce, and there was a small container of ricotta cheese and yes many squashes to choose from.

The ingredients screamed zucchini boats; ya don’t ask me why that is what they said but I personally think it was because I didn’t want to make a full fledged lasagna out of them so I took the easy way out.


Zucchini Boats

1-2 medium sized zucchini
15 oz. container of ricotta cheese
1 egg
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Handful of fresh parsley chopped
1-2 sweet Italian sausage casings removed; crumbled and cooked
Homemade or jarred marinara sauce
Mozzarella for the top

IMG_4493Zucchini cleaned, trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise


Using a spoon scoop out the flesh making sure to leave enough to hold the cheese and sauce.

Mix the ricotta, egg, parmesan and fresh parsley



Fill the zucchini with the ricotta mixture then cover with marinara sauce. Cover with mozzarella and bake at 350’F for 30-45 minutes.



Zucchini Parmesan Crisps



1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Panko*
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 zucchinis, thinly sliced to 1/4-inch thick rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

In a large bowl, combine Panko and Parmesan; set aside.

Working in batches, dredge zucchini rounds in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat.


Add zucchini rounds to the skillet, 5 or 6 at a time, and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.


Serve immediately.

Grilled Steak and Vegetable Salad

Happy 4th of July weekend – I hope everyone had and is still having a safe fun filled weekend with family and friends.

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I was lucky enough to have 4 days off for the holiday! I played a little golf with my girlfriends; had lunch and relaxed on the patio on Thursday.  Friday I spent some quality time in my garden weeding. With my busy schedule I can’t always give my veggies the love and care they need, so when I do weed I do my very best to get ALL of the weeds out at least 3 times during the summer.  It becomes much more manageable; for me anyway.

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Cucumbers are starting to climb

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Strawberry and Broccoli

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Rosemary, chives, parsley and oregano

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cabbages getting a great start

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While out on the patio the other day I was reading one of my favorite magazines Fine Cooking. Every time I read this wonderful magazine there are at least 3 dishes I want to try and make. Friday was going to be the best day of the weekend and it did not disappoint; it was absolutely gorgeous out. After weeding I made my grocery shopping list for one of the recipes I found and headed out.

I am going to give you a glimpse of how busy and crazy my life truly is. When I left for the store, which is 20-25 minutes away; there were going to be 4 of us for dinner.  While in the 3rd aisle of the store my husband calls to say he invited 6 more people over for dinner on the patio. I just started to laugh. I thought about changing my plan since I have never tried what I wanted to make and wasn’t sure if I could pull it off but what the hell; I got this!

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Taken before I knew how many people were coming

The picture looked amazing and everything was cooked on the grill and thrown; OK probably placed nicely together on a platter. Sounded easy enough to me; and I seem to have no problem breaking rules of no testing recipes on company so why not AND they called it summer on a plate. When better than Fourth of July weekend to try “summer on a plate”

Skirt Steak and Grilled Vegetable Salad

I wasn’t off to a great start, the store didn’t have skirt steak; thankfully they had flank steak – I will prevail


2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

3 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, bruised = crush with the dull side of the knife

3 sprigs of fresh thyme, bruised the same way

1 ½ lb skirt or flank steak, trimmed of excess fat

1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper

Marinate the steak for at least 1 hour on the counter or up to 6 hours in the fridge.

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Combine the oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper in either a baking dish or zip-top bag large enough for the steak.


3 tbs chopped fresh basil

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Veggie Vinaigrette

In a small bowl combine 2 tbs of basil, 1 tbs of oil with the vinegar, parsley and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

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2 red bell peppers, seeded and quartered

2 small yellow summer squash, sliced on a sharp diagonal ½ inch thick

2 small zucchini, sliced the same as the squash

2 ears of corn, husked

1 cup of cherry tomatoes, if you can get the different colored ones; they add a lot to the dish but don’t fret if you can’t

2 scallions thinly sliced on a diagonal.

Rub the peppers, squash, zucchini and corn with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. On a 400-470’ gas or charcoal grill Place veggies on the hot grates turning occasionally until tender with nice grill marks. Roughly 10-15 minutes. Arrange all but the corn on the platter and drizzle with the veggie vinaigrette.

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Remove the steak from the marinade, season generously with salt and pepper, and grill, flipping once, until grill marks are on both sides and is cooked to your liking, best if cooked to medium rare about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes.

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Cut the corn from the cob and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes and remaining olive oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper and gently toss. Spoon half the corn and tomato mixture over the other veggies. Slice the steak against the grain into manageable pieces and arrange over the veggies. Scatter the remaining corn and tomatoes over the steak. Sprinkle with the scallions and kosher salt and serve.

Stuffed Zucchini

I had a wonderful visit from a lifelong friend this weekend.  We met when we were around 11 maybe and even though we do not see or talk with each other often; you know life and miles get in the way; it is like we see each other all the time.  We pick right up where we left off from our last visit.  We spent time going through my garden; she and her boyfriend are new to vegetable gardening. We talked plants and what was working and what wasn’t. They had the dreaded vine borers that I had been plagued with the last few years, this year we did not have that problem thankfully. We have had an abundance of zucchini which inspired tonight’s dinner. I just finished making stuffed zucchini; which I have had and never made before.


While baking is a science and you really need to pay attention to the ingredients and the amounts needed.  Cooking is the complete opposite.  I tend to use the ingredients I like and have on hand.  Stuffing being pretty basic formula; herbs, bread crumbs, a little heat and lots of flavor plus I am a HUGE sausage fan so that is a must.  While I was chopping and sauteing I sent my husband to the garden for some herbs.  I asked for parsley and whatever else he would like.  He came back with thyme, basil and parsley.

Even though I did spend a little time looking online for some ideas in the end I used what I had on hand and made a stuffing that tasted really good.  I can only imagine once the sauce and mozzarella meld with the squash and stuffing it will taste pretty amazing.  I will let you know in about an hour. They were delicious – my husband and I both agree to make them again.



Jalapeno – I removed the seeds with a spoon – we like a little heat.


I used 2 whole zucchini’s. I saved the last one for tomorrow nights dinner


Here is how I made mine – shallot, onion, zucchini, garlic and the herbs were from my garden – I think that is SO cool!

2 Shallot minced – soften in the sausage pan after the sausage is cooked

2 small onions minced – soften along with the shallot

3 Cloves of garlic pressed

3 zucchini halved and seeded – chop and add to stuffing

1 jalapeno – seeded and minced

1 yellow pepper minced

Package of sweet Italian sausage casing removed and crumbled – browned in a pan

½ cup Breadcrumbs

½ cup Parmesan cheese grated

1 jar of spaghetti sauce


Thyme, basil and parsley – all from my garden

Wash and remove the stem and bottom of the zucchini, in a bowl add all the other ingredients and herbs; stir and let meld for a bit.  Preheat the oven at 350’ get out a baking dish.  Fill the zucchini with the yummy stuffing and cover with the sauce and mozzarella.  Cover with tin foil for 40 minutes then uncover and cook another 20 or so till bubbly and browned we do like our squash al dente versus mush so please cook to your likeness – if you need to place under the broiler for a few minutes please do.  I think food tastes better when it looks amazing – the company helps with this too.

Zucchini Bread

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Peppers in the middle on the garden closest to me just terrible

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Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Butternut Squash all looking good!

broccoli - garden 046 Our gardens are doing really well this year for the most part.  The only disappointments are my peppers, both the bell and jalapeno’ peppers are just not growing or producing.  We have had a bumper crop of zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers.  We have been getting a ton of cherry tomatoes and plenty of roma; I fear all of my beef steaks will all turn red at once.  That will be another weekend of processing.  I am not complaining I am actually very grateful we are having a great year.  My favorite, for 20+ years, supermarket is on strike here on the East coast.

Fortunately I was able to harvest some garlic this year, the bulbs are much smaller than I would like but there were around 70 of them; I had planted 120 bulbs in the fall but I will take whatever I can get considering the last two years I lost all of it.

Today was pickling cucumbers and baking zucchini bread day.  I pickled 8 jars of kosher dill and 34 loaves of various sized zucchini bread – I doubled the recipe below 3 times to get the 34 loaves. So far so good!

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I started blogging a little over a year ago; a few of you, since there were just  few of you at the start; may remember me posting this zucchini bread recipe around the same time last year however SO many more people have come on board with me since.  Technology is a pretty amazing tool. I was just looking at some of my blog stats and just today I had 3 people from 3 different countries check me out.  Colombia, Brazil and Italy I find that SUPER cool. Also I had barely started my first paragraph tonight when my daughter faced time me from the Philippines; she is there vacationing with a friend of hers from Japan. The world is getting smaller and smaller.

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Zucchini Bread – bake 350’ 45 minutes or so – depends on what size the pan is.  The recipe easily doubles and freezes well

2 large eggs

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup apple sauce

2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

1 package vanilla pudding mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 cups AP flour

2 cups shredded zucchini that you have squeezed out most of the liquid – I put it all in a colander, place a plate and something heavy on it in the fridge few a couple of hours.  I still had to go to the store so it worked out great.

In a stand mixer add the first 8 ingredients and mix well, add the flour till combined and then add the zucchini.  Spray grease whatever you are using and fill to about ¾ full.  Bake for about 40-50 minutes and let cool for a bit, remove from your dish and wrap or bag.  These freeze really well.  We literally just ate our last loaf from last year just the other day.

If you are using a kitchen-aid with their 5 quart sized bowl you can double this recipe, however it will be very close to the top, so heed my instructions on when to add ingredients, it helps make sure all the ingredients get mixed well.

Thanks for listening

3 ingredient (no fuss) Eggplant

Building our patio a few years back was one of the best idea’s I pushed to get built.  Sometimes my husband needs a little nudge to start a huge project around the house – the carpenters house is never finished. I can’t truly say that as my house is awesome and more than 90% done. We were having a large family gathering and I wanted some place outside for everyone to gather. And even though he had plenty of notice he finished the blue stone patio the day before the event. 

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That’s all water under the bridge now; we have had so many gatherings out there over the years.  It is a wonderful place to talk, laugh, visit, relax and eat. On beautiful days and when we don’t have plans one of us sends the other a text to meet on the patio after work.  Some of my favorite nights are spent out there relaxing.  Keeping with the theme of relaxing, visiting and talking; dinner needs to be something that can be cooked on the grill, simply prepped and a not a lot of fuss. 

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Tuesday was such beautiful day out; I received the patio text and couldn’t wait. I was determined to make dinner an afterthought. We had some zucchini and summer squash from the garden, I had some Italian sausages in the freezer. I was thinking simple and light. My mother-in-law stopped over as I was heading out the patio with my glass of wine, and of course she joined me for a glass. She was planning on making one of her simple eggplant and spaghetti sauce dishes and had a fresh loaf of bread.  After a second glass of wine we called my father-in-law and asked him to walk over with the bread and the eggplant.

Dinner turned out excellent and I wanted to share my in-laws eggplant recipe with you all because it is 3 ingredients and NO FUSS. 


No fuss Eggplant

1 Medium or 2+ small (depending on how many for dinner)

1 jar of your favorite jar sauce

Half a package of mozzarella chopped 

Cut up the eggplant and place in your cooking vessel, I use my cast iron for the grill it works out great

Cover with sauce and mozzarella and then loosely with tinfoil and cook on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.


Squash Packet 

1-2 zucchini

1-2 summer squash

1 small onion

1 Tbs butter

Kosher salt

Fresh crack black pepper

Cut up all the squash in similar size pieces, you want them to all cook at the same time. Slice the onion and take a square of tin-foil (adjust size for how much you cut up) we are making a foil packet – I use these ALL the time on the grill and sometimes in the house.  Salt and pepper and add the butter and then fold 3 sides several times to create a packet.  They are very easy to grill; even flipping occasionally so they do not burn.  I like mine cooked to al dente so about 10-15 minutes and they are done. Leave the packet closed so they stay warm until everything else is done.