Zucchini, Zucchini, and September Surprise Muffins!

Well, I'm at it again.

Can't seem to take a break from these fabulous summer squashies. People keep giving them to me (NOT complaining!) and I keep eyeing gorgeous locally grown ones at the health food store. So, what's in store for these divine veggies this week?

Here's the plan:

1. Keep on making the old zucchini staples: Zucchini hash browns, recipes from my book (mainly Anna's Zucchini, Zucchini Chips to Dry For, and Anna's Zucchini Wraps), and stir-fried zucchini.

2. Experiment with some croquettes. I plan to mix up some finely shredded zucchini, rice, miso, pureed spinach, carrots, and whatever else sings to me. Then, form into balls and bake or pan-fry. Serve with nothing but a smile.

3. Make my daughter's favorite muffins. I call them September Surprise Muffins because you'd never guess (or at least all the kids I know haven't a clue) that they're chock-flim-flammin'-full of zucchini.

So, here's the recipe if you'd care to try these moist, healthy, delish muffins! Enjoy.

September Surprise Muffins!

FLEGG:
4 tablespoons flax meal 6 tablespoons boiling water
DRYNESS:
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon each: carob powder and cocoa powder (or just 2 tablespoons of one or the other)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon each: ground nutmeg, sea salt, and baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup organic sugar
WETNESS:
¼ cup each: mashed banana, nondairy milk, and oil (sunflower, safflower, or non-virgin olive)
1 cup finely grated zucchini (skins on)
1 teaspoon vanilla
ZIPPY (Optional, please see note at bottom*):
½ cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon margarine

1-Combine the flegg items in a medium-large bowl and stir. Set aside.
2- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
3-Combine the dry ingredients well in a small-medium bowl.
4-Add the banana to the flegg and stir well. Add the remaining wet ingredients to the flegg bowl and stir well to combine.
5-Add the dry ingredients to the wet bowl and stir well. Place in a dozen muffin cups and bake for 40-ish minutes…make sure they’re done before you remove them! They are very moist, so if they are underdone they will be way gooey.
6-Remove and cool slightly.
7-This next part is basically optional: Melt chocolate on the lowest heat possible. Really use the lowest heat known to human-kind (or a double boiler or microwave if you're gonna be that way). Stir in the margarine and mix well. Drizzle or use a pastry tool to top the muffins with chocolate. Allow the chocolate topping to harden before serving. Or not.

*Instead of making the chocolate tips into a topping, you can instead just throw them into the batter. To do this, simply add them to the mixture after you've combined the wet and dry mixes together, being careful not to over-mix. I said mix like four times.

Makes 12 muffins

Too-Cute-Cupcakes

So, you'll have to indulge me a bit on this one. There may or may not be anything of value for you here. This may just be a proud vegan mom showing off a little.

So, with that warning out of the way...how cute is this picture? On this cloudy Sunday, my 6-year-old daughter and I spent several hours making cupcakes and pizza. Here is a picture of her with her proud creation, mini-cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. There is, of course, a chocolate chip in the center of each one for maxium cuteness.

The pizza was simply my "Rosemary Herb Pizza Crust" (recipe here: http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=26795.msg290654#msg290654) topped with bottled organic tomato-herb sauce, grated soy cheese, and (on my side only) thinly sliced onions, kale, and garlic. However, I did get a little sneaky on her side of the pizza. I thinly sliced up some kale and placed it UNDER the soy cheese. It was barely perceptible, noticable, and, most importantly...she ate it without a single complaint!

Peaches! Oh glorious peaches!!

Peaches...they're on every corner here in southwest Colorado! So, what am I doing about it? Here are a few things for starters...

1. I've been placing cut, washed ripe peaches in a single layer on a cookie sheet, then freezing them. Once frozen, I place them in freezer bags to await their fate as mango-peach smoothies.
2. Peach-nectarine salsa is on my to-do list. Where would I be without Fresh Mexican Cuisine??
3. There are lots of peach-laden recipes in my book that I'll be revisiting...peach-blackberry goodness, a raw peach cobbler, and a cinnamon-peach crisp. Interestingly, all my dessert recipes involving peaches are very light and low in fat! Perhaps that is because the flavor of these juicy babies is so stand-alone divine that it just doesn't take much to make them seem decadent.
4. Peach shakes, peach smoothies (yeah, I already mentioned them but they're that good!)
5. Just eat them. Just eat them for the love of all that is good and holy.

OK, you peachy peeps, that's all for now. I'll add some more ideas if I get inspired. And as always, I'd love to hear your ideas!!

FRESH SPRING ROLLS

So those of you who know me (and/or have my book) know that I could live on fresh spring rolls. They're like the bottom of my food pyramid...and all the other levels on some days! Fresh spring rolls are like a religion to me! They're really healthy (made with lots of fresh veggies and other goodness) but still really satisfy that desire for a crunchy treat.

I made up a new variety today, as I'm going to be doing them for a cooking class next weekend. And I'm happy to report that the experiment was a success! So, here's what I put in 'em:

Filling:
Sliced avocodo
Sliced mango
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Scallions (green onions)
Red leaf lettuce

Lime wedges

Sauce:
Thai Chili Sauce
Tamari
Fresh lime juice
a splash of agave nectar

So, you soak your spring roll wrappers (rice paper) and place all of the filling ingredients in the center. Then squeeze a generous bit of lime juice over the top. Next, roll the sides in. Roll all the way up--they will self-seal. Serve with sauce.
Sorry that I don't have a more precise recipe--after years perfecting the recipes in my cookbook in full detail, I think my inner rebel has been let loose. ;)
Enjoy, dear peeps.

Raw Peach Ice Cream

Well, peaches are one of the few fruits in this part of the world that actually...grow. So, here in the high desert I've bought lots of fresh, local peaches this week!

The next cooking class I'll be doing will emphasize fresh, in-season produce and that means peaches get their moment in the sun. My daughter is always complaining (and rightly so) that we don't use our ice-cream maker enough. So, I've promised that today we'll be making raw peach ice cream...for breakfast. Sounds crazy, but it's actually less sweet than, say, the whole grain pancakes with maple syrup I'd be making otherwise! And it contains all manner of goodness. Ah, so easy to rationalize when you're dealing with fresh vegan fare!!

Here's the plan:
1. Make some almond cream (like high-fat almond milk): So easy, just blend almonds with enough water until as smooth as they're gonna get.
2. Soak ten dates for about 30 minutes.
3. Blend the soaked dates with 2 frozen bananas, some vanilla, dash of nutmeg, a little agave nectar, pinch of sea salt, some of the almond cream.
4. Pulse in a few peaches, but leave some chunks to remember them by.
5. Do it up in an ice cream maker.
6. Peach bliss time!!
Mmmm...just had lunch at a new spot yesterday in Durango. They had a lovely assortment of fixins for Fresh Mexican fare, many of which were locally grown and organic! My burrito contained pintos, brown Mexican rice, guac, locally grown sauteed veggies, and...the item I can't easily forget: Mango-Habanero Salsa.

So...last night I went to the store and bought a ripe mango, some limes, 2 habbies, and some cilantro. The spicy, sweet, fresh flavor must be duplicated in my kitchen...soon!! Here's the plan:
1. Roast the habaneros, then peel and de-seed them. With gloves on!
2. Blend them with the mango flesh (I'll be using my new hand blender).
3. Stir in some fresh lime juice, finely minced cilantro, and a pinch of sea salt.
4. Taste. Add a little agave nectar if necessary. Maybe even add some ripe, chopped tomatoes if it needs a little something.
5. Eat up and feel the love!!