Zucchini Patties

Zucchini is a big hit in our kitchen. Zucchini bread, stuffed zucchini, zucchini gratin … you name it, we’ll devour it! Tonight I wanted to try a new zucchini side dish to go alongside a rotisserie chicken I picked up after work. I found a simple, fast, and healthy recipe online for zucchini cakes. They were a great accompaniment to the chicken.

I grated a large zucchini finely with my box grater. I squeezed the water out of the zucchini like the recipe suggested, which helped the mixture bind together nicely without being too watery.

Recipe: (4 patties) Recipe adapted from a blog called Life’s Ambrosia.  http://www.lifesambrosia.com/2009/02/zucchini-cakes-recipe.html

1 large zucchini (grate as finely as possible with box grater, wrap zucchini in a couple paper towels and squeeze out excess water)

1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese (or parmesan cheese)

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1 clove garlic, minced

1 egg

salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil (for pan)

Pre-heat a pan over medium heat. In a bowl mix all ingredients together, excluding olive oil. Add olive oil to pan. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop 4 patties into the heated pan. Cook until golden on each side, 3-4 minutes per side. Serve with sour cream. Enjoy 🙂


Sungold Tomato Bruschetta

Tomato season is in high gear right now! That translates into caprese salads and lots of tomato bruschetta in my kitchen.

This weekend I harvested some sungold tomatoes that were as sweet as candy. This particular sungold plant has a story. My mom planted a seed back in February when snow was still falling to the ground. She raised the seedling under a greenhouse light. Once it was a couple months old, the sungold travelled 5 hours to the California bay area. It was handed off to my boyfriend’s parents who have a sunny yard, perfect for tomato plants to flourish. Right now the tomatoes are reaching their peak ripeness and let me tell you again, they are so good. Better than any tomato at the grocery store!

I decided to make a simple bruschetta with the sungold tomatoes and some other ingredients I had on hand. This is a healthy, fresh, and quick side or appetizer. I make this all the time in the summer.

Cooking Instructions:

Cut desired amount of cherry or sungold tomatoes into quarters. Chop up some cilantro and mix with tomatoes. Add a swirl each of good extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.   Add cracked pepper. Then crumble in some queso fresco cheese. Mix everything together then let sit while you prepare the bread.

Cut a baguette into slices (again, use desired amount). Lay on baking sheet and put into a preheated 350 F degree oven. Once the bread is toasted on top, flip. Let the other side toast up, then remove from oven. Rub a clove of garlic over the warm bread. Spoon tomato mixture onto bread.

Plum Crumb Coffee Cake

We still have plums from our 4th of July Plum Picking extravaganza! I’ve been eating them raw and baking them in yummy sweet treats. The most recent creation was a delicious crumb coffee cake.

I had a blueberry coffee cake recipe on hand, but decided to mix plums into the batter instead. I tossed the plums in a bit of flour before putting them in the batter, hoping to prevent all the fruit from sinking. I’m glad to report that the fruit dispersed evenly throughout the cake.

I also wanted big crumbs on top of my cake, isn’t that the best part of coffee cake anyways? I found a topping recipe that didn’t disappoint!

It smelled amazing when it came out of the oven!

Cake Recipe:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups fresh sliced plums
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease and line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper.
Cream sugar and butter together until fluffy with a handheld mixer. Then beat in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to sugar and butter mixture in 3 stages, alternating with the milk. Dust plums with flour then mix into the batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Now make the topping!

Topping Recipe: Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker post http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2008/06/09/new-york-style-crumb-cake/
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour
Combine sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a  bowl. Add flour and mix with a rubber spatula until mixture comes together in a thick pasty dough. Cool about 15 minutes.
Crumble into pea-sized pieces and spread evenly over the cake batter.
Bake at 350 F degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes until done, test with toothpick. Let cool and enjoy!


Upside Down Plum Cake

I went plum picking in my Aunt’s backyard over the 4th and couldn’t wait to get baking with the ripe fruit! My first thought was to make a plum crisp. However, since I’ve recently made a few crisps with rhubarb, strawberries, and cherries I decided to try something different. I settled on a plum cake. The cake is similar to a pineapple upside down cake, with plums replacing the pineapple.

The first step was to make the plum layer at the bottom. This required halving the plums to discard the seeds, quite a messy, juicy job! I arranged the sliced plums on the bottom of a pan. I cooked sugar and water over the stove and poured it over the plums. It hardened instantly, just like when you make flan (it turns back to syrup once you bake it). It looked like glass artwork.

Next I made cake batter to spread over the hardened plum layer. Then into the oven it went! When I took the cake out of the oven you could see the plums simmering in the sugar liquid on the bottom.

Once the cake cooled a bit I turned it out onto a plate … I tried it when it was still warm. Yum!

Slice of cake

Recipe: (Adapted from Ina Garten “Plum Cake Tatin” on the Food Network website)

  • plums, halved and pitted (enough to cover the bottom of a 9″ pie pan)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Butter a 9-inch glass pie dish and cover the bottom with plums, cut side down. Combine  sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat until it turns a golden color, periodically swirl the pan. Be watchful, the sugar will go from golden to burnt quickly. Pour evenly over the plums, it should harden. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar with handheld or stand mixer  until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla then mix. In another bowl sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently add to the butter mixture in three stages. Mix until combined.

Pour the cake batter over the plum layer. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then flip the cake onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature, dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Plum Harvest – Happy 4th of July!!

Happy 4th of July! It’s a beautiful day in the Bay Area, perfect for plum picking!

My aunt has 4 terrific plum trees in her back yard that are sagging with ripe fruit right now.

She gave me a couple shopping bags and told me to load up. Load up I did, with 5 or so pounds of plums!

Needless to say, I foresee a couple plum recipes coming up this week. However, no cooking today. It’s time to get outside again and enjoy the holiday and amazing weather!

I’ll leave you with a couple enticing pictures of fruit tarts and cupcakes that I got from a bakery called Sweetlife near my aunt’s house. Yummy breakfast!

Raspberry/Blueberry Tart

Apricot/Blueberry Tart

Carrot Cake Cupcake

Fresh Watermelon Agua Fresca

What’s more refreshing than an agua fresca on a scorching hot summer day? I know … drinking an agua fresca on the beach in Santa Cruz on a hot summer day. I was at the farmer’s market in Santa Cruz a couple weeks ago, and a Mexican food stand was serving up these drinks by the ladleful from large jugs. I tried a few of these yummy “fruit waters” including cantaloupe, strawberry, and watermelon. I love that they’re made with fresh fruit, so there is nothing artificial about them.

Back in San Francisco, where the weather is foggy and damp this late June, I found myself strangely still wanting an agua fresca. Sure I could just go to the taqueria down the street and buy one, but I decided to try and make some instead. I had seedless watermelon in the fridge, which I thought would work nicely.

My watermelon was very sweet, so I found that 2 tablespoons of sugar was enough. When making this, it’s important to sweeten to taste depending on the type and sweetness of fruit being used. I like this drink because it’s not overly sweet, most of the sweetness should come from the fruit. I made mine kind of chunky, by adding back some chopped up fruit at the end.


4 cups cubed seeded watermelon, divided

3 cups water

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime

Put 2 cups of cubed watermelon in a blender, then puree. Strain juice by pouring through a sieve into a pitcher, throw away the solids. Add water, sugar, and lime juice to the pitcher and stir. Chop remaining 2 cups of watermelon finely and add to the pitcher. Chill before serving.