Eat Seasonal: Zucchini Pizzette

Hello July!

After a scorching week, tomorrow promises to bring a break in our heat wave and I am finally thinking about baking again. The produce at the markets is so inspiring and each day I am coming home with something new to play with in the Simple Bites kitchen.

My own garden has surprised me this year, flourishing despite the lack of attention from me. The zucchini (or courgettes) are beautiful right now, with every plant producing 4-5 per week. I harvest them while they are small and add them to everything from Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti to my Harvest Tortilla Soup.

Since we’ve been rocking the summer of the spritz, I’ve also been incorporating my homegrown zucchini into little pre-dinner appetizers and they are too good not to share the recipe.

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Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Yesterday at the market I passed several large baskets overflowing with plump zucchini and noted that they were being sold for mere pocket change.

Then I remembered this muffin recipe which I had yet to post and made an additional mental note to get it out into your inboxes while zucchini is still cheap and prolific. I resisted bringing home any more zucchini from the market yesterday, but my kids are so crazy about these muffins, I’m know going to need to make a double batch before long.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins are fantastic for breakfast or school lunches. Their flavour deepens after twenty four hours at room temperature, so they are just as delicious on the second day as they are served up warm from the oven. I’ve been making them in mini format for snacking as well as jumbo size for a filling breakfast-on-the-go.

Are you ready for fall baking? Let’s kick things off with a tray of nourishing muffins.

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Grilled Zucchini Salad with Hazelnuts, Feta and Yogurt Mint Dressing

Today my children go back to school, and I return to my desk as well to assume responsibility of my work life, both online and off.

As a closing note to the end of our carefree summer days – which were really and truly relaxing – I threw together a laid-back dinner on the weekend. My sister and brother-in-law had stopped by for a visit, so we put the baby to bed early, lit the coals on the kettle grill and opened a bottle of my favourite late-summer wine.

In a way, it was an intimate version of our harvest dinner which I host every August. My cookbook has more details and all the recipes from this annual backyard event, but essentially it is a slow dinner in the garden to celebrate the bounty of summer. It’s the one time of the year when I bring the white tablecloth and stemware outdoors –  a simple way to add elegance to a table with little effort.

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Eat Seasonal: Easy Roasted Vegetable Spaghetti

I want to talk about tomatoes and corn, eggplant and zucchini, and all the other beautiful produce that is so abundant right now, but first, I must say thank you all for your kind responses to my last post.

You commented, emailed and left messages on social media; I read every one and was much encouraged. It really helped to hear from so many people that the emotional toll of a car accident is just as severe as the physical one. As it turned out, after a week of exhaustion, sensitivity to noise, and bad headaches, the conclusion is that I did suffer a mild concussion. Rest is needed, as is time away from screens, so this post will be short.

Fortunately I developed and photographed this simple summer pasta the day before the accident, and I’m so excited to share it. If your kitchen is anything like mine, there’s a pile of vegetables begging to be roasted and tossed with pasta, herbs and olive oil tonight[Read more…]