Tomato Chickpea Salad

Tomato Chickpea Salad
When I went to the farmers market over the weekend, I thought it would have been pumpkins and gourds all over, but I was thrilled to see tomatoes taking up most of the stands. Summer isn’t over yet, and I will be consuming every last bit of it before I welcome those warming autumn flavors like cinnamon and apples that I swear I love so much—I’m just not ready for them to take over.

I dug deep in the pantry for the last can of garbanzo beans for this tomato chickpea salad. Instead of just mixing everything together as is, I roasted both the tomatoes and chickpeas. While they were in the oven, I made a little quinoa to bulk up the salad. I didn’t even bother with any vinaigrette. The tomatoes broke up a little bit giving those grains and greens a lot of flavor.
Tomato Chickpea Salad

Tomato Chickpea Salad

Serves 2

1-15 ounce can chickpeas
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more for serving
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 ounces baby arugula

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Pat them dry with paper towels. Remove any loose outer skins. In a small bowl, toss the chickpeas with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Spread in a single layer on one of the prepared sheet pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp and browned, gently shaking the pan about halfway through cooking.

Place the cherry tomatoes in a single layer on the other prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt & 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast for 20-25 until they are slightly wrinkled.

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Add the salt & pepper. Cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and let the quinoa cool to room temperature.

In a large bowl, carefully stir together the chickpeas, tomatoes, quinoa, scallions and arugula. The tomatoes will fall apart a little bit. Season with additional salt & pepper as desired.

Grilled Veggie Burrito Bowls

Grilled Veggie Burrito Bowls
When I made these grilled veggie burrito bowls, I thought they would be actual burritos. I had big tortillas and was ready to go. Then I chickened out. It was the rolling that intimidated me, and I didn’t think I was missing much by skipping the wrap. Instead I focused on the fillings because it’s what’s inside that counts, right?

For the vegetables, I made a version of a spice rub that I typically use for poultry. It’s a blend of chili, garlic & onion powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper that had a little bit of a kick. To fill the rest of the bowls, I included cilantro lime rice, pinto beans and cherry tomato pico de gallo and served them with chips and salsa.
Grilled Veggie Burrito Bowls
Grilled Veggie Burrito Bowls

Serves 4

For rice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped

For pico de gallo
1-1/2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1 jalapeno, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For beans
1-15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup roughly chopped red onions
1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For vegetables
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 zucchini, trimmed and sliced lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick
1 summer squash, trimmed and sliced lengthwise, 1/4-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
1 orange bell pepper, quartered lengthwise
2 ears corn, shucked
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Tortilla chips and salsa for serving

For the rice, heat the oil over medium high heat in a small saucepan. Toast the rice for 1 minute before adding the water, lime juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on low until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Stir in the cilantro.

For the pico de gallo, combine the tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, lime juice, salt and pepper.

For the beans, in a medium bowl, combine the pinto beans, red onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper.

For the vegetables, preheat a gas of charcoal grill on medium high heat. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Drizzle the vegetables with oil and rub with the spice mixture. Grill the zucchini, squash and peppers until grilled marked, about 3-4 minutes. Grill the corn, turning occasionally, until lightly charred, about 5-7 minutes. Let the vegetables cool slightly before dicing the zucchini, squash and peppers and slicing the kernels off the corn cobs.

Divide the rice, beans and vegetables between 4 bowls. Top with pico de gallo. Serve with salsa and tortilla chips.

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Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
I don’t think I could get my three-year old to eat zucchini unless I hid it in something—like a cupcake. That’s pretty serious. Sneaking veggies into dessert kind of defeats the purpose and nutritional value, I know. I’m not trying to pretend that these chocolate zucchini cupcakes are anything other than a treat, and that’s absolutely okay.

I do have to give the shredded zucchini credit for the cupcakes’ moist, light crumb. To top them off, I decided on peanut butter frosting. I had planned to pipe swirls, but I was out of piping bags, and I had no luck using a Ziploc. Instead I pulled out a butter knife and did a little spreading and experimenting along with some crushed cookie crumbs.
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Makes 24

For cupcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 8 ounces), squeeze out excess water
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For frosting
1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Chocolate cookie crumbs, sprinkles, optional

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together the zucchini, eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla extract. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin pans. Bake for 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out with just a few crumbs.

Cool the cupcakes in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, in a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter, peanut butter, milk and vanilla until smooth. Slowly beat in the confectioners’ sugar until it is a spreadable consistency.

Frost the cupcakes and top with cookie crumbs or sprinkles as desired.

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Fresh Herb Pappardelle

Fresh Herb Pappardelle
As much as it breaks my heart, our beautiful, bountiful container garden is just about kaput for the season. We are harvesting the last round of Super Sweet 100, Amish Paste and Cherokee Purple tomatoes, and I’ve already started buying basil again instead of picking it from the boxes on our back deck. Our garden was good while it lasted!

With a tangle of chives, rosemary and a few store-bought greens, I made a batch of fresh herb pappardelle. It was so aromatic and flavorful that I only tossed it in garlic-infused olive oil along with rainbow cherry tomatoes, zucchini ribbons and torn fresh mozzarella. I sprinkled on more herbs, flaky sea salt and black pepper for this simple late August meal.
Fresh Herb Pappardelle
Fresh Herb Pappardelle

Serves 4

For pasta

5 ounces all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
5 ounces semolina
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (chives, basil, rosemary, thyme)

For serving
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into ribbons
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon minced chives
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Pulse the flour, semolina and salt in a food processor. Add the eggs, olive oil and herbs and pulse until the dough forms. Shape the dough into a round disk and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight. (If the dough is refrigerated, let it sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling out the pasta.)

Divide the pasta dough into 4 pieces keeping them covered. Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten slightly and feed through the smooth rollers of a pasta machine starting at the widest setting. Fold the pasta sheet in half each time it is fed through at a narrower setting until the pasta sheet is very thin but does not tear. Place the pasta sheets on a floured work surface to dry for 10 minutes.

Cut the pasta sheets into 12-inch lengths. Sprinkle with flour and roll them up loosely. Using a knife, trim the rough edges and cut into 1-inch wide strips. Unroll and place the strips on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 2-3 minutes until al dente.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss the pasta into the oil before transferring to a large bowl and stirring in the tomatoes, zucchini, mozzarella, chives, salt and pepper.

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