Zucchini and Ricotta Bites

Hi all!

I don’t know about you, but, for me, sometimes a big ol’ meal with mounds of bread and meat is the last thing I feel like eating. Sometimes it’s the only thing I feel like eating. But sometimes it’s not. So for the days that its not I’m probably in the mood for something light but that has enough good calories to get me through the day.

So I’m sharing with you today one of my go-to filling and healthy snacks that takes about 5 minutes to make and is almost impossible to screw up.

Zucchini and Ricotta Bites

I came up with this recipe because I am currently growing some gorgeous looking zucchini on my roof and they are gonna be ready soon so I need to have a variety of zucchini recipes tested and at my fingertips when my bounty is finally ready to be harvested. Plus I am one of those girls who loves zucchini. Really, I do.

Now, you don’t have to smear your ricotta onto your cutting board, I just did that for creative effect.

What you’ll need:

1 zucchini

1/3 cup ricotta, homemade or store bought

1 lemon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for your pan

*This will make about 15 zucchini pieces, so you can adjust according to how much you want to make

What to do with it:

Start heating some olive oil in a frying pan on medium-low, not to much, just enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan

Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch pieces, cutting on the diagonal…this will give you slightly elongated pieces which I think just looks nice

Place the slices in the pan and generously sprinkle with salt and peper

Allow to gently brown on both sides without getting too soggy, remember, you want your bites to maintain their firmness so you can pick them up with your hands

*If you end up overcooking them, just use a fork to eat

Once browned, place on some paper towels to drain off some of the excess oil

Then place on your serving platter or plate and top with a small spoonful of ricotta

Squeeze literally 2 drops of lemon juice on top of each bite – too much more and it will overpower the light flavors of both the zucchini and cheese

Garnish, if you want, with very thin slices of lemon rind, making sure to avoid using any of the white pith of the skin because it will give your bite a bitter taste

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Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

I don’t know about you guys, but when its real hot out, I’m not in the mood for a huge meal that is gonna make me feel even more sluggish than the scalding temperatures already does. I want something light, maybe crispy, certainly cold and often times utensil free.

Eating with my hands means less dish washing and its more acceptable for me to lick my fingers in the process.

I know ya’ll understand how great that is.

Summed up, summertime is a time for snacks. But chips leave little more than cheese powder on your fingertips and cellulite on the back of your thighs. No thanks.

I want a snack I can come back to throughout the day.

Wait, isn’t that quintessentially a snack is? Oh nevermind, you get the point.

So what is the best gosh darn snack? HUMMUS

Not just plain hummus (delicious as that may be), but sun dried tomato hummus.

Remember when I made RAW Hummus? Well, the basic recipe is pretty much the same.

Seriously, one of the quickest recipes out there

What you’ll need:

2 cans ckickpeas (garbanzo beans)

Liquid from 1 can of beans

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup of sun dried tomato oil OR just 1/2 cup of olive oil

1/3 cup sun dried tomato, minced (or put through a food processor)

3 cloves garlic

Salt

Pepper

What to do with it:

Here’s where it get’s real tricky

1. Put everything in a food processor or blender

2. Turn on

I know, this is a super complicated recipe, I apologize.

Paired with some toasted whole wheat pita triangles, you got yourself a most wonderful summer snack!

Parmesan Thyme Crackers

Sometimes I think we take the carbs in our lives for granted. Breads, crackers, chips, ect. They are always there when we need them, they last for a considerable amount of time, come in a multitude of flavors and pair nicely with TONS of stuff.

So, this post goes out to the crackers of the world. I salute you and your ability to accompany cheese so delightfully.

But first, let me introduce you to someone special. Someone that I rarely get to spend time with due to distance and my busy schedule when I do come into town.

I’d like you all to meet my mother’s Kitchen Aid Mixer.

It’s big, blue, and beautiful and my mother has adorned it with a many fantastic attachments.

If anyone was to ever bestow upon me this fine piece of machinery, I very well might die of excitement. I just don’t know what color I would want yet…mint green, royal purple, copper? With over 20 different colors how is a girl ever supposed to choose!?

I would surely feel the need to buy every attachment as well; the pasta maker, the meat grinder, the ice cream bowl, the citrus juicer, the ravioli maker. Yea, Kitchen Aid would make a lot of money off of me.

Anyway, moving on.

Crackers. I don’t make a habit of keeping them in my house. But they are one of those things I have always wanted to make myself.

I thought to myself, if I’m gonna take the time to make crackers, they are gonna be fancier. Personally, I think that anything containing fresh herbs are automatically elegant. And, as you may know, I adore anything with cheese.

Parmesan Thyme Shortbread Crackers seem to fit the bill.

Adapted from: Ina Garten

Makes about 46 crackers

What you’ll need:

2 sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temp

6 ounces finely grated Parmesan Cheese

2 1/2 cups Flour

1/2 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped

1 tsp. Black Pepper

1 Tbs. water*

What to do with it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Mix butter with an electric mixer or a hand mixer until creamy

2. Add in the Parmesan, then the Thyme, salt and pepper

3. Slowly add the flour 1/4 cups at a time

*if the dough seems a bit dry, add water

4. Flour a cutting board and when the dough has been well incorporated place it on the board and divide into 2 evenly sized mounds

5. Roll into 9 inch long logs (2 logs total)

6. Wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 25-30 minutes to firm

7. Take out of the freezer, unwrap and cut the dough into 1/4-1/2 inch slices with a very sharp knife. I got about 23 crackers per log

8. Place on a baking sheet and put in the oven. For a moister, breadier cracker, bake for 24 minutes, for a drier, crisper cracker about 32 minutes. Check on them all the while, I wanted my crackers to develop some extra color, so I left them for the 32 minutes.

Put a little salami on top for a protein filled snack

Smear a little cream cheese over it and top with a baby sprig of thyme for a creamy and cooling afternoon treat.

Or because I know you all to be crafty little foodies, make both of them, turn ’em in on each other and have a mini meat and cheese sandwich.

These crackers are herbaceous and savory and wonderful and addicting and light (despite the butter) and unique and a crowd pleaser.

So make them. You won’t regret it.

Spiced Crispy Onions

Ever get a craving for onion rings? Or those French’s Fried Onions you put on top of your Thanksgiving Green Bean Caserole? Or Funions?

I do.

You probably do too.

There’s just something about fried onions.

That’s why this lil’ recipe comes in handy, they are kind of a love child between the 3 aforementioned snacks.

Dare I say these savory things could be a new favorite treat.

They are crispy, but not dry.

They are spicy, but don’t make your eyes water.

They are fried, and that’s just plain great.

Gettin’ down to business

What you’ll need:

1 yellow onion

1 cup milk

1 1/2 Tbs White Vinegar

1 cup Flour

1 Tbs. Cayenne

1 Tbs. Paprika

1 Tbs. Salt

1 Tbs. Pepper

Canola Oil, for frying

What to do with it all:

1. Slice your onion real thin, does,’t really matter how – full circles, half moons, quartered – let your creativity flow free!

2. Put your onion slices in a bowl and cover them with the milk and white vinegar, make sure they are covered. Let them soak for 15+ minutes

3. In the meantime, heat your oil to 350-375 degrees. Keep the oil at medium heat

4. Mix together the flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika

5. Put a handful of onions into the flour and let them roll around a bit. Don’t be shy, indulge your inner chef, use your hands and smother those onions, cover them in flour and spices ’til a wet spot is nowhere to be found.

6. Then drop them gently into the hot oil, for the sake of not burning them, I keep the heat on medium and let the onions jump around in the oil for about 5 minutes

7. When the slices are golden and gorgeous take them out and set them on a paper towel to let some oil drain – for the sake of your figure

8. Resist the urge to eat them immediately. Really fight it. Hard

9. After cooling for a few minutes, indulge. Eat them one by one…or by the handful…or put ’em on a delectable sandwich

10. When you run out make them again, and again to your heart’s content

You can thank me later.

What’s your favorite homemade snack?

What A Food Blogger Does on Her Day Off

As I many of you know, I am still in college, I work part-time, I’m on my school’s magazine, I am part of the organization, ShareFood, and I run this blog.

Doesn’t really leave much time for a crackin’ social life.

But I manage. Just barely.

I really do try to make the most of my free time, ESPECIALLY if its nice outside.

What do I do?

Well, my favorite thing as of late is walking 3 blocks down from my house into the San Francisco Botanical Garden to hike, picnic, or just plain hang out.

Yea, I live 3 blocks away from all this gorgeousness.

There are about a million trails like this all throughout the garden for people to explore. I swear, I’ve never taken the same path twice.

This past year, Matt bought me this amazing picnic basket that came stocked with dishware, glasses, and cutlery, so we often pack it full of goodies to enjoy on our blanket (normally we sit on the grass, but it had rained the night before, so the grass was pretty damp and muddy)

Homemade garlic hummus with a sweet potato crisp anyone?

After we eat, we like feeding the squirrels brazen enough to scoot up to our blanket. Matt likes taking pictures of me taking pictures of squirrels

Matt also likes taking pictures of me just plain feeding squirrels

Look at this little man! How the heck could you not love him?! I was not zooming on my camera by the way, this is how close he was.

I too like taking pictures of my cutie boy feeding the squirrel cutie boy. This little man seriously couldn’t get enough of our fruit, he just kept coming back for more. It was great, he would even come if I call him. It was so sad feeding him our last strawberry, cause then he scampered off, leaving only the stem and leaves behind.

THIS IS REAL?!?!?! I love nature.

Geese do the weirdest things when they clean themselves, don’t you think?

The garden has a bunch of ponds and streams everywhere with tons of benches, so sometimes its nice to just sit and watch the birds flock about.

Again, I didn’t even have to zoom for this shot.

I love the Botanical Garden – its phenomenally gorgeous, its free, its close to me, and we know where the back gate is so we can sneak in and out whenever we please.

What do you like to do on your days off?