...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


Zucchini Mania!

A friend notified me yesterday that it was National Zucchini Day.  Though I'm a day late in celebrating, I'm sure it's not too late to share another zucchini recipe.  I'm still dealing with the 14 pounds of zucchini I pulled out of our garden upon returning from our one-week vacation.  I'm planning to preserve some zucchini relish this weekend.  Last night I prepared this soup.

Zucchini and Spicy Seeds Soup
Serves 4

This is a super silky soup thanks to the potatoes.  I chose to leave the skins on for more nutrition, but one could also peel them.  I think I'll make a couple more batches of this to freeze for winter consumption.
Soup-er Smooth!

1 1/2 T. grapeseed oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 large zucchini, about 1 1/2 lbs. total weight, thickly sliced
1/2 lb. potatoes (I used Yukon gold), thickly sliced
2 c. vegetable or chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 T. green curry paste (optional)

Spicy seeds:

3/4 c. sunflower seeds
2/3 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
Not-too-spicy seeds for garnish
4 T. soy sauce or fish sauce (for a soy-free option...though not vegetarian)
1/2-1 t. chili flakes, or to taste

Heat oven or toaster oven to 300F.  Heat a medium, heavy-bottom stockpot over low heat.  Add oil and heat then add onion and garlic.  Cook 2-3 min. unto golden.  Add zucchini and potatoes and cook 3-4 min., stirring occasionally.  Pour in stock and bring to boil, then turn down, cover with lid, simmer 20-25 min. until potatoes are soft.

Meanwhile, prepare seeds.  Toss with soy sauce or fish sauce and chili flakes and spread over a baking tray; roast in oven/toaster oven 10-15 min.  Take seeds out and toss then return to over 10-15 min. longer until golden brown.

When potatoes are tender, puree soup mixture in a blender or with an immersion blender and add curry paste, salt and pepper to season to taste.  Stir seeds into soup or serve on add to the top of the soup as a garnish.  Serve with crackers or bread.

I've also been trying to get back on the healthy, homemade snacks track and found this simple recipe in my files.  With a few tweaks of ingredients I've made it my own.

Dried Fruit and Pumpkin Seed Bars (Gluten-Free and w/ Vegan options)
Makes 12

1/2 c. toasted walnuts
1/4 c. (combination of) dates and dried apricots
1/4 c. dried cranberries or sour cherries
1/4 c. pumpkins seeds
1 1/3 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. almond meal or ground almonds
7 T. butter or coconut oil
7 T. maple syrup
1/2 c. granulated xylitol (or granulated sugar or Sucanat)

Also great on the go!
Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease a 9x9-inch baking dish.  Roughly shop walnuts, dates, apricots, cranberries/cherries, and pumpkin seeds. (This can be done in seconds in a food processor. The coarser your mixture, the more crumbly your bars will be so I suggest pulsing them well in a f.p. if possible for bars that hold together better.)  Add the oats and ground almonds to the food processor or hand-chopped mixture.  Melt butter/coconut oil in a large saucepan, pour in maple syrup, and add xylitol/sugar.  When it all comes to a rolling boil, add dry ingredients, stir thoroughly, and pour into baking dish.  Press the mixture down firmly and bake for 25-35 min. or until lightly golden on top.  Press mixture down firmly as it cools.  Cut into 12 small bars while warm and leave to cool completely.  Can be refrigerated or frozen to extend shelf life.

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