Brown Rice Stuffed Mini Zucchini

In ode to Halloween I came up with this recipe. I had to:

  1. Because they look like little Pumpkins.
  2. Because a healthy, fun theme dish seems totally appropriate.
  3. Lastly, I just couldn’t resist these cute Zucchini & stuffing them seemed like the perfect thing to do since the moment I laid eyes on them.

I didn’t grow up with Halloween and I definitely never carved a pumpkin until about 3 years ago in the States with my Husband.  Here in Italy it wasn’t something common or known while I was growing up but in the past few years seems like it’s finally starting to catch on.

I was at the grocery store and since being back from the states I really do appreciate our agriculture much more. We have endless options of farm grown vegetables & fruits of which I learn more & more about each day.  For instance I had never even seen these types of zucchini before but the minute I laid eyes on them I knew I had to cook with them and make something traditionally different. You usually stuff bell peppers but I knew that this would be an excellent and lighter sub; turns out I was right. Also it brought Halloween to mind because they completely look like a tiny little green pumpkins.

I don’t really need to say that this is a healthy, vegetarian dish because it’s kinda obvious but the fact is that I think zucchini and brown rice merry so well together the flavors are light yet rich and totally perfect for the Fall to top it off the parmigiano reggiano really sets off the nutty flavors of the rice and the sweetness of the zucchini making it one delicious meal.
I didn’t really have many vegetables in the house to put inside but if you want you could add mushrooms, asparagus, artichokes, bell peppers, spinach.
For an non-vegetarian meal you could add ground meat, bacon, shrimp or chicken. That’s the fun thing about these guys is that you can do whatever you like and I think it would all taste amazing. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Makes 4 Zucchini

4 Zucchini

100-150 gr. of Brown rice, cooked

1 Shallot

2 tbsp. EVOO

1/2 cup Vegetable broth

2 tbsp. Parsley, chopped

3 tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

S&P to taste

Preheat the oven @ 350°F (180°C)

Slice the top off the zucchini and with a spoon gently scoop out the pulp. Set aside & repeat with other zucchini.
Heat EVOO in a medium skillet; finely chop your shallot place it in the skillet and sauté until golden. Stir in chopped zucchini pulp along with the vegetable broth, parsley & brown rice add salt and pepper stir & remove from heat.

Drizzle a bit of EVOO in a baking dish. Get one zucchini at the time add rice mixture half way sprinkle some parmigiano fill up with rice and top off with more parmigiano put top that you cut off and place in baking dish. Repeat process with the rest of zucchini. Bake for 20-30 minutes until zucchini is tender.

 

 

 

 

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My Gluten-Free Coconut-Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

It’s been a fantastic week so far. We just got back a few days ago after a much needed mini-vacation from Florence and Montepulciano. It was so gorgeous, fun and extremely delicious. (I posted all the food pics on my facebook page).

I got back however and have been in a total baking mood which is odd for me as I don’t really care for sweets. Ok, well maybe that isn’t totally true I like fresh baked goodness, that isn’t too sweet and that is made from whole ingredients (healthier versions of what one would normally opt for). Yeah that seems about right.
I must say that my Husband must be rubbing off on me a bit because I do crave a little snack after dinner (which I generally never did) so now there is that part too. Or could it be age? Or women time? Whatever we’ll never know. All I know is that I am in a baking mood; so baking healthy things has definitely been in my adventurous/guessing/inventing/substituting daily routine of perfecting healthy yummy sweet things and this recipe is one of them.

Did I mention these are Healthy. Gluten-free. Delicious. Good then now we can move to the recipe. Enjoy!

Ingredients:Makes about 14 cookies

1 cup Peanut Butter

1/4 cup Honey

2 tbsp. Coconut Oil, hardened

1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1 egg white

2 cups Shredded unsweetened Coconut

1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven @ 350°
Mix all ingredients in a bowl except Chocolate chips. Roll medium-small sized balls and place on a baking sheet flatten out a bit with your hand sprinkle with Chocolate chips & bake for 10-15 min.

Enjoy!

*Optional:
Substitute Peanut Butter for Almond Butter, also you can use smooth or crunchy depending on the texture you want.

Coconut Peanut Butter Cookies

 

 

Frittata ai Fior di Zucca

I love this time of year. And finally the crazy busy summer schedule has subsided, I have sometime off to focus on myself and my amazing Husband.

There is one thing that I truly enjoy about this country that somehow always makes me smile; the Farmers. They care so much about the whole vegetable/fruit and make sure that they work hard under the hot sun just so we can enjoy a delicious, juicy, pesticide-free and healthy vegetable and/or fruit. I particularly love going to the Market and just figuring out what I’m going to make by seeing what they have. They will explain everything to you; from how to cook it and eat it to when it’s going to be out of season and when it will be back, how it’s supposed to look when ripe and when it’s unripe. It’s a fascinating subject to me and I just love everything about it.

I had my first day off since April and I finally was able to go back to the market in tranquility without rushing around. I started looking at what vegetables where out and what I could potentially use for dinner. Before my Husband took off for work that morning, he had mentioned that he would like to have eggs for dinner as it had been quite a while since he had had them; so with that thought in mind I figured it would be a frittata kind of dinner with some sort of vegetables and fresh baked bread.
As I looked around the Market I spotted one of the most sophisticated & prestigious vegetables and knew that I was going to get them: Fior Di Zucca (which means Zucchini Flowers) 

Here in Italy it’s something that is generally dipped in a light batter and then fried. But I knew that there had to be a healthier way to make them and considering how delicate they are I knew that it’s would have to be perfect in a frittata. I got to talking with the farmer Lady and explained my idea and she looked back at me and said ‘Perfetto, sara buonissimo’ (which means Perfect, it will be delicious). With that she gave me a tip, she told me to not cook them before the egg, to lay them on-top of the egg because being so delicate I wouldn’t want to over cook them. She proceeded to tell me that it had unfortunately happened to her once. Ha!

I went home happy about my purchase and excited to be using Fior di Zucca for the first time. It came out delicious. Seriously, might have been the best frittata I have ever tasted. It was a proud moment that night when my American Bacon and Eggs Husband said that these were the best eggs he ever had and to add them to the roster of things to cook.
Yes, sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that give us the biggest satisfactions! I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Ingredients:

6 Fior di Zucca

6 eggs

3 tbsp. Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

S&P to taste

Delicately wash your Fior di Zucca and set aside to dry. Once dry slice them in half.

Place a medium sized skillet over medium heat (make sure that you have a cover for the skillet very important) add the olive oil and allow to heat.
In a small bowl crack your eggs, whisk and pour into your skillet. Gently add your Fior di Zucca, sprinkle salt and pepper and cover allowing to cook gently for about 5-7 minutes. Uncover sprinkle the parmigiano and by now you should see the consistency of the egg.
If it’s cooked turn off and serve, if it needs more time cover back up and allow to cook until egg isn’t runny anymore.