Flour Head Bakery’s Chocolate Zucchini Pan Cake

If you polled farmers about garden humor, I suspect that you’d find out that the poor, prolific zucchini is a popular subject for jokes. That’s because, like rabbits, this summer squash greets life with a singular drive to be fruitful and multiply. I have one gardener friend who tells tales about drive-by squashings; these midnight capers involve sneaking from house to house to leave big bags of the squash on the doorsteps of unsuspecting neighbors, all in an effort to make sure that the squash glut gets eaten – just by somebody else.

That’s why we have recipes galore for zucchini; from bread to cookies, thrifty and clever cooks have found all sorts of ways to use up legions of the rapid reproducer, and do it in a way that combats the inevitable squash fatigue that comes with late summer.

But what’s really great about these recipes is that they’re also excellent options for the devious parent who stays awake at night plotting ways to sneak vegetables into the food of their unsuspecting offspring.

There’s almost an industry about his kind of cunning cooking. You might remember some flack over the publication of Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook, Deceptively Delicious, which involved accusations of plagiarism by the author of a similar cookbook that dealt with sneaking good food into kids’ diets.

Well, there’s no controversy with this recipe – it’s all ours and comes from the tried and true food resource that is Mahasti’s kitchen. It’s a chocolate sheet cake that’s not only delicious, it’s also easy to transport – and that’s a boon for tailgating, picnicking, and all sorts of places where you might want to accomplish the dastardly deed of feeding little people squash and making them love every minute of it.

The key to sneaking good vegetable matter from the garden and into your kid is subtlety.  So make this when the kids are not around. Or at least have the secret ingredient already prepped and ready to add to the recipe in a flash while you distract your kid with something like taking out the trash (even if you don’t succeed in assigning the chore, the inevitable whining will keep the juvenile mind occupied long enough for you to slip the zucchini into the batter unnoticed). And don’t be tempted to shortcut on the grinding or grating of the squash; you don’t want the vegetable to look anything like itself! After all, if you can’t see it or taste it – it isn’t really there. With this recipe – all they’ll taste is delicious.

One of the byproducts of using zucchini is that it adds lots of moisture to the cake, so it’s really tender. And in addition to the nutritional value of the vegetable, this recipe uses whole wheat flour in addition to white – so it’s a treat that you can feel pretty good about serving. Even with these nods to healthy eating, the cake remains a decadent taste sensation. From the first mouthwatering bite of cake and indulgent dark chocolate frosting the cake is chocolate, glorious chocolate, all chocolate and nothing but the chocolate. You’ll probably find yourself wanting to make this even when the garden isn’t overwhelmed with squash production.

Flour Head Bakery’s Chocolate Zucchini Pan Cake

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1.5 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 cups finely shredded zucchini

1.5 cups All purpose lfour

1 cup White Wheat flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Icing

1-1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup half and half

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. In a large bowl mix together melted butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and buttermilk. Add zucchini and stir well.

In another large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk until all the dry ingredients are mixed well with the wet.

Pour the mixture into a 9 inch x 13 inch greased foil pan and bake in a 325 degree oven for 30-25 minutes until the top feels springy or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool.

While cake is cooing, heat half-and-half on the stove in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add chocolate chips, and remove from heat. Whisk the mixture until all the chips have melted. When the cake is cool to the touch, pour the chocolate mixture on top of the cake and spread out with a spatula or the back of a spoon.

Cut the cake into squares and serve right out of the pan.

July’s Featured Brewery: Red Hare Brewing Company

This month, we’ve got rabbit beers to go with all of your summer veggie burgers. Red Hare Brewing Company has taken over our featured taps at both of The Tomato Head Locations with their Gangway IPA, Long Day Lager, and Whabbit Wheat.

The Gangway IPA is an American style, unfiltered IPA with a gold color and sweet taste. The IPA is made with Williamette, Cascade, and Chinook hops, then dry hopped with Falconers Flight. The ABV sits just under a high-gravity beer, at 6.2%. The experts at Red Hare suggest pairing this with spicy or bold dishes, chicken, seafood, or sharp cheeses.

The Long Day Lager is a Bohemian Style Lager, meaning it is sweeter and lighter than some lagers, which is immediately apparent from its golden color. It is bittered with noble hops and Pacific Northwest hops, which add notes of citrus. Try this beer with seafood, pork, BBQ, or something spicy. The ABV is sessionable, at 4.98%.

The Whabbit Wheat is an unfiltered American Wheat Ale, with notes of peaches and apricots. Floral notes come from Saaz hops that contrast the crisp apricot. The ABV is 5.6%. Red Hare’s taproom experts suggest trying this beer with seafood, pastires, pies, and salads.

Red Hare Brewing Company is rooted in Marietta, Georgia, where it began in the garage of Roger Davis, a semi-retired corporate businessman.  After a year of home-brewing with his friend Bobby Thomas, they moved their industrious home-brew set up out of Davis’s garage, and into a larger space. Red Hare can only be found in Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. If not on tap, their beers are canned, which has been a trend of craft breweries over the past few years due to the preservation of taste that cans provide.  Red Hare was one of the first breweries in Georgia to can their beers, and the world’s first user of the evercan, which is made out of high-content recycled aluminum.

In just three different styles, these beers cover the taste spectrum fairly well, meaning there is more than likely something for everyone.  If you don’t believe us, come taste it for yourself.

Tomato Head’s Yellow Squash Crostini with Pesto

Walking into the Knoxville air and feeling it push back, being caught daily in random patches of heavy rain and lightening, and sweating your ~you know what~ off over the past few weeks of this summer is paying off. Not only did we all sweat out a few pounds and increase our water intake by 200%, but also this time of the year is wonderfully ample in fruits and vegetables. The payout is an abundance of foods like cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes, and so many more.

This month’s WBIR recipe for yellow squash crostini with pesto certainly pays attention to the local and available.  Although the origins for this recipe are Italian, the addition of one of the three sisters gives this recipe an American twist.

To cook up this dish, you’ll need:

5 cups yellow squash, diced

5 cups tomatoes, diced

½ cup fresh basil, chopped

⅛ cup olive oil

⅛ cup cider vinegar

1 tsp salt

Place all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and toss well to incorporate all of the flavors.

To assemble the Crostini, you’ll need:

Flour Head Bakery Knoxville Sourdough or Baguette*

Olive Oil

Tomato Head Pesto**

Slice the bread to the thickness you desire. Brush lightly with olive oil on both sides. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 400° oven until toasted. Remove the toasted bread from the oven, spread each piece with a liberal amount of pesto, and top with a generous portion of the squash mixture.

A Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, or even a Vino Verde that is not overly effervescent, would pair nicely as white wines. If you would rather have red, consider an Italian red that is both bright and slightly earthy, such as a Chianti or Barbera.

Although this dish does not seem to be compatible with beer for most, it is possible. Belgian ales pair nicely with the strength of pesto, as the herbs and spices of the ale complement the pesto.

*Flour Head Knoxville Sourdough and Baguettes can be found at Three Rivers Market and Kroger in Bearden

**Tomato Head Pesto can be found at both Tomato Head locations, Three Rivers Market, Butler and Bailey Market and the following Kroger stores:  Fountain City, Cedar Bluff, Farragut, Bearden and Northshore

 

Tomato Head’s Quinoa Cakes with Yogurt and Sriracha

I was so excited when I read Mahasti’s recipe, I let out an audible “yasss” complete with the hand-motion you are probably imagining. Quinoa was the reason behind this. Quinoa is a good source of protein, as well as vitamins B, B6, and E, amino acids, potassium, and a healthy list of other minerals. It is a pseudo-cereal that is vegan-friendly and can be consumed in low quantities by those with celiac disease. The inside of the seeds also happen to taste great when cooked, otherwise it is an unpalatable, bitter seed. To get to the tasty part of quinoa, it needs to be cooked. Luckily, that’s easy to do.

To start, you’ll need:

½ cup Quinoa

1⅛ cup water

Place the quinoa and water into a small saucepan over high heat. Boil until almost all of the water has been absorbed. Then turn the heat down to low, and place a lid on the saucepan. Steam the quinoa until the seeds are soft and splitting open. Remove the quinoa from the stove, and pour the cooked seeds into a large mixing bowl.

In order to turn the seeds into Tomato Head’s quinoa cakes, you’ll need a few more ingredients:

⅛ cup oil

⅔ cup onion, diced

½ cup walnuts, chopped

¼ cup almonds, chopped

½ tsp. salt

1 Tbl Dijon mustard

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ cup breadcrumbs

In a small saucepan over medium heat, saute the onions in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add sautéed onions and all of the remaining ingredients to the quinoa bowl and mix well with gloved hands. Allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes. Next, scoop the mixture into balls, then flatten the balls into disks.

Heat ¼ cup of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the quinoa cakes in the oil until the bottoms are golden, then flip and fry the other side until it is golden as well.

Top them with plain yogurt and sriracha, if you so choose. They could also be served on top of your favorite salad or mixed greens. They can be served hot or cold.

The raw quinoa cakes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and fried when needed.

This would be a fantastic dish to keep on hand for a quick lunch, or serve well for an easy dinner. As far as pairings go, this dish would pair well with a Beaujolais wine, low in tannin, fresh and nutty. If you’re adding the cakes to something with a tomato-base or similar flavors, try a Chianti or Barbera.  If you don’t drink red, try a Sauvignon Blanc, especially from New Zealand. As far as beers are concerned, try a nutty porter or nutty brown ale rich with roasted malts.

Certainly be sure to give this recipe a try, especially if you’ve never tried quinoa. It is both healthy and delicious. I hope you enjoy it!

Click the photo below to watch Mahasti’s recent WBIR cooking segment.

Quinoa Cakes

Tomato Head’s Marinated Zucchini and Mint Pasta

The redeeming grace of summers in the South boils into just a few fine points that prove enough to justify intensely hot summer days. For me, these points can be counted on one hand. Largely, this period of late spring summer multiplies our vegetation options, meaning we have so many delicious options to choose from!

Via the farmer’s market or your own garden, fresh vegetables and herbs are easily available. Fresh ingredients change a dish entirely for the better. Take Saturday’s recipe for Tomato Head’s pasta with marinated zucchini and mint for example; almost all of these ingredients can be found fresh at the farmer’s market.

The ingredients for this recipe include:

2 Large Zucchini, washed and diced to fill 8 cups

⅓ cup Oil

1 tsp Salt

½ tsp Black Pepper

¼ cup Olive Oil

⅛ cup Cider Vinegar

½ tsp Salt

¼ – ⅓ cup Fresh Mint, chopped

½ cup Spinach, chopped

Toss the zucchini with oil, salt, and pepper, then place on a large cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 400⁰. Remove the tray and allow the zucchini to cool.

Toss cooled zucchini with olive oil, cider vinegar, salt, and mint. Allow the mixture to marinate for 2-4 hours.

Cook a ½ lb of your favorite shape of pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and toss with 2 cups of chopped fresh spinach and marinated zucchini. Top with parmesan cheese, and this dish is ready to serve.

This recipe for Tomato Head’s marinated zucchini and mint pasta will serve 4-6 people of your choosing, and will pair well with a Bordeaux or a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. For beer lovers, the pasta will pair nicely with a Belgian-style Saison. Come see us when you visit the farmer’s market.

Click on the photo below to watch Mahasti’s recent cooking segment WBIR Channel 10.

Tomato Head's Summer Vegetable Pasta

Our featured brewery for May: Black Abbey Brewing Company

We have a few new Belgian-inspired brews on tap for you this month by way of Black Abbey Brewing Company from Nashville.

Their work is inspired by monks, namely Martin Luther, his wife, and the Trappist Monks. Martin Luther advocated drinking for pleasure as he boasted his infamous, large stein. His wife, Katherine, went a step farther. She was known for brewing Wittenberg’s best beer. However, instead of brewing traditional German lagers, she created Belgian style ales with ingredients from her immediate locale. The tradition of brewing Belgian style ales with ingredients from their immediate surrounding was emulated by Trappist Monks in Belgium who brewed distinctly for their monasteries.

While Black Abbey doesn’t play home to Belgian Monks, they do host the character of brewing for their brothers (sisters and gender neutral family members) and for their neighbors with high quality ingredients in the Belgian style. We are happy to join in.

At the Tomato Head in Market Square, we are featuring four Black Abbey brews: the Rose (a Belgian blonde made with wheat malt), the Special (a traditional monastic Belgian Mild), the Champion (an American pale ale made with English and smoked malts), and the Chapter House (a Belgian red ale).

The Tomato Head located at 7240 Kingston Pike in the Gallery of Knoxville Shopping Center is serving up the Rose, the Special, and the Potus 44, a full bodied porter bursting with notes of Kenyan and Hawaiian coffee from the Frothy Monkey in Nashville.

On May 22nd, the brewery sends us their new summer release, the 5 points IPA. Make your way downtown or out West to join us for a Black Abbey brew and head home with a cool Black Abbey pint glass (while supplies last). This is an all-day event.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a Lutheran to enjoy these beers, just a follower of beer.

Black Abbey Brewing Company

Join us for our pint day at both locations on May 22.

 

Tomato Head’s Buttermilk Biscuit with Benton’s Bacon, Avocado, and Rhubarb Marmalade

Who said breakfast had to be confined to downing hydrogenated breakfast bars or cereal and milk while juggling house keys, your bag, and trying to find your matching shoe? I often find that enjoying my mornings with a flavorful breakfast and warm coffee or tea can later make even the worst parts of my day much more bearable.

Furthermore, cooking up breakfast myself starts me off with a happy feeling of accomplishment and puts me in a much better mood. This recipe for buttermilk biscuits with Benton’s bacon, avocado, and rhubarb marmalade will be sure to set your day off in a positive direction.

For the rhubarb marmalade, you’ll need:

2 cups onion, sliced

¼ cup oil

4 cups Rhubarb, sliced

4 Tbl sugar

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

½ tsp salt

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, then reduce the heat to low and sauté gently for 5 minutes. Add the rhubarb and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the sugar, vinegar, and salt. Cook the marmalade gently, stirring occasionally for another 5-8 minutes.

To make the biscuits:

We suggest using the award-winning biscuit recipe from last year’s International Biscuit Festival.

Split a freshly baked biscuit in half. Place cooked Benton’s bacon on the bottom half of the biscuit. Top the bacon with ¼ of an Avocado. Spread a generous amount of rhubarb marmalade on the top of the biscuit. Place the top back on the biscuit and serve.

This seasonal treat is great for making any spring morning a time to enjoy yourself or company.

Click the photo below to watch Mahasti make this delicious recipe on her WBIR cooking segment.

biscuit with marmalade

Tomato Head’s chorizo and onion quesadilla with guacamole

Today’s recipe for Tomato Head’s chorizo and onion quesadilla with guacamole can be an easy meal or snack, especially when the guacamole is prepped. More importantly we’re sharing a delicious recipe for guacamole, which really should speak for itself.

But for those of you who don’t know, guacamole is a perfect snack or addition to any meal in the summer time, especially by the water with a beer….I’ll stop dreaming now and get back to work. While this is a Mexican inspired dish, there is certainly room to be creative and bring in different elements.

Begin by making the guacamole, which will keep for a few days as long as you cover it directly with saran wrap, meaning no air between the wrap and the guacamole. This will slow down oxidation. This recipe for guacamole serves 4-6 people. For this part of the recipe, you’ll need:

4 ripe avacados

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup tomato, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 Tbl cilantro

¾ tsp salt

2 Tbl onion, chopped

2 tsp jalapeno, chopped

Cut the avocados in half, removing the seed and scooping the flesh into a medium sized bowl. This is easier done with a spoon (click the photo below to see video of Mahasti using this life hack). Mash the avocados with a potato masher or pastry cutter, then squeeze lime juice over the avocados. This will add to the taste and help the dish keep. Next, add tomato, garlic, cilantro, salt, onion, and jalapeno. Mix well and serve immediately. If not serving immediately, cover with saran wrap as previously directed.

The quesadillas are the next step of the recipe. For these you’ll need:

12 inch tortillas

½ cup cooked chorizo

½-¾ cup Monterey Jack cheese

sliced onion

Place tortillas on a work surface. Cover the half closest to you with chorizo, cheese, and onion. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the bottom and place the tortilla on a heated griddle or a large cast iron skillet. When the quesadilla has browned on one side, flip it over and brown the other side while allowing the cheese to melt. Serve with the guacamole, and enjoy!

Video of Mahasti's WBIR cooking segment

Video of Mahasti’s WBIR cooking segment

Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo Mole

Do you ever wonder what chefs who actually know how to cook throw together for a last minute dinner?

Here’s an idea of what Mahasti does when she doesn’t have time to cook. This recipe for chicken enchiladas in tomatillo mole has quite a few perks. Once you’ve made the mole, you can keep it in stock, which makes this recipe, and many more, quick and easy. Mole can be thrown on top of a long list of things. Many of the ingredients for this tomatillo mole, such as the peppers, onion, and maybe even tomatillos if under the proper conditions, can be grown in your own garden which makes the mole the freshest it can be, and thusly taste even better. Also this recipe is easy, delicious, and fairly more interesting than making lasagna for the third week in a row.

To make the mole, you’ll need:

8 cups husked tomatillos (about 16-17 tomatillos)

1 large poblano pepper, destemmed and deseeded

1 large onion, peeled and quartered

½ cup cilantro

½ cup sour cream

1½ tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 400°. Place the tomatillos, poblano, jalapeno, and onion in a large baking dish and bake for 50 minutes. Look for the tomatillos to have black spots on them, then take them out and allow to cool. Place the mixture into the bowl of your blender, then add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

The mole is really the bulk of the recipe in terms of time commitment. It is easy to store and keeps well, so keep it in stock.

To assemble the enchiladas, you’ll need:

One corn tortilla

1-1½ Tbl Mole

Scant ¼ cup chicken

Scant ¼ cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Shaved cabbage

Keep your oven at 400°. Place the corn tortillas in one layer on your work surface. Spread each tortilla with Mole, covering the tortilla almost entirely.  Place chicken and cheese on top of tortilla and roll the tortilla up into a tube.  Place tortillas seam side down in a baking dish or cast iron skillet.  Cover the tortillas entirely with more Mole; about 1/4 cup per enchilada.  Sprinkle tops with a little more cheese.  Place the dish in the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately with corn chips or beans and rice.

Tomatillo Mole

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