Zucchini, Pepper, Ricotta Muffins

Oh hi.

So…I’ve been gone for a few weeks. Ok, a month. But I have an excuse. Several, actually. I know, excuses are lame – so to make it up to you, I brought you muffins. Savory ones. With roasted vegetables and ricotta.

BUT first thing’s first – the excuses!

  1. I’ve been back in the US of A. We managed to make it to Long Island, New York City, Philadelphia and New Orleans this trip.
  2. I attended two fantastic weddings of two beautiful friends. Both weddings were gorgeous and filled with love, the most excellent people and lots of booty shakin’.
  3. I was able to be there for my grandfather’s memorial. Gramps was a really cool dude and a great grandpa, and is missed by many.
  4. While in New Orleans, Mr. F dropped a knee, presented me with an overwhelmingly sparkly ring and we are now officially engaged! I mean, what?!

In summary, I have been missing because of limited computer access, lots of celebrating and general awesomeness.

Even though I’m never quite ready to leave New York, it feels great to be back in Australia – back to my routine and back to our little home – as fiances! (Clearly, I’m deliriously happy and love saying the word fiaaaanceee – BUT – I’ll stop before I use any more exclamation points.)

Zucchini, Pepper, Ricotta Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)

While I enjoy a good sweet muffin, their savory cousins are a pretty good reason to bust out your muffin tin. A bit of cheese and some vegetables in a portable little baked good, what’s not to love? They’re a fun alternative to toast with your eggs or on their own, as you’re running out the door. Feel free to swap any vegetables and type of cheese you’d like. I’ve made a winter squash, feta and spinach version of these that I adore. I also think the addition of bacon would be a great call.

- 1 medium zucchini cut into half-inch pieces
– 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into half-inch pieces
– olive oil (for greasing the baking pan)
– salt and pepper
– a pinch of chili flakes
– a handful of chopped kale
– 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
– 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
– 1/4-1/3 cup ricotta

- 1 cup milk
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 2 large eggs
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 cup spelt flour
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 tablespoon baking powder

Heat oven to 220 C/425 F.

Toss zucchini and peppers with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Spread zucchini and peppers on a baking sheet. Cook for 15- 20 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, wilt down the kale in a medium pan over a medium-high heat. Add kale and a teaspoon of water to the pan and stir for 2-3 minutes until cooked down and water is evaporated.

Heat oven to 260 C/500 F.

Prepare a muffin tin by greasing it with butter or baking spray.

Place 2/3 of the roasted zucchini and peppers and wilted kale in a large bowl with Parmesan and cilantro.

Add milk, vegetable oil and beaten eggs to the vegetable mixture.

In a separate bowl, combine flours, salt and baking powder.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix delicately with a folk until just combined. It’s ok if there’s a few lumps!

Pour batter 3/4 full in each muffin cup. Top each muffin with a few pieces of the roasted vegetables and a dollop or two of the ricotta. Season with a bit of fresh cracked pepper.

Place muffins in the oven and then immediately turn down the oven temp to 205 C/400F and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

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weekender top 5

This weekend was touch and go weather-wise in Sydney, but fun was still had. My top 5 favorite eater moments:
1. The bouillabaisse special at Brown Sugar.
2. A much anticipated trip to Moo Burger. Wagyu burger did not let me down.
3. An impromptu Bondi bar crawl was a great way to get to know the neighborhood. Bonus points to The Wreck for proximity to our apartment, frosty glasses of Peroni and a tasty fish taco.
4. Christening the new oven with savory pumpkin muffins and chewy oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies.
5. A delicious 2 course breakfast made by Mr F featuring fresh Sonoma soy linseed bread, mango and half an avocado each. Well done, sir!



Chocolate Chunk Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

I was really craving a good, excessively chewy oatmeal cookie. While looking for recommendations on how best to achieve that sometimes elusive but very important chewy factor, I found this gem on Smitten Kitchen: make the dough and cookie sheet as cold as possible. Place both in the refrigerator for 15 minutes prior to baking. This helps the cookie maintain a certain amount of thickness, which is an important component of the chewy cookie.

1/2 cup (115 grams) butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (I often use a half teaspoon, but I like more salt in my baked goods)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup dark chocolate bar (I used Cadbury Old Gold) chopped into 1/4 inch chunks, or however small or large you deem acceptable
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius. (Trying to adapt to metric here, folks)

Mix first 4 ingredients until smooth.  Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt then stir into wet mixture. Add in oats, chocolate and seeds. (Chocolate can be substituted for dried fruit, seeds can be left out or replace with another type of seed or nut.)

Cool dough in the fridge before putting in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size and temperature of your cookies. Aim for slightly undercooked and leave them on the baking sheets to cool for a few minutes (this will continue to cook them slightly).

Note to self:  Add chocolate AND raisins to the next batch.