mexican chocolate zucchini loaf cake.

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wanted to call this "bread," but its pretty much "cake". oh well ;)

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i love me a good mexican chocolate anything. i love the warmth and spiciness of cinnamon or nutmeg, and also...actual spiciness from cayenne! 

this bread cake loaf baby will spice up your life.

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and boy is it riiiiiiiiiiiiiich. 

and dense. and moist. and textured. and delicious! and it's got two bigass zucchinis in it. so it's full of health.

jk. but dzang i love how far those zucchinis take it. they really add to the moist factor.  [yikes....nobody has yet to come up with a better food word for 'moist'?]

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if you're not a fan of spicy foods but enjoy chocolate bread, just omit the cayenne pepper. i think the cinnamon is a must :) maybe throw a dash of nutmeg up in there. 

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also, i am fully obsessed with pepitas on everything. in yogurt, on salads, in pasta dishes, on chocolate bread cakes... 

just over here puttin' some pepita in my stepita. 

Mexican Chocolate Zucchini Loaf Cake

Makes 1 loaf

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 4 TB. unsalted butter, browned and cooled
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 medium zucchinis, grated (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (+ 1/4 cup for loaf topping)

Toasted Pepitas:

  • 3/4 cup raw unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 TB. coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. 100% maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Instructions-

Use a box grater or large cheese grater to grate the zucchinis. Spread all the grated zucchini on top of a kitchen towel and between layers of paper towels to absorb the excess liquid. Weigh it down with a cookie sheet to absorb more water. You could also squeeze the grated zucchini in a kitchen towel. 

In a small pan on the stove, melt 4 TB of butter on medium heat. Whisk constantly until foamy. Continue whisking until fragrant and brown bits begin to form (about 3 minutes). When butter begins to brown, remove from heat and continue whisking for another 30 seconds so it doesn't burn. Transfer to small bowl and chill in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper with excess paper hanging over the sides so that you can lift the loaf out of the pan after cooled. Spray the parchment as well. 

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder & soda, salt, cinnamon and cayenne. In a large bowl, whisk the vegetable oil, egg, and brown sugar or coconut sugar. Stir in the cooled browned butter, vanilla extract, and milk. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine. Add 1/4 cup of boiling hot water and stir again. Gently fold in the grated zucchini followed by the chocolate chips. 

Pour the batter into the prepared parchment loaf pan and shake until spread even. Place on a cookie sheet in the oven (set timer for 30 minutes if adding toppings).

While the loaf begins to bake, toast the pepitas on the stovetop on medium heat. Melt the coconut oil, add pepitas, maple syrup, brown sugar, cayenne & cinnamon and toss constantly with a spatula until fragrant and lightly browned/sticky (about 2 minutes). Transfer to a plate and dab the excess oil with a paper towel. 

When the loaf has baked for 30 minutes, remove from the oven and gently press the toasted pepitas and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips into the top of the loaf with a spatula. Return to oven and bake for 20-30 more minutes (total bake time = 50 - 65 minutes).  I baked this loaf for 52 minutes total. Test the center of the loaf with a toothpick to see if it comes clean.

Remove from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Lift the excess parchment to move the entire loaf out of the pan to slice it. Use a hot, dry knife when slicing (pour boiling water on the knife and dry with a towel). 

Enjoy with coffee or milk! Store at room temperature covered tightly. Eat within 3-4 days.

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drew barrymore bucatini: fresh homemade pasta sauce.

drew barrymore taught me how to make fresh tomato sauce.

i have watched this clip of her making her pasta sauce with ellen about 500 times.

i sometimes just put that video on when i can't think of anything to watch on youtube..which is kinda strange i guess haha. even with the vast expanse that is the world wide web, i still insist on watching this very clip over and over. it just makes me happy! if ya know anything about me its that i love ellen. soo much. and i love drew. soo much. put 'em together and i am entertained for life.

i just love drew. she is so enjoyable. and it is a total miracle of the universe that i had the opportunity to meet her and even have dinner with her with some friends after her book tour. my brain still explodes when i think about that night and the fact that my friend lauren casually called me the day before saying "so heyyy, would you wanna meet drew tomorrow?" ......"esssssssCuuuUSE ME?!?!?! whatchu just say??" i died. 

i've loved her since the E.T. days, and being around her in person super solidified all the reasons why i love her. she was so cool and down to earth.  just by coincidence, she had some sort of pasta with tomato sauce at dinner that night. i remember she ate her noodles all fancy by twirling the fork into her spoon. classy broad.

anyhoo, her method of homemade pasta sauce that she made on ellen is my go-to when i have a bunch of fresh cherry tomatoes around. they are always better in the summertime when they're in season locally, but at other times of year i'll use grape tomatoes if cherries aren't available. 

cherry tomatoes are better to use for sauce because they're juicier, more plump, with a thinner skin. grape tomatoes seem to have a thicker skin that doesn't break down as well as the cherries do, but they'll still do the trick.

i've made this many times and i've figured out how i like it the best. i add chopped up zucchini and a serrano pepper. and extra olive oil in the sauce. the combination of everything is perfectly juicy, earthy, and pleasantly spicy with a rich texture.

and "fresh basil every 5 minutes," as drew says. haha. 

i roasted the whole head of garlic in the oven just to have around. you could use fresh garlic cloves in the sauce, but roasted garlic smells amahhhzing and its so rich, sweet and flavorful.

just slice the cherry tomatoes in half and you're on your way to delicious fresh tomato sauce.

for the zucchini, i slice it into rounds and then stack some of them to chop it easily into bits.

with a good amount of olive oil, fresh or roasted garlic, juicy cherry tomatoes, minced serrano, chopped zucchini, fresh basil, and salt, you can have a rich & flavorful pasta sauce ready in about 20 minutes.

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drew recommends fresh bucatini, which are plump spaghetti noodles. i got this pack when i was at eataly in new york city, and its great. i really love the texture of bucatini - its just a bit of a better chew than regular spaghetti noodles.

after the pasta is cooked, i toss it with olive oil so it doesn't stick together. then lay on the tomato sauce and some extra basil leaves. 

this version of the sauce is vegan - but it would also be super tasty with some sort of flavorful ground beef or spicy sausage.

i always think its exciting when you can make things from scratch and adjust the ingredients as you like. i'd never actually made my own tomato sauce until drew showed us all how. ya never know where you're going to learn a new life skill!

i shall now refer to this as my drew b. bucatini. even though it doesn't have to be made with bucatini...  drew b. bucatini just sounds right. 

Homemade Tomato Pasta Sauce

Makes about 2 cups of tomato sauce

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 24 oz. cherry tomatoes (mostly red - some green & yellow are ok)
  • 3-5 TB. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic*, or 4 raw garlic cloves (you can roast the garlic days in advance - store in airtight container in fridge)
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded & minced
  • 1/2 a large zucchini, chopped into bits
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • fresh bucatini pasta (1 inch diameter bunch)

Instructions-

* To roast the head of garlic, heat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut 1/4 inch off the top, remove most of the paper covering and discard. Pour a teaspoon of olive oil on the cloves to soak (about 5 minutes). Place in a baking dish or oven safe dish covered in foil. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Wash all the veggies and slice the tomatoes in half. Chop the serrano pepper and zucchini. 

In a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium/low heat and add the garlic. If using roasted garlic, mash it up in the olive oil with a wooden spoon. If using fresh garlic, toss it in the olive oil until the garlic begins to brown.

Add all the cherry tomatoes and increase heat to medium. Let all the juices from the tomatoes heat and simmer together for about ten minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chopped zucchini, serrano pepper, salt & pepper, and some fresh basil. Stir to combine.

If you're having pasta, at this point begin boiling a large pot of water. Cook your pasta as desired and strain the water. Return the noodles to the pot and drizzle a couple tablespoons of olive oil on the cooked pasta. Gently toss the noodles. 

Continue to let the tomatoes simmer on medium/low heat for about ten more minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Add extra handfuls of fresh chopped basil every few minutes and stir into the sauce. 

Serve your desired amount of bucatini with the fresh tomato sauce while its hot. Top with extra basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired. 

enjoy with a glass of red wine and garlic bread for best results :)


^^^ brain explosion happening in this moment. my face couldn't cheese any cheesier. clearly she's my best friend in my wildest dreams.

you da best, drew b.!

 

xoxo

 

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