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Happy Birthday bb!! Zucchini Raisin-Walnut Muffins; Red Swiss Chard with Shallots

November 11, 2011

I am a late-bloomer in all things, so I’m consistent in that my discovery of the world of food bloggers didn’t happen until I read an article in the Los Angeles Times a year ago on a very popular food blogger (thank you Pioneer Woman). I knew that this is where I was headed given my life-long love affair with food. After getting to know some food blogs out there and visiting a few favorites regularly (thank you Smitten Kitchen), I knew I had to emerge from the stone age and join this world. It’s Noah who I need to thank for giving me a kick in the butt to propel me out of procrastination mode and giving me a jump start. So Noah, I dedicate this birthday post to you and feature the muffin recipe in my files that caught your eye.


Our good friends,  Ann & Joe from Camarillo, brought us this late-season zucchini that was impersonating a baseball bat. I used about 20% of it for the recipe. The rest I roasted with two very demure little eggplants that were nestled in the basket they brought us. Because this zucchini was such a big guy, I needed to peel the tough outer skin and remove the seeds in the center before cutting into quarters and grating. Zucchini that are not on steroid therapy (what are you throwing in with the fertilizer, Joe?) do not need require this type of attention.

Yes, there are vegetables in these little guys!

Zucchini Raisin-Walnut Muffins

    Notes:   t. = teaspoon     T. = tablespoon     c. = cup

What You Need:
1 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
3/4 c. whole wheat pastry  flour (available at Whole Foods and elsewhere)
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ground cloves
1/2 c. canola or safflower oil
2/3 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. low fat milk (I generally use 1%)
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2 c. coarsely grated zucchini (squeeze out any excess liquid)
(Optional: Substitute 2 T. flax seed meal for 2 T. whole wheat flour.)

How To Do It:

Preheat oven to 375° F. In a bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Beat oil with sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. You can use a hand-held or stand mixer, or beat by hand.

Stir the flour mixture into the oil/egg mixture. Add the milk, then stir in the raisins, walnuts and zucchini.

Divide batter into 12 greased or paper lined 1/2-cup muffin tins and bake muffins in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Turn muffins out onto rack and let cool.


Some people pronounce it shard; other people call it “tchard” – no matter. Either way it’s a delicious, earthy vegetable, more complex in flavor than spinach and pretty when it’s red. I use a very simple prep and saute or steam-saute it with shallots or onion. The only thing to note is sauteing in two stages – first the celery-like center part right after the onion/shallot and last the leafy green part. After rinsing, it’s not necessary to completely dry the leaves as the water beads create the steaming part of the cooking process. Trim the bottom of the center stalky part. Then cut upward on either side of the stalk and around the top to separate the leafy part. Saute the sliced up stalks until just about tender, then throw in the cut  up leaves just before covering and finishing it up. If fresh basil makes regular appearances in your kitchen, then you may know about the cutting technique called “chiffonade” (pronounced shi-foh-NOD). It means piling the leaves on top of each other (as many as you can work with at a time before they all go tumbling) and rolling them together very tightly as if you’re a cigar-maker, and then holding together and slicing . That will produce ribbons for you to throw into your pan (and it’s fun to do). Chard reduces dramatically, so don’t be surprised that the big hulk in your fridge becomes a a healthy serving for two. So if you’ve never tried it, grab some chard at the next farmer’s market and give it a “tchiffonade”.

Red Swiss Chard with Shallots

What you need:

1 bunch red Swiss chard
1 T. olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
sugar, two pinches
2 T. balsamic vinegar
(If you don’t have a shallot in your fridge, use an onion, trimmed, cut in half from top to bottom and sliced thinly.)

How To Do It:

Grab a favorite saute pan with a lid. Peel and thinly slice shallots and set aside. Wash and trim Swiss chard, and separating leaves from stalky center by cutting up on either side of the stalk and around it, slicing up the stacks and making ribbon-like slices out of the leaves.

Heat pan on medium, add olive oil and when heated, add shallots. Saute a few minutes until limp, then add chard stalks, cut-up. Add salt & pepper to taste and a couple pinches of sugar (I use white or raw) and cook on medium-low about 5 minutes. To finish, throw in the leaves, splash the balsamic vinegar over it and cover until just tender. This goes very fast so don’t leave the kitchen!

Tip: To prevent the leaves from spilling out of the pan, throw in a handful at a time stirring it with a wooden spoon so that it cooks down about before adding the next handful. Do this fairly quickly so that you can give the whole batch a couple of minutes to itself with the lid on.


From → Breakfast, Veggies

  1. Novio permalink

    Congratulations. Mazel tov!! This looks beautiful. I love you. Novio.

  2. Michie permalink

    Way to go Ms. Judy….

  3. Andra Gorski permalink

    Congrats on your blog Judy! I love it already! xx

  4. Ciaran permalink

    Hii Judy! Greetings from Sunny Ireland 🙂 Many congratulations on the unveiling of your new baby! Cant wait to recreate the recipes myself!

  5. Laura permalink

    love the blog Judy-nyu…..congratulations on the birth of your new project…thanks for answering my question about the flour….I can’t substitute regular whole wheat flour for the whole wheat pastry flour as the former makes the batter too heavy…..I like your suggestion to use all regular flour instead if I can’t find the pastry flour…..tank a lot, dahlink!

    Your BFF – Lulu

  6. karen permalink

    YUM! Looks great! Can I volunteer to be the official blog taster? Kuku-bb

  7. Wendy permalink

    I love it.What a great, clear, conversational and informational blog!
    Happy Bday!

  8. Janice permalink

    You are amazing! I am definitely trying these recipes. Love the layout, pics, instructions.and of course your witty humor.

  9. Sharlene permalink

    Love your blog – way to go girl!. Can’t wait to try out the recipes.


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