Sweet Zucchini Crumble

sweet zucchini raisin crumble

Jeff whines to anyone willing to listen about my habit of sneaking veggies into every dish.  He’s right – I do shove spinach into lasagna, cabbage into potstickers, cauliflower into mac and cheese, sprouts into sandwiches and peppers into quesadillas. Jeff, on the other hand, could go for weeks without consuming so much as a carrot stick.

Over the years he has become amazingly adept at ferreting out even the smallest dice of hidden vegetable. Dinner in our house goes something like this:

Jeff: “There’s fennel in this sauce, I can tell.”

Katie: “Yep.”

Jeff: “I’m not a big fan of fennel”

Katie: “Too bad.”

And on some nights dinner is more like this:

Jeff: “The kale gives this pesto a weird texture”

Katie: “There’s no kale, it’s just basil and oil and nuts and cheese”

Jeff: “Liar”

Katie: “OK, fine, basil and oil and nuts and cheese AND kale.  You win.”

Jeff: “I always win”

So I’ve basically given up on pulling the wool over his eyes.  He has super-human veggie-radar.  But if the veggie-avoiders in your life have a less developed system of vegetable detection, this zucchini crumble is an amazing way to sneak some green into their tummies. While it would never fool Jeff, this sweet zucchini crumble would probably pass for apple crumble with most zucchini haters.

squash crisp Zucchini is amazingly versatile.  From ratatouille to chocolate zucchini bread it works in almost everything.  But until my mother-in-law suggested last weekend that zucchini could take the place of apples in a classic crumble, the idea had never, ever occurred to me. She swore up and down that it would be delicious, but I couldn’t quite imagine it. So, of course, I immediately ran out and bought some zucchini.  Despite my mother-in-law’s proclamation of zucchini crumble wonderfullness, I was fully expecting disaster.

But you know what?  It’s completely freaking delicious!  Who knew? Well, my mother-in-law knew.

It isn’t quite like apple crumble, but it’s close.  In fact, I might even like it better.  The texture of the zucchini here is surprisingly lovely – soft enough to seem decadent but firm enough to stand up to the hearty oat crumble topping. The raisins add an extra burst of sweetness, but if you are feeling experimental, I think dried cranberries might add a nice tart punch. This crumble makes a great dessert served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.  But I actually have been eating it for breakfast with a dollop of Greek yogurt.  And I don’t even feel guilty about having dessert for breakfast.  After all, I’m getting my veggies!

sweet zucchini crisp

Sweet Zucchini Crumble

Serves 4

3 cups chopped zucchini

1/4 cup raisins

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup cold unsalted butter cut in bits

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease four individual ramekins.  In a large bowl, toss the zucchini with the raisins, sugar, half of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Divide the zucchini mixture among the ramekins. Stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, and remaining cinnamon.  Add the butter and, using your fingers, rub the butter into the oat mixture until it is mostly incorporated.  The mixture won’t be uniform, and that’s fine. Top the zucchini in each of the four ramekins with a quarter of the oat mixture.  Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and cook for 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden and the zucchini is soft.  Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream, or yogurt.

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Published in: on August 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm  Comments (9)  
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Brie, Brown Sugar and Peach Pizza

grilled brie pizza

Lately I’ve been blurring all the lines between meals.  Oatmeal for lunch, waffles for supper, tuna melts for breakfast.  Who came up with all these ideas about what should be eaten when?  Of course, across the globe all of these lines blur anyway, so while eating fish at 8am feels a little thrilling to me, it’s none too shocking in a global sense.

While I love to rebel by eating a hot fudge sundae for supper, even better are those dishes that bend the rules all by themselves. Like this pizza.

The other night, Jeff and I set out to make a dessert pizza.  We layered our crisp/chewy crust with sugar, cinnamon and ripe fruit.  But something was missing.   Something rich and cheesy.

Really, you can’t go wrong with brie.  Has brie ever made any recipe worse?  I doubt it. And with this pizza, the combination of sweet and rich, crisp and gooey moves beyond the restrictive labels of dessert or dinner or breakfast.  Frankly, this pizza works wonderfully for any or all of the above.  It would make a compelling cheese course or a unique brunch.  We made it again last night and ate it for dinner with a simple arugula salad.

I’ve talked about grilling pizza before, last year when we made this Spicy Thai Chicken Pizza and I’m as big a fan now as I was then.  The crust becomes both crisp and chewy, slightly charred and full of flavor.  It works wonderfully with the soft, rich sweetness of the peaches and brie.  You can make your own pizza dough, if you like.  But I usually take the lazy way out and buy mine from a local pizzeria.  Many will sell you dough if you ask.  And some good grocery stores make their own dough too.

I like to pre-grill the peaches to caramelize them a bit before slicing them up as a pizza topping.  You don’t want to cook the peaches too long, or they will be too soft to slice.  You just want a bit of color on the fruit, and to soften the flesh a bit. And don’t skip the cinnamon.  It may sound like a strange pairing with the cheese, but the combination is surprisingly fantastic.  Trust me.  Actually, trust Jeff.  It was his idea.  Sometimes he’s smart like that.  But only sometimes.

brie cheese pizza

Brie, Brown Sugar and Peach Pizza

Serves 4

1/2 lb pizza dough

1/4 cup flour

1 large ripe peach (slightly under ripe is better than over ripe)

5 tablespoons brown sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 ounces brie, thinly sliced

1/4 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat a gas grill to medium and grease the grates.  Roll out the dough thinly, using the flour to prevent sticking.

Slice the peach in half and remove the pit.  Press one tablespoon of brown sugar on the cut side of each peach half. Place the peaches on the grill, cut side up, and cover the grill.  Cook for two minutes and then flip (you will lose some of the sugar, but that is ok).  Grill the peach for just two minutes more and then remove from the heat.  Allow the peach to cool before slicing.

Meanwhile, carefully transfer the dough to the grill (it will bend into a strange shapes as you transfer it – just call it rustic and don’t worry about it).  Cover the grill and allow the dough to cook until the bottom gets rigid and slightly charred.  Flip the pizza dough (Jeff has developed a two handed method with a spatula and a set of tongs, but go with whatever works for you) and move quickly to sprinkle with the remaining sugar and the cinnamon.  Top evenly with the peach slices and the brie.  Close the grill and cook just long enough to let the cheese melt slightly, only a couple of minutes.  Remove the pizza from the heat and sprinkle with the raspberries.  Let the pizza cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Published in: on August 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm  Comments (4)  
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