Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins

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This is the time of year when people have more zucchini than they know what to do with. Most people are in that situation because their gardens produce zucchini faster than they can cook it. I wind up in that situation because I know it’s zucchini season and buy way too much at the grocery store. We end up in the same place, just have different ways of getting there.

However you wind up with an abundance of zucchini, these muffins are a prime way to use it. These are inspired by my favorite pumpkin muffins (recipe here.) Warmly spiced, tender muffins are filled with a sweetened cream cheese and topped with a toasty, buttery streusel. Even if you don’t have any zucchini, these are a good reason to go out and buy some.

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Zucchini Cream Cheese Muffins

Ingredients: 

Muffins:

  • 1 pound zucchini, ends and stems removed, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 2 medium zucchini) if you are shredding by hand, do not cut zucchini into pieces
  • ¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted and cooled

Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream, half and half or milk

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 6 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 liners.

Batter: 

Place zucchini and 2 Tbsp sugar in food processor. Pulse 12-15 times until finely shredded. Alternatively, shred zucchini by hand on large holes of box grater, then mix with 2 Tbsp sugar. Place zucchini and sugar mixture into fine mesh strainer placed over bowl. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, so that liquid drains from zucchini into bowl. After 30 minutes, place zucchini in paper towels or clean dish towel and wring excess liquid from mixture.

In large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until well combined. Set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk eggs, greek yogurt, vanilla, remaining sugar and butter. Mix in zucchini. Add egg/zucchini mixture to flour. Stir until just combined.

Cream Cheese Filling: 

Whisk all ingredients in bowl until smooth.

Streusel Topping:

Place all ingredients in bowl. Using pastry cutters, two knives or your fingers, until mixture holds together loosely.

Assembly:

Put enough batter on the bottom of each muffin liner to cover bottom, 1-2 Tbsp. Evenly distribute cream cheese filling over each muffin. Top with remaining batter. Evenly divide streusel topping over each muffin, pressing into batter to adhere.

Bake for 22-24 minutes. Cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove muffins and place on cooling rack until cooled completely. Allow muffins to cool completely before eating- the cream cheese filling is very hot right out of the oven.

Makes 12 muffins.

Muffin base adapted from Baking Illustrated

Summer Squash and Corn Frittata

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It’s hard, in the middle of a brutal heat wave, to truly appreciate summer. I’ve been guilty a few times, over the past couple weeks, of wishing for the arrival of cooler autumn days. I may have even burned a pumpkin candle a few times just to evoke a fall-like atmosphere. I grow nostalgic for the summer days of 20 years ago, even 10, when summer was what I lived for! Long, lazy days spent poolside. Late afternoon drives down a country road to the local farm stand to pick up the sweetest summer corn for dinner. Now my summer days consist of sweating in my office, where the A/C just can’t keep up, and unsticking my dress from my legs every time I get out of my chair. Ugh.

While my summer days are sadly no longer spent poolside, I am lucky enough to have a darling farm stand not a mile away to remind me of the simple joys of summer. It’s a covered wagon, driven to its’ spot on the side of the road each morning by tractor. Red, white and blue bunting adorn the sides. It operates on the honor system- each item is (very reasonably) priced and there is a cash box sitting in the middle, unsecured. The simplicity and honesty reinforce the virtues of summer. Plus, there’s not much that a perfectly ripe summer peach can’t fix. I stopped by this morning and picked up the corn, squash and zucchini featured in this frittata. However, this recipe will work  with whatever produce you found at the market this week, or with whatever is on its last legs in your fridge.

I like to whip up a frittata on Sunday afternoon to have for easy breakfasts or lunches throughout the week. This would also make a great easy summer dinner. Serve alongside lightly dressed greens, or pile them on top. And please, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy these fleeting summer evenings. Before long we’ll be wondering where they went.

Summer Squash and Corn Frittata

Ingredients:

1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

1 small yellow summer squash, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 ear of corn, removed from the cob

8 eggs

¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 T half and half

1 T butter

Basil

salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss zucchini and squash with salt. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Dry zucchini and squash between layers of paper towels, removing excess moisture.
  4. Beat eggs and half and half together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Heat butter in large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat.
  6. Once butter is bubbling, place onion in skillet. Sautee 3-4 minutes, until starting to brown.
  7. Add dried zucchini and squash. Allow to cook, tossing periodically to get color on both sides, 3-4 minutes.
  8. Add corn to skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes.
  9. Spread vegetables evenly over the bottom of the skillet.
  10. Add egg mixture to skillet. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes to allow bottom of eggs to set.
  11. Sprinkle mozzarella over eggs and vegetables.
  12. Place skillet in oven. Cook for 10-11 minutes, until top is set.
  13. Turn on broiler, allow to cook under broiler 1-2 minutes, until top of frittata is slightly browned.
  14. Run spatula under frittata and slide out onto cutting board. Cut into wedges and sprinkle with torn basil leaves.

 

Serves 6-8