Monday, 3 June 2013

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Zucchini Rolls

Helllllllo. It's been a while. Again. Let's face it... This blog has to be put on the back burner when it comes to school and work also being on the list :(. 

But anyway. I was going to post avocado chocolate chip cookies today, but my friend thought these were a better option. So here is a savoury treat for your taste buds. These rolls really melt in your mouth. The soft zucchini slices combined with the cheese and spices make a great appetizer or side. The rolls I made were jam-packed with flavour. I loved it, but the BF isn't really into fancy spices... or cream cheese. So if you don't like cream cheese, shame on you! Just kidding. You could use any cheese, really. I would like to make these with goat cheese next... mmm, my favourite! 

If you don't like a lot of spices, or only really like one particular one just use that. I don't like to include spice measurements in my recipes. 1) I'm not very herb/spice savvy... 2) I don't always use the same spices, or same amounts, for one recipe, and 3) I know some people just really love garlic and prefer to use that. Our go-to spices are garlic, chili powder, and seasoning salt. For this recipe I sprinkled garlic and a tiny bit of seasoning salt on my zucchini slices while they were cooking, and added basil to the cheese. If you don't know what to do about spices you could buy flavoured cream cheese and let Kraft do the work for you. 

So let's take a look at what we're making:

no, not the steak.
Serving Size: 4 rolls, makes 8
Nutritional Information: 112 cals, 4g of carbs and 1g of fiber (3g net carbs), 9g of fat, 5g of protein 
These nutritional values listed do not include bacon or butter/oil. 

Prep Time: 45+ minutes
Cooking Time: 15-25 minutes (depending on whether or not you pop these into the oven after prep)

Your Ingredients:
  • 1 medium zucchini (should yield ~8 slices, excluding outermost skin slices)
  • 1/4 cup of cream cheese (room temp. or slightly warmed)
  • 1 tbsp of unsalted butter, or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese
  • choice spices 
  • choice filler item*
* I mixed bacon bits with the cream cheese because I already had them made up from a previous meal. Other possible variations: diced cherry tomatoes, chopped olives, garlic pieces, diced jalapeno peppers, chopped red or green onion, salsa, roasted red peppers, etc... Be creative :). 

Your Tools:
  • a mandolin slicer or other slicing tool... a knife for this task is not ideal as you'll want consistent thickness
  • An oven and a frying pan (or a grill... or similar device)
  • A small or medium mixing bowl and a spoon
  • A wire cooling rack
The Directions:

Step 1 -
Start out by prepping your zucchini. Chop the ends off each zucchini and discard. Slice each zucchini using your mandolin slicer or similar tool. If you don't have such a tool, try to make the slices about 1/8th of an inch thick. Discard (or eat... or save) the slices that are entirely skin on one side. Wipe each slice with a paper towel, then move on to step 2.
I am processing 3 zucchinis, but am definitely not using all the slices for this recipe. I need the other 16 slices for things. 
I got 24 slices total so that's 8 slices each!
Step 2 -
Dry out your zucchini (as much as we can)! Line a flat surface, ideally a cutting board, with a sheet or two of paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and lay as many slices of zucchini will fit over top. Lightly sprinkle the topside of the slices. Place a sheet or two of paper towel over those slices. Repeat the process (one layer on top of another) until all the zucchini is salted. Place something heavy-ish on the pile and leave it be for 30+ minutes. I have a really solid wooden cutting block that I use. I also tend to do this part as early as possible so I can just leave them to sit and "drain" while I do other things. In this case, I did these an hour or so before I was going to make dinner (while I was baking dessert, actually!) 

Step 3 -
While the zucchini is drying out (or when you're just about ready to work with the zucchini) go ahead and mix your roll filling. I forgot to take my cream cheese out early to let it warm, so I ended up popping it in the microwave for 10 seconds, which did the trick. You want the cream cheese to be soft, so definitely either take it out early to let it reach room temperature, or warm it up in the microwave. If the cream cheese is soft it will be easier to a) mix it, and b) spread it. If you try to spread hard cream cheese on a slice of zucchini, you will ruin the zucchini... poor things are very fragile!
Mix whatever filling (you can never go wrong with bacon bits!) you decided on, the parmesan cheese, and spices, with the cream cheese. Set this aside. 
Step 4 -
Preheat either your frying pan, or grill, to about medium in order to get ready for the zucchini slices. I used a 12 inch frying pan because my G.F. grill is still packed (and we don't have a BBQ anymore...). Drop some unsalted butter, or oil, into the pan.
Remove all pieces of paper towel from the zucchini slices. Wipe each side of each slice to remove excess water. Once the pan is nice and hot, lay your slices of zucchini in it, browning each side (this took about 5ish minutes for each side for me). 

Step 5 -
Lay your fried/grilled zucchini slices across a wire cooling rack until they are cool enough to work with. 
Once cool, proceed to smother each slice with the filling you've mixed up! Then roll each slice, starting with the thinner end, and serve. I ended up popping mine in the oven as I wanted to serve them hot with our steaks. So I started preheating the oven to 350F while I was frying the slices of zucchini. I left them in the oven for about 10 minutes and served them.