It’s a Zesty Thing

I wish I had a good excuse as to why I’ve been so absent in the blog world lately. Truth be told – I do have a good excuse…but I’ve been battling as to whether it’s something I want to share with everyone just yet.

And then I remembered that I can be completely open with you guys, without feeling the need to hide anything. Save for the details about where I live and where I am at specific times of the day just because…you know…there are still creepers out there.

Anyways. Enough beating around the bush. The truth is…

I’m in a new relationship.

With my zester. It’s getting really heated these days…and I just can’t bear to be without it very long. Using it brings a whole new element of “brightness,” almost, to a dish – and I knew I was getting a little too involved after wishing I had my zester with me while I was at work yesterday.

To add orange zest to my hot chocolate. I tried this at home just now, and I definitely think it’s one of the weirder things I’ve done. My mind was on the right track – you know, dark chocolate + orange? However, the execution needs work. I’m currently drinking hot chocolate only to chew on a mouthful of zest immediately afterwards. Uhh…whoops.

Luckily – this Dagoba hot chocolate is fan. freaking. tastic. I’ve had my eyeballs peeled (how creepy is the word eyeballs, anyways?!) for a good hot cocoa and when I saw this on sale at the co-op I had to splurge on it. Yes, I just used “on sale” and “splurge” in the same sentence…because it was still $7 for a couple of cups of hot cocoa. Never fear, though – it has chunks of dark chocolate in it, which is pretty amazing whether you love hot cocoa/chocolate or not. I don’t declare myself a chocolate fan, however I love a good cup of hot cocoa to warm up with! I just wish it didn’t have a little bit of dairy in it :\

Oh, and by the way while we’re speaking of eyeballs, my eyeballs were also glued to the TV last night anyways, as I watched Tuuka Rask make a great come-back from a less-than-wonderful game on Sunday night. Just had to throw that out there, you know.

Ask an ordinary human being, and some of my other creations have probably been a little bit out there – but ask me, and I’d say not at all! You’ve already seen me post recipes including zest – the orange-date cookies, the lime poppyseed muffins, and how I’m constantly having pancakes with blueberries and lemon or lime, or cranberries and orange.

But how about something savory?

…like pasta? Pasta with kale and orange zest? And cranberries? and butternut squash? Sounds good to me!

[shallots sauteed in olive oil + kale + juice of one tangerine + salt, pepper, sage + roasted butternur squash + zest of one tangerine + splash of balsamic vinegar + serving of cooked whole wheat pasta + topped with dried cranberries and toasted walnuts]

Similar to that was my lunch today – but the mushrooms took it to the next level.

[sautee 1/4 of a red onion and a clove of garlic in basil oil – add in sliced mushrooms and chopped kale – add in juice of one tangerine – fold in a heaping portion of roasted butternut squash. serve with toasted walnuts.]

The critical element is getting the mushrooms to get a little bit of crispy golden-ness on them and not cooking them until they’re mushy.

And then, there’s the sweet side of my new addiction. Also known as – the combination of two obsessions in a relatively odd way. Also known as – sweet potato pancakes. With orange zest and cranberries.

I thought orange zest would be a good addition because it would add a refreshing element to contrast the heaviness of the sweet potatoes. I also wanted to leave the sweet potato in chunks, rather thanmashing it and adding it to the batter. I wouldn’t have bothered baking a sweet potato just for pancakes in the morning – but I had one I couldn’t finish the night before, so I chopped it up for the following morning. I think next time, I’d make them with the individual chunks having been roasted. I just chopped a potato I’d baked whole, and the texture of the potato and the pancake were a bit too similar.

I topped them with almond butter “mousse” (almond butter mixed with almond milk) date syrup and almonds. I love this crunchy TJ’s almond butter with flaxseeds that Jess sent me – so runny, crunchy and delicious!

True conversation:

“whats in the oven?”

                “a sweet potato.”

didn’t you just have one for lunch?


huh. is that good for you?”

              “well, i can think of worse things i could have.”

This was followed by my mom telling me I was soon going to turn orange. I’m sorry – but once you oven bake a sweet potato, or have them roasted low and slow, there is no going back!

[for the pancakes: follow the base for my BLOC pancakes, replacing the lemon with orange and blueberries for cranberries, and use only 1/4 of a cup. add in 1/4 of a chopped baked sweet potato. season with ground cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.]

I’ve also put some ripe bananas to good use…do you know what I added to the recipe, though? I bet you do…

…and if youguessed orange zest, you’d be hitting the nail on the head!

Aaaand lastly, but surely not leastly – something a bit more traditional. Blueberry pancakes with tangerine zest rather than lemon or lime! Honestly – is there anything better than some good ol’ blueberry pancakes, panfried in a leetle bit of earth balance (or butter) to get nice and crispy-golden, lightened up with the zest and juice of a good ol’ citrus fruit? And don’t forget, smeared with the aforementioned almond butter mousse and real (vermont!) maple syrup?

The answer is no, my friends. If you’d like to tell me something is better than that, go for it. It might take a bit of convincing, but I welcome the thoughts.

And yes, I’d be totally okay with eating pancakes for the rest of my life.

Alas, this never-ending zesting has left its mark: the knuckle on my left thumb has a permanent scar from my slipping with the zest one too many times (and zesting my thumb knuckle) and my zester is missing a metal “loop.” I’ve eaten it, for all I know. And believe it or not – the zesting is contagious. My mom added orange zest to a jello pudding pie she made the other day!

Zest: yay or nay? I want to hear you weigh in with tips, tricks, recipes, etc!

OH! Two more things: don’t forget about the date syrup giveaway, AND!!! Teddie posted some videos on his blog that might make you laugh :)


Filed under almond butter, baking, breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe

30 responses to “It’s a Zesty Thing

  1. Oh this post was so drool-worthy! I am espec in love with the kale shallot balsamic zest butternut dish thing <- all of those are right up my street!
    But uh – i'm disappointed! My heart literally skipped a beat when you said you were in a new relationship!! (i blates need to get out more) I'm gutted it's with the zester :p
    I've done very little with zesting in my short life; after reading this, I'm thinking I should get my zest on :/

  2. Colleen

    “I’m in a relationship.” okay, thats cool! “..with my zester” HAHA! I love your blog because it’s interesting, you update regularly, and there are always amazing pictures :) The pancakes and the bread are mouth-watering!

  3. You don’t mess around when it comes to zesting. LOL. Seriously, love to add orange or lemon zest to cookies, scones, French toast and pancakes.

  4. Zest is nay for me… because I hate washing zesters (okay, I hate washing dishes, period, but zesters and garlic presses are unique in that I really hate washing them), and then I have to eat the citrus. As previously established, citrus does not like me.

    But everything in this post looks amazing, so zest away!! ;)
    <3 <3

  5. I really need a zester!! Whenever a recipe calls for orange zest, lemon zest…I always have to omit it, and it makes me sad! And I’ve always been kind of confused about one thing….isn’t it like the peel of the fruit that you’re adding to the recipe? I guess I’ve always thought that was odd, but what do I know!?

  6. Holy YUMMM, not only do you bake amazing looking things but you take pictures that sure do them justice!! Zest is awesome, I agree. It totally freshens up any dish that you add it to

  7. Definitely YAY! I love orange zest on my cantaloupe. I know it seems weird, but it really brightens the flavor of the loupe! I would like to eat everything from this post! I just declared tonight a cereal night so can I come over for dinner? Oh and I love the sweet potato conversation, I swear I have had similar with people questioning the amount of oatmeal I eat in a day.

  8. Hahaha I love that you are in a relationship with your zester! I’m in a relationship too with my new mini food processor. Now I’m using it for everything and trying to use it with every meal. Your banana bread and pancakes look amazing. I really want pancakes now. Is it alright to have pancakes for dinner?

  9. Mmmm.. I love zest :) I made a batch of orange-cranberry ginger muffins before I left for my mom and they were ah-ma-zing! I only wish that I took some with me here because they were that good.

    I’ve missed you.. and I feel so out-of-the-loop right now considering I am taking a little semi-blog break. I saw the videos on Teddie’s blog the other day and they made me smile so huge! He’s got quite the little attitude!!
    Also, guess what?! My university has a riding club where people get matched up and take lessons together. How cool is that? I have to look into it a little more of course, but it’s definitely more than I ever imagined would be offered. Wish me luck?

  10. Totally love you girl, you are too funny! You always put a smile on my face…oh and a rumble in my tummy:)

  11. Can you do zest with a little shredder (the little tiny holed hand-held ones)?

    Your pancakes are really pretty! I love the stripes!

  12. I loved the opening to this post – “a new relationship with my zester” it totally put a smile on my face!!!! What interesting ways to use orange zest – ive really only tried it in salsas as well as baked muffins. The butternut pasta dish looks fabulous – i never would have thought of adding orange to pasta!!!
    Your posts always inspire me to try new things – you sure do have a knack for new recipes!!!!!! Delicious as usual!!!!

  13. I got a Microplane for Christmas and zesting has never been the same. We don’t have any oranges and clementines surprisingly don’t have great zest (maybe I had a bad one, I’ll try one more time), but lemons and limes are shown no mercy whenever I’m making something with them. :3

    Now I wonder if grapefruit zest has anything to offer….

  14. I’ve gotten really into zesting lately. Citrus adds so much flavor to things.

  15. My family always makes fun of me for my orange hands from eating so much pumpkin. Honestly, there are worse things I could be doing than eating pumpkin – LAY OFF!!! :)

  16. I’m so glad you liked the almond butter! Call me crazy but they just screamed YOU!
    And I now have an INTENSE craving for pancakes. Thanks Jess.

  17. theflourishingfoodie

    I love this post! I’m a big fan of zesting things too. Zest just adds some much more flavor than just the juice. Orange zest and chocolate sounds like an amazing combo! I know want to go zest something, lol, too bad I don’t have any citrus.

  18. A change of relationship status! Nice! LOL
    I need a zester! Though, I m not really in to the orange flavor unless its so settle you cant taste it!

  19. wow, you seriously had me for a minute..the picture wasn’t loading. i was like!!!! wow, she found someone who wants to build her a huge barn/arena and fill it with horses!!!
    and can i come live with you?? so you can bake for me till your hearts content…i have a zester but i haven’t really used it much at all…i should give it more thought! ::)

  20. I’ve only used orange zest once but loved it- a little goes a long way, that’s for sure. And I hope you don’t turn orange from eating too many sweet potatoes..I sure did! haha

  21. Well, I used to hate zest (who wants little orange or green chewy things in their muffins?), but now I’m def warming up to it. I’ve used tangerine zest too and I like it because its a little milder than regular orange zest.<3

  22. I’ve never liked zest, but i can handle a little bit- its too bitter and chewy for me!

  23. Haha you had me fooled with the relationship thing for a minute. ;)

    I don’t really use zest a lot, and I don’t know why! Adding a bit of zest adds such a nice hint of flavour! Especially to things like muffins and sweet breads.

  24. Yay for taste, nay for texture. Unless it’s candied :) It’s just weird to chew it, and then you’ve got all the citrus bitterness in your mouth instead of the hot chocolate!! Speaking of which, I really, really want some HoCho right now. Haven’t had any in ages and I can’t really figure out why…

  25. zest adds a lot of flavor, and I like it, but I tend to avoid it ’cause I don’t have access to organic oranges and lemons, and I’m afraid of pesticides :D
    Hot chocolate with orange zest is awesome!

  26. holy cow that sounds good!! I have two citrus trees that are about to explode in my backyard… so I’ve invested in a zester :) I’m open to new ideas! Your hot chocolate with orange zest sounds bomb though.

  27. he he he… I have a post set for the morning about my love of General Tso sauce…

    Does this make us sad or awesome? I can’t decide… :p

  28. You are so cute…you totally had me going. I bought a zester last year and I was so excited…I picked out a wonderful lemon bar recipe and put all my ingredients on the counter. But when I took my zester to my lemon…no luck! I must have bought a defective model. I was crushed…and I haven’t taken up with a zester again. Your post is encouraging me to give it another shot. Thank you for sharing all of this sweetness! I hope you have a wonderful end of your week.

  29. I’m jealous of your zester! They’re such a great little tool to have in the kitchen. :D

    And the pancakes look *awesome.* I can’t wait to make some this weekend. :D

  30. I love zesting, too! Such a great and easy way to boost flavor!

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