Dina Cheney

Cookbook Author, Freelance Writer and Recipe Developer, Food Stylist and Photographer

Zucchini Fritters with Pecorino

Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Eggs, Side Dish, Snack, AppetizerDina CheneyComment

Makes 6 medium-sized fritters

These gluten-free fritters are delicious hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold. Here I've sprinkled them with fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves for flavor and color.

1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium)

1 cup grated yellow summer squash (about 1 medium)

1 Tbsp grated red onion

1 large egg

1/2 cup corn flour or fine cornmeal

1/2 cup grated Pecorino or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1/2 tsp salt

About 6 grinds black pepper

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 lemon, cut into thin slices for garnish

  1. Place the grated zucchini, squash, and onion on a large clean dish towel, bundle up, and squeeze well to drain. Discard any liquid. Place the drained grated zucchini, squash, and onion in a medium bowl. Add the egg, corn flour, cheese, salt, and pepper, and stir just until combined.
  2. Brush the inside of a 10-inch nonstick skillet with the oil, and heat over medium-high. When hot, add six 1/4-cupfuls of the batter, and cook until golden brown on the first side, about four minutes. Flip and cook until the other side is similarly golden brown, about another four minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Serve with lemon.

Better-For-You Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Desserts, Edible Gifts, SnackDina CheneyComment

Makes 13

Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, low-sugar, and relatively high in fiber and protein, these cookies are delicious and guilt-free! They're also incredibly easy to prepare! Try them with a glass of cold coconut milk to reinforce the coconut flavor.

1-1/2 cups tiger nut flour, such as Organic Gemini

1/2 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut milk beverage (or canned coconut milk)

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (with salt, without sugar)

1/4 cup agave nectar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, place a rack in the center of the oven, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together the tiger nut flour, coconut, baking powder, and salt. Add the coconut milk, peanut butter, agave nectar, and vanilla extract, and stir until well mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop rounds onto the parchment, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Flatten each round a bit with your palm.
  2. Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Healthier Banana Brownies

Desserts, Edible Gifts, SnackDina CheneyComment

Makes 8

Ripe bananas are the secret ingredient in these moist, rich brownies. The fruit adds sweetness and moisture, which allows for a smaller amount of added oil and sweetener. Plus, these treats are whole-grain! I can assure you - no one will notice the difference!

Nonstick cooking spray

1 four-oz. bar 60% semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped

2 medium-sized ripe bananas

1/2 cup safflower, grapeseed, or vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour or whole-wheat flour

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and spray an 8x8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave, about 1 minute and 20 seconds (microwave in 45 second increments, and stir). Let the chocolate cool to slightly warm. To the melted chocolate, whisk in the bananas, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Use a potato masher to mash the bananas, and stir together the ingredients until well mixed.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, coconut sugar, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, and stir together until well-blended (but do not over-mix).
  3. Pour the batter into the greased baking dish, and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out with only a couple of moist crumbs, about 30 minutes (check after 25 minutes). Let cool, chill, and then cut into 8 squares.

Korean Steak Lettuce Wraps with Grilled Peaches

Dinner, LunchDina CheneyComment

Serves 4

Grilled peaches add sweetness and color to grilled steak with a Korean-inspired marinade. Fresh romaine lettuce provides crunch, and gochujang sauce makes everything taste amazing!

½ cup apple juice

¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1 TBSP gochujang sauce (plus about 1/4 cup extra for serving)

1 TBSP sesame oil

1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce

1 heaping TBSP chopped ginger

Scant 2 lbs trimmed skirt or flank steak

Vegetable oil for the grill

Salt to taste

8 romaine lettuce hearts, washed, dried, and chilled

2 cups cooked white sushi rice

1-1/2 cups large dice ripe peaches

2 TBSP thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts only

  1. Add the juice, vinegar, gochujang, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and steak to a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and marinate for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat the grill to medium-high, and carefully oil. Pat the steak very dry and season on both sides with salt. Grill until medium-rare or cooked to your liking, turning over halfway through, about 15 minutes total for flank steak or 10 minutes for skirt steak. Let the steak rest for about 10 minutes, then slice thinly on the bias against the grain.
  3. While the steak grills, place the peach chunks on two metal skewers, sprinkle lightly with salt to taste, and grill until the fruit is tender, but still retains its shape, turning over halfway through, about 5 minutes.
  4. Arrange the romaine cups on a large platter. Place some rice in each cup. Top with some steak, grilled peaches, scallions, and a drizzle of gochujang sauce. Serve immediately.

Matcha Granola with Local Strawberries

Breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Edible Gifts, SnackDina CheneyComment

Makes about 4 1/2 cups

Serve this gorgeous green granola with local strawberries, cherries, or pomegranate seeds, with or without coconut (or dairy) yogurt.

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 cups raw quick oats

1 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, minced

1/4 cup agave nectar

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. matcha powder

  1. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. When warm, add the oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and ginger, and cook, stirring, until the oats are coated with the oil, about 3 minutes. Add the agave nectar and salt, and cook, stirring, until the agave nectar evenly coats the oats and the granola is very lightly golden, about another 4 minutes. Stir in the matcha powder.