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    Tuesday
    Aug092016

    Savory Zucchini Bread

    I know, right? Why is savory zucchini bread not a thing? Well, after you’ve tried this recipe, it will be a thing in your house. I guarantee it. (Is it possible to say that now without hearing it in the voice of Donald Trump?)

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1egg
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • ¼ cup cold butter
    • 1 cup grated parmesan or Italian blend
    • 1 Tablespoon dried chives
    • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
    • ½ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 small/medium zucchini 

    Prep stuff first. Preheat your oven to 350° and butter a 9x5 loaf pan and set it aside.

    Grate your zucchini. I like to just use a box grater for this. It’s just not worth washing the 84 parts of the food processor.

    Measure the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir them together.

    Cut your cold butter into chunks and add them to the bowl.

    Mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles wet sand. I think it probably took something like 2 minutes.

    Add the dried herbs and cheese. My grocery store has a freshly grated 3 cheese blend, which I love. It’s a combination of parmigiano reggiano, romano, and asiago cheeses. If you can get your hands on something like that (make sure it’s freshly grated and not the stuff in a green can) it’s perfect. If not, just pick whichever is your favorite. Any of those three will work just fine.

    This is about the time I decided pepper would be a good addition to this recipe, so go ahead and add it now, as well.

    Mix until everything is evenly distributed.

    Now for the liquid stuff. I didn’t see any reason to dirty any unnecessary dishes, so I just cracked my egg into the now empty cheese container.

    Add the buttermilk and give it a good whisk, then pour it over the stuff in the mixing bowl.

    Stir just until it comes together. It’s a bit of a mess, but you don’t want to overmix it.

    Now comes the zucchini. I could almost cram all of mine into a 1 cup measure.

    Dump it into the bowl and stir briefly, once more. Scrape the dough into your prepared loaf pan.

    Spread it to the edges and level it out on top.

    Into the oven for about 70 minutes. When it’s done, it will be nice and golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean.  

    Rub or brush the top of the loaf with some softened butter. Allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove it to a cooling rack to cool completely.

    Well, almost completely. Truth be told, it’s best while it’s just slightly warm. How have I gone my whole life without even hearing of savory zucchini bread. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sweet stuff. I’ve posted both a spicy version and a tangy, fruity version, which are both really delicious, but I’m blown away by how good this savory version is. The outside is definitely the best part, though, so I think next time I’m going to make it as little mini muffins.

    What is your favorite thing to do with zucchini?

    Print this Recipe

    Tuesday
    May032016

    Chocolate Cream Pie Done Right

    Recently, I was having a serious craving for chocolate cream pie. Easy enough, right? Just drop into the nearest diner and pick up a slice. Yeah, not so much. After much googling and wracking of my brain, I eventually decided I would have to make my own. I couldn’t find a place locally that I could be sure wouldn’t disappoint. Since I’d never made a chocolate cream pie before, I needed to do some research. Off to Pinterest and Google, then. For some reason, every recipe I looked at had either cocoa or chocolate. When given the opportunity to use both, why on earth would you pass it up?? I mean, we’re making CHOCOLATE cream pie, after all. Now chocolaty pudding pie, or chocolate-ish custard pie. Well, I went all in, and boy did it pay off.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1 pie crust
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ¼ cup cornstarch
    • ¼ cup cocoa
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 3 cups whole milk
    • 4 ounces dark chocolate
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla 

    Before you get started on the filling, you’ll need a pie crust. I used a frozen one form Trader Joes, and it was fantastic. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making your own, I highly recommend theirs. Either way, the crust needs to be blind baked until it’s nicely golden and then cooled completely. Once that’s done, go ahead and chop your chocolate. Once again, I turned to Trader Joes for that. I love their pound plus bars.

    Put that aside, and into a medium sized saucepan, sift the cornstarch and cocoa.

    Stir that together with the sugar and salt.

    Separate 4 eggs, placing the yolks in bowl. Give them a quick whisk.

    Here’s another place where I parted company from all the recipes I found. Even my own recipes, in the past, have always said to heat the milk and then temper the yolks before adding them to the mixture. At some point, my brain said, “if you’re going to bring it to a boil once the eggs are in anyway, why not just add them in the beginning?” It seemed like sound enough logic to me, so I did it, and it worked beautifully. So, go ahead and add the egg yolks to the milk and whisk that thoroughly.

    Pour that mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir everything together and turn the heat to medium.

    At first, it’s going to be a bit messy, but don’t worry.

    As it warms up, it will sort itself out. Just keep whisking and stirring. I like to alternate between a whisk and a silicone spatula.

    Continue stirring until it reaches a boil and becomes nice and thick, then turn off the heat.

    Add the chopped chocolate and stir until it’s completely melted and incorporated.

    Next, add the butter and vanilla. And yes, more stirring.

    Now, just to be safe, pour the pudding through a mesh strainer. This will ensure that you have no lumps (cornstarch, cocoa, curdled egg, whatever). It’s quite thick, so you’ll have to stir it to get it through the strainer.

    And don’t forget to scrape everything off of the underside. There’s lots of deliciousness stuck there.

    Now, pour the finished pudding into the prepared pie crust and level it out on top.

    Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Allow it to cool, and then refrigerate it for at least 3 or 4 hours. Overnight would be even better.

    When the pie is nice and cold, whip some cream. 

    • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
    • ¼ cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla 

    Whip until it’s nice and stiff. Although, be careful not to go too far. I’ve never actually had it happen, but apparently it will turn to butter at some point.

    I piped the whipped cream onto my pie, but you can just spread it if you’d prefer.

    Now, to make it pretty, top it with some finely grated chocolate. Just warm the chocolate slightly between your hands, and grate it on the finest side of a box grater. How gorgeous is that?

    This pie is creamy, chocolaty, and delicious. Hubby said it was the best pie he’s ever tried. That’s a huge compliment, because he’s not a big fan of sweet things, and he’s also not shy about telling me what he really thinks of my cooking. I will definitely be making this pie again.

    What food do you have to make yourself if you want it done right?