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    Entries in moms rock (11)

    Monday
    Aug242015

    Zucchini Bread with a Twist (of Lime)

    Zucchini season is definitely in full swing, here in Utah. When visiting my mom recently, she sent me home with four of them from her garden. One of them was a little larger than I generally like to eat, but was perfect for grating and baking. During that same visit, Mom fed me a piece of zucchini bread she had made. It was flavored with orange and had raisins, nuts, and chocolate chips in it. Needless to say, it was delicious. I had her email me the recipe with every intention of making it, but as the story usually goes, I had to make a few changes. I had just returned from San Diego with a bunch of seriously amazing limes (it’s legal to bring fruit out of California, right?) so of course I had to use those in place of the orange. And since I was using lime, I had to use coconut oil. And remembering our lime, coconut, and white chocolate bread pudding, I had to substitute white chocolate chips. And then there were the raisins… I don’t like to keep them in the house because I don’t trust my scattered brain to not leave them somewhere Otto might possibly find them, (if you’ve ever owned a beagle you’ll understand the lengths they’ll go to for food) and raisins/grapes are extremely toxic for dogs. So in place of those, I used dried cranberries. Other than that, it was exactly the same. Except for the tangy lime glaze I added. Ok, so it was nothing like Mom’s. It was, however, just as delicious.

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ½ cup coconut oil
    • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
    • 1 ½ cups sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 ¾ cups grated zucchini (1 medium-ish zucchini)
    • 2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
    • 2 Tablespoons lime zest
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • ¼ cup hot water
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup pecans
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips 

    Make sure all of your ingredients are room temperature before you begin, including the zucchini and limes. Place the cranberries in a small bowl and pour over ¼ cup hot water. Microwave them for 30 seconds, and then just leave them in there until you’re ready for them later.

    Now for the limes. You’ll probably need two medium sized ones for this recipe. You should get about a Tablespoon of zest and 2 Tablespoons of juice from each one.

    Be sure to only remove the green bit, the white stuff is bitter.

    Grate your zucchini. I usually just use a box grater (I actually really love this one) because it’s just too much of a pain to clean the food processor.

    You want the coconut oil to be room temperature but still in its solid state when you measure it.

    Then it goes into the bowl of your mixer along with the canola oil.

    And the sugar.

    Mix those on medium speed for about 2 minutes. There should be no more lumps of coconut oil and should be a nice, creamy white color.

    Add the eggs one at a time.

    Be sure each one is incorporated before adding the next. Don’t panic if it looks a little bit curdled like this.

    Add the vanilla and mix it in.

    Followed by the lime zest.

    This is the part where I had planned to tell you to remove the liquid from the cranberries and add 2 Tablespoons of it to the lime juice, but it turns out that’s about how much you’ll end up with, so don’t bother. Just dump it in with the cranberries.

    Add the zucchini and the lime juice. (you can see mine is pink from the cranberry water)

    Stir that in and add the cranberries. The zucchini will try to attach itself to the beater, so just scrape it down.

    Now for the dry ingredients. Combine the flour, soda, powder, and salt in a bowl. This is probably a good time to preheat your oven to 350°.

    Then add them to the bowl, mixing just until everything is combined.

    You’ll want to chop your pecans just slightly. You don’t want them to get lost in the bread. I like big nuts and I cannot lie… What? Tell me you weren't thinking it too.

    Put your nuts into the bowl along with the white chocolate chips. I used mini ones, but they disappeared completely during the baking process, so in the future, I will use regular sized ones, or even chunks. Whatever you use, fold them in gently.

    Divide the batter between two greased and floured loaf pans. Mine are fairly big 9x5 pans, which made for loaves that were somewhat vertically challenged, (this is where Hubby would insert a short joke about how I should feel in good company or something) but they are still perfectly delicious. If you use smaller pans, you may need to bake them for a few extra minutes, but it should be pretty close.

    Into your preheated 350° oven for about 45 minutes. When they’re done, a toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean, and the loaves will be a nice golden brown color.

    Allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and during that time, prepare the glaze. Into 2 Tablespoons of lime juice, sift ½ cup powdered sugar. Stir until it comes together into a nice, smooth glaze. It’s fine if there are a few little bits of lime pulp in it.

    Apply your glaze to the warm loaves… um, you'll just have to trust me, it’s going to look a lot more appetizing when you’re done.

    Brush it over the entire top surface of both loaves. Although the goal is to keep most of the glaze on top, some of it is bound to run down the sides, so you might want to place the cooling rack on a sheet pan before you start. Did I forget to mention that part?

    Allow them to cool completely before slicing. You’re going to love the tang of the lime glaze and the cranberries, with the sweetness of the white chocolate and the nutty crunch of the pecans. The coconut flavor definitely plays second fiddle in this recipe, so if you want to bring it out a bit, feel free to stir in some shredded coconut when you add the pecans and chips.

    What’s your favorite way to use of those zucchinis from the garden?

     

    Tuesday
    Sep022014

    The Best Raspberry Cheesecake Ever!

    So, this probably isn’t exactly the picture that comes to mind when someone says the word cheesecake, but this is the cheesecake from my childhood.  It was a rare treat we’d usually only get during raspberry season, but it's always been one of my favorite things.  I’ve tasted different varieties of cheesecake from all kinds of restaurants, even including the Cheesecake Factory, but none of them was ever as good as Mom’s.  Now I’m going to show you how to make it. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    Crust:
    13 graham crackers
    1 Tablespoon sugar
    ½ teaspoon cinnamon
    ½ cup butter

    Cheesecake:
    12 oz. cream cheese
    ¾ cup sugar
    1 ½ Tablespoons lemon juice
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    3 eggs

    Fruit topping:
    1 ½ cups juice
    2 Tablespoons corn starch
    ½ cup sugar

    First up, the crust.  Melt one stick of butter and set it aside.  Then, in a food processor or blender, grind the graham crackers into very fine crumbs.  Pour them into a 9 inch pie pan and sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar.

    Mix those ingredients together and pour on your butter.

    With a fork, stir the crumbs and butter together until you get something that resembles wet sand.

    Now, spread the crumbs evenly in the pan, and press them into shape.  I used a small measuring cup, which has a flat bottom and is the basic shape I want for the edges as well.  If you don’t have measuring cups like these, be creative.  I’m sure you can find the perfect tool somewhere in your kitchen. 

    Now, place the crust in the fridge and preheat your oven to 325°.  It’s best if all the ingredients for the filling are at room temperature, so pull them out several hours ahead, or even the night before will be fine.  Put the cream cheese in a bowl and mix until it’s nice and smooth.  Then, add the lemon juice, vanilla, and sugar.

    Mix those together, and you’ll end up with something like this. 

    As evidenced by the glops of unincorporated cream cheese, this bowl and beater need to be scraped down. 

    Ah, that’s much better.  You’ll want to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, along with the beater, several times throughout this process.  So, where were we?  Oh yes, time for the eggs.  I like to crack mine into a separate little dish and add them from there.  Not only does it give you a chance to pick out shells if you get them, but it’s also the perfect place to pick the white goobers off of the yolk.  Yes, my mom assures me that goobers is in fact, the scientific term for those things.  And yes, I do remove them from every egg I use.  You all were starting to wonder where I get these magical eggs that don’t have goobers, but really, it’s just a bit of my OCD showing.  Now that we’ve covered that, add your eggs, one at a time, to the mixture.  Make sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. 

    Scrape and mix a few times until everything is nice a smooth, then pull out your pie crust and pour in the cheesecake mixture. 

    Pop it into the oven and bake for 40 minutes.  There will still be a bit of jiggle factor when you remove it from the oven, but it should all move the same.  If the center is softer, give it a few more minutes of cooking time. 

    As you can see, mine had a couple big air bubbles, but not to worry.  Those will be completely covered soon enough.  For now, leave it to cool for an hour or so before starting on the fruit topping.  If it doesn’t have time to cool down, the steam it gives off during that process will cause the cheesecake and fruit topping to separate.  For the filling, the first thing you need to do is wash your berries.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen tv chefs just open the container and dump them in.  Personally, I’d like to get rid of as many bugs as possible.  Be gentle, though.  Raspberries are fragile. 

    Now for the sauce.  Put your sugar and cornstarch in a pan and whisk them together.  This ensures you won’t have any lumps of cornstarch. 

    Pour in your juice and turn the heat to medium.  I used a mixed berry juice.  You can use whatever flavor you like, but the closer you can get to raspberry, the better. 

    Stir, making sure you get all the way into the corners of your pan, so you don’t miss any of the cornstarch.  Keep stirring until the mixture just comes to a boil, then turn off the heat.  Add the raspberries and stir gently. 

    Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to give the raspberries a chance to give off whatever liquid they’re going to, then stir it once more, and pour it over the top of your cheesecake. 

    Place the whole thing in the fridge and allow it to chill for several hours.  Don’t rush it.  For me, it’s best to do this right before bed. 

    Mmmmmm.  Cheesecake for breakfast.  What?  It’s fruit and cheese and… ok, it’s cheesecake, but it’s fabulous, whenever you eat it.