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    Entries in summer (10)

    Friday
    Aug162013

    Zesty Zucchini Bread 

    If you have a garden and are growing zucchini, this is about the time of year you have them coming out your ears.  We have a handful of recipes using them, like Seeley’s zucchini fettuccini, my potato and zucchini pie, and quiche.  Today, however, I’m going for a more traditional option.  Everyone has had zucchini bread before, but this recipe is made with buttermilk and lots of spices so it’s moist, flavorful, and delicious. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 ½ cups flour
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
    • ½ teaspoon allspice
    • ¼ teaspoon cloves
    • ¼ teaspoon ginger
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 ¼ cups sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • ¼ cup butter, softened
    • ¼ cup oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
    • 2 cups grated zucchini, room temperature

    I know that looks like a long list of ingredients, but most of it is just spices… and speaking of spices, if you happen to have cardamom or mace in your cupboard, feel free to add ¼ teaspoon of either or both.  I just didn’t have any on hand.  I have since remedied the situation with a trip to Penzeys with my friend Elise Logan. 

    Before you start with the ingredients, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350° and butter a 2 quart loaf pan. 

    Then, into a bowl go all of the dry ingredients except the sugar.  (First 10 on the list)

    Whisk that together so that everything is evenly distributed. 

    In a separate mixing bowl, go the butter, oil, and sugar. 

    Mix until it’s nice and smooth and creamy, then add the eggs and vanilla

    Mix until the eggs are completely incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl at some point. 

    Add the zucchini.

    Stir that in and add the buttermilk.

    Once that’s incorporated, add the flour mixture. 

    Now that the flour is in, you don’t want to over mix, so just gently stir until the flour is barely incorporated. 

    Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. 

    Level it out on top and place it onto a sheet pan before putting it in the oven.  Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes.  It should be nice and brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. 

    After 20 minutes, remove the loaf from the pan and place it on a rack to cool. 

    Allow it to cool completely (or nearly) before slicing.  Then inhale the aroma of all those fabulous spices and enjoy.  Spicy, sweet, moist, deliciousness. 

    What's growing in your garden this year?   

    Friday
    Jun212013

    Orange Genius

    Today is the first day of summer, so it’s the perfect time for a cool, refreshing treat.  When I was a kid, on the rare occasion we found ourselves in a mall, I just had to have an Orange Julius.  I still love them, but as an adult I visit malls even less frequently and I’ve recently found the ingredients list for Orange Julius, and quite frankly, it’s frightening.  But I have good news!  Making your own is as easy as falling off a log (it’s getting on in the first place that’s difficult) and the fruity, frothy goodness is simply divine.  I’m going to show you the original as well as a triple berry version and a tropical one. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
    • 1 Tablespoon sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon cream
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 orange
    • ½ cup ice

     

    Peel your orange and place the segments on a parchment lined sheet pan.  Slide that into the freezer for an hour.  You can do this ahead of time, and once the segments are frozen, just dump them into a freezer bag to be used in a moment’s notice. 

    When you’re ready, pour 1 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice into a blender.  I cheated a bit and bought fresh squeezed orange juice from Wegmans.  If you don’t have a store nearby that sells freshly squeezed juice, you’ll have to do your own.  I promise it’ll be worth the effort. 

    Add a tablespoon of sugar.

    A tablespoon of cream.

    And ½ teaspoon vanilla.

    At this time I have to give a quick shout out to Vita Mix.  I have had this thing for years, (it was one of the few things I moved across the country with me) and it is still the champion of blenders. 

    Ok, back to the orangey goodness. 

    Before adding anything else, turn your blender to a medium speed and allow it to run for about a minute.  There are two reasons for doing this.  First, it’s makes the cream nice and frothy.  Second, it gives the sugar a chance to dissolve. 

    While that’s going, pull your frozen orange segments out of the freezer. 

    Drop about half of them into the blender.

    Ice cubes aren’t the easiest things to measure, but you want about ½ cup or so. 

    Dump them in. 

    Start the blender on low and slowly increase the speed.

    Allow it to run on high for 30 seconds, until it’s nice and smooth.

    Orange Julius has got nothin’ on this.  The frozen orange segments are the secret.  I’m sure loads of people have thought of it before me, but I've never seen it, and when the idea struck, I thought it was sheer genius. 

    Next up is the triple berry version

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
    • 1 Tablespoon sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon cream
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla
    • ½ cup frozen mixed berries
    • ½ cup ice

    It starts the same way as the last one.  Orange juice, sugar, cream, and vanilla go into the blender, then blend at medium speed for one minute. 

    Frozen berries are also difficult to measure, so when I say ½ cup it looks something like this. 

    Dump them into the blender. 

    Add the ice and blend as before, starting on low speed and slowly increasing. 

    Allow it to run on high for 30 seconds. 

    Triple berry fabulousness. 

    And last but not least is the tropical version. 

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
    • 1 Tablespoon sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon cream
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla
    • ½ cup frozen mango
    • 1 Tablespoon cream of coconut
    • ½ cup ice

    Same procedure as the others to start out, orange juice, sugar, cream, and vanilla into the blender. 

    This time, though, add a tablespoon of cream of coconut before turning on the blender. 

    While that’s mixing for 1 minute, measure out the frozen mango.

    Add it to the blender. 

    Add the ice and let ‘er rip.  Well… rip slowly at first. 

    After another 30 seconds on high, you’ll have smooth, tropical, deliciousness. 

    Now for a quick clean up tip.  A lot of people don’t realize blenders are basically self cleaning appliances.  Just squirt in a little dish soap.

    Add some hot water.  

    Then, turn the blender on starting at the lowest speed.  Slowly increase the speed until the sudsy stuff reaches the top of the blender then leave it at that speed for 1 minute.  Give it a quick rinse, and you’re done.  

    Now drop in a straw, put your feet up, and enjoy cool, fruity, refreshing bliss. 

    What’s your favorite “mall” treat?