Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What I Baked: June 23, 2010

Zucchini bread.

A few people have asked me to share my zucchini bread recipe, and I always like to be helpful!  Of course, zucchini bread recipes abound.  I like this one because it incorporates a lot of healthy ingredients and its texture is pretty cake-like.

Zucchini bread (one loaf)

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 cups oat flour (or whole-wheat, but I like the flavor of oat better)
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded zucchini (about one medium zuke)
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt.  Add the shredded zucchini and toss to coat.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the eggs and buttermilk and whisk until combined.  Add the dry ingredients and stir gently until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips and dried cranberries.  Scrape the batter in the prepared loaf pan and bake for about one hour, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

What I Made for Dinner: June 23, 2010

Tilapia in foil packets, roasted new potatoes, fried banana peppers.

It's Farmers Market Wednesday!  Our local farmers market gets crowded to the point of impassibility on Saturdays, but Wednesday mornings are clear sailing and if you get there early enough, it's not even that hot.  Today's haul included green onions and teeny-tiny little red potatoes and long, slender, pale-green sweet banana peppers.  The boys secured fresh cinnamon rolls and honey sticks and a promise to return later with an insulated cooler so we can load up on butternut squash ravioli.

I suspect every Wednesday from now on will be Farmers Market Day.

Incidentally, I got recipe ideas for the fish and the peppers from the July Bon Appetit, which did not steer me even one bit wrong this time (and out of which I want to make every single recipe this summer). 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What I Made for Breakfast: June 20, 2010

Chai-spiced maple French toast.

So of course my sweet-toothed husband requested French toast for Father's Day breakfast.  French toast is the best!

I started with the basic French toast recipe from my favorite old standby, Joy of Cooking (1997 edition).

The best bread to use for French toast is slightly stale challah, and luckily I had some in my crazy-person extra freezer. 

(Seriously, I wish I was kidding.  I went over to a friend's house recently and we went to her extra freezer to get some ice and you know what was in there?  Ice.  I looked in my sister's "beverage fridge" the other day and you know what she had in there?  Beverages.  Meanwhile in my extra freezer I have half a cow and enough auxiliary food to keep us going for at least a month in case of, I don't know, some catastrophe that a crazy person imagines and plans for.  Including, apparently, a slightly stale challah.)

Anyway, I made a mixture of eggs, half-and-half, and maple syrup.  Then I added about a teaspoon each of cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and a generous pinch of ground cloves.

Mixed it all together and added the bread to soak for a little bit, just to coat generously, really.  Maybe thirty seconds on each side.

French toast is best when fried in butter.  That's not my call--Joy of Cooking says so.

Served with bacon and maple syrup, this is one mightily delicious Father's Day breakfast.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What I Brought to Share: June 16, 2010

Bean salad.

It was family night at Cub Scout camp tonight and we organized a potluck dinner at camp.  But as we all parked and then hiked into camp (about a quarter-mile away from the parking), the sky darkened.  "It will pass," I thought.  Too optimistic.  Just as everyone finished dinner, thunder boomed and the deluge began.  Crap.  Fifty scared people huddled under the little shelter, safer than running through an open field in a lightning storm.  We passed around cookies and brownies to make it seem less scary and tried to wait it out.  But it soon became clear the rain wasn't going anywhere and the campground, not to mention the road out, was likely to flood.  We cleaned up as best we could and ran out of there, hauling babies and coolers and rain-ponchoed Scouts through a torrent and a swampy field to the cars.

Amazingly, the bean salad in its plastic container survived the journey out, so we have leftovers.

Bean salad (serves 8)

One can each of black beans, kidney beans, and navy beans or cannellini, rinsed and drained
One green bell pepper
One red bell pepper
4 green onions, diced
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. res wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.  Whisk until combined.  Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl, pour the dressing over, and toss.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: June 15, 2010

Crock-pot turkey breast.

I spent the day at camp, in a muddy field next to the Kansas River, marching Cub Scouts around and around in ever-expanding circles towards infinity.  It was hot, although not as hot as it will be later this week.  How can a place be simultaneously so hot and so muddy?  It seems impossible here, which is not the Everglades or a tropical rain forest or any such kind of place.  And yet there it is.

I am ashamed to complain about tiredness because there are people doing this same thing every day all week, and indeed every day all summer.  Other people.  Better people, stronger people.

Turkey breast in a crock pot is nice to come home to, though.  I will explain more later, hopefully with pictures.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What I've Been Making for Dinner: June 6, 7, 8, 2010

Here's a list:

Grilled whole butterflied chicken with roasted potatoes.
Chicken shwarma burgers on pita with cucumber-dill salad.
Baked eggs and tortillas in tomato sauce with fried plantains.

Good dinners, all of them!  Some things about them:

  • When I made the grilled chicken I went ahead and made two chickens, one for some friends of ours who are temporarily out of commission.  Hey, our grill can hold two whole chickens!  Good to know!
  • The dill in the cucumber salad came out of our garden.  Planting an herb garden outside the kitchen door might be the best thing I have ever done as a homeowner.
  • I have no idea why my children like the baked egg dish, since it looks for all the world like something they would never eat in a thousand years. In fact, it looks a lot like other things they refuse to eat all the time.  Why, children, why?
  • Fried plantains are awesome and yet Eli wouldn't even put one near his mouth.  Dip blueberries in ketchup, though, and that kid is all over it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: June 4, 2010

Pasta with roasted cauliflower, asparagus, and hazelnuts.

It was a glorious day spent at the pool with the children and the attendant nutritional horrors.  (Cheez-its and McDonald's in our case; what does everyone else like for pool food?)

Redeemed the tiniest bit with this dinner.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What I Made for Dinner: June 2 & 3, 2010

Orecchiette with sausage and baby broccoli; steak salad.

Oh I just love this part of summer when everything is all relaxed but it's still not too hot. I am trying to feed us well because this time of year affords so many opportunities to eat crap. Summertime crap! So last night I made the orecchiette with extra broccoli, mostly broccoli really, because we needed something a little healthy after all the hot dogs and barbecue we've been eating. Because it's summer!

Tonight, the same concept: something a little bit healthy before we went to the fair. It was healthy, a lovely little salad with avocados, tomatoes, and leftover steak. But then we went to the fair and my family got limeades and funnel cakes and cotton candy.

I did not eat any of that. Ahem.

We went to the fair to see a Beatles cover band perform and it was so great! I want to post pictures but something appears to be wrong with that particular function on Blogger at the moment. It doesn't really matter; our pictures don't even capture Eli's reaction to seeing the Beatles onstage. All the boys thought it was awesome but Eli, who devotes all his three-year-old's intensity to obsession with the band, stood there watching, jaw slack, eyes huge and unblinking. He would not allow me to sing along (I suppose he's a purist). And then he didn't know what to do with himself so he climbed all over everyone and turned somersaults for an hour while these nice men in wigs sang their hearts out.

On the way home, way past bedtime, he told us a story about how the Beatles had to go home and take a bath and put on their pajamas except John Lennon would take a shower because he has a very pretty shower, and then they would read books and go to bed.