Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mixed Reviews

I was tired of my same old zucchini bread recipe. I was in the mood for one with a little bit of chocolate and some nuts, and so I thought I would browse the web and find a new one. Usually when I make quick bread, I do at least six loaves because I typically give several to my married children, and my husband can eat almost an entire loaf in one sitting. Now I understand they are called quick breads because there is no rising involved, but there is nothing quick when you have to grate zucchini, chop nuts, grind wheat, and zest an orange, to say nothing about the clean-up. Any how, I didn’t want to do six loaves and nobody like them. Since I was grating zucchini and grinding wheat any way, I did six loaves of my tried and true recipe, and two loaves of the experimental bread.

* One daughter said there was too much going on, and if I left out the nuts, it would be good.
* Another daughter liked the new bread just how it was. Well, maybe less chocolate chips.
* My husband and another daughter said they definitely liked the old recipe better.
* One son won’t try anything new, and my other son will eat anything but bananas and peanut butter.
* I like them both, and my mood will determine which one I will choose to make next time.

Chocolate Chip Orange Zucchini Bread
3 eggs                                                         2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable                                 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups hard white wheat flour           1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda                                     1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon                     1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups zucchini                                     1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips                         1 tablespoon orange zest

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and spices.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar, and continue beating until well blended. Stir in oil, vanilla, and zucchini. Blend in sifted ingredients. Stir in nuts, chips, and orange rind. Turn batter into two greased loaf pans.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, or until bread tests done. Remove loaves from pans, and cool.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

For the technologically challenged

Do you ever learn something and immediately wonder why no one explained this to you sooner? Now some of you pro texters out there probably learned this as a baby, but maybe there is just one other person out there who doesn’t know this little bit of info and will be delighted that I shared my new found knowledge. I have liked using texting as a way to keep in touch with my teenagers but that was as far as my texting went because it seemed it would take longer to text one simple sentence than it would take to make a phone call. One of my frustrations has been numbers. I couldn’t ever figure out how to just get a simple “1” in my text, and so instead I would type “one”. Well, that doesn’t seem too difficult unless one of your children ask you to text them a phone number. Nine, six, nine, two, seven . . . you get the point. Once in exasperation, I gave my phone to one of my children to text a number, and they said, “Mom, you just hold down the number!” Well, what do you know, I simply pushed and held down the 8 and instead of a T, an 8 appeared. And now any one who needs a number, address, bank account balance, forgotten library card, or anything but my visa number, I am happy to oblige.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Grilling is not just for meat lovers

For many years, I have wanted to buy a barbeque, but my husband has been against the idea. I have many fond memories of my dad cooking ribs, hamburgers, chicken, and even a Thanksgiving Day turkey on his grill. The problem with my husband and barbeques is that most of what is cooked on the grill is meat, and my husband is not a big fan of meat. One of my arguments in favor of a grill is that I promised that we wouldn’t eat more meat just because we had a grill. My sweet children pulled their resources last year and surprised me with a barbeque for Christmas. In keeping with my “no more meat commitment”, I purchased The New Vegetarian Grill cookbook, and we have tried some fun recipes from it on the grill. Last Sunday, we had Maple-Grilled Pound Cake with Peaches.

Maple-Grilled Pound Cake with Peaches

8 firm, ripe peaches, skins removed, and halved
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
One 8-inch loaf pound cake

1. Prepare a medium fire in the grill.
2. Combine the orange juice, butter, and maple syrup and mix well. Brush onto the peaches and both sides of the cake slices. Grill the peaches and cake slices until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side for the peaches and about 3 minutes per side for the cake.
3. Place a slice of cake and 2 peach halves on each plate. Drizzle additional maple syrup over the cake and peaches, if desired.

Vanilla Pound Cake

2 1/2 cups soft white wheat flour
1 cup barley flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pans.

Whisk together the flours and salt in a medium bowl. Cream together the butter, sugars and baking powder in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low, add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream. Stir in the vanilla and almond extract. Place batter in prepared pans and bake for 55 minutes.