Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipes. Show all posts

Jan 7, 2015

Mom's Super Easy, Flexible, and DELISH Banana Bread or Muffins

Growing up, this was the banana bread recipe my mom used:

Dontcha love the splattered and written-on paper? Sadly, the cookbook fell apart long ago, so I can't tell you where it originally came from.

But now that I'm the one doing the baking, I've found that even though we've tried many other banana bread or muffin recipes (including Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins - which are very good, too), my mom's recipe is the one that's everyone's favorite. I've only made one major change, which is to not use unhealthy shortening - and I always feel free to play around with the recipe with added ingredients. Here's how I do it.

Mom's Super Easy, Flexible, and Delish Banana Bread or Muffins

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour (or use 1 cup all purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of butter (room temperature) or coconut oil
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas*

Optional ingredients:

chocolate chips
peanut butter chips
chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. If making muffins: Put paper liners in a muffin tin, or lightly grease the tin with coconut oil; set aside. If making bread: Lightly grease a 9x5x3 in. loaf pan with coconut oil; set aside.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the eggs and bananas. Once the butter or coconut oil is thoroughly mixed in, add the eggs and beat until just incorporated. Finally, fold in the bananas and any of the optional ingredients, if using. (You'll notice there are no measurements for these optional ingredients. I just toss in a handful, stir, then add more until I like what the batter looks like! Bear in mind that adding berries - especially frozen ones - will make the batter more moist and will increase the baking time.)

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan or muffin tin. If making muffins, fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake in the preheated oven. If making bread: bake for about 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If making muffins: Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

* When making banana bread or muffins, the bananas should be well browned - even black. For me, this is no problem; when I buy bananas, one or two always seem to get overly brown before my family eats them. I pop these into a freezer bag and freeze them. Sometimes I take the time to peel them first, which means they can be popped into this recipe even while still frozen. Other times, I don't bother to peel them, so I defrost them for a bit on the counter, or microwave them for few seconds; you only need to defrost them enough that you can peel them,

If for some reason you don't have any ripe bananas in the freezer, you can instantly ripen them by putting them in your oven.

Nov 25, 2014

Last Minute Thanksgiving Recipe: Tender, Crowd-Pleasing Dinner Rolls!

Most Thanksgivings, my mom-in-law does most of the cooking, and I'm only responsible for one or two food items. This year is no exception. What am I bringing? The soft, delish dinner rolls I brought last year! This is a simple enough recipe, and the resulting rolls are tender and a real crowd pleaser. I've given instructions from easiest (partially made in a bread machine), to slightly more time consuming (partially made in a Kitchen Aid mixer, or made entirely by hand).

Crowd Pleasing Dinner Rolls Recipe

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/4 cups bread flour (yep, it has to be bread flour)
1 egg2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature + 2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt

Bread Machine Method:

1. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

2. Place the flour, water, egg, sugar, room temperature (unmelted) butter, yeast, and salt into the pan of your bread machine. Make sure to put them in the order the manufacturer recommends. Close the lid and select the dough cycle. Press start.

3. When the cycle is finished, remove the dough from the pan and punch down. Divide into 15 pieces of about equal size. Place in the prepared baking pan.

4. Brush the rolls with the melted butter. Cover pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm location until doubled (about half an hour). (If you prefer circular rolls, instead of squared ones, use two pans and set the rolls well apart from eachother.) In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

5. Bake rolls until golden, about 12 - 15 minutes.

Mixer Method:

1. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook, place the flour, sugar, egg, and butter. Mix until just combined. The yeast mixture should now be foamy. Add it to the flour mixture and mix until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

4. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Put in a warm location and allow to rise for bout 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

5. Punch down the dough and divide into 15 pieces of about equal size. Place in the prepared baking pan.

6. Brush the rolls with the melted butter. Cover pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm location until doubled (about half an hour). (If you prefer circular rolls, instead of squared ones, use two pans and set the rolls well apart from eachother.) In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

7. Bake rolls until golden, about 12 - 15 minutes.

By Hand Method:

1. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, sugar, egg, and butter until just combined. The yeast mixture should now be foamy. Add it to the flour mixture and mix until well combined.

4. Lightly flour the countertop and knead the dough until elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Place in a warm location and allow to rise for bout 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

5. Punch down the dough and divide into 15 pieces of about equal size. Place in the prepared baking pan.

6. Brush the rolls with the melted butter. Cover pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm location until doubled (about half an hour). (If you prefer circular rolls, instead of squared ones, use two pans and set the rolls well apart from eachother.) In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

7. Bake rolls until golden, about 12 - 15 minutes.

Makes 15 rolls.

Oct 29, 2014

Stuffed Winter Squash Recipe

Winter squash is a wonderful thing. It's filling and packed with good nutrients; it's easy to grow; it's prolific; and it keeps for a long time without freezing, canning, or dehydrating (just keep it in a relatively cool location). But because I did not grow up eating any type of squash, I've been working on trying every variety I can find. (Hint: Try farm stands for better variety than grocery stores offer.) From there, I can determine which variety I want to grow in next year's garden.

There are lots of ways to eat winter squash, but it's pretty hard to beat eating it stuffed. And here's a simple, easy recipe that works with any type of winter squash. (I happened to use it with carnival squash, which has a very mild flavor.)

Stuffed Winter Squash Recipe

1 medium sized squash (like butternut, delicata, or carnival squash)
1-2 teaspoons butter, melted
Garlic powder
2 bacon strips
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 lb. ground beef
4 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Cut the squash in half. Some winter squash, like butternut, are easy to cut open carefully with a sharp knife. Others, like the relentless tough-skinned hubbard are really, really difficult to cut open. (But the hard outer skin is part of what makes winter squash store so well.) For toughies, carefully use a hatchet or powered saw to cut the squash in half.

Removing the seeds and "slop."
3. Scoop out the stringy inner part of the squash, along with the seeds. (But be sure to save the seeds! They are highly nutritious and easy to roast for a yummy treat. Learn how to roast squash seeds here.) Place the squash, cut side up, on a rimmed baking tray.

4. Brush melted butter all over the "meat" of the squash. Season with a little garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about one hour. (Larger squash will take longer to bake; smaller will be ready in a shorter amount of time.) You'll know the squash is ready when it is fork tender.

Freshly roasted carnival squash.
5. In a skillet placed over medium heat, cook the bacon. Transfer to paper towels and set aside.

6. Pour all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings out of the skillet. Add the onion and saute until golden brown. Transfer the onion to a small bowl with a slotted spoon; set aside.

7. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until no longer pink. Return the onion to the pan. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add the spinach. Cook, stirring often, until the spinach is wilted.

8. Spoon the beef stuffing into the cavities of the squash. Sprinkle crumbled bacon on top. Serve.

Oct 13, 2014

How to Make Small Batch, Fermented Sauerkraut

Earlier this year, I read that fermented foods contain 100 times more probiotics (substances that stimulate the growth of microorganisms that have great health benefits once consumed) than probiotic supplements. I knew then I really needed to try my hand at making sauerkraut. The happy news is, making fermented sauerkraut is really, really easy. Even though fermented foods may seem strange and new to us today, the fact is that people have been making and eating fermented foods for thousands of years - and without a bunch of fancy gadgets!
I considered buying a fermenting crock for this project - but frankly, they are pricey. And no one in my family had ever eaten fermented sauerkraut before (the stuff you buy in the store is heated and canned, and therefore all the probiotics are dead). If it turned out no one would eat my sauerkraut, I didn't want to spend much money on it. So I decided to use what I already have on hand - canning (mason) jars. (Don't have canning jars? You can use any clean glass jar - for example, an empty mayo jar.) A bonus to using mason jars is that the kraut ferments more quickly - so you can have ready-to-eat food within just a few days.

The results were terrific. Everyone in my family - including the kids! - loved the sauerkraut. I'll definitely be making more.

What You Need to Make Small Batch, Fermented Sauerkraut

Cutting board
Large bowl
Wide mouth quart mason (canning) jar
8 oz. jelly jar
Marbles or clean pebbles
Cloth (I used cheesecloth, but a clean dishtowel or large fabric scrap works, too)
Rubber band or string

1 cabbage head, any type, approximately 3 lbs., hard outer leaves removed and set aside (If you buy your cabbage without the harder, outer leaves - which is common if you're shopping at a grocery store - that's fine.)
1 tablespoon canning or kosher salt

How to Make Small Batch Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

1. Make sure everything you use - from the Mason jar to the cutting board - has just been cleaned in hot, soapy water. Or, you can run all your tools through the dishwasher.

2. Cut the cabbage head in half, then cut each half in half again. Cut away the core, then slice the quarters thinly. (You can use a mandolin or cabbage slicer for this job - but from experience I can tell you that mandolins with plastic spikes in the handle don't work well with cabbage; they simply don't hold the cabbage firmly enough to make using the mandolin safe.)

The cabbage after slicing.
3. Place the cabbage slices into a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt on top. Use your hands to massage and squeeze the cabbage. Within 5 - 10 minutes, the cabbage will look limp and there will be liquid in the bowl. The contents of the bowl should look something like coleslaw.
The massaged coleslaw will produce liquid in the bowl.
At this point, you may add seasonings, if you desire. I added 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds; next time I'll reduce that amount by about half. Other common sauerkraut seasonings include mustard seeds, bay leaves, and coriander. But remember, seasonings are totally optional.

4. Pack the cabbage into the mason jar. I found it was easiest to pick up about a tablespoon of sliced cabbage at a time, then drop it in the jar. Occasionally, press down firmly on the cabbage in the jar. You want to get as much as possible in there - without making the juices (or the cabbage) overflow the jar. My cabbage head was a bit larger (about 4 lbs.), so I had a little too much for one mason jar. If you have this problem, simply use an additional jar for the excess.
The sliced cabbage, packed in jars.
5. Pour the liquid in the bowl over the cabbage in the jar. Press down on the cabbage again.

6. If you have the harder, outer leaves of the cabbage, place part of one over the top of the sliced cabbage in the mason jar. This step is optional, but does help keep the sliced cabbage under the liquid in the jar - the key to getting fermented sauerkraut and not moldy cabbage.
Covering the sliced cabbage with a hard, outer cabbage leaf. (An optional step.)
7. Fill the jelly jar with marbles and place the jar inside the larger mason jar, on top of the cabbage. This jelly jar will weigh down the sliced cabbage, keeping it under the liquid in the mason jar.
Jelly jars filled with marbles or clean rocks keep the cabbage under the liquid.
8. Cover both jars with a cloth, secured in place with a rubber band or string. This keeps bugs, dust, and so forth, out of the sauerkraut.
Keep the jars covered.
9. For the next 24 hours, check on the sauerkraut occasionally and press down on the jelly jar. This helps release more liquid from the cabbage. I used a just-harvested cabbage, and had plenty of liquid in my jars. But if, after 24 hours, liquid does not cover the cabbage in the jar, make your own liquid: Dissolve 1 teaspoon of canning or kosher salt in 1 cup of warm water and add it to the mason jar. Again, keeping the cabbage under liquid makes sure it's fermenting, not rotting.

10. Ferment. When the sauerkraut is done is mostly a matter of personal taste. Because you're fermenting in a small jar, your kraut might be done in as little as three days. Mine took a little over a month before I was satisfied with it. (UPDATE 11-3-14: My second batch was ready in under a week. I'm not what changed; maybe just the weather! Or maybe I did a better job of massaging the salt into the cabbage.)
During fermenting, keep the sauerkraut out of direct sunlight and at a cool temperature - about 65 - 75 degrees F. Check the jar every day to ensure the cabbage is under the liquid. (If it's not, press down on the jelly jar until the liquid rises, or add more liquid, as in step 9.) It is normal - in fact, a sign that the cabbage is fermenting - to see bubbles in the jar and white scum on top of the cabbage. You should not see mold, however. (If you do, scoop it out right away and discard the cabbage that touched it. The rest of the kraut is fine.)

11. Refrigerate. When the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the jelly jar, put a lid on the mason jar, and refrigerate it. The sauerkraut will stay good in the refrigerator for at least a couple of months.

You can also make larger batches of sauerkraut - with more mason jars, or with a fermenting crock. Just be sure to keep the proportion of cabbage and salt the same.

What about Canning Sauerkraut? Kraut can be canned - but canning it kills all those good-for-you bugs. And since sauerkraut lasts a long time in the fridge (and since cabbage keeps for many months in the fridge or a cool location), I prefer not to can it.

Sep 8, 2014

How to Make Beef Stock or Broth

I've written before about making stock - from chicken, vegetables, fish, and beef - but recently we purchased half a steer, and I found myself with a lot of wonderful beef bones. And since more and more people are buying their beef in bulk and have far more access to beef bones than they used to, I felt a new - more detailed - post was warranted on making your own beef stock. (Not buying part of a steer anytime soon? You can still make your own beef stock. Just find a real butcher's shop and request some beef "soup bones." These are bones that still have some meat on them, and which are full of good marrow. They will be inexpensive - or the butcher might give them to you for free.)

Please note that all you really need to make stock is bones and water. All the other ingredients are optional - but do improve the flavor of the stock and the nutrition of the finished product. So feel free to vary the ingredients, depending upon what you have on hand. However, I do highly recommend using the recommended vinegar, as detailed below; it really does help get all those good nutrients out of the bone marrow.

What You Need to Make Beef Stock or Broth

Roasting pan
Large pot
Cutting board
Slotted spoon
Containers for freezing or canning the stock

about 5 - 8 lbs. beef soup bones, cut into pieces (the butcher will do that for you)
5 carrots, cut into 3 inch pieces
5 stalks celery, cut into 3 inch pieces
2 onions, quartered (leave the papery skins on)
2 - 3 cloves garlic, cut in half (leave the papery skins on)
handful of parsley
4 - 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 - 3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon peppercorns
Vinegar (I use Braggs apple cider vinegar)

How to Make Beef Stock

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Place the beef bones in the roasting pan. Most likely, you'll get frozen bones from the butcher. You don't need to defrost them - just stick them in the pan, frozen. Add the carrots, celery, onions, and garlic to the pan. Once the oven is fully preheated, place the pan in the oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until the meat on the bones looks cooked through. With frozen bones, this takes approximately 60 minutes. If the bones weren't frozen when you put them in the oven, it will take about 30 - 40 minutes. (NOTE: The roasting stage is also optional, but greatly improves the flavor of the stock.)
Before roasting. You'll notice I absentmindedly added the herbs at the roasting stage. This by no means ruined the stock, but I do think it's better to leave the herbs out until the simmering stage.
After roasting.
3. Pour the contents of the roasting pan into a large pot. Be sure to include any fat and liquid in the pan. Add the parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns.

4. Add 1/2 cup of water to the roasting pan and use a spoon to scrap the bits of beef off the bottom of the pan. Pour into the stock pot. Add enough cold water to cover the contents of the pot. Add a splash of vinegar.

5. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently about 4 hours.

6. Strain the contents of the pot, reserving the liquid. (The vegetables can be composted or given to your chickens. Any meat on the bones can be picked off and frozen for soup made at a later date. Or you can give them to the chickens. It's possible to re-use the bones for stock making, but they won't make as fine a stock as the first batch; still, if you want to do this, it's okay to re-freeze the bones so you can use them another day.)

7. Place the stock in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, skim off any congealed fat you find on top of the stock. It should be firm enough that you can just lift it out with your fingers.
Overnight, all the fat rises to the top and becomes firm enough to lift out.
The stock is finished. This batch turned out beautifully gelatinous.
8. The stock may now be frozen or canned. To can, leave 1 inch headspace and process in a pressure canner: pints 20 minutes, quarts 25 minutes*.

I chose not to can this batch because it turned out really gelatinous. While that makes it questionable for canning (because it's thicker and therefore might not heat all the way through, killing any bad bugs during processing), gelatinous is a good thing! In fact, it's what gourmet chefs want. (What is the trick to getting it gelatinous? I'm not absolutely sure, but I think it's simmering it very low, and not adding any water to the pot once it comes to a boil.)

* NOTE: If you live at a high altitude, read this important information about adjusting canning times.

Sep 1, 2014

Apple Skillet Cake Recipe

Apples are one of my favorite ingredients. With them, I can make anything from healthy applesauce and baked apples, to sweet, delish apple pie and cake. Here's the apple cake I made last week; it is quick to make - and a real crowd pleaser.
Apple Skillet Cake Recipe

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted butter + 1 tablespoon cold butter
2 1/4 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place an 8 inch cast iron skillet in the oven to preheat.

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

3. Pour the eggs, extract, and 1/2 cup melted butter on top of the flour mixture. Mix until almost blended. Add the apples and fold by hand until everything is just blended.

4. Remove the skillet from the oven and place 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan. Swirl the butter around until it's fully melted and covers the entire bottom of the skillet. Pour the apple mixture into the skillet and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the sides of the cake are dry and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Allow cake to cool in the skillet for at least 20 minutes. Cake is best if served the day after baking. (The spices mellow overnight.) Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on the side, if desired.

Looking for other ways to use up apples? Check these posts:

*  Making applesauce
* Freezing apple pie filling
* Apple spice bread recipe
* Apple pie jam
* Dehydrated apple rings (without a dehydrator)
* Homemade apple pectin
* Recipes using crab apples

Aug 20, 2014

The Easy Way to Make Butter

I had leftover cream from making buttercream cake frosting for my daughter's horse party, so this week, I did what I always do when I have extra heavy cream: I made butter.

When you imagine making butter, maybe you envision working hard with a butter churn. Or maybe you think of kids shaking a jar endlessly. Or maybe you picture big, stainless steel machines doing the work in a factory. But there's actually a very easy, quick way to make butter at home. The only "special" equipment you need is a mixer. (UPDATE 8-20-14: Several readers have asked if hand mixers will work for making butter. Yes, they will, though the process will probably take a bit longer. Also, you may use a food processor instead of a mixer.)

The Easy Way to Make Butter at Home:

1. Pour 16 oz.* of chilled heavy cream into the bowl of an electric mixer. Optionally, add ½ teaspoon of salt to help make the butter stay fresh longer. Mix on high. (The higher the mixer setting, the quicker you'll have butter. But setting the mixer too fast will make a mess of your kitchen!)

2. After about 2-5 minutes, depending upon how fast you're mixing, the cream will look thicker - like whipping cream. After another 1-3 minutes, it will look clumpy - kind of like white scrambled eggs; keep mixing, and within a minute or so the water will separate from the fat. This watery stuff is buttermilk.

3. Place a strainer (or a colander lined with cheesecloth of coffee filters) over a small bowl. Pour the contents of the mixer bowl into the strainer. The buttermilk will drain into the bowl below the strainer; use it for baking (or give it to the chickens as a special treat).

4. What's left in the strainer is butter. Place under cold, running water, then squeeze the butter into a ball and massage while continuing to let cold water run over it. When the water coming from below the strainer is clear, the butter is done.

* You can use more or less heavy cream, as you desire. Too much cream, though, will be difficult to mix. And if you use less cream, you'll also want to use less salt.

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Aug 1, 2014

Easy Refrigerator Pickled Beets

It must be his Russian blood; my husband loves his beets! One of our favorite ways to eat them is in borscht, but pickled beets are a close second. (Want even more ideas for eating beets? Check out my cookbook A Vegetable for Every Season.) This year, my beet crop was mostly eaten up by slugs and snails, but a friend gave us just enough for refrigerator pickles. This is a really easy recipe, and the resulting pickle is yummy - or so the pickle-lovers in my family tell me!

You'll Need:

about 3 lbs. beets (greens removed; but don't throw them away! Use them in place of collards in this recipe.)
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, sliced in half

Pot and saucepan
Glass jar with lid (I used a canning jar, but you can use an empty mayo jar, or something similar)

How to Do It:

1. Begin by cooking the beets. Scrub them clean and slice off the stem. Put them in a pot and cover with water; place the pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover with a lid, and cook until fork tender. How long this takes depends upon the size of the beets, but average-sized beets take about 25 minutes or so. Remove the beets from the pot and set aside to cool. (Hint: Let the water cool and use it to water plants; it's a great natural fertilizer!)

2. While the beets cook, make the brine by pouring the vinegar, water, sugar, and garlic in a saucepan placed over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool completely.

3. Once the beets are cooled enough to comfortably handle, slip off the peels. Slice the beets, place in the jar, and cover with brine. Seal with a lid and refrigerate for at least a few days before eating.


Jul 11, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe

I use lots of healthy zucchini recipes  (#1 and #2 are what my family craves most!), but sometimes I like to splurge. I'll make zucchini chocolate chip cookies for the kids (they LOVE them; you'll find the recipe in A Vegetable for Every Season) or I'll make chocolate zucchini cake. Oh yes. It's yummy. Here's the recipe. You're welcome.

(NOTE 07/29/14: Long time reader Tereza Crump had a ton of crooked neck yellow squash, so she tried this recipe with them. She says the result was delish! She used 1 cup of butter in place of the oil, and she recommends "you grate your veggies in the finer grater. I...grated the veggies on the coarser side. You could see the veggies when you put it in the batter. I was afraid that it would be seen once the cake was baked. Not so! But for safe measure, if you have picky eaters, grate the veggies on the fine grater." Thanks, Tereza!)

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Recipe

1/2 cup milk*
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar*
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or melted extra virgin coconut oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
2 cups zucchini, grated (about 2 medium zucchini)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour a 9x13 in. baking pan; set aside. Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, and oil. One at a time, add the eggs and beat until blended. Beat in the vanilla extract.

4. Pour about a third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, beating just until blended. Add about a third of the milk and vinegar mixture (which should now look lumpy) until just blended. Repeat two more times, until all the flour mixture and milk and vinegar mixture is gone.

5. Fold in the zucchini.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
Bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool 15-20 minutes; serve warm.

* If preferred, replace the milk and vinegar with 1/2 cup of buttermilk.

Jul 9, 2014

No Fail Lemonade Recipe

Lemonade is one of summer's most refreshing drinks. But please don't buy the powdered stuff in a can. (Have you read the ingredient list?! Plus, it doesn't taste like real lemonade!) Making lemonade is way too easy for you to waste money and health on store bought. Just use this no-fail lemonade recipe, which tastes just like Simply Lemonade.
No Fail Lemonade Recipe
3/4 cup to 1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water + 3 - 4 cups cold water
4-5 large lemons

1. Begin by juicing the lemons until you have 1 cup of juice. Set aside.

2. Make a simple syrup: Pour the sugar and 1 cup of water into a saucepan placed over medium heat. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat.
The sugar-water combination before stirring and heating.
The sugar-water combination when the sugar is completely dissolved.
3. Pour the simple syrup into a pitcher. Add the lemon juice. Add 3 - 4 cups of cold water, depending upon how strong you want the lemonade to taste. Stir well.

4. Refrigerate for at least a half hour before serving.

Easy peasy!

Jun 20, 2014

51 Great Garlic Scape Recipes

Garlic scapes are making quite a comeback, so even though I've written about them in previous years, I think they deserve another go round. This time, I've scoured the Internet for the best scape recipes available.
What is a garlic scape? It's the long, loopy flower stem on garlic - a stem you should always cut off, by the way, if you want the largest garlic cloves possible. (If you leave the flowers to bloom, the garlic plant will put most of it's energy into seed making, instead of clove making. On the other hand, garlic flowers are pretty, so if you have giant garlic cloves already, you might want them to go to flower and spread more garlic plants throughout your garden.) Onions can also produce scapes, but they are straight, not loopy, and they taste like, well, onions, instead of garlic.

Garlic scape.

If you don't grow garlic (which you should! They are easy peasy and grow well in containers.), you will probably find scapes at your local farmer's market.

But what do you do with them? I often just chop them up (from the bottom of the stem to the tip of the flower bud), freeze them, and use them in place of fresh garlic. Here are more ideas:

* Grilled scapes.
Scape beef satay, via Food52.

* Grilled ricotta toasts with scapes.

* Garlic scape beef satay. (Which makes me think it would be fun to try scapes in place of skewers for kebobs.)

* White bean and garlic scape dip.

* One pot pasta with garlic scapes, zucchini, and leeks.

* Bacon wrapped scapes.

* Pickled scapes.

* Dilly beans with scapes. 

* Fermented pickles with scapes.

* Garlic scape vinegar.

* Scape pesto. Use your favorite basil pesto recipe, but substitute 1/4 inch pieces of scapes for the basil. (Omit any garlic the recipe may call for.)

* Spinach, pea, and garlic scape soup.

* Scape soup. 

* Chicken, garlic scape, and potato soup.
Tomato salad with scape and kale dressing, via Paleo Spirit.

* Garlic scape ravioli.

* Chicken with garlic scapes and lemon. 

* Squash blossoms stuffed with scapes. 

* Sauteed scapes.  

* Stir fried scapes. 

* Roasted scapes.

* Tomato and scape salsa.

* Potato salad with scapes.  

* Baked cream cheese wantons with scapes.

* Mashed potatoes with scapes.

* Garlic scape hummus. 

* Garlic scape mustard.

* Garlic scape noodle casserole.

* Garlic scape biscuits. 
Scape fries, via The Daily Kitchen.

* Garlic scapes and roasted potatoes.

* Twice cooked pork with scapes. 

* Garlic scape and beef stir fry.

* Garlic scape carbonara pasta.

* Garlic scape, butternut squash, and kale frittata.

* Heirloom tomato salad with garlic scape and kale dressing. 

* Garlic scapes and roasted beet salad.

* Garlic scape chutney.

* Zucchini-garlic scape relish.

* Garlic scape taco sauce. 

* Garlic scape pizza.

* Garlic scape fries.

* Garlic scape vinaigrette.  

* Creamy garlic scape salad dressing. 
Garlic scape vinegar, via Pitchfork Diaries.

* Garlic scape risotto. 

* Garlic scape pasta primavera.

* Garlic scape marinated roasted red peppers. 

* "Rollerscapes" (a pasta dish). 

* Garlic scape and lemon thyme savory tart. 

* Scape and ricotta savory tart.

* Sriracha sauce with scapes.

* Tumeric sauce with scapes. 

* Garlic scape powder.

* Garlic scape jelly.