Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Favorite Zucchini Bread

I have made three versions of zucchini bread this summer.  So far this one gets my vote. I used "Mom's Zucchini Bread" at allrecipes.  I used the recipe exactly as it is.
I prepared my ingredients:

I got my soapy water ready. Forever burned into my brain is the voice of my high school home ec teacher,"keep your work area clean!" I wash my tools as I go--only takes a second and it's so nice at the end!
I don't sift ingredients that often anymore, but I did for this bread: 
Then I mixed the eggs, oil and vanilla:
I added dry ingredients to the wet mixture:
After mixing I used two 8-inch loaf pans:

In the oven they went at 325 degrees and out to knit and watch the clothes dry, I went:

After about an hour:

Like all the other recipes I've tried, this one was still sweeter than I need.  I'll try half as much sugar next time.  I liked the walnuts but missed the raisins.  Next time I'll soak a cup of raisins in boiling water about an hour, drain and use them in place of nuts.  The  3 tsp. of cinnamon was yummy and I loved the 3 tsp. vanilla. For now this will be my basic recipe that I play around with. It would be good with different fruits and I might try different flours, etc., but for flavor and texture this is really good!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Little radish and other sandwiches

I grew up eating slices of homemade bread and butter topped with all sorts of fresh veggies and salt.  Mostly we sliced radishes or green peppers to top the bread.  Occasionally we sliced our own homemade dill pickles as a topping.  Recently I've read that this is very "French."  I don't know the origin of these little sandwiches, but our home was Polish and German and all we knew was these were really good.  Radishes alone can be a little strong but the bread, butter and salt mellow them right out.  The green peppers are good with that fresh green pepper flavor that just needs just a little something to soften it a bit.

The bread must be homemade or some form of  robust white or sourdough bread.  I'm using sliced ciabatta  here.  I love ciabatta with all its holes and chewy texture.  The butter is cold from the fridge to make thin smooth bits on the bread.  I don't care for soft room-temperature butter. (My husband insists it has to be soft and "spreadable."  We fought about this until we decided to keep mine in the fridge and his on the counter.)
Don't use much butter.  It detracts from the veggies--we don't want this to be creamy. I tried fleur de sel on top but prefer smaller grind table salt.  The crunchy salt crystals were too much on these sandwiches for me.
I had some fresh red raspberries in the refrigerator that caught my attention. How about on lightly buttered bread with some confectioner's sugar on top?
YES that's lightly buttered bread, fresh raspberries and a dusting of powdered sugar!  Yummm. It's a creamy light dessert! I'm heading to the teapot to make another cup and have another one of these.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Swimming In The Rain

Last night I resigned from the worldwide community of knitters.  I had two baby bootees on needles.  I was excited because both were departures from the expected and from the very old patterns I was using. As I was completing the foot and starting up the cuff of the mossy-green-meadow variegated bootee, I kept ignoring the obvious and clinging to my hope that this is going to be beautiful. Then I stopped and really LOOKED at it.  It looked like a thick rectangular stiff light yellow-green  box that a tiny baby foot was supposed to go into.  The yarn was too thick, the needles too small and there was no way of saving it. Ok. I had the other one to turn to.  I had chosen medium gray as the yarn for the panels and white for the outlines to make bootees that would have the look of little gray panels all over, bordered with white around each one.  This time the yarn and needles were the size the pattern called for.  I knitted along, thinking, again, that it was looking kind of big.  After I finished the cuff, working top down, I did what "they" try to tell you to always do, BEFOREHAND. I checked the gauge.  Instead of 9 stitches per inch, I was getting 6 stitches per inch.  I threw it all in a box;  I quit knitting. I decided I needed to get back to exercising and being active.  I had sat with my needles too long and was becoming sloppy.  In the morning I would start the day with a swim.

I got up this morning and it was raining.  Now that's not a complaint.  Our garden has become so dry there's no saving some of it. The morning glories had drooped for several weeks, just surviving on the little water I gave them over the drought. For the first time in forever, their leaves are full and strong this morning.

The black-eyed susans are really pretty and I brought some in for the table.
Remember my plan was to start the day with swimming.  I looked at the rain coming down heavily into our pool.  There was no lightning.  I went swimming.  Water drops were coming down all around me with millions of air bubbles forming on the blue surface.  The air temperature was cooler than the water temperature and it was amazing. This picture was after the rain stopped but I just wanted to see the blue here.

My breakfast this morning is a banana smoothie.  I freeze sliced bananas, add skimmed milk and put them through the magic bullet.  It's healthy but thick as a milkshake from the frozen bananas.  This time I added just a little cold coffee and sprinkled the top with grated semisweet chocolate.  Ready to go.
I'll be rejoining the knitting world this afternoon with soft, light-blue, fingering-yarn bootees.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Staying Cool While Knitting

August 1 is no time to be sitting on this deck knitting little bootees.  It's probably over a 100 deg. out with a warm breeze.  But a new little grandbaby is on the way and the bootees have to be knit.   I 'm in and out of the pool to cool off and back on the shady deck to knit. Don't feel like stopping to make lunch and my husband comes out with just the perfect snack. This is why we're still together after more than 40 years.  That and he makes me tea every morning.
Honestly, nothing beats fresh fruit just as it is on a hot day.  Summer cobblers and pies are delicious but since I'm eating healthier my tastes have changed some.  I love the clean taste of just the fruit.  And it's beautiful.

Finished the bootees--for a little boy.  And I'm already starting on two more pair.
Hubby is grilling hamburgers.  I'll get back to cooking tomorrow.