Thursday, August 27, 2009

He's a handsome devil.

When someone asks you if you want a homegrown zucchini, say "Yes." Or even "Yes please!" Or possibly even "HECK YES!" You won't regret it.

Because here's the thing about zucchini. You can make zucchini bread with it.

It's been a year or two since I visited zucchini bread. This time around I really wanted to try something different, maybe even vaguely healthy. And heaven knows, with such a gorgeous specimen I certainly have plenty of opportunity to experiment.

I've seen recipes for Chocolate Zucchini Bread, which, of course, begged for a try. But the other thing I wanted to experiment with was cutting the amount of sugar and oil that most recipes call for. So. I scoured the internet for appropriate recipes and found these likely candidates:

Smitten Kitchen's Zucchini Bread

Joy of Baking's Chocolate Zucchini Bread

BUT. I cut the amount of sugar in both recipes in half. Anything can be tasty if you add enough sugar, but you take the chance of losing the real flavor. Plus it makes my kids crazy. Also, in the Smitten Kitchen recipe I took her advice and used 1/2 applesauce. Here are the results.

I took the candidates to work with me and introduced them to the ladies. And they willingly sampled a bit of both. Here's the verdict: regular is better. The Smitten Kitchen recipe is really, really awesome. Excellent flavor and texture, even with the changes. The Chocolate Zucchini is just, well, chocolate and zucchini. It's not bad, it's just not as good as old faithful. Probably with the addition of the extra sugar it would have been a lot better, but, as I've established, that's cheating. At any rate, they're both gone, so they must have been okay.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Here's the thing about Heidi. I love her like a sister. But she doesn't "get" Top Chef. I've tried to explain its awesomeness. I've even talked her into viewing an episode (even though it took the producers of LOST to convince her). And apparently she still just doesn't "get" it. What's to get, I say?

There's drama! There's excitement! There's a guy with a funny name! And a bow tie!

There's a chick with a tattoo! Right on her neck! OW!

There's a chick wearing a nightgown and some cowboy boots! Nice!


an oompaloompa?

(Seriously. What's up with the orange face, Michael Voltaggio? It doesn't matter how many awards you've won if you glow in the dark.)

Honestly. I can't wait! Heidi doesn't know what she's missing.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Because it's summer and slushies from Sonic don't count as fruit.

Here's a salad that I made for a get together this weekend... I made it with baby spinach leaves, reeeaaallly thinly sliced golden delicious apples, and goat cheese rolled in roasted unsalted chopped pistachios and sliced on top. The dressing was a Meyer lemon vinaigrette that I made by whisking a little Meyer Lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon zest. I have this thing about Meyer Lemons lately. Anyway... summer light and refreshing, and the creaminess of the goat cheese goes really nicely with the pistachios. I think that's a peanut butter and jelly type flavor marriage there. Freeze the goat cheese, before you roll it, it is much easier to slice that way. You could easily add grilled chicken, or grilled salmon to this salad and make it a meal.

Other hits:

This yummy Avocado-y salad from Aida on the Food Network who amazes me with her GIANT smile... she's kind of like the Julia Roberts of the Food Network with that facial grill of hers. Click here! The only thing I really don't care for is fresh mozzarella. Maybe I just haven't ever found one that I really like, but to me it just tastes kind of flavorless. I like adding a different type of cheese, even using a regular mozzarella. You need a little bit more of a salty bite, in my opinion. One more thing, too... this recipe has wayyyyy too much oil in it. You could half it, and you'd probably be fine.

And, because cupcakes are my thang, I vote for this recipe, hands down. I want to marry it. It's Sprinkles recipe for Strawberry cupcakes. Holy. I mean. Shoot. Right? Click here!

Happy, happy. That's what you'll be.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Pie that was made out of INSANITY.

A long time ago, Alison and I were up late chatting on Facebook and probably debating which Depeche Mode album yielded the greatest number of Twilight related songs or something like that when all of a sudden, she sends me the link to a pie she saw on a blog called Alpine Berry. I bookmarked the recipe in the hopes that someday I would make it. A few weeks ago we went to dinner at our dear friend's house, and I made the pie and brought it to them. It was such a hit, that we sent a few pieces home to her mom and dad and brother, who incidentally happen to also be their neighbors, and moments later, the three of them called and via speakerphone in unison declared this pie the best dessert ever.

People, I'm here to tell you that this pie is insane. It's the pie of insanity. If you ever saw the movie Waitress starring Keri Russell, she would make up all these new pies and give them funny names. This is so one of those pies. My friend Lo and I make pie references when asking each other how are days are going... and we say things like "Today, I'm Moody Needing Chocolate Pie with peanut butter graham cracker crust." Or "Today I'm key lime wish it was Friday pie." This is one of those pies.

At any rate... this pie could solve the budget crisis. They should make this pie into currency. They should send this pie to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pie might even evoke a Hands Across America type of movement. It's that good.

Enough of me yammering on... go make it! Here's the link----> Insanity Pie. Please, please, I beg you... do not use a pre made graham cracker crust. Do the heavy lifting and make one from scratch. It really makes a huge difference. Plus those pans are so dinky, you'll need room in an actual 9 inch pie pan to get the job sufficiently done.

Here is a pic of the inside, too... you know, as if you needed more encouragement.

What are you still doing here?? GO!