Chad’s Brandy Glazed Zucchini Bread

Chad's Brandy Glazed Zucchini Bread

Chad’s Brandy Glazed Zucchini Bread

It’s the heart of zucchini season, and so that means zucchini bread.  I ran out of printed copies of my recipe at the market, and since, I’ve had at least a dozen people ask me for my recipe, with the urgency of most people with a refrigerator overpacked with squash.

Well, I promised I’d post it this week.  I just barely made it, but here it is for your weekend!

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Blueberry Basil Salad Dressing

Blueberry Bail Salad Dressing

Blueberry Basil Salad Dressing

I awoke from my post-farmers’-market nap Saturday with a start.  I had been pondering what to feed some farm volunteers (and us) who were planning to come by Sunday morning, as well as how best to emphasize the produce we’re harvesting now.  And it came to me in a flash.  Or a dream.  I can almost never remember my dreams…

It’s getting into mid-July, and we’re starting to get some good variety in the harvest, but not really high summer.  Some exciting stuff is coming in – we’re harvesting lots of blueberries, cucumbers and zucchini are coming in strong buy we’re not sick of them yet, and the basil is really getting going.  Wait a minute!  Blueberries and basil might go together!

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Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle

I’m  not sure where my blueberry buckle recipe originates from.  I think it might have been 7th grade home economics class…  Nonetheless, I’ve been making it for years, with a few alterations along the way.  It’s a great way to celebrate blueberry season!

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X-Factor Muffins

Wild Black Raspberry muffins

The Wild Black Raspberry version of X-Factor Muffins

I’ve long made muffins using the “Old School Muffins” recipe in Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for More Food.  I like the tender texture and the more moderate sweetness of his recipe, as compared with more typical modern recipes, which are more like cupcakes.  However, I wanted to make muffins to celebrate Wild Black Raspberries, but had not had time to make yogurt.  It turns out our local “grocery store” doesn’t actually sell plain yogurt(!), so buying some was nixed.  My wife, Xenia, suggested substituting sour cream instead.

The substitution was inspired!  It did require a bit of fiddling with the leavening, because sour cream is not as acidic as yogurt.  But the result is even better.  Hence, in honor of Xenia, I dub these, X-Factor Muffins.

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Black Iron Black Raspberry Cobbler

Wild Black Raspberry Cobbler in a cast iron skillet

Black Iron Black Raspberry Cobbler: a decadent celebration of early summer, baked in a cast iron skillet.

Nature provides us with many wonderful and important things.  Among the most important are oxygen and wild black raspberries.  Truly, I can’t think of many things better, and nothing that makes a better celebration of early summer than Wild Black Raspberries.    Yes, that’s in title caps intentionally.

Picking them is a metaphor for life.  Good things don’t come easy, and some of the best come with a good deal of itching: our raspberries grow in the same niches favored by poison ivy, stinging nettle, wild blackberry, wild roses, and mosquitoes, and the tiny berries take a long time to pick.  But the reward is wonderful.  This cobbler takes a bunch of berries, so I tend to reserve it only for special people, like myself and my wife.  I bake it in a 9″ cast iron skillet, because I like it that way! Continue reading

Chad’s Soft Molasses Cookies

Aunt Lola, my great-aunt, made wonderful, soft, chewy molasses cookies that I loved as a child – almost as much as the date pinwheel cookies, or her apple jelly.  Somewhere along the way, well after she passed, I came across her date pinwheel recipe, and make those on occasion, but they are a ton of work.  I never did find her molasses cookie recipe, though.

So, about 10 years ago, I conducted a 6 month long series of trials, attempting to re-create her recipe.  My mentees and colleagues at Culver ate lots of bad cookies in the process!  What I came up with is not the same as Aunt Lola’s.  But they’re really darn good. Continue reading

Crockpot Chicken Tika Masala

Chicken Tika Masala with Jasmine Rice

Crockpot Chicken Tika Masala

Who doesn’t love Indian food?  And, among Indian food lovers, Chicken Tika Masala must be one of the absolute favorites.

I was sure it would work well in the crockpot, but it took me several tries to get a result that had the flavor I liked.  In the end, I actually found the answer in a cookbook I already owned, Neela Paniz’ The New Indian Slow Cooker.   Continue reading

Cream of Asparagus Soup

 

Bowl of Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Asparagus.  Harbinger of Spring.  One of the first harvests from the garden.  The flavor of green.

We grow a bit over an 1/8 of an acre of asparagus, which gives us 800-1000 pounds of harvest each year.  Even though it comes in before the farmers’ market opens, we usually sell all that we produce.   Because, Asparagus!

When dealing with such an iconic food, it’s usually best to prepare it simply.  It’s a treat, so make it shine that way.  This very simple soup brings out the best in asparagus. Continue reading

Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Chad's version of a philly cheesesteak sandwich

Chad’s Crockpot Philly Cheesesteak

I’ve had Philly Cheeesesteak Sandwiches in many places, though ironically never in Philly…  Nonetheless, the combination of beef and cheese with a flavorful au jus, peppers, and onions is certainly a winner.

My version uses the slow cooker to braise the steak all day.  Then you can simply assemble and broil the sandwiches and be eating in just a few minutes. Continue reading

Chad’s Pizza Crust

Pizza Crust

A partially-baked pizza crust, ready to top and freeze for homemade frozen pizza (if you were making fresh, you would’t pre-bake it)

This is the recipe I use to make homemade frozen pizzas.  Of course, it also works well for pizza made fresh!   Continue reading