Another round in the Great Zucchini Conundrum of 2017… I remembered back to the late 1980’s, when my mom made a very popular Chocolate Zucchini Cake. She is at home recovering from rotator cuff surgery, so I gave her a call. It took her a bit to dig up the recipe, but she did!
I was flipping through The Flavor Bible, looking for ways to use my excessive zucchini harvest, and I noticed several flavors I love being highly recommended, including thyme, parmesan, cream, and black pepper. Wait a minute! Those plus bacon (which makes everything better) are all the flavors that make the classic pasta carbonara sauce!
Surely I could make something of that! So I did.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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
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
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
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