Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal for Breakfast means you can work ’till lunch! Yum!

I love the flavor of oatmeal.  But I loathe its texture.  And texture is an important thing!  So, when Xenia raved about the baked oatmeal at the dining hall, I was a bit reticent to try it.  But, when I did, I could see what all the fuss was about!

Filled with apples, dried fruit, and oaty goodness, baked oatmeal is tasty, satisfying, and a breakfast that will stick with you.  It’s great for breakfast before heading out to cut firewood on a chilly day.  Continue reading

Pecan Rolls

Pecan Rolls

Yummy, sticky, sweet, spicy… Pecan Rolls!

I wish I could make pecan rolls as good as Joann McCormack, “The Cinnamon Roll Lady.”  Alas, I must limit myself to those little sticky plops of ambrosia to summer, when I can get them at the Tuesday evening Culver Farmers’ Market.  Mine, though, are still pretty durn sticky-good.   My version is also easy and quick to make.  I can put it together in time for breakfast even on a busy Sunday with parade, chapel, or other commitments. Continue reading

Tromboncini Fajitas

Fajitas made with Tromboncini Squash

Tromboncini Fajitas

I really love tromboncini squash.  And, we’ve had quite a surplus from the garden this year.

So, pondering what to make for dinner, and looking at tower of squash, then looking at the onions I had just harvested, then over at the stack of lugs filled with peppers, the muse hit me with fajitas. Continue reading

Zucchini Pancakes

Zucchini Pancakes with wild blackberries

Zucchini Pancakes with fresh wild blackberries

Back to creative outlets for our zucchini glut.  Zucchini for breakfast (or brunch)!  Pancakes are an underutilized food group.  They can be savory or sweet, salty or caramelized.  Eggy, floury, or, in this case, loaded with zucchini.  This is a great way to boost the nutritional profile of your pancake, yet still good with berries and maple syrup (grade B, of course!).   Continue reading

Parmesan Tromboncini Discs

Parmesan Tromboncini Discs

Parmesan Tromboncini Discs

Even though we’re getting slammed with zucchini, the Tromboncini squash are also starting to come in.  Tromboncini are uncommon, but I’m not sure why.  They’re very productive, at least in terms of pounds of food produced (though most of the squash tend to be large, so you don’t necessarily have large numbers of them).  They are easy to use – they have a long neck that is entirely seedless, then a bulb on the end that contains all of the seeds, and a skin that’s only slightly thicker than zucchini, so most recipes don’t need peeling.  They are versatile – they can function both as a summer squash and as a winter squash (though they don’t store quite as long as, say, a butternut).  And they are very tasty, with a flavor somewhere between a zucchini and an acorn squash.

Anyway, we have converted a few true believers at market.  Most people are afraid to try them, but those who do usually come back for more.  But, due either to the massive pile of zucchini on our table, or too few brave culinarians, we had a few left after this week’s markets.  So, yesterday was a day to be creative with Tromboncini.   Continue reading

Zucchini Carbonara

Zucchini Carbonara

Classic Pasta Carbonara, with a Zucchini twist

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.

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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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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