Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Zucchini-Corn Bread

Its been while since I posted so I decided that I would go ahead and make a comment about what I came up with this weekend. I had some zucchini that was soon to be past its prime and I didn't feel like making traditional zucchini bread so I got a little creative and made zucchini corn bread. Its was basically just corn bread that had shredded zucchini added to the batter (with a little bit of nutmeg). I reduced the amount of milk that I would normally have in the corn bread since zucchini is somewhat moist.

I think that it took a little longer than normal to bake, but I can't be certain since I did it in the toaster oven instead of the full sized oven. Most baking usually takes longer in the toaster oven.

It came out looking just like corn bread but with some green specks throughout. Flavor-wise, it was tasted like a normal corn bread (I think the nutmeg and zucchini added a little flavor, but no over powering flavors); but, it was very very moist. It wasn't soggy or undercooked, just moist.
For the most part, it was just like regular corn bread. So, I guess in the end I made the corn bread a little healthier by adding another vegetable to the mix.

Oh, sorry, no picture on this one. It's not all that exciting to look at anyway (its just corn bread).

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Monday, August 07, 2006

Potato Salad

Here is a quick note about a potato salad I made a few weeks ago for our annual branch picnic at work. The recipe came from Food Network (namely, Easy Entertaining) and can be found here. I changed the recipe a bit by using both yukon gold and red skin potatoes and by omitting the capers. I added fresh basil and some italian seasonings to replace the capers.

It was super easy. The only thing I would do differently is to cook the potatoes longer. They were still a little hard. The different greens added layers of flavor and made it a very unique potato salad. I think I will be trying it again soon, and I will post an update.


Zucchini Bread

I'm actually going to do something different with this post. I had my camera sitting on the counter when I started making the zucchini bread so I took a couple pictures throughout the baking process.

The bread started with this recipe. I got out all the ingredients and made sure that I had enough of everything. As you can see, I had plenty of zucchini.

Before I could get things going I had to shred the zucchini. I took one of the bigger ones and cut in half; I scooped out all of the seeds. I then put it through the food processor. I made a whole lot of shredded zucchini. The recipe only called for 2 cups, I made about 7.

So, following the rest of the recipe, I mixed the wet ingredients together in one bowl and the dry in another.

All that was left was to mix everything together. Since I had shredded 7 cups of zucchini and didn't want to make 3 batches of bread, I put all the shredded zucchini into the batter. Now, some people might think was crazy, but I had faith that it would still come together alright. The zucchini isn't that wet of a vegetable and usually holds up okay when baked and I've always put extra in when making bread. Now, I haven't ever put in 3.5 times as much as called for, but I gave it a shot anyway.

After everything was mixed together really well, I added the chopped walnuts. The batter was divided between 2 silicone bread pans and put into the oven.

The recipe said to let them bake for an hour at 350 F. I'm pretty sure they took about an hour. I tested them with a kabob stick to check them for doneness and when the stick came out clean I pulled them out of the oven. Here is the final product:

I took one into work this morning and it was gone in no time flat. Everyone said that they thought it was delicious.

So, one quick question for the few people who read this blog regularly. Did you prefer this style of post? or do you like the old way, with one picture? Comment and let me know.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

A quick note on Brining

Unfortunately there isn't a picture to accompany this post but I felt it important to talk a bit about brining.

I have heard all about putting meat (pork/poultry) into a brine before cooking and how good the food will taste for a while now, but had yet to actually try it. I'm not sure what was holding me back but last night I went for it. I had 2 bone in pork chops that needed to be cooked and I wasn't in a hurry so I decided to give the brine a try.

I mixed warm water with salt, pepper, honey, and rosemary. Once all the salt and honey were dissolved into the water I added the pork chops. I closed up the container and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours. I then baked the pork chops until they were done (still slightly pink inside).

The original plan was to package up the chops (having one for lunch today and the other for dinner tonight) but after trying a little bite last night, I couldn't resist and ate a whole chop. It was the best pork chop I've ever had (at least as far as I can remember).

So, basically, be sure to brine your pork chops. I will try chicken next and let you all know how that turns out.

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