Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Zucchini Bread

For the National Scrapbooking Day scrap, our hostess, Judy, asked us to bring a snack (on Friday night) or dish (Saturday lunch) to share.

On Friday I took plain and roasted red pepper hummus and crackers. For Saturday, I warmed up the oven and made my first zucchini bread of the year.

I always get rave reviews when I make this bread. It’s almost like eating cake! And it freezes well, too.

Notes before you begin:
1. I never peel the zucchini. I always just wash it good and grate it with the skin on. I love the green flakes that show up in the bread. This is a good way to use up zucchini that may be a bit past it’s prime — a little too soft to cut up and saute but still good enough to eat.
2. I usually don’t add nuts to my baked goods because I don’t like the texture. But feel free to throw some in. I think pecans would go perfectly with this.
3. For this go round I cut the amount of sugar to 1 3/4 cup — 2 1/2 cups seemed like an awful lot for two loaves of bread and I knew there would be enough sweet things to munch on at the scrap. The bread still tasted wonderful, even with the less sugar!
4. Usually one medium zucchini will make the 2 cups you need for the recipe. I grated two because just one was a tad too small for the amount I needed. I used the extra grated zucchini in another recipe, which I’ll share tomorrow.

Here’s what you do:

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini peeled and grated
3 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cups chopped nuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 and grease two loaf pans.
2. Beat the eggs and then add the oil, sugar, grated zucchini and vanilla. Mix until blended.
3. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nuts. Mix.
4. Pour into loaf pans and bake for 1 hour.

And, most importantly, don’t forget to share with someone special (see below).

Sidney’s waiting for me to drop some crumbs. She always helps me out in the kitchen! πŸ™‚

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Cranberry Banana muffins

These are fantastic! I didn’t except these to turn out so well.Β The mixture of banana and cranberry is perfect and the overall sweetness was not overpowering.

I made these on a whim because we had one over ripe banana; not enough to make banana bread, pudding or anything else.

The recipe called for bran, but I used quick-cooking oats instead. I also used dried cranberries I had on hand, not fresh. I also used almond milk, as I’m currently trying out a dairy-free diet. (I’ve already failed on day two, as you can read here.)

This is from Jen Botts, listed in “Recipes and Remembrances,” a Neighbors Grove Wesleyan Church Women of Faith cookbook. My mom gave me this for Christmas last year.

Banana-Cranberry Spice Muffins
By: Jen Botts

1 cup bran cereal
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup ripe banana, mashed
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sweetened cranberries

Mix first 5 ingredients and let sit for a few minutes. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt together and add to mixture. Stir in cranberries.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Some (old) new recipes for you

I remembered I’d posted some recipes over on MySpace and figured I’d share them here. I never go to MySpace any more (does anyone?), so why keep all the goodies over there. Right?

All of these recipes are my own. You can’t publish them and take credit for them as your own, but you can feel free to use ’em and share them as much as you like. Enjoy!

From Sept. 9, 2007 (yes, I date things, forgive me my quirks):

Colby Jack Chicken and Broccoli

2 heads of broccoli heads, cut up
2 chicken breasts, cut up
1 12 oz. can of cream of chicken and herbs soup
6 oz. of milk (half of the soup can)
garlic powder, season for taste
8 oz. of colby jack cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place cut up the broccoli and chicken in the bottom of a lasagna pan.
3. Mix the cream of chicken soup, milk and garlic powder in a bowl.
4. Pour soup mixture over the broccoli and chicken and mix to coat.
5. Sprinkle the shredded colby jack on top of the chicken and broccoli mixture.
6. Pop into the oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Curry Potato Wedges

4-5 potatoes, cut into wedges
olive oil
curry powder
chili seasoning (with salt)

1. Preheat oven to 375 or 400 degrees.
2. Place cut potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil to coat.
3. Sprinkle curry powder and chili seasoning onto potatoes. Toss with hands to coat. Add enough seasoning and spice for your taste.
4. Place the potatoes on a cookie sheet and pop into the oven for 45 minutes or until potatoes are soft and cooked. Allow to stay longer if you want crispy fries.

From Jan. 31, 2007:

Spinach and Tomatoes

1 10 oz. pkg frozen spinach
1 tomato
2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
thyme (optional)

1. Defrost the spinach and wring it in a towel to squeeze out all the water.
2. Cut the tomato into wedges and then halve the wedges.
3. Warm a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to lightly cover the skillet.
4. Toss in the garlic, basil and thyme and stir frequently for about 1-2 minutes.
5. Add the spinach and cook until spinach is warmed through, about 3-5 minutes.
6. Toss in the tomato.
7. Add a little more olive oil to coat the veggies and keep the spices from sticking and burning to the skillet. Stir to coat well and let cook until warm.
8. Add salt to taste.
Serves 2-3.

From Sept. 13, 2006:

Late Summer Veggie Soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 scallion (small white onion) chopped
1 palmful of thyme, fresh or dried (I used fresh)
2 pinches of chives, fresh or dried (I used fresh)
1 small or medium summer squash
1 cup full of halved cherry tomatoes
1 stalk of celery chopped
1 can of low sodium chicken stock (12-14 oz.)
black pepper.

1. Warm a medium pot over medium heat.
2. Add the olive oil and then the garlic, onions, thyme and chives.
3. Saute for about 1-2 minutes.
4. Add squash, tomatoes and celery. Stir well.
5. Add the chicken stock and season with pepper.
6. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until veggies are to the desired crispness. Then, enjoy!
Serves 2-4 depending on the amount served.

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Using Bill Neal’s “Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie,” I poked my toe into the world of cracker-making.

Yep. Crackers. Didn’t know you could make ’em? That’s the same thing a colleague said to me when I told her I made some crackers the other week.

I’ve always wondered what dough was used to make crackers and how they were baked, etc. Turns out, it’s just biscuit dough, rolled to wafer thin.

In Neal’s book I found recipes for two types of crackers — one used with the old fashioned Southern biscuit dough (note — lots of beating involved) and the more modern biscuit flour that uses baking powder. I tried both.

The first batch weren’t too bad, but I wasn’t that impressed either. Neal literally tells the reader to find a rolling pin, broken broom end or hammer to knead/beat the dough for 15 minutes, no less. I got tired and gave up after 7 minutes of beating. I spent the last 8 minutes catching my breath and rolling out the dough for the crackers.

I didn’t add any additional toppings, such as salt, to the crackers. Just baked them for the 5-7 minutes. They seemed to be too biscuit like and didn’t have a lot of taste like store bought crackers. I assumed that I didn’t roll the crackers out thin enough and should have added salt. And with all that beating, they just weren’t worth it.

The second batch was easier. I used scrap dough from some biscuits I made over the weekend. I also made sure to prick the cut out crackers with a fork a few times (which I was supposed to do the first time, but forgot to do) and sprinkled a little salt on top. These turned out much better and reminded me more of crackers you’d expect to find in a store or restaurant.

This batch was thin, crisp and had just enough taste (salt).

I also had a little accident in the kitchen this weekend that nearly drove me to tears.

After baking a couple loaves of bread, I placed them on wire racks on the table to cool. Thinking myself wise, I placed a kitchen towel under the racks to catch any crumbs.

Instead this somehow was not a good idea. I caused heat and/or water damage to my antique table and I don’t know how.
See those white angel wings? That’s not the flash of the camera or a trick of the light. That’s damage from the steam and heat of the bread. Arrrrrggggghhhhhh!

Hubby thinks a little sanding and refinishing will take care of the problem. But that still doesn’t make me feel any better. 😦

From now on, all baked goods will cool on the counter!

Sweet goodness

Several years ago I had a subscription service to Easy Everyday Cooking, a service that mailed recipe cards to subscribers every few weeks. After a few months I cancelled the service, but I had already built up quite a collection.

Every once in awhile I get in the mood to flip through the various categories, 19 in all, including from “Snacks and Appetizers,” “Soups and Stews,” “Chicken from the Oven,” “Beef from the Stove,” “Pasta” and “Cookies for all Occasions.”

This weekend the mood striked and I picked “Crumb-Topped Peach Pie” from “Pies, Cakes and Tarts” and “Thumbprint Cookies” from “Cookies for all Occasions.”

I made the pie from six juicy peaches my dad bought from a local produce stand. He left them for Chris and I when he and my mom visited last weekend. I liked making this recipe because I didn’t need to make or buy pie dough and it was a quick and easy way to use up fresh fruit.
The flavors were perfect. The use of almond extract complemented the peaches. The recipe also calls for brown sugar instead of regular granulated sugar in the crumb topping. It was an interesting and delicious change.

The filling, however, was a little runny. I don’t know if I used too many peaches or not enough cornstarch. But, overall, the pie was wonderful, especially with ice cream.

The cookies were by far my favorite. I used real butter and almond extract and vanilla flavoring. Mmmmmmm, I was in dessert heaven!

Although the recipe called for raspberry preserves for the filling, I used a blackberry jelly a local woman gave Chris and I and blackberry jam that my grandmother gave us. Nothing like homemade jellies and jams. Much better than those store bought fruits loaded with sugar!

I can’t wait to eat those cookies with a new hot mug of tea.