Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mmmm...Zucchini Bread

This is delicious, exactly the perfect thing to do with all that zucchini.  I've shredded the zucchini and packaged it for the freezer in batches of 2 cups, just the right amount for whipping up a quick loaf when the mood strikes. 

This recipe is to die for.  It's from the Sunset Vegetable Cook Book:

Spicy Pineapple Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 cup salad oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups coarsely shredded unpeeled zucchini
8 oz crushed pineapple drained well
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup each currants and finely chopped walnuts (either/or optional IMO)

In large bowl, beat eggs until frothy.  Add oil, sugar, and vanilla.  Continue beating until mixture is thick and foamy.  Stir in zucchini and pineapple.  In another bowl (though I just mixed all this in one big bowl), combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, currants and walnuts.  Stir until blended.  Stir flour mixture into zucchini mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Spoon batter evenly into 2 greased and flour-dusted 9X5 inch loaf pans.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool completely.  Before slicing, wrap tightly and refrigerate until the next day (we couldn't wait and ate a few slices while it was warm.   It was fine.)

Makes 2 loaves.

Bloomin' Labor Day

Sunflowers are taking over the garden.

They're towering up to the sky.

And spilling over the trellises.

All except for this guy, who has been pouting ever since he bloomed.

But my jewel of the garden this summer is the morning glory. I grew these from seeds and they're marvelous.

I love the variety of color (click on the picture to see it full sized). 

Wish they would stay all year.

What To Do With A Summer Bounty

I just brought in another big batch of cucumbers and zucchini.
A big cucumber salad is marinating in my fridge. Goal for the moment is how to store some of this food so we can eat it later instead of continuing to give it all away.

I just blanched and froze two batches of green beans. I sincerely hope they're edible a few months from now, as I'd love to be able to "put them up" (Lori style, i.e. freeze as opposed to canning). I am going to make zucchini bread tomorrow. If my family likes it, I'll shred and freeze batches of zucchini for bread. I know someone who does that, and it sounds like a good idea.

I'm not much of a canner. I don't like the taste of canned vegetables, and the whole idea of doing it wrong and killing all my friends and family isn't appealing. We have had lots of success freezing. We peel and seed tomatoes, whirl them up in a processor and freeze them for sauce. I make pesto and freeze it into little bricks. So I'm hoping these new trials work out as well. Would be nice to continue enjoying the harvest well into the winter.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fall Planting

Last weekend I had to restart my broccoli seeds.  All the horrible things I did to the first batch ended up being too much.

Firstly:  When they say don't use Miracle Gro Moisture Retaining soil for seed starting, they mean it.  The stuff is really meant for potted patio plants and that's it.  For seeds, it's just too...weird.

Making matters worse was the Oregon trip where I thought I could soak them good, leave them in a 1/2" of water and they wouldn't dry out while we were gone.  They didn't dry out.  They drowned.

One by one, I was losing them, though the Arcadia did the best.  (That might end up being the good hearty keeper of the three varieties I'm trying.)  Instead, I started them over in regular potting soil, and yesterday I had my first sprouts.  Immediately upon sign of the sprouts, I moved them out to the "greenhouse".  Aside from two 110 degree days this week, temps have been in the 80's/50's.  Should be perfect for starting seeds, and we don't have any more trips planned, so let's see if these do better.

Also planted last weekend were snow peas, which have come up already.  I've got them covered with deer netting to keep the birds from pulling them up.

I'm also trying to start green onions in a container that I intend to transplant.  So far, I have not had luck starting green onions from seed directly in the planting bed.  They come up and stay tiny no matter what I do to them.  This time, I'm attempting to start them in a 4" pot that I'll transplant once they get hearty.  Lets see if that works.