Monday, July 26, 2010

Zucchini Bread

When I was in college, every morning for breakfast I would go down to the campus coffee shop and have an iced mocha and a big slice of zucchini bread. I loved that bread and nothing I have had since (though to be honest not a lot of coffee shops or bakeries sell zucchini bread) has compared. So this year when I pulled an enormous zucchini out of my garden I was determined to make zucchini bread (what I'm going to do with all the yellow squash I have no idea).
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups zucchini, skins on and shredded
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
Beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar, oil, zucchini and vanilla. Beat well. Combine dry ingredients then slowly incorporate them. Pour into 2 greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Sprinkle the tops with decorating sugar or pecans. 1 cup of Chopped pecans or 1 cup of chocolate chips, or 1/2 a cup of both can also be added to the batter before putting it into loaf pans.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Zack and Katie project: Shrimp and Sausage skewers

This meal was inspired by my friend Melody. I wanted to make something new one night but I had no inspiration. So I asked my friends what they wanted to eat. Mel responded with Strawberry Spinach salad and baked oven fries. So all I had to come up with was the meat. Out came the most recent issue of Bon Appetit and a promising Shrimp and Sausage skewers recipe. I was even more excited when I realized that this could be a Zack and Katie project meal. I am not normally a spicy kind of gal so I wanted to add another dimension to this meal. So I picked up some Orange apricot marmalade at the same shop where I bought the sausage and glazed half of the skewers with that. This meal is more filling than you would expect and stands up just fine when only paired with some corn, or a simple salad. But you can go all out and make potatoes and veggies to go with it as well.

Shrimp and Sausage Skewers adapted from Bon Appetit

¾ cup olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, pressed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme + 1 T dried thyme

3 teaspoons smoked paprika

6 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 1/2 lbs uncooked extra-large shrimp (13 to 15 per pound), peeled, deveined

4 pieces of pre cooked sausage 1-inch-long pieces

12 cherry tomatoes

12 2-layer sections of red onion wedges

1 jar of orange marmalade or other sweet preserve

Special Equipment

6 long metal skewers

6 long bamboo skewers soaked in water

View full recipe

Whisk oil, garlic, thyme, smoked paprika, Sherry wine vinegar, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper in medium bowl to blend for glaze. Transfer half of glaze to small bowl and reserve for serving.

Alternately thread shrimp, sausage pieces, cherry tomatoes, and sections of onion wedges on each skewer. Arrange skewers on large rimmed baking sheet. DO AHEAD Can be made up to 6 hours ahead.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush 6 of skewers on both sides with glaze from 1 bowl. Brush the remaining 6 skewers with the orange marmalade. Grill until shrimp are opaque in center, turning and brushing occasionally with more glaze or marmalade, 6 to 8 minutes.

Arrange skewers on platter. Serve with remaining bowl of glaze and marmalade.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Zack and Katie project, Gluten free AND Onion free

You all may know about my GFF by now, well, having her involved in my life gives me a good excuse to be creative when I'm coming up with new menus. Over the years I have developed a variety of different menus that can be pulled out at the mere mention of a dinner party. Vegetarian menus, no red meat menus, no chicken menus, no pork menus, no gluten menus, no vegetable menus, no spice menus, I am even working on some no onion menus. The only group I haven't really had to accommodate thus far is vegans. And I really hope I don't get any vegans cause if I can't cook with dairy along with all of the other restrictions, I will be one sad chef. So, this one falls into the no gluten and no onion menus. It is also part of my 45 minutes or less collection of easy and attractive dinners. So here it is. The polenta recipe is adapted from cooks illustrated.

Marinated Shrimp with Parmesan Polenta
For the shrimp
2lbs large shrimp, uncooked shelled deveined and rinsed in cold water
1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine (cooking wine is fine)
juice of one lemon
3-4 large garlic cloves pressed/diced
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
dash salt
dash pepper
2 dozen bamboo skewers soaked in water

For the polenta
7 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
Pinch baking soda
1 1/2 polenta ( I use quick polenta)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Ground black pepper
butter (can use a non dairy butter like substance.
2 cups parmesan cheese (can use pecorino romano)

For the shrimp
combine all ingredients in a bowl. add the shrimp and let sit for an hour. DO NOT LET THEM SIT for longer than an hour and 15 minutes or they will start to cook in the citrus juice.

let bamboo skewers sit in water for 10 minutes while the shrimp are marinating.
Skewer the shrimp there is no real rhyme or reason to this though I usually try to stick the skewer two times through each shrimp to ensure stability.

grill the shrimp for 5-10 minutes on each side or until they look done.

For the polenta
Bring the water to a boil
once the water is boiling, add the salt and the baking powder ( this helps keep the polenta from clumping)
Then slowly pour in the polenta while stirring. Make sure you keep stirring until all of the polenta is thoroughly wet. Continue to stir continuously for 1 minute
then turn down the heat and leave the polenta to simmer for 5 mins stirring occasionally. pour in the cheese and incorporate. turn off the heat and stir in the butter.
It is now ready to serve.

Put big spoonfulls of the polenta in the bottom of a regualr or salad bowl. Then liberate the shrimp from the skewers and arrange on top of the polenta.
garnish with leftover parsley.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Zack and Katie project

I've been absent for a long time I know, and this post doesn't even have pictures. What the hell. But I am back for a very specific purpose. Bwecause my brother in law is getting married to an absolutely lovely girl. For their wedding I've decided to put together a cookbook. And the only way it will get done is if I hold myself accountable to the internet. :) So over the next several weeks I will be posting as often as I can about different recipes that are going into this book. Some will have pictures, some won't whatcha gonna do, we are working on a deadline here people.
If anyone out there who reads this has recipes that meet the following criteria please link me to your blog or send me the recipe. I am desperate to give my soon to be sister in law as many recipes as possible.
The recipes cannot contain:
Apples or any apple by product
Cow dairy
onions or green onions (shalotts are ok onion powder is not)
Yellow squash.
I know its a strange list but she is allergic to all of these things which makes eating out miserable, so I'm trying to make eating in more fun.

No post today while I get myself organized but from tomorrow on, posts can come from anywhere any time, and if a few non cookbook related posts happen, well then we know I'm back into blogging. :)