24 September 2008

Zucchini Bread and other goodies

En français ici.
Well, I finally put my money where my mouth is and joined the French equivalent of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) called Les Paniers du Val de Loire in order to support local (ok, not Paris, but close), seasonal, organic foods. I signed up for their six-week trial at the end of which time I can sign up for the year! So once a week, in this case Fridays, I go to a local bar, head past all the tables and chairs to the back corner and pick up a paper grocery bag with my name on it.

Back at the apartment, it's like opening Christmas presents: what will we get this week? Sometimes the presents are the good kind, from friends who know you well, and once in a while, there's that tasteless sweater or framed photo of you 5-years-old naked watering the flowers that you hoped your significant other would never see -- I know it's obscure, but veggie-wise for me I'm talking about things like beets, and brussel sprouts.

This weeks goodies: pears (went into my apple-pear pie), green beans (got roasted with garlic), frizzy lettuce (went into a salad similar to this one), tomatoes (got roasted with chicken, among other things), and tons of zucchini (courgettes if you're not American).

We ate some of the zucchini stir-fried but there was still lots, so I decided to make zucchini bread, which according to Heidi (author of Super Natural Cooking) over at 101 cookbooks has the major advantage of getting rid of zucchini -- besides tasting good of course. This is my slightly-adapted version of her recipe. I made it with nuts and lemon and lime and 1 tsp of cumin instead of curry powder and it turned out absolutely delicious (if not quite as photogenic as Heidi's version). Click the link for her Special Zucchini Bread Recipe.

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
zest of one lemon and one lime

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini (with the skins on - squeeze some of the moisture out before using)

3 cups flour (I combine whole wheat and white)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cumin

Preheat your oven to 350°F/180ºC. Butter two loaf pans or line with parchment, letting a little hang over the edge for easy removal.

In a small bowl combine the walnuts, lemon and lime zest. Set aside.

Beat (in a mixer) or cream the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again until mixture comes together and is no longer crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time and the vanilla and mix well. With a wooden spoon, stir the zucchini.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cumin. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Avoid over mixing!

Fold in half the walnut, and citrus zest. Save the other half to sprinkle on the tops of the loaves before baking.

Divide the batter equally between the two loaf pans. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. Keep in mind it will continue to cook a bit after it is removed from the oven. Remove from the oven and cool in pan for about ten minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling - this is important so they don't get soggy!

In other news, Nina Timm over at My Easy Cooking has awarded me the I love your blog award, which I am honored to receive!

Here are the rules :
1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3) Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.

Ok, I hear those rules, but I don't know if I have time to appropriately present you with seven blogs. If you just want the list, than go ahead and click on any of the links under "Fun Websites" or "Good Cooking" because I love all the blogs I link to.

Otherwise, here are a few blogs I'm particularly loving lately:

Tea over at Tea & Cookies doesn't usually post stuff like this, but it's because she's too busy telling wonderful stories about her life and cooking experiences! She has inspired not only my most recent moon post, but also one of my very favorite recipes Comfort Coconut Noodles. Her stories are touching and her recipes are delicious. What more could you ask for?

My most recent discovery has been Alex Rushmer's blog Just Cook It. His musings on food and life are as funny as they are informative. Freelance writer, turned food paparazzi, Alex has just started a new blog, Candid Food, where you can see real food, exposed, without the makeup and the sexy lighting -- a bit like a food tabloid -- and, let me tell you, some of it is shocking!

Over the past few weeks, I've taken more time to look at the blog of my mentors Psychgrad and Giz over at Equal Opportunity Kitchen, and I have to send this award over their way as well! With the two of them teaming up, they post many delicious recipes and participate in lots of fun events. You can find all kinds of food over there (they're afraid of nothing it seems!), but it all looks yummy.


Tea said...

Oh, you sweet thing! Thanks for the kind words, and right back 'atcha (also, I am so delighted for you about the CSA! I miss mine terribly).

Just Cook It said...

Hi Hopie, the zucchini bread looks fantastic - we still have a few monster specimens sitting in the kitchen so I think I might have to make it.

Thanks also for the mention, really appreciate it.

Sam said...

I get a veg box too, I like the surprise of never knowing what I'll get!

giz said...

Thank you Hopie for the award. It really does feel so nice to be recognized.

PG said...

Thanks for the award Hopie! Good for you for joining Les Paniers du Val de Loire. I've been thinking about joining one too but am worried about too many "naked pictures of me". I like the 6 week trial period idea.

Cicero Sings said...

The treasures in your bag of goodies look so fresh and inviting! We like courgettes cut in half, drizzled with olive oil and spices of choice, popped in a 350 toaster oven and baked for 15 minutes. 1/2 each. They hold their shape, aren't TOO done and taste so yummy. Next year I'm planting TWO plants! I read Tea too ... I really like her writings!

Hopie said...

Tea - You're more than welcome! I know, I'm so excited about this CSA.

Alex - No problem! Hope you enjoy.

Sam - I know, it's fun and then you have to get creative depending on what you get. I love it.

Giz - You're welcome!

Psychgrad - I know how you feel about the "naked pictures", but maybe you know someone who likes that kind of thing that you could foist them onto ;-)

Cicero - Mmmm, baked zucchini sounds delicious. I'll have to give that a try.

CECIL said...

Hello! This is my first time visit. I have been considering making zucchini bread and this sounds delicious! And I have been trying to pick up French again - I studied it for few years long long time ago :) May I say that your blog just caught my eyes, now I can 'try' to read in French (while peeking on English version.)

Hopie said...

Cecil - Nice of you to stop by! I'm glad you get to practice your French with the bilingual posts :-) Hope you enjoy the zucchini bread!

Homemade Heaven said...

I am new to bread baking and this looks like something my family are going to love. Thank you!

Hopie said...

Rose - I hope you enjoy it! I'm not very good at bread baking myself, but this is more of a moist cake consistency :-)

healthy ashley said...

I've never had zucchini bread, but yours looks so good! Moist, right?

And a French CSA? That just sounds amazing!