Friday, July 8, 2011

Zucchini Bread

It's been a competition this summer between me and whatever critters are nibbling on the zucchini I'm growing, so I've been harvesting most of my zucchini while they're still pretty small. Although this requires having more zucchini harvested to make anything substantial, baby zucchinis are sweeter than the large ones.

I've finally collected enough zucchinis to make a bread, about 5 small zucchinis, and one medium-sized one. If you're like me and you absolutely love zucchini bread but hate grating zucchinis, you can grate zucchini quite easily in a food processor and save yourself a lot of time.

Aside from the zucchini (you'll need 1 1/2 cups grated), here are the other ingredients I used in this bread:
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • grated lemon rind from one lemon
To make the bread, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Chop the zucchini into small pieces and grate in a food processor until you have 1 1/2 cups:

Set the zucchini aside:

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside:

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the oil, sugar, and lemon rind:

Stir the egg mixture and zucchini into the dry ingredients until all ingredients are incorporated:

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Bread is done when internal temperature reaches 200 degrees, or when a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Cool the bread for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Enjoy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

(Almost) Completely Homegrown Tomato Sauce

With the half-dozen tomatoes that lined up on the kitchen counter a couple of days ago sufficiently ripened, I decided to make my first batch of tomato sauce. Tomatoes are a wonderful plant because they grow quickly and easily from seedlings and, if well cared for, produce a lot of tomatoes. Tomatoes are also great because there are many ways to preserve them for use during the winter months, when store-bought tomatoes are expensive, full of pesticides, and considerably less tasty than the ones you grew or purchased over the summer.

One of my favorite things to do with extra tomatoes is make sauce. If you don't grow your own tomatoes but enjoy frequenting the farmer's markets, you don't have to miss out on making great sauce. To save yourself some money on the tomatoes, look for tomatoes that farmers are selling at a reduced price because they are either on the verge of being overripe or for some reason don't look as good as their other produce.

To make my own tomato sauce, I harvested the following ingredients from the garden:
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • A healthy handful of parsley
I added these additional ingredients:
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Oregano
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
Here's how I made the sauce:

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add the 6 cloves of garlic, chopped, the green pepper, also chopped, and sea salt, to taste. Saute over medium heat:

Keeping an eye on the skillet, chop the tomatoes into 1" wedges:

Add the tomatoes, rosemary, parsley, oregano, sugar, and freshly ground pepper to the skillet. Some people don't like sugar in their tomato sauce, but I find that just a little bit adds a nice flavor:

Cook the sauce over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Tomatoes contain a lot of water, so it's important to let the water evaporate during this time.

After about 20 minutes, reduce heat to low and carefully blend the sauce using an immersion blender. The sauce will be very hot! If you don't have an immersion blender, carefully spoon the tomato sauce into a blender of food processor and blend. The amount of blending you do is up to you, depending on how chunky you like your tomato sauce:

Continue to cook the sauce over medium-low heat until it thickens even more, stirring frequently. This will probably take another 20 minutes, depending on how thick you like your tomato sauce.

Spoon the sauce into a jar or glass container. Use within 7 days or freeze for later use.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Morning glories, and more tomatoes!

The hope of a blooming morning glory is of my favorite parts of coming out to the garden every morning. Most of the time, I'm in luck and am greeted with at least one:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

First tomatoes, and other vegetable developments

After carefully observing green tomatoes for several weeks now, patiently waiting for them to turn red, I picked my first two ripe tomatoes this morning. They're heirloom tomatoes, which explains why they are not bright red. Nevertheless, they are ripe to the touch and smell delicious (wish I could share this sensory experience with you through the computer).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Greensboro Wedding

Cody and I got married just over one month ago here in Greensboro. Aside from being unbelievably happy just to getting married, one of the aspects of our wedding that made us the happiest was the support we received from our community, to which we are still very new.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Beginnings = New Blog

Welcome to my new blog! With lots of new beginnings sparking in my personal and professional life, I felt it was time to echo these developments with a new blog.

If you've been missing Bread Nut Bakery, you'll still find insights and recipes about cooking; but you'll also find that my DIY interests have expanded to gardening as well! Although hardly an experienced gardener, this summer marks my boldest attempts (along with the help and trust of my husband, Cody) at producing homegrown vegetables.

In the last year or so that I blogged about bread, some of my readers suggested that I blog about other topics relevant to my life and career, so you'll see some articles here about that, too.
So please enjoy, and comment frequently!