The Zucchini are growing and time for a bit of a change

Well, here it is the end of July 2020. We are still social distancing, wearing our masks and keeping pretty much to ourselves and our family, thank goodness as I had missed them all so much. While I am happy to see the virus levels declining in the state where I live it has risen in other states and this makes me sad. So all I can do is encourage people to wear masks, wash your hands often and continue to do social distancing so our county can heal and get through this.

Hopefully you will have noticed I made a change to the the title of this blog. Now that I am fully retired Sundays is no longer my only day to cook. I have had the joy of cooking meals I would prepare on a Sunday during the week now. Not every day but more often than I used to. I felt it was time to update the title a bit. I hopefully have worked out all the changes and I should be able to move forward, if I find anything that still needs changes I will make them along the way and eventually get there.

So the zucchini are in from the garden and first thing I made was my zucchini bread and then for a meatless dinner we had zucchini pancakes served with sour cream and apple sauce.

I hope to make a few more loaves of zucchini bread for the freezer so we can have some for later in the fall. Served either spread with butter or my favorite cream cheese and a cuppa it’s a winner.

Here are my recipes that I used I hope you enjoy them.

Sorry I didn’t get a “pretty” plated shot of the zucchini pancakes but we had a hard time trying to keep from eating them as they were done frying.

The Barefoot Contessa’s Zucchini Pancakes

PREP TIME
10 minutes
COOK TIME
5 minutes
TOTAL TIME
15 minutes

Ingredients
2 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons grated sweet onion
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
6 to 8 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Unsalted butter and vegetable oil

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. (To keep the pancakes warm)
Grate the zucchini into a bowl using the large side of a box grater. Immediately stir in the onion and eggs.
Stir in 6 tablespoons of the flour, the baking powder, salt and pepper. (If the batter gets too thin from the liquid in the zucchini,
add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.)
Heat a large (10 – 12 inch) saute pan over medium heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil together in the pan.
When the butter is hot but not smoking, lower heat to medium-low and drop heaping soup spoons of batter into the pan.
Swirl the back of the spoon around the batter to even out the pancake. Cook the pancakes about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
If keeping the pancakes warm in the oven, place cooked pancakes on a baking sheet and keep warm in oven for up to 30 minutes.

My Favorite Zucchini Bread

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Servings: 24 – This recipe makes 2 loaves of zucchini bread

“A moist and delicious zucchini bread flavored with walnuts and cinnamon. Easy to bake and freeze, this recipe makes two loaves.”

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (no need to peel)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Learning to Make Bagels

happy easter

Wishing those who celebrate a very Happy Easter and Happy Passover.

I was so happy to have an extra day off for a three day weekend so I knew I had to plan to make something that I had on my to-do list. One of my favorite online video chefs is Laura Vitale of Laura in the Kitchen. Earlier in the week, I had watched her making bagels. Over the years I’ve learned to make bread and rolls but I avoided making bagels thinking they would be out of my level of cooking skills. I watched her video and I was really amazed at how simple they could be. I’m a bit of a visual learner so her instructions were just what I needed. So on Friday I dug in my heals and gave it a try. All I can say is WOW! My bagels may not look perfect but I was so pleased with how they turned out and so was my husband.

While I do not have my own recipe to share, here are the results of my first time making bagels and the link to the video. I hope you will give these a try as they really are easy to make at home and are very delicious.

Just as an added note the bagels are just a little darker because I had used a whole egg for the egg wash. I needed to use a whole egg wash earlier for something else I baked didn’t want to waste it so these baked up a darker color. Next time I will use the egg white wash as in the recipe.

Thank you to Laura Vitale for your wonderful videos and delicious recipes!

I hope you will give it a try, here is the link to the video.

How to Make Bagels by Laura Vitale

Memories of a home town bakery & Apple Fritters

Have you noticed that many of the long standing old school family bakeries are slowly vanishing? Several that have been open for well over 40 years are now gone here. Where I grew up there was a bakery in almost every shopping center close to our home. That memorable aroma when you first walked in of baked cake and bread is slowly disappearing here in suburbia. The bakery sections in the local grocery stores and super centers may have replaced them, but they will never really duplicate them.

I used to love when we stopped for fresh rolls and buns after Sunday Mass. The glass cases would be filled with butter cookies, pastry and the most beautifully decorated special occasion cakes with colorful flowers and leaves. They had assorted pies, chocolate cakes, crumb cakes and one of our favorites, apple fritters. Those large doughy pastries filled with chopped apple bits topped with a sugary glaze. They were amazing with a cold glass of milk.

Over the years I tried different recipes for apple fritters. The recipes were good but didn’t come anywhere near the ones from the bakery until I found this recipe several years ago. I think this is the best recipe for apple fritters anyone can make at home. Many times I was asked if they came from a bakery, that they hadn’t had apple fritter like these in years. What a great compliment!

This recipe is adapted from the Cook’s Country recipe book. They are easy to make and and I know you will love them.

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Apple Fritters

Ingredients
For the Fritters – Recipe make 10-12 fritters depending on size.
2 granny apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I have also used Gala and Honey Crisp apples when I had them from an orchard we stop at)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon (Penzey’s Vietnamese Cinnamon works so well in this recipe)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup apple cider (Please use apple cider not apple juice)
2 large eggs lightly beaten
2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Glaze
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup apple cider (Please use apple cider not apple juice)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (Penzey’s Vietnamese Cinnamon works so well in this recipe)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Instructions
Add all dry ingredients (flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg) in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Stir in apples.
Next add wet ingredients (cider, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract) to a separate bowl and whisk together then pour mixture into dry ingredients and whisk until combined.
Heat 3 cups of vegetable oil in dutch oven over medium-high heat to about 350 degrees. Use 1/3-cup measure to transfer 5 heaping portions of batter into the hot oil. Press batter lightly with the back of spoon to flatten somewhat. Fry until golden brown (about 2 to 3 minutes each side). Once all fritters are fried, remove fritters and transfer fritters to wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or to a paper towel to dry. Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining batter. Let fritters cool 5 minutes.
Whisk together confectioners’ sugar, cider, cinnamon, and nutmeg in medium bowl until smooth. Spoon over fritters and let set for 10 minutes then serve.

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