Hey beautiful babies, and welcome back to another sweet and tangy Recipe of the Week, the hippest place to be on a Tuesday evening. Last week I asked that you quickly give me all of your best bread recipes, because I need to get all of this baking out of my system before the summer hits.
Many recipes were provided, but the most up-voted comment was not a recipe at all but a scary story that spooked me quite a bit. (I am very easily spooked. I can't even read Creepy Corner, which makes me very sad because Louise is so delightful.)
I know nothing about baking bread (I should fix that). I do have a funny story, though:
When I was about 14 years old I was visiting my grandma in California. She lived in a small apartment with a kitchen about the size of a broom closet. Anyway, she acquired a bread making machine from a DP (a "dead person"...she managed a HUD building in downtown LA...lots of DP merchandise was gathered over the years). I always joked that DP items were inherently haunted. So, one afternoon she decided to try out the bread machine. It was working fine, at first, until it started to shake violently on the kitchen counter. It bounced off of the counter and landed upright on the floor where it proceeded to bounce wildly and make otherworldly noises. We both tried to get to it but I SWEAR every time we got close enough to pull the plug, it would LUNGE at us. Eventually it turned itself off. When we opened it up, all the ingredients she placed inside were gone.
HAUNTED BREAD MACHINE.
Dog_is_Good certainly deserves a trophy for this harrowing tale, and that trophy is "The Dead Only Quickly" by The 6ths, because there is no song called "The Dead Only Haunt Kitchen Appliances."
The second most up-voted comment was also not a recipe, but a heartwarming tale of nostalgia and healing from resident heart-warmer, SueK:
In 2011, I went on disability for what I like to call "my big fat crazy brain". When I started coming back to life, but wasn't ready to go back to work (because a job had been part of my craziness), I really got into daily cooking. And bread making. Every week I'd make two loaves of whole wheat and a loaf of white. My husband said my whole wheat bread was so heavy, I could take someone out with a blow to the head from it. I do miss that, especially since I felt so "Mom"--my mom baked all our bread (as well as making pasta, all tomato products, and canning/freezing/dehydrating) when I was growing up. Anyway, I'm in nostalgia-ville right now. Thanks, Claire!
You are welcome, Sue. And thank you for sharing that; it really resonates with me as the whole reason I started baking was to help deal with anxiety issues. While measuring and mixing, I would listen to familiar, calming music -- mostly rock from the 60's and 70's. In that vein, your trophy is "Angie" by The Rolling Stones, because not only do I find that song super calming -- sad music always soothes me -- but I like it so much that I named my little dog after it. (Also: Charlie Watt's barely contained amusement at around 0:56 is delightful juxtaposed against Wyman's stony demeanor.)
Speaking of comforting, this week's most up-voted recipe was just that. This zucchini bread was sweet enough that it feels decadent when eaten for breakfast, but not sweet enough to be called a cake. Instead, it exists somewhere between "something my mother would approve of" and "something I wish to smother in whipped cream and inhale." (It was also my husband's favorite thing I've ever made for this column, not that we really care what he thinks.)
In summer we get a shit-ton of zucchini from the garden and my favorite to do is Blueberry Zucchini Bread. I shred the fresh zucchini and freeze in 2 cup bags to make through out the winter as well. Its very easy...
1 cup vegetable oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini (do not drain, that's what makes the bread moist)
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 tblsp cinnamon
1 tblsp nutmeg
1 pint fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 loaf pans. in a bowl mix dry ingredients. In another bowl mix eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar and zucchini. Add dry to wet. add blueberries. pour in loaf pans. bake for about an hour and 20 minutes. If you're like me, I eat it hot out of the pan with a glass of milk.
I was almost worried I had missed my chance in terms of baking weather. As soon as last week's column was out and into the universe the weather took a turn for the "much hotter than it usually is this time of year." It was in the 80s over the weekend, but luckily Sunday night brought us a bit of rain -- and two lightnings! -- cooling down the house enough to make this delicious bread (comfortably).
I must commend marie227 of her instructions. They were easy to follow and resulted in a perfectly moist, infinitely edible, somewhat healthy bread with a delightful cake-like consistency. I enjoyed a slice fresh from the oven with a bit of butter and a cold glass of milk.
It was perfection.
Such perfection deserves a trophy and your trophy, marie227, is "The Blues Are Still Blue" by Belle & Sebastian, because the blueberries in this bread really make it.
(I hope I haven't given anyone that trophy before. I know I use a lot of Belle & Sebastian.)
My local -- like, a quarter of a mile away local -- farmer's market just started up and when I went last Sunday it was full of fresh, seasonal fruit. Fruit's best quality is the fact that it's perfect on its own; it really doesn't need any sugar, salt, or other seasonings. Fruit's second best quality is how great it tastes in a cocktail. Whether you're dealing with citrus, berries, or stone fruits, all you need to do is muddle it up and top it with your ethanol of choice. You can add a little soda water or pop if you must, but it's not necessary.
So that's the challenge this week! Super tasty fruit-forward cocktails (or mocktails) using whichever fruit you please. Herbs can be added, of course, but the real star of the drink should be fruit. Okay! Have at it!