Orange Essence Zucchini Bread

Zucchini is one of the most abundant fall vegetables here in the US.  And zucchini bread is one of the most popular ways to use it up, especially when your garden produces an abundance of overgrown, deep green squash.  While I don’t have a garden (just a few tomato plants on my patio), one of my associates at work has generously shared this years zucchini crop.

Quick breads often seem more like cake than bread, and I’m ok with that.  Classic zucchini bread is so comforting and delicious!  However, I wanted my zucchini bread to really stand apart, so I started baking.  And baking.  And baking.  I don’t know how many loaves and muffins I’ve given away in my quest for the perfect bread, but it’s been a lot!  However, it has been well worth it because I really do believe that this is the best zucchini bread I’ve ever had.  It’s subtly sweet with just a hint of orange while still maintaining that classic zucchini bread flavor.  If you like to drizzle yours with a sweet glaze, I’ve included directions for a quick orange glaze that perfectly compliments it.  I hope it’s your new favorite!

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
zest from 1 large orange
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts or unsalted pistachios (optional)

Orange Glaze (optional):
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed orange juice
¼ teaspooon orange zest

Makes about 2 full-sized loaves, 4 mini-loaves, or about 24 muffins.
Ingredients.jpg

Directions:

Prepare your loaf pan or muffin tins.  I highly recommend using parchment if you’re making loaves because, for some reason, this bread seems to stick to my stoneware EVERY time if I don’t.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 C)

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest off the orange being careful to get as little white pith as possible.  Toss the orange peel and the granulated sugar into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulverize until the peel is very finely minced into the sugar.  Set aside.Orange Sugar 1.jpg

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs, oil, vanilla, brown sugar and orange sugar together.  Add sifted ingredients to the wet mixture and beat will.
Mix Logo.jpg

Stir in the zucchini and nuts until well combined.  Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for 40-60 for a loaf pan.
Bake approx 30 minutes for muffins.

Test doneness by inserting a toothpick or small tester into the middle.  When it comes out clean, it’s done!

Allow bread to cool in pans for about 20 minutes (not necessary for muffins using liners), then turn them out and let it cool completely.

To prepare optional glaze: whisk sugar, orange juice and zest in a bowl until smooth.  Drizzle over bread.

Enjoy!
Title 2.jpg

 

Advertisements

Pasta a la Limone

I came across this pasta recipe on America’s Test Kitchen, which is one of Joanie and my FAVORITE websites!  I watched the video and could almost taste the lemon and basil.  My mouth was watering, I had to make it.  I was slightly skeptical that it wouldn’t turn out very flavorful because it uses pasta water and a splash of heavy cream for the main ingredients in the sauce.  Boy was I wrong!  This pasta is a really good summer time dish.  It’s very light and refreshing, tasting of lemony tartness and fresh basil!  I’m in LOVE!!  I usually tweak a few things in recipes to suit to my taste, for this one I doubled the parmesan and added a little more lemon zest.  If you are preparing this recipe for less than 6 people you might want to cut recipe in half, unless you want leftovers.  The recipe says it feeds 4-6.  Using a whole pound of pasta, this recipe feeds at least 8, especially if you’re using it as a side dish.

This makes a quick and easy weeknight meal, taking only minutes more than the time it takes to cook the pasta.  Buon appetito!!  ~Janna

DSC_0065

Ingredients:

Table salt
1 Lb spaghetti
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
1/4 heavy cream
2 Tsp finely grated lemon zest and 1/4 of fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
2 Oz finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
ground black pepper
2 Tbs finely shredded fresh basil leaves

Method:

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a dutch oven or large pot.  Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water, cook stirring frequently until cooked al dente, about 7 minutes.  Reserve 1 3/4 cups of the pasta water, drain pasta and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the now empty pot over medium heat until oil is shimmering and hot.  Add shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until shallot is softened, about 2 minutes.
DSC_0322
Whisk 1 1/2 cups of reserved pasta water and cream into pot.  Bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove pot from heat, return pasta to pot and stir until coated.  Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, cheese and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

Cover and let pasta stand for 2 minutes, tossing frequently and adjusting consistency with remaining 1/4 pasta water if necessary.
Chiffonade
Stir in fresh basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve, drizzling individual portion with oil, a sprinkle of cheese and a bit more basil.Picture3

Rainier Cherry Crisp

The produce in the Pacific Northwest is abundant in the summer!  Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all that goodness.  Right now, in mid summer, we have cherries and apricots coming out of our ears!!  Traditionally, rainier cherries aren’t used in pies and baking because theyre not very tart, just sweet and delicious.  I decided to give rainier cherry crisp a try anyway.  I’ve added lime juice to give it a little tartness.  This crisp turned out 100 times better than I expected.  I was very pleasantly surprised upon the first warm, cinnamony bite.  My husband and I ended up eating several large spoonfuls right out of the dish!  This crisp is best served hot (you can reheat in the microwave if needed).  I bet its fantastic ala mode as well!  So without further ado, here is my recipe for Rainier cherry Crisp.

* I apologize for the lack of pictures, I was too excited while creating this dish to remember to stop and take pics!  I will add pictures and re-post next time I make it.

Ingredients:

Filling:
4 cups fresh rainier cherries, pitted and halved
1  Tbsp. corn starched whisked in 1/3 cup cold water
2 Tbsp. lime juice (or lemon)

Crisp:1/3 cup a/p flour
3/4 cup quick oats
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
4 Tbsp. butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl, mix cherries, corn starch and lime juice until combined.  Put cherry mixture in a 8 or 9 inch round pie dish.  in a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon and brown sugar, mix to incorporate and then add the melted butter.  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated.  Evenly spread the oat mixture to the top of the cherries.  Bake 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown.  Enjoy warm!

Final 2