42. Kristin’s Zucchini Bread

This recipe, like the Avocado Bread from Khadija, was one I found while trying to clean out my cupboards. You know how after a while you have amassed the odds and ends of many different recipes and you have ingredients you didn’t even remember you bought? This summer I’m hoping to get rid of those odds and ends via recipes from blogs I respect, like this one: http://www.yellowblissroad.com/zucchini-bread-recipe/ Yellow Bliss Road is a great example of someone who has turned her passion into a full time job, but who also just produces a really great product.

I found grating zucchini (one of the two ingredients I was trying to finish up; also had a lonely almost-empty bag of flour) very soothing, but I ran into a problem: no eggs in the house! After a quick google search for egg substitutes, I thought I would throw in some applesauce… no go for that either. For a girl who claims to be clearing out the cupboards, I seem to be doing an awful lot of running out of things!

What I did have, however, were two sad neglected apples. I cut them into pieces and grated them straight into my pile of zucchini shavings, added all the other ingredients, and hoped for the best. The result? DELICIOUS. Like, maybe my new favorite sweet bread. It’s moist in the middle but has some integrity to it, and caramelized-crunchy on the exterior… I was totally pleased. Probably even better with eggs, like Kristin intended, but I’m quite pleased. When life gives you no eggs or applesauce, you can still turn old zucchini and apples into the perfect breakfast treat.

41. K and G’s Nana’s Cornbread (but Gluten-Free!)

K and G are a power couple in my in-law’s town: K is a world-class photographer, whose beautiful print is now hanging in our living room, and G works for the local government. They passed on a recipe for cornbread, which was perfect because Husband is a cornbread afficionado. The last time I made chili, ages ago, I made this cornbread mix but with a small change: gluten.

I don’t know how you all feel about going gluten free, but for my friends B and K, it has been really helpful to their health and energy levels. I understand that it can be hard to cook for, but I was so pleased to find a cornbread mix that was gluten free that, when combined with all the perfect ingredients from K and G’s recipes, was moist and a total crowd favorite, among both the gluten-free and the gluten filled.

K and G’s Nana’s Cornbread

2 boxes of Jiffy cornbread mix (I used one large gluten free mix; compare ounces to get a good ballpark for what you need)

1 8 ounce container of sour cream

1/4 cup of corn oil

1 15 ounce can of cream style corn

3 large eggs

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal mix, creamed corn, sour cream, oil and eggs. Pour the mixture into a pan and bake until lightly brown, about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunshine Blogger Award

The sweet author of the Peas Romaine Calm Blog nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger award. Thanks for nominating me; I appreciate blog “awards” because they get me looking at a manageable amount of new blogs and give me so many ideas for recipes to try.

I answered questions from Taylor, wrote my own questions, and then I will nominate 11 new bloggers to get the award!

  1. What is your “reach for the stars” goal as a blogger?

 

I guess that people will find it and make the recipes on it! At first, it was mostly to keep me accountable and practicing my writing, but now I kinda want to be a part of the whole network of food bloggers, passing recipes to each other. 🙂

2. What makes you smile?

Seeing a ripe strawberry in the the garden!

3. Describe something you have done recently to save money?

Chosen to eat out less, I think. It’s a cliche but most of the places we like eating out are nice-ish, and so there’s a huge difference in price between homecooked and a night out.

4. What is your favorite home cooked meal?

Mmmmm. Pasta with a good alfredo sauce and a gajillion sauteed veggies and garlic. Or arroz con pollo with a spicy cheese sauce. Sensing a trend…

5. Do you have pets? And if so, what kind and why do you love them so much?

I do! I have a crested gecko named Bit. I like it (don’t know gender) because it’s easy to handle, does cute things like lick its eyeballs and climb walls, and is so easy to keep alive.

6. Do you prefer to eat meat or vegetables?

Honestly, bread if it was an option, but meat usually comes in ahead of veggies… I’ve been working on remedying this, because it seems like the best way to stay healthy.

7. What would you ask Santa for (purely and selfishly!) yourself?

Ha… I might have just gotten what I wanted from Santa for my birthday: a GoSun Solar Stove! I know that solar cooking doesn’t save that much energy or anything, but it’s so cool! It’s like my childhood dream of actually frying an egg on a sidewalk. 🙂

8. What does your blog mean to you?

A way to think about both people I’ve loved for a long time and people I haven’t gotten to know yet and connect with them over their favorite foods!

9. Who is your favorite TV character?

Abed from Community. He’s so delightfully zany.

10. What superpower would you like to have?

Super gardener – I want to be able to make plants grow faster and fuller than normal! 🙂

My questions are:

  1. If you weren’t blogging, what would you be doing with your free time?
  2. If you had the chance, would you move? Where to?
  3. Best lesson in the kitchen?
  4. Hardest recipe/dish you’ve ever made?
  5. Best cook you personally know, and what makes them good?
  6. When did you get into blogging, and why?
  7. What is your dream job?
  8. What is a challenge you’ve given yourself lately? Have you achieved it yet?
  9. If you had to go back and study something totally different from anything you’ve ever studied, what would you choose?

My blogger nominees are:

Tastefully Simple with John

Rice N Dine

Whole Real Food Blog

Scribbles and Grits

Chase and Chance Ranch

Jaques Kitchen

The Smarter Shopper

The Vintage Cook and Her Cat

City to Country Girl Blog

Housewife Daybook

The Recipe Box Challenge

All your blogs have influenced me and your sweet comments have propelled me to keep writing. I hope to see your answers on your blogs soon!

40. Khadija’s avocado bread!

Avocado is a food I learned to appreciate in adulthood – while I like it, it tends to be a social food in that you need to make a dip or a salad or something communal in order to share it, and after a few weeks of fairly solitary eating, I had an avocado I didn’t want to eat with a spoon but which needed to be eaten.

Thus, here is my first post about a fellow blogger! Khadija posted the singular recipe for avocado bread on the exact day I had an avocado poised on the brink of ruin, and her multi-lingual recipes are documents and clear, while being easy enough for even me to follow. 🙂

I worried Husband would think the bread was too “avocado-ey” but he’s grabbed it as his go to savory bread for the past few days. My mixer made the soft avocado and olive oil incorporate nicely into the bread mix, which is otherwise a pretty standard yeast loaf. it rose less than I wanted, but I was also impatient and I really want to make it again with an extra hour of rising.

Tune in in two days and I’ll be covering another blogger’s zucchini bread recipe with an exciting replacement for eggs that I wasn’t sure was going to work… 🙂

 

39. Ricotta Pancakes

I have been thinking about my friend A lately. She’s works for the church I attended while I was in Spain. Spain is not a very church-going country (a lot of Catholic masses in Madrid are mostly grandparents and small children), but in the middle of Madrid there was a church called Oasis, which means the same thing in Spanish and English. People from all different branches of Christianity came together to think and pray and read together, and challenge each other’s assumptions about spirituality. I loved every minute of it, and have been seeking that kind of community since I got back from Spain. A was integral: she led the Bible study I attended, and she took girls like me under her wing as we got used to living in a new place. She knew about loneliness in a foreign land, and she wasn’t afraid to be real about both joys and hardships.

A had me and another girl over for pumpkin pancakes one morning that I remember vividly – her apartment has come to represent home for me in Spain, since it was a constant and I lived in 3 different places during my years there. Settling into a comfortable chair with a plate of pancakes and looking out the window and watching life flood by in Malasaña (her neighborhood) is still one of the things I miss the most. Both A and I have moved since then, but one of the great qualities of food that I appreciate is that specific recipes anchor me to a place and a time that I won’t get to revisit.

I had a container of ricotta in my fridge last week, probably meant for a lasagna but I happened to see The Kitchn’s post about Ricotta Pancakes

and I was so excited by the idea that I just had to do it. The process works pretty much like they say in the recipe, and I got to use the stand mixer to make real STIFF PEAK EGG WHITES and it was so easy. That’s a very long sentence but it accurately expresses how happy this stand mixer makes me about cooking and baking.

Husband and his friend D gobbled these pancakes happily with a strawberry reduction since we were out of syrup. While a lot of work (definitely not instant Bisquick kind of time frame) they were totally worth it on a lazy Sunday morning. A would have had trouble with them – she’s lactose-intolerant and vegan – but I am sure we could devise a work-around to fill her tummy too. We always managed when we lived in Spain. 🙂

Recipe in a Bottle – Finally, a Name!

So, I won’t lie, I have been somewhat unhappy with the name of my blog since I started writing it. None of the ideas I used seemed to be capturing what I want to happen in this space. But today, I hit on it: Recipe in a Bottle.

Just like an SOS, recipes are about survival, about getting something into the world when you, perhaps, aren’t feeling the most confident about. But the stakes are too high not to do it, which is the same.

I’m also wanting to talk about the ways that recipes connect us, even if strangers give them to us. I am trying to send out messages to all the new family I gained last year, but also to family and friends that I’ve lost touch with over the years, and now to all the bloggers and internet-friends I haven’t met yet!

This makes me wonder: what do recipes mean for you? Are they a way to connect, like they are for me, or are the something else?

(I swear, I am cooking, I just need to work on a few things and I will start posting actual recipes again. Thanks for the patience!)

 

Life is Long

This post comes from a tattoo that my dear friend T has on her arm, reminding her that she shouldn’t get out of doing the good things in her life because they take too much time. Gardening has been like that for me so far: imperfect and tedious and day-by-day, but so worth it, I hope, when food comes out of the ground for us.

Here’s the gardening updates, complete with photos!

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The herbs (dill, parsley, basil) have sprouted! They are in a metal bucket (pretty much everything is modular so we can move or cover it if we get an unexpected late frost).

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The latest addition: a cherry tomato plant! D, of D’s Kahlua Brownies fame, visited us this weekend and brought this, which was perfect because our currently tiny sprouts of tomatoes are san marzanos, a paste tomato. This will make our salads lovely in summer. 🙂IMG_4023

 

The beautiful bearded irises that were planted by those who used to live here, and the lovely sourwood tree we got from Husband’s brother as a wedding gift! We’re excited to get it in the ground next weekend.

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An old whiskey barrel full of potatoes! I never knew how leafy and green their plants were.

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The strawberry plants are bursting with green fruits! So excited for a few good hot sunny days to get them ripened up. 🙂

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Carrots are so distinctive and feathery that I knew they weren’t weeds immediately, which can be hard with other plants!

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Lettuces, spinach, and some garlic sprouts!

So, things are moving along. No harvesting even of the spinach yet (except two leaves I sampled just because they were there) but soon. 🙂