Lemon-Tarragon Zucchini Bread

OMG, I cannot even begin to express how sick I am of summer squash.  Four lousy plants, plus our CSA contribution, and it has simply taken over my kitchen counters.

Our kitchen freezer is literally stuffed with frozen, shredded zucchini.  We’ve eaten the stuff every. stinkin’. day.  Often for more than one meal.

I’ve put it in omelets, scrambles, casseroles, stir fries, cream sauces, tomato sauces.  I’ve hidden it in meatloaf, meatballs and spaghetti sauce (which is one way to get my vegetable eschewing son and grandson to eat it).  I’ve stewed it, fried it, sauteed it and roasted it.  I’m getting ready to make it into pickles and relish.

And I finally broke down and made some zucchini bread.

My sister-in-law, Tough Yankee Broad, is an accomplished cook, avid gardener and fellow crochet addict.  Recently she found a recipe for Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread, since she, too, is Awash In Squash; I asked her to let me know how it came out if she made it.  She did, and pronounced it “okay” with the caveat that, since she lives in the middle of nowhere Vermont, she had to use bottled lemon juice.

I, on the other hand, had two lemons sitting on my counter, leftovers from Jolly’s birthday cake.  Keeping in mind TYB’s statement that she doubled the recipe because “who only has one cup of shredded zucchini on hand and only makes one loaf of bread with it??” but not wanting to make a metric fuck-ton of it in case it was simply “okay” I began mentally tweaking the recipe.

The original recipe called for canola oil which, despite the return of moderate amounts of wheat flour and sugar to our diet, is still on my “banned” list, so I used melted and cooled butter instead.  It also called for buttermilk which I worried might have had something to do with my SIL’s bread not being very “lemony” so I decided to just use plain, whole milk.  After shredding a medium-sized zucchini, I got about a cup and a half, so I kept the liquid to 1/2 a cup, combining half of the lemon juice with 6 tablespoons of milk, figuring it would keep the bread plenty moist.

To be honest, I held back two tablespoons of lemon juice, fully intending to make a glaze for the bread, but while it was baking it occurred to me that glazing it really would be gilding the lily, and opted for sprinkling the reserved juice over the bread once it came out of the oven (it was the right choice).

As for the tarragon, that was a bit of an afterthought when I was assembling the ingredients – and one of desperation, to be honest, since for some reason the tarragon in our herb garden has gone completely nuts this year and is taking over.  Don’t ask me why, for I don’t know; every year prior it’s been rather lackluster.  Maybe it has something to do with the bitterly cold winter we just had (that killed my thyme)?  Who knows…

As for the bread, well, it was magnificent – holy cow, so so so SO good.  Just lemony enough, not too terribly sweet (glazing the bread would have made it so) and the tarragon gave it a wonderful herbaceous hint that was just lovely.  Yum, yum, YUM.  I’m going to make a lot more to freeze and give away as gifts – in fact, most of it will be given away as gifts because if I keep it in the house, I’ll eat it ALL.

It’s just that good.

Lemon-Tarragon Zucchini Bread. Not your run-of-the-mill quick bread!

Click the image to enlarge

Lemon-Tarragon Zucchini Bread
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan; reserve 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and melted butter until well blended and thick. Whisk in the milk, lemon juice, zest and tarragon. In two batches, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. Fold in the grated zucchini.
  4. Pour into the prepared loaf pan; bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool for 30 minutes on a baking rack. Turn out the bread and return to the baking rack; sprinkle the top with the reserved lemon juice and allow to cool completely before serving.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 188 calories, 6.7g total fat, 39mg cholesterol, 187.1mg sodium, 82.8mg potassium, 29.9g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 17.4g sugar, 2.9g protein

Apple Fritters

We took The G Man apple picking at a local orchard this weekend.  Despite the fact that it was cool and drizzly, we had a blast – and came home with a half a peck of apples I need to find something to do with.

This particular recipe took care of two of them, at least.

I’ve been meaning to make a good, gluten-free apple fritter for some time now – I’m glad I finally did.  These are just wonderful; crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside and the apples were cooked to tender-crisp perfection.  They also reheat quite well in a 325 F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

The fritters have a great  apple flavor due to macerating the apples with the sugar and spices and including the resultant liquid in the batter – simply superb.  You also want to make sure you dice the apples fairly small, to make sure there is plenty of apple in every fritter.

A lot of apple fritter recipes call for dusting them with powdered sugar or glazing them (at least one recipe I came across called for both), but I found them sweet enough on their own, with a very slight dusting of organic pure cane sugar.  Beloved drizzled his with maple syrup and declared them the most delicious thing he’d eaten all morning.

Alas, the fritters are not dairy free, but you can make them so by subbing the milk with equal amounts of water and coconut milk and the butter with coconut oil.  Use the palm oil shortening, which is what I used, and they are vegetarian as well.

Apple Fritters. Otherwise known as heavenly bites of fall-spiced bliss, these are gluten free.

Click on the image to enlarge

Apple Fritters
Serves: 8
[i]Two fritters per serving[/i]
Ingredients
  • 2 large cooking apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tablespoon potato flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter, cooled
  • tallow, lard or palm oil shortening
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the diced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and evaporated cane juice until well combined. Set aside and allow to macerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Transfer the apples and their juices to a colander suspended over another bowl for about 15 minutes, capturing the juice – you should have about a 1/4 cup liquid. Transfer the apples to a smaller bowl and set aside; add enough milk to the juice from the apples to make 3/4 cup and set aside as well.
  3. In another mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl in which you macerated the apples, whisk the eggs, vanilla and the milk/apple juice mixture. Stir in the dry ingredients just until moistened; add the butter and stir until mixed, but still a bit lumpy. Fold in the apples.
  5. In a large, deep skillet heat a good amount of the fat to 350 F. Working in batches, drop spoonfuls of the batter gently into the hot fat and fry until golden brown on the bottom; carefully flip and continue frying until golden brown on the other side and the fritters are cooked through.
  6. Serve hot, drizzled with maple syrup if desired.
  7. Nutrition (per serving): 334 calories, 22.1g total fat, 63.7mg cholesterol, 673.8mg sodium, 219.6mg potassium, 27.3g carbohydrates, 3.4g fiber, 15.6g sugar, 2.3g protein

Very Berry Baked Pancake

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, especially last week.  I’ve just been so darn busy lately, and it’s not going to let up any time soon – our busy season is coming up, and the canning/freezing supplies are coming out.  Add that to an increasingly heavy workload (although it’s work I enjoy, so I will definitely NOT complain), getting The Young One prepared for college in the fall, as well as lots of time being Meema, and I can barely find time to cook and photograph three recipes a week, much less blog about anything else.

Oh, well…it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, I suppose.

At any rate, we’re swimming in berries right now.  Strawberry season is almost over, but we’ve got blueberries and raspberries, both red and black, coming out of our ears.  Faced with a ton of each this weekend, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them (besides feed them to the berry eating machine that is our grandson).  Beloved urged me to put them in a breakfast dish for our brunch this Sunday…so I did.

I didn’t want to make anything too terribly complicated, so I decided to see if I could make something along the lines of a Dutch Baby.  It didn’t puff up like a Dutch Baby is supposed to, but it was freaking delicious – thus, the baked pancake.  We ate this with Scotch Eggs and watermelon; it was a lovely, filling brunch.  The pancake, while a bit on the rustic side, is tender and delicately sweet and tart from the berries.  I drizzled the wedges with pure maple syrup, but that is all it was – just a drizzle.  Beloved couldn’t stop raving about it, so I imagine I’ll be making this again before berry season is over.

It would make a good, simple dessert, too – top it with a little lightly-sweetened whipped cream.

Note: There is baking powder in the recipe; most commercial baking powders contain aluminum and GMO corn starch.  You can make your own quite easily – this is a good recipe.

Very Berry Baked Pancake. Mixed berries are a sweet-tart complement to this tender baked pancake.

Click on the image to enlarge

Very Berry Baked Pancake
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups mixed berries (black raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place the berries in a small glass mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar; stir to coat. Allow the fruit to macerate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Melt the ghee in a heavy, oven-proof 10″ skillet over low heat. Place the remaining ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into the skillet and sprinkle the berries evenly over the surface of the pancake. Allow to cook over the heat for one minute.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the pancake is cooked through. Cool for 3 to 5 minutes; cut into 6 wedges. Drizzle with maple syrup, if desired, and serve.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 181 calories, 9.4g total fat, 108.3mg cholesterol, 120mg sodium, 172.3mg potassium, 19.8g carbohydrates, 1.7g fiber, 10.1g sugar, 4g protein

Banana-Blueberry Muffins

Sorry there was no post yesterday; The Young One and I were attending something called Destination Kent (we’re there again today, as a matter of fact) – a requirement for all incoming Freshmen.  I simply didn’t have time to do anything else.  I probably wouldn’t have anything today if I hadn’t had such a hard time winding down last night.  Talk about information overload.

I have to tell you:  I am exhausted.  Running around a college campus in a pair of shoes you thought were comfortable until you spent 12 hours walking all over creation and back has a way of sapping your energy.  The crappy food didn’t help much either; something that renews my trepidation about what The Young One will eat while he’s there.  Let’s just suffice to say after 3 chocolate croissants, a glass of apple juice and a cup of hot chocolate for breakfast yesterday morning, the sugar crash that happened was of nearly epic proportions.  It was all the kid could do to keep from sliding out of his chair into a snoring heap on the floor during the “welcome” portion of yesterday’s activities.

Afterwards, we had a serious, if brief, discussion about the importance of making better choices for breakfast – especially since he’s not used to such carbage (to say nothing of not being a morning person under the best of circumstances).  Of course, Mom may just have to make sure he has a steady supply of vat-pasteurized, non-homogenized whole milk from a local dairy that grass-feeds their cows and treats like these to keep him full, happy and reasonably healthy.

The Young One is not the only younger member of the family whose diet I keep an eagle eye on, at least in my home.  I always keep fruit in the house for the preschool-age G Man; he doesn’t really get cookies, candy or other sweet treats at Meema and Papa’s house.  But the boy just adores fruit, and he’s especially fond of bananas and blueberries, so I always try to make sure to have some on hand.  On the downside to that, I sometimes have bananas slowly rotting on my counter – after all, there’s only so many bananas a little boy can eat during his weekly visits to the grands, and the rest of us have to really be in the mood to eat a tasty nanner.

It seems to be different if you put the tasty nanner in bread form, for these disappeared quite rapidly (which is why I try not to bake very often).  I whipped these together for our Sunday brunch one day some weeks ago, and since I didn’t want to wait an hour for a loaf of bread to be done, muffins it was.  The addition of the blueberries was rather inspired, if I do say so myself, lending the muffins a light, fruity flavor that was just delicious.

I have a feeling The Young One’s dorm room is going to become quite popular when care package time rolls around.

Banana Blueberry Muffins. Blueberries add a touch of light fruitiness to these gluten-free banana bread muffins.

Click to enlarge the photo

Banana-Blueberry Muffins
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/4 cup potato flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted ghee
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F; generously grease the cups of a 12 serving muffin tin.
  2. Whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or another large mixing bowl if you’re using a hand mixer), mix the eggs, bananas, sugar, ghee and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add the dry ingredients in three additions on low speed, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula.
  3. Divide the batter between the 12 prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  4. Place on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out the muffins. Allow to cool completely before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 249 calories, 14.2g total fat, 56.7mg cholesterol, 230.1mg sodium, 264.9mg potassium, 23.9g carbohydrates, 3.4g fiber, 11.7g sugar, 2.2g protein

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Happy Tuesday everyone.  If you live in the U.S., I hope you enjoyed your three-day weekend; if you don’t, I hope you had a reasonably pleasant Monday.  Ours was lovely, and I took yesterday off from blogging, as well as my “real job.”

It was sorely needed, because this week will be hectic as we prepare for The Young One’s graduation on Sunday; his father, grandmother, Darling Daughter and Oldest Son all arrive on Saturday.  Oldest Son will stay through the following Saturday, allowing us to celebrate his 30th birthday Friday, and Darling Daughter will remain another week, flying back to Las Vegas on Father’s Day.  I’ll try to keep to some sort of regular blogging schedule for the next two weeks, but I make no promises.  I’m not making anything “new” the week that Oldest Son is here, but I’ll try to rerun a couple of “oldies but goodies” if I don’t have anything fresh.  Things should be a little calmer the week it’s just Darling Daughter, and since she’s my adventurous eater (and an excellent cook), I”ll probably have something new for you that week.

At any rate, I made this particular recipe on Sunday morning for our brunch.  Blueberries were on sale at our natural foods market, and since we were having The G Man for the night Sunday, I bought two half-pints (the boy loves blueberries).  Indeed, the majority of one container found its way into his little belly over the course of the 24 or so hours we had him; the other half-pint went into these little gems.

Lemon and blueberry pair naturally, and they are delicious in these moist, tender muffins.  They have a light, fruity flavor, and aren’t overly sweet – just scrumptious.  Even The Young One ate an entire muffin, and he’s not a blueberry fan at all.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins. Lemon and blueberry pair naturally, and they are delicious in these moist, tender muffins.

Click photo to enlarge

Lemon Blueberry Muffins
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour
  • 2 tablespoons white rice flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • the juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 pint fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease a one-dozen muffin tin.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda and coconut sugar. Stir the eggs, ghee, zest and lemon juice into the almond flour mixture, beating lightly by hand with a wooden spoon, until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  3. Divide the batter equally between the greased muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 182 calories, 12.4g total fat, 60.1mg cholesterol, 163.8mg sodium, 147.1mg potassium, 13.3g carbohydrates, 2.3g fiber, 5.6g sugar, 2.1g protein