Sunday, September 7, 2008

From the Kitchen

Last week I mentioned that I was trying new recipes to prepare for hurried breakfasts and sack lunches, and I promised to share if I had any success. I have indeed had success! My kitchen doesn't have much natural light, so I didn't take any photos of the food. You'll just have to take my word that it all looks delicious.

First, I adapted the Quiche Cups recipe from the South Beach Diet cookbook to better suit what I have on hand in the kitchen (read: to use up some of the zucchini my garden is still cranking out).

Quiche Cups (adapted from South Beach)

1 zucchini, shredded
3 large eggs, scrambled
3/4 cups shredded cheese
1/4 cup diced bell peppers (I use a mixture of green, red, and yellow)
1/4 cup diced onions

Preparation: Line a 12-cup muffin pan with foil baking cups. Spray with cooking spray.

Combine the zucchini, eggs, cheese, peppers, and onions. Mix well. Divide the mixture evenly among the muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes clean.

Cool in pan until the quiche cups are cool enough to handle. Remove quiche cups from the foil, place on a cookie sheet, and put in freezer for a couple hours. Move to a storage container for long-term freezer storage.

Heat one or two quiche cups in microwave for 1 minute for a quick breakfast.

I have a staggering amount of zucchini this year. This was my first year with a big garden, and I wanted to guarantee some success, so I planted three zucchini plants, knowing full well they are prolific producers. I am determined to use it all! I found an interesting recipe for zucchini bread at allrecipes and changed it a little bit. Here is my version:

Orange Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 T orange zest
3 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

With a wire whisk, stir together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add sugar, and continue beating until well blended. Stir in apple sauce, oil, vanilla, zucchini, chocolate chips, and orange zest. Add dry ingredients to wet. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn batter into 2 greased 9x5 loaf pans (or make 2 dozen muffins).

Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 45-50 minutes (20 minutes for muffins) or until done. Cool on wire rack.

My kids argued over whether they wanted muffins or bread, so I made one loaf of bread and one dozen muffins. They've eaten the muffins already. The bread is in the freezer for another day.

And today I stepped outside and picked some apples off my apple tree to try out an Apple Butter recipe from the October 2008 issue of Midwest Living. All day my house has smelled like warm apples and cinnamon. My kids were hanging out near the kitchen, asking "Is it ready yet?" Since this takes 6 hours in the crock pot, it was a long torturous wait to try a spoonful!

Apple Butter

4 pounds apples, peeled, cored and sliced (12 cups)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
2 T cider vinegar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Place apple slices in a 4 qt slow cooker. Stir in water, sugar, vinegar, spices. Cover. Cook on high heat for 5-6 hours. Stir to make a smooth consistency. Cool at least one hour or cover and chill in fridge overnight. Ladle apple butter into half-pint storage or freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Store 3 weeks in fridge or one year in freezer. (Original recipe says makes 4 half pints, but I got 6 half pints.)

We all sampled some when it was still warm and swooned all over the kitchen. I am sure it will be just as wonderful cold. I thought I'd give a couple jars away, but my son is insisting we keep it all for ourselves. Maybe I'll send him out to pick more apples so I can make more. Once the peeling and chopping is done, this is nearly effortless to prepare.

Happy cooking!

1 comment:

wife2abadge said...

Mmmmm.I love apple butter! That bread sounds yummy too. I don't think I've ever made zucchini bread -- probably because my mom never made it!