I haven't made these bars in eons because they are very, very rich. But they are also absolutely delicious, and a wonderful use of zucchini. The recipe comes from an old Taste of the Country cookbook.
BEST ZUCCHINI BARS
BARS: 2 cups sugar 1 cup oil 3 eggs 2 cups flour 1 tsp. cinnamon 1 tsp. salt 2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. vanilla 2 cups shredded zucchini 1 small carrot, shredded 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats 1 cup chopped nuts (may use less or omit)
FROSTING: 1/2 cup softened butter or real margarine 3 ounces cream cheese, softened 1/4 tsp. almond extract 2 tsp. vanilla 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (more if needed)
For bars: Beat together sugar, oil, and eggs in large bowl. Sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; add to sugar mixture in bowl along with vanilla. Beat 1 to 2 minutes or until well mixed. Fold in zucchini, carrots, oats and nuts; mix well. Pour into a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350º for 15-20 minutes, until bars test done. Cool in pan on rack.
For frosting: Beat all ingredients together in medium bowl until smooth. Add more confectioners' sugar if needed to make frosting the proper consistency for spreading. Frost the bars. You may wish to let them set awhile before cutting.
Here is another zucchini recipe we enjoyed often in years gone by. I will be making this again soon!
ITALIAN SAUSAGE AND ZUCCHINI STIR-FRY
1 pound sweet Italian sausage 1 small onion, sliced 2 cups chopped seeded tomatoes 4 cups unpeeled zucchini, cut in julienne (matchstick) strips 1 tsp. lemon juice 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce 1/4 tsp. oregano Parmesan cheese for topping
Slice the sausages 1/4 inch thick. Brown the sausage slices in a large skillet or wok. When sausage is nearly done, add onion. Cook and stir until sausage is cooked through; drain off any fat.
Add vegetables and seasonings; cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 10 minutes or until zucchini is cooked as you like it. Sprinkle with Parmesan before serving, or pass it at the table so it can be added to taste.
1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or use corn flake crumbs) 2 Tblsp. grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt Dash of garlic powder 4 small unpeeled zucchini, cut in half-inch strips about 4 inches long 3 Tblsp. olive oil (original calls for 1/4 cup melted butter)
In a small bowl, combine the crumbs, cheese, and seasonings.
Line a large baking sheet with foil or with parchment paper.
Place the zucchini strips in a gallon size zip-top bag. Add the oil and shake the bag to coat the zucchini strips thoroughly with oil. Add the crumb mixture to the bag and shake well again to coat the zucchini strips with the crumb mixture.
Place the zucchini strips on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 375º for about 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp.
I adapted this in a major way from a recipe I found in an old Taste of the Country cookbook. My family has always enjoyed zucchini prepared this way. I think it would probably be crisper/crunchier with the corn flake crumbs, but I never seem to have them on hand.
We hadn't had a vegetable garden in years, but last year we decided to try again. It wasn't a great success -- our major harvest was lettuce, a few green beans and several winter squash -- but we tried again this year. This time, our zucchini plants are doing quite well and we have harvested several large zucchini already. In an old recipe box, I came upon this recipe which I'm pretty sure I copied at my friend Marilyn's house, many years ago. I tried it last week and it's delicious! I thought I would share, for others who are harvesting many zucchini right about now.
6 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise 1/2 lb. Italian sausage 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1/3 cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
In a large skillet, cook the zucchini in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Drain; scoop out insides of zucchini, leave a 1/4-inch shell, and place pulp and seeds in a large bowl. Chop up the pulp coarsely and place in a colander to drain. Put the zucchini shells in a shallow baking dish.
Remove casings from sausage (unless you happen to be using bulk sausage); break up meat. Using the same skillet you cooked the zucchini in, cook the sausage, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic; saute' until tender, about 3 minutes more. Stir in the chopped, drained zucchini pulp and the bread crumbs. Fill the zucchini shells with this mixture. Sprinkle with the cheeses. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until piping hot.
I haven't tried this variation, but the recipe states that one may also use this same mixture to stuff 6 medium ripe tomatoes or 1 large eggplant.
Here is my hutch decorated for late summer. The top shelf has stayed the same with a Proverbs 31:31 stitchery made by a friend, and two flower teapots for one from another friend.
The next two shelves are decorated with a seashore theme. The topmost one holds seashell candleholders we made for my daughter's wedding, and also two special cards, a ferry schedule from 1970, shells, and some green sea glass. Here's a closeup of the ferry schedule, held in place between 2 shells. The next shelf down holds more shells, more cards, a large painted sand dollar from Florida, a small handpainted sand dollar done by one of my daughters, and some plain sand dollars from Maine. On the right is another candleholder we made for the wedding (10 years ago now) -- we frosted the glass, poured the candles, trimmed with gold mesh and seashell charms. A closer look at the large sand dollar, from Pensacola, FL. And a closer look at the small sand dollar. This one was painted by one of my daughters (in 8th grade, I think) after a trip to PEI. The bottom shelf features, as usual, some of my treasured ironstone dishes from my mother's family, but with some summery additions like an eyelet runner, sunflowers, berries, and ivy. The two summery tags were made by a dear friend; the "Kitchen Fresh" cookbook is from my vintage collection. Note the "strawberry bug" peeking into the pitcher. And there is my hutch decorated for late summer!
It's blueberry time again -- or maybe just past blueberry time, depending on where you live. But if you still have some fresh berries on hand or have stashed some in the freezer, be sure and try these tried-and-true recipes!
BLUEBERRY COFFEE CAKE
Coffee cake batter: 2 1/3 cups flour 1 cup sugar 1 tsp. salt 3/4 cup butter 2 tsp. baking powder 3/4 cup milk 2 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Streusel topping: 1 cup reserved crumbs 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (optional) 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 tsp. cinnamon To make batter, combine flour, sugar and salt in large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of this crumb mixture and set aside. Add baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla to dry mixture remaining in bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl often. Pour evenly into greased 13x9” baking pan. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over batter.
For cheese filling, blend all ingredients together until smooth; spoon evenly over blueberries.
For topping, combine reserved crumbs with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts if using them. Sprinkle over cheese layer.
Bake at 350º for 45 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly before cutting. Makes 1 13x9” coffeecake -- about 20 to 24 servings.
This is my favorite blueberry coffeecake recipe. The ricotta filling makes it deliciously different. BLUEBERRY FRENCH TOAST
12 slices day-old white bread, crusts removed, cut in 1” cubes 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, cut in 1/2” cubes 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 12 eggs 2 cups milk 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey SAUCE: 1 cup sugar 2 Tablespoons cornstarch 1 cup water 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries 1 Tablespoon butter
Place half of the bread cubes in a greased 13X9X2" baking dish. Top with all of the cream cheese cubes. Top with blueberries and remaining bread cubes. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add milk and syrup; mix well. Pour over bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 30 minutes; then uncover and bake 25 - 30 minutes more or until golden brown and the center is set. For sauce: In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; add water. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in blueberries; reduce heat. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until berries have burst. Stir in butter until melted. To serve, cut the French toast into squares; serve with blueberry sauce ladled over each portion. Yield: 6 to 8 servings
This is a wonderful breakfast or brunch dish for company! If you want to make a smaller amount, you can cut the recipe in half and bake it in a 9” square dish. MRS. EDITH SHAW'S BLUEBERRY CAKE 2 cups flour 1-1/2 cups sugar 2/3 cup butter or margarine 2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt 2 egg yolks 1 cup milk 2 egg whites 1 cup blueberries
Grease and lightly flour a 13x9x2-inch pan. Sift together flour and sugar into large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until particles are the size of small peas. Measure 3/4 cup of this crumb mixture into a small bowl and set aside for topping.
Now add the baking powder, salt, egg yolks and milk to the remaining crumb mixture in the large mixing bowl. Beat at low speed for 3 minutes.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold the egg whites gently but thoroughly into the batter. Spread batter into prepared pan. Arrange the blueberries evenly over the batter. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over the blueberries. Bake at 350º for 40 to 50 minutes.
Serve cake warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
I found this recipe in a community cookbook I relied on as a new bride. There are many great recipes in that book, and this is one of my favorites. AUNT DOT'S BERRY PUDDING 2 to 4 cups berries (raspberries, blueberries, etc.) 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup butter 1/2 cup milk 1 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup flour ------------------- 1 cup sugar 1 Tblsp. cornstarch 1/4 tsp. salt 1 cup boiling water
Place berries in a greased 9-inch square baking dish. In a mixing bowl, cream the 3/4 cup sugar and the butter; add milk. Stir in the sifted dry ingredients. Spread the batter over the berries in the pan.
Combine the 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Sprinkle over batter.
Pour boiling water over top, but do not stir. Bake at 375º for 45 to 60 minutes, or until batter tests done in center.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
I had completely forgotten about this dessert. I need to make this again! (That's the problem with only making desserts occasionally ... one wants to make "show-stoppers" and forgets about the more simply delicious old favorites. I think the aunt who gave me this recipe served dessert at most meals except breakfast, and she and my uncle were none the worse for it.) DOWN EAST BLUEBERRY COBBLER 3 cups blueberries 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest (optional but yummy) 2 tsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. vanilla 1 Tblsp. butter ----------------- 1 cup flour 1/2 tsp. salt 1 Tblsp. sugar 2 Tblsp. cold butter 1/3 cup cream or evaporated milk
Heat oven to 425º. In a bowl, toss the berries with the next four ingredients (sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla). Place the mixture into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate. Cut the butter into pieces and scatter over the berries.
Sift the 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together into a mixing bowl. Cut in the 2 Tblsp. butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead 30 seconds or so. Roll the dough into a round slightly smaller than your pie plate and about 1/4 inch thick. Place the dough over the berries in the pie plate and cut several deep slashes in the top.
Bake the cobbler at 425º for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden and the fruit is tender. Cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with powdered sugar sifted over the top.
Serves 4. BERRY SAUCE FOR PANCAKES OR WAFFLES
1/2 cup sugar 1 Tblsp. cornstarch 1/3 cup water 2 cups blueberries, raspberries, OR cut-up strawberries
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in the water. Add the fruit and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Serve warm. Makes about 2 cups.
This is a wonderful, versatile recipe that tastes so good on waffles in particular. It’s also good on pancakes or French toast and would probably be good on vanilla ice cream as well. You can make blueberry sauce, raspberry sauce, or strawberry sauce -- all are wonderful. Or you might like to use a mixture of these berries to make a mixed berry sauce. When I do this, I usually also add a few cranberries to the mixture. BLUEBERRY BREAD PUDDING 1 - 1/2 Tblsp. butter 3 eggs, beaten 2 1/2 cups milk 1/2 cup sugar 1 Tblsp. vanilla 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 3/4 tsp. nutmeg Cubed bread* to fill a 9-inch square baking dish (Do this first, then remove bread from the dish and set aside. You are going to be melting butter in this dish, so the bread can't be in there too.) Grated zest of 1 lemon 2 cups fresh blueberries Sugar to sprinkle on top of pudding
Place the butter in the 9-inch square baking dish and put it in the oven, while preheating the oven to 350º. When melted, swirl the butter around in the pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla and spices. Add the bread cubes* and let the bread soak in the egg mixture for 10 minutes. Fold in the lemon zest and blueberries; pour into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of sugar.
Bake pudding until set, puffed, and beginning to brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold, with or without cream or vanilla ice cream.
* I used cubed blueberry muffins!
This great recipe is from my favorite cooking newsletter, Cook & Tell. I happened upon this recipe (from the June 2001 issue; I love re-reading the back issues of C&T) just at the same time someone gave me a half dozen or so convenience-store blueberry muffins. It had occurred to me that these could be cubed up and substituted for bread in bread pudding. (My grandmother frequently did this with baked goods other than bread, so I thought I would try it.) Then I came upon the recipe for blueberry bread pudding. It turned out really well and was a great way to use up those gigantic muffins. BLUEBERRY TOPSY-TURVY CAKE 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup sugar 1 - 1/2 cups blueberries Juice of 1 lemon ---------------------------------- 1 - 1/3 cups flour 2 tsp. baking powder Pinch of salt 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup softened butter 1 egg 1/2 cup milk 2 tsp. vanilla
Melt the butter in an 8- or 9-inch round or square cake pan. Add the sugars. Stir well. Cool 5 minutes, then spread the blueberries over the sugar mixture in pan. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top.
Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter. Add the dry ingredients and the egg, milk, and vanilla. Stir until well blended, but do not overbeat. Pour batter over berries in pan.
Bake at 350º for 45-50 minutes, until cake springs back when touched. Cool 5 minutes. Then invert a serving plate over the pan; invert both plate and cake. Let stand 1 minute; remove pan. Serve cake warm with whipped cream.
I must admit I have never tried the above recipe. I copied it out of the Butt'ry Shelf Almanac, many years ago, but have never baked this that I know of. It's essentially a blueberry upside-down cake. I think it sounds scrumptious (especially with that touch of spice in the batter) and will be trying it if I'm able to get my hands on more fresh blueberries.
And there is my Blueberry Festival! Hope someone tries and enjoys these blueberry recipes!
Yesterday at church, my friend Lynne surprised me with this gorgeous strawberry cookie jar! She found it at a sale, cleaned it up and said it just had to be mine. It's much larger than it appears in these photos. I haven't had time to bake cookies, but for now it works admirably to hold granola bars for snacks and lunches. And then today, my sister-in-law Dawn handed me this pretty spoon rest! I have several spoon rests, but none with a strawberry motif. It's been a "berry nice" couple of days!
As mentioned before, my dad has had a bumper crop of berries from his blueberry bushes. As he shared the bounty, I tried blueberry recipes old and new. This one is slightly adapted from a recipe in Hannaford Supermarkets' Fresh magazine. I tried to link to the recipe, but was not able to, so am trusting they will not mind my using it.
Blueberry Almond Buckle
Topping: 6 Tblsp. melted butter 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 3/4 cup flour
Cake: 1 -1/2 cups flour 1 -1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 1- 1/2 cups fresh [or frozen, not defrosted] blueberries 1 Tblsp. flour 6 Tblsp. softened butter 2/3 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla 1/4 tsp. almond extract 1/2 cup milk Sliced almonds for top
For topping, stir together ingredients in a small bowl until crumbs form. Set aside.
Heat oven to 325º. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
Sift together the 1 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, toss together the blueberries and 1 Tblsp. flour; set aside.
In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Beat in the eggs and extracts until blended, about 2 minutes. Add half the flour, and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Add milk, mixing on low speed until blended. Add remaining flour and mix on low speed until smooth. Batter will be thick. Use a spoon to stir in the blueberries. Spoon batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly in the dish. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture evenly on top and sprinkle the sliced almonds evenly over crumbs.
Bake the blueberry buckle for 30 to 40 minutes at 325º, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan about 2 hours or until completely cool. Cut into squares and serve at room temperature. The first time I served this, I added scoops of blueberry pomegranate frozen yogurt to the servings.
The second time, I served it with whipped topping -- the frozen yogurt was all gone. I sprinkled a few fresh blueberries on top, just for fun. The blueberry buckle would also be good with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt or real whipped cream. It is also good plain, of course!
It makes a great dessert but would also be good for breakfast!
I've taken on the project of trying to label most of my blog posts so that people can browse them more easily. It's taking a lot longer than I thought it would, mostly because there's almost always something more productive I could be doing with my time. But I do intend to persevere, and one of these days I will have them organized, Lord willing. Stay tuned...
"Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun." (Ecclesiastes 11:7)
One morning recently the air was misty for several hours before the sun really shone brightly. When it began to do so, the sun's rays pierced through the mist and the trees in our back yard in a way that was really beautiful. I attempted to take a few pictures to capture the beauty, but felt that I failed miserably. (In addition, the second-floor clothesline is showing in every one of the photos!) I want to post the photos even though they are not the greatest, and decided to caption them with some Bible verses about light. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 4:6) "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light." (Ephesians 5:8) "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9)
I think the last photo is my favorite because it shows the garden, too. A good reminder for me that I need to be growing spiritually and showing the fruit of the spirit as I seek to "show forth the praises of Him who has called me out of darkness into His marvelous light"!
Here it is, already the sixth Building our Homes Together over at Prairie Flower Farm. I am taking a detour from the more spiritually-minded posts I have been sharing. Today I am sharing something extremely down-to-earth and practical (and maybe to some, a little bit odd): condensation catchers for behind the toilets.
In our part of the country, summer can be very humid indeed. So much so that toilet tanks sweat, and it's pretty much a necessity to keep a towel or something else behind the toilets to soak up the condensation in hot weather. I have usually just used a neatly folded old towel, which works quite well and can be tossed into the washer and replaced quickly. But sometimes, especially in a small space, the towel gets sort of messy-looking. I wished for something equally effective, but prettier.
On someone's blog, I had seen a pattern for making a bath mat out of an old towel and backing it with cotton fabric, then trimming with an embellishment of some sort.
I had posted a link (I hoped) to that blog, Scent of Water, but discovered that it is no longer available, so took the link out.
Anyway, I decided to adapt that good idea to make a mat to go behind the toilet. I cut an old towel into 4 pieces vertically (after first cutting off the ends) and used 2 of them to make this mat. I backed it with part of an old muslin curtain and trimmed it with a shell-themed candlewicking design (which had resided unfinished in an old sewing box for years). I was pleased with how it turned out, and it looks great in my seashore-themed downstairs bathroom. This led, of course, to making another mat for the upstairs bathroom. And that inevitably led to the idea of making two more mats, for a total of four, so that I could easily replace them as they got soaked and needed to be washed.
So here are two more -- one embellished with the picture from an old calendar towel, and the other with a fabric napkin that had seen better days. As you can see, on the one mat the muslin tore a little bit (this is, after all, muslin that saw years of use as a curtain prior to this) but I just sewed around the tear and it's holding up fine even after going through the wash a good number of times. This last mat goes perfectly in the upstairs bathroom. The fabric trim is a scrap from a bag my daughter made one time. So those are my very simple condensation catcher towel mats. They are simple and very primitively sewn -- they are so thick, it is hard to sew them neatly -- but they are serving their intended purpose beautifully. In fact, we have had so much humidity this summer that I'm thinking about making two more. If you would like to make these yourself, it's very simple. From an old towel, cut 2 pieces the approximate size you want your mat to be. Cut a piece of fabric the same size -- I used part of an old curtain, but muslin or any cotton type fabric would work. If you wish to embellish the mat, stitch the embellishment onto this fabric at this time. Then stack the pieces -- the fabric one and 1 towel piece right sides together, then the second towel piece on top of that. Pin securely and stitch around the edges using a 1/2" seam allowance, leaving an opening for turning. The turning is a bit of a chore because the towels make it thick. Then hand-sew the opening closed. Press the finished mat neatly and then top-stitch as desired to hold the layers of the mat together well. Larger, similar mats make great washable bathmats and may be as decorative as you like.
Let me say right up front that we are not true gardeners. Neither Mr. T nor I has what might be termed a green thumb, and we do not have a really good place for a garden; our property is general is too wooded and shady. Many years ago we had prolific gardens shared with other people in more ideal locations, but until last year we had not attempted to plant a vegetable garden for a long, long time.
We tried planting one last year but it really didn't do much. Some things didn't come up; others didn't produce much. Our tomatoes got the dreaded late blight. Our best harvest was leaf lettuce and a few winter squash.
This year's is looking a little better. Again, we had some things that didn't come up: winter squash and green beans. We were able to get some squash plants from friends. Their first squash didn't come up either, and when they replanted it all came up, so they had plants to give away. It's still an unknown as to whether our tomatoes will get late blight, but they look good so far.
Here's a photo taken from the balcony above the garden. Left to right: winter squash, two tomato plants (though you can only see one), lettuce, carrots, and zucchini. Not all of the lettuce came up at first, and you can see a tiny line of sprouts where Mr. T recently replanted it. Not all of the carrots came up either, so as he has thinned the carrots he has tried replanted the thinned-out ones further down the row. It has worked so far. Our zucchini is doing the best of anything and we are thankful to have it!
You can also see at the back right corner a sunflower, and in the front, sort of centered between two marigolds, a gladiola plant. These two (sunflower and gladiola) were started by our 7-year-old granddaughter in the greenhouse at school and later planted here. You can see they are doing quite well. The sunflower got blown over by wind and partially broken, but Mr. T has staked it up and it seems to be doing fine. The gladiola has yet to bloom and we are all waiting eagerly to see what color it will be!
And that is our little garden plot for this summer!
I live in scenic northern New England with my handsome husband. We're empty-nesters with a bunch of adorable grandchildren. We love (tent) camping and traveling, but don't get away as often as we'd like to.