Friday, October 29, 2010

Back home again!

Yes, we're home from our 2-week trip to the West. What a wonderful trip it was! As time permits, I will share more of where we went and some of the sights that we saw and things that we did. But for now, I will just say that it's good to be home. And there's still some pretty foliage here!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On Vacation!

As I write, Mr. T and I are out West enjoying some special time with our youngest daughter, her hubby and their three adorable children. We arrived here late yesterday afternoon, having left New Hampshire at 6 a.m. Talk about jet lag! I think it hit me about halfway through our third (and last) flight. We went to bed early last night and got up after seven, which is late for us. I'm feeling better now.

I don't expect to have much blogging time while here, but one never knows! I will check in when I can...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Results of zucchini bread recipe testing

As I mentioned in my last post, I was trying out a couple of different zucchini bread recipes to see which one I might like to make in tiny loaves to go in gift baskets at Christmas. Both of these recipes contain chocolate and pecans and (of course) zucchini, but there the similarities end.

Both recipes are deliciously different from other zucchini bread recipes I have tried. The Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread may be a tad bit healthier, since it calls for white whole wheat flour and dark brown sugar. It is not overly sweet, either. It does have a somewhat denser texture, but this is not a bad thing.

The Paula Deen's Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread is probably the recipe I will go with for the Christmas breads. It has a festive flavor with cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange in addition to the chocolate chips. This recipe calls for grated orange rind, but I had no oranges on hand, so I substituted 1 teaspoon pure orange extract for the rind component. It worked beautifully. I thought that miniature chocolate chips might be a good idea in this recipe (especially since I want to make the loaves small) instead of the regular ones called for. I was very, very pleased with the mini chips. I did cut the sugar back to about 1 1/2 cups, and the oil back to about 7/8 cup.

If you're looking for a yummy and different zucchini bread recipe, you'll want to give one of these a try!

Friday, October 01, 2010

An afternoon in Mrs.T's test kitchen

My family likes to tease me about my habit of trying new recipes. They would all have plenty to laugh about if they had seen me today... I tried three new recipes, and plan to try a fourth one at supper!

It's been raining steadily here most of the day (and most of yesterday, too) and so it was a good time to be in the kitchen baking up some zucchini bread and banana bars. I had both zucchini and bananas to use up before they really went bad.

To use the bananas, I didn't really care what I made as long as it was not banana muffins (have some of those still in the freezer), banana bread (since I was already planning to bake 2 kinds of zucchini bread), or banana drop cookies (which would take too much time).

So I paged through cookbooks and ended up with a banana bar recipe from a best brand-name recipe cookbook I've had for years. They contain wheat germ and almonds and also call for chocolate chips. No eggs, though, which seemed a little strange. I was expecting cake-like texture and it was almost more, but not quite, like a brownie texture. I substituted butterscotch chips for the chocolate ones, since both zucchini bread recipes contained chocolate. They are good, but I doubt I'll make them again. Just an experiment.

Now, for the zucchini bread. We have a lot of zucchini to freeze and/or use fresh, and I had the idea that I could bake up some small loaves of zucchini bread and freeze them for Christmas gifts for our neighbors. But I wanted a really good recipe, one that would be a bit more festive than the usual z. bread. So a couple of weeks ago I had browsed around on line and found two that I wanted to try -- Paula Deen's chocolate chip z. bread, and a double chocolate one from another site. I decided to try them both and then decide which kind to make and freeze for gifts.

I initially thought I would just go ahead and bake these in little loaves, but quickly realized I didn't want to take time to wash all of those little loaf pans. This was a good day for taking extra time in the kitchen, as we're having leftovers for supper and I only need to make a vegetable side dish to go along with them. But my time is not unlimited and I have other things to do, so went with the regular-size pans specified in the recipes.

Both kinds of bread (4 loaves) are cooling now, so we'll see which one is the winner. I tasted the Paula Deen recipe and it is just delicious. I'll post links to the recipes (along with my comments) in the next few days if others would like to try them too.

That's all from the test kitchen for now!