Travel, Food, and Slices of Life


Playing with Food

It’s so much fun trying a new recipe. Of course, that statement first starts with the understanding that I enjoy most foods. There are very few I dislike. (Liver will NEVER cross the threshold of this house.) And being a fairly decent cook and baker I can read a recipe and imagine how the flavors will mix, thereby getting intrigued to try something new.cookbooks

Many people are not like that, though.  Years ago I worked in an office with 17 men. I was already 50-years-old so it was no big deal; I could handle them. All except the boss, who I generally refer to as a challenged individual.  Because of the way he tyrannized the work environment, I went out of my way to make things nice. For example, when it was someone’s birthday I asked them what kind of cake they would like and baked one for all to enjoy during the day.

DSC_0010One of the older men had had a heart attack, so I made everything low fat and no one complained. But one time when that man ask me if he could eat the cake, another guy overheard me tell him it had eggbeaters and margarine. (Yikes, have I come a long way with food since then!!)  The second guy, when he requested a cheese cake for his birthday said I better not make it low fat. Of course I did and of course he loved it.

But it was the request for a chocolate cake that was the best. It was end of the summer and the zucchini had been growing well. So, to make something fun, I made a chocolate zucchini cake. The guys chowed down quickly, stuffing it in. Until one guy said, “Hey! What’s the green stuff?”

Funny how people are. Once they know that something different is in the yummy dish they were enjoying, they suddenly have second thoughts. Do you?

Zucchini Fudge Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze


For the cake:
1 pound zucchini
2 tablespoons sugar
2 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon flour

For the glaze:
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I use liquid tapioca)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cake:
Adjust rack to center position of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously coat a 9- to 10-inch (12 cup) Bundt pan with baking spray (the kind that includes flour).
Using a box grater or food processor, grate the zucchini (you should end up with approximately 3 cups). Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and place in a large colander set over a bowl. As you prepare the rest of the batter ingredients, the sugar will draw the moisture out of the zucchini. Occasionally press down on it to squeeze more water into the bowl.
Finely chop unsweetened chocolate, place in a bowl, and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds; stir. Heat in additional 15-second increments, stirring after each one, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Allow to cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend together eggs, sugar, melted chocolate, melted butter, applesauce, and vanilla until smooth. Mix in drained zucchini. Turn mixer down to low and stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by all of the sour cream and then the remaining flour mixture. In a small bowl, toss mini chocolate chips with tablespoon of flour. Add to batter and mix until just incorporated, taking care not to overbeat.
Evenly pour/spread batter into prepared pan, place in preheated oven, and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and allow it to rest on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before turning it out onto the rack to finish cooling.
For the glaze:
In a small pot, melt butter over low heat. Remove pot from heat and add chocolate chips, stirring until they are melted and combined with butter. Stir in corn syrup and vanilla until smooth. Immediately pour glaze over warm cake, gently spreading it so that it trickles down sides. Allow cake and glaze to cool completely before slicing.Zucchini-Fudge-Bundt-Cake-with-Chocolate-Glaze-or-Chocolate-Zucchini-Bread-by-Five-Heart-Home_700pxZoom


Recipe from FiveHEARThome



Apples Apples Everywhere!

So, a few days ago I noticed this on my Facebook feed from Jana, one of my new Oregon friends:   October 23 So apparently 10 gallons of apples make 8 quarts of applesauce and 15 pints. Now to do another branch – no kidding I seem to have that many apples on the trees.

I immediately responded that I would be glad to come over and pick some apples and would make her 3-4 pies as a trade. She responded with a very hearty positive response and so Lisa and I went over on the 28th and picked and picked and picked. She told us to clean the trees…asked us if we needed a ladder…..and sweetened the pot by letting us also glean the tomatoes left on the ground when they removed the plants.  We did a pretty good job on her trees, but did leave some behind as we had filled 8 bags and had no more room in the car!!!!

aToday, Lisa and I got to work. First, Lisa sorted through all the apples to separate ones with some bruises for first use. The others can store nicely in the unheated storage room in the garage.ba

Apples to be used were put in for a wash in the sink. You can see that these are organic apples and although there were some skin blemishes, we had only about 4 gallons of compostible waste when it was done, including cores.cA

Then, I used the apple corer I found when I unpacked all our kitchen odds and ends when we arrived here in Oregon (something that Graham had acquired long before me and must have been in a place I never noticed when we lived in West Virginia).  I can’t say I ZIPPED through the task but it sure was a lot faster than coring and paring slices from each apples. e

I mixed up the spices with the apples.fa

My mom taught me how to make a great no-fail pie crust (recipe included in Taming the Wild Ramp: Reachable Recipes for Real Food, available for sale at The Wild Ramp Market in Huntington, West Virginia. If you live in Oregon, holler.  I have a few copies with me.)H

The pies turned out great.J

I bagged them with instructions for baking and they are now in the freezer, waiting for Jana and her family to join us at our table for dinner on Sunday evening.  The pies will be enjoyed!K

And I still have about 5 bushel of apples to process! Thank Jana!!!!