Archive for June, 2012

Published by PaintingChef on 26 Jun 2012

Domesticity and Band names. Oh, and a picture of the yummiest damn drink you’ve ever had.

I know. I know. I KNOW!

Look how pretty…

My brain is still there… Just give me till Monday. I’ll be de-rummed by then, I swear it. Make some damn zucchini bread. Seriously. It’s good. And if you’re like me and came home to a 10 pound, 27-inch long zucchini (that sounds very dirty… and it was! It had actual dirt on it!) then you’ll need something to do with that shit. I’ll be making pickles because cucumbers are trying to take over my house. I swear it. One entire side of my sink is full of cucumbers. Anyone have any good pickle recipes?

Fuck, I’m pathetic. Maybe I’ll start a band. Band names anyone? Dirty Zucchini? Fornicating Dragonflies? There was something about kittens yesterday that I was yelling at Patrick but I’ve already forgotten it. Dastardly Kittens? I don’t remember.

That drink was called a Sugar Reef and it was dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine and I want it in my mouth hole right now. The Sugar Reef and I were BFFs by about Wednesday. Then there was something purple that tasted like grape kool-aid and I loved it very much but then randomly I would have one with a shot of Jagarmeister in it and all hell would break loose. It was like playing alcoholic roulette. Usually I won but sometimes I lost and hot damn it was ugly. I kid. I held my shit together. Go me.

Tell me a story.

Published by PaintingChef on 04 Jun 2012

Zucchini bread, gift ideas and a metric ton of judgement in just under 1500 words. You are welcome.

So, I have a garden. It’s the third year I’ve had a garden because I refuse to count my sad little tomato plants in pots when we lived in Augusta because planting tomatoes and peppers in pots in Augusta is like sticking them on the surface of the sun and that is why baby jesus, Al Gore, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs invented sun dried tomatoes in jars, right? (Because they invented everything.)

And while my garden has gotten a little better every single year, it never fails that each year, there is one particular crop that is very… shall we say… prolific. (Other descriptors up for consideration were overwhelming, kind of an asshole and kudzu-adjacent.) For the past two years, it’s been jalapenos. I have canned and pickled and stuffed and grilled and given oh so many bags of jalapenos away that it is slightly ridiculous.

(In unrelated news… I now eat spicier foods…)

But this year? Zucchini. I have mountains of zucchini and so I am making every kind of zucchini bread that I can find. And… giving most of it away because something about sweet bread with vegetable in it never sits quite right. (Also on that list? Carrot cake. Just… no.)

I have, however, found one particular zucchini bread that I adore. Probably because it has onions. And herbs. And cheese. Oh, and baking mix… you know, like Bisquick? (Although I am I Pioneer Baking Mix girl, myself). (Also? While we are talking about secret shame cooking? I feel you should know that my side dish of choice when we have hamburgers is Velveeta Shells and Cheese. With a little splash of heavy cream. You may now judge me…)

(This is SO long and we haven’t even gotten to the pictures yet…)

But combine my garden, my plethora of zucchini (which is not as good on puffy eyes as cucumber because I totally tried and they are STICKY) and a very timely email from one of the greatest stores on the entire internet, UNCOMMON GOODS, asking me if I’d be interested in reviewing a few products and since I already pink puffy heart love Uncommon Goods because it is one of my top three places to go for all kinds of gifts ideas, I let the email sit in my in box for at least 10 minutes before replying so I wouldn’t sound too desperate…

Hey, you know how I love to cook and I’m always like… I’m going to blog about cooking! And then I never do… THAT IS OVER! We are making Zucchini Parmesan Bread!! Now with pictures!! More exclamation points!!!(!!)

I will go ahead and tell you that while this is a bread recipe, the measuring is allowed to be very lax. This is good because at the end of this 12 page post when I actually attempt to type out a recipe, it is going to be a best guess scenario. Add whatever you like in this bread. I did…

First go to your garden and find the zucchini that you meant to pick three days ago but didn’t because you were chasing a dog and discover that it has tripled in size (the zucchini, not the dog). WAIT! Pick some herbs first! Whatever looks delicious. Oh? You don’t have a garden? Haha! Now I am judging YOU!

Kidding… gather these things…

Baking Mix, zucchini, onion. eggs, butter, garlic, salt, parmesan cheese, herbs.

The recipe calls for vegetable oil. Butter is more delicious. Use that instead. Melt it and stir in about 2 cups of baking mix and 5 eggs.

Now we chop things! Do you hate to peel garlic? I do too and I’m paranoid about the chopped garlic in the jar. One time I went to one of those home parties and they sold dehydrated garlic and they were all JARRED GARLIC HAS FORMALDEHYDE which… duh, of course it doesn’t. But I’m still scared of it now so I use fresh. Also because I like how it looks in a bowl. But I hate the mess, I’m TERRIBLE at chopping garlic. I get the paper everywhere and somewhere I read about a trick with 2 bowls but I can’t figure it out.

However I have TWO awesome thing to tell you about. Two separate little garlic choppers that I think are so very cool. First? This twisty business. Fascinating. I used the bottom of the container to whack the cloves to break the paper and the put a couple of gloves inside and twisted away. Also? Dishwasher safe and east to take apart. Love this.

Other garlic chopping mechanism? This groovy little rocker thing. You just roll it back and forth over a peeled garlic clove and kind of scrape off the garlic cubes. I like this one too but not as much because apparently garlic has sort of a skin? And it sticks to the underside of the rocker and is kind of hard to clean. But still? Kind of cool. (This picture is misleading… the garlic clove goes UNDER the rocker. This was cuter.)

So chop your garlic. And your herbs. I think this is dill, chives, parsley and maybe oregano. Chop, chop, chop and stir. Add cheese. And eggs. Salt.

Now slice your onions very thin. This is a hand mandolin. I already had this and I use it all the time.

Stir all this together until it looks kind of… well, gross if we’re being honest. Decide that the batter is probably too thick and gloopy and splash in some cream. Because you have no milk but you have 2 cartons of cream. Because you bake cakes ALL THE TIME. (Spoiler alert… this cream will end up being a miscalculation because zucchini has lots of water in it…)

Now take your zucchini and peel it in a few places. I think this is pretty. Also I had this very cool little bugger to try out and wanted to peel the zucchini. I also used it to slice some of the zucchini really thin but ended up going back to my mandolin. But look! It can also peel wavy strips! And julienne (which is actually very, very cool and I plan to use in the very near future.) Downside? REALLY hard to figure out how to take it apart to clean it. But the center pops up and you turn it to choose a blade. I dig this. Patrick can take it apart. Also? I forgot to take pictures of most of this.

Stir the zucchini slices into the batter very gently.

The directions say to bake this in a 9×3 pan but I like to put it into loaf pans and give one away because Patrick and I will not eat an entire pan of zucchini squares before they go bad. My pans are dirty. I will take back judging you about not having a garden if you will overlook my dirty pans. It’s only fair. Divide the batter into 2 pans and sprinkle the top with some more cheese and a little pepper. Because it’s pretty… Unlike the pans…

Bake. Like 350? Until it’s brown and puffy?

Now I have to tell you something. I adore Uncommon Goods. And when they contacted me to review products it was all I could do to not choose some jewelry and be like sparkly! Pretty! I sacrifice. For YOU. Also? I lie. I adore kitchen gadgets. I have loads of them and Uncommon Goods is a great place to find them. My father is also a kitchen gadget geek and father’s Day is coming up. I’ll probably try and find him some kitchen-y goodness at Uncommon Goods.

Actually, I buy lots of gifts there. I love getting people wedding gifts from Uncommon Goods because while it may not be something off their registry, it’s something beautiful that they will treasure. I check there for birthdays, baby showers, mother’s day and holiday gifts. Uncommon Goods. Seriously. Do you guys know about this place? And they give money to charities when you buy things too! I dig that.

You know… so… go make some zucchini bread…

I’m pretty sure this is where I’m supposed to tell you that Uncommon Goods provided me with the gadgets I mentioned above. But all the opinions are my own. And I really do love them as much as I said I did. And not just because they gave me stuff.

Recipe… you probably need a recipe, right?

1/2 cup melted butter
5 eggs
2 cups Baking Mix
1 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
3 cups thinly sliced zucchini

Mix it all together. Bake at 350 until golden brown and puffy. Don’t add cream.