Zucchini Loaf

zucchini, garden, newfoundland, highway, dessert, A couple of months ago I planted some zucchini sprouts purchased from our local garden centre.  Every year I seem to lose my memory about how abundant zucchini plants are under ideal conditions.  This summer’s crop is doing really well.  We’ve had quite a bit of moisture this season.  Some farmers are complaining it’s too wet, while others say their yield is the best they’ve seen for years.  You can’t please everyone.

We went away last week to do some camping for the weekend and came back to find two huge zucchinis tucked away under the leaves.  I had thought I found most of the small ones, but for some reason there’s always one or two which I overlook.  Needless to say, the ones I didn’t pick were about the length from my elbow to my fingers, about a foot and a half.  So, I picked them and thought about what to do with all this wonderful bounty.

First I made some muffins.  It’s my go-to for using up stuff.  Then zucchini tots.  They are like tater tots, but use zucchini instead of potato.  Basically toss some grated zucchini in a large bowl with some bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, grated cheese, and garlic.  Press into little bite-size balls and bake at 400 for 20 minutes.  Yummy and fast.

Then came the loaves.  I’ve made 10 so far and there will be more coming.  Erma Bombeck talked about being that neighbour who has so much zucchini that you end up sneaking next door in the dead of night with little gift baskets filled with zucchini and ringing the doorbell.  As you crouch behind the potentilla, You spy your neighbour gingerly pick up the basket expecting an abandoned child or pet and pull back the gingham.  A cry of exasperation comes from their lips as they realize they’ve now been cursed with the gift of produce.

When we were visiting Newfoundland a few years ago we took a drive up the Northern peninsula to visit L’anse Aux Meadows.  It’s a national historic site which shows when the Vikings visiting the northern part of the island thousands of years ago.  As you’re driving up the highway you have to first be on the lookout for moose.  That highway is famous for accidents involving moose and cars.  Unfortunately neither the car with its passengers nor the moose fair well when they meet.  Always be careful driving, especially at dusk.

One other thing you’ll notice is along the highway there are gardens.  I thought it a bit peculiar to see a fenced garden just plopped along the highway.  Most of the plots that we were driving past were started in the late 1960′s when the highway was constructed. Up until then gardening had been a challenge due to the lack of plentiful and fertile soil along the coast. However, when the major road was built the dirt was piled up alongside the road where it could be put to great use in growing the main Newfoundland crops of potatoes, cabbages, and turnips.

While our garden isn’t along the highway, I wanted to share some of the bounty with my zucchini loaf recipe.  This recipe is fairly easy and you can add raisins or chocolate chips for variety.  I’ve added some All Bran buds for a little extra fiber.

Preheat your oven to 375F.  In your mixing bowl combine the eggs, oil, sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Then add the grated zucchini.  Mix to combine.  In a separate bowl add the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and soda.  Mix with a wire whisk to evenly distribute the ingredients.  With the mixer on low add the dry ingredients to your wet.  Mix until you can’t see any more flour.  Then add the All Bran Buds.

Pour into a prepared 8X5 loaf pan.  I spray mine with cooking spray, but you can butter and flour the pan if you prefer.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center of the loaf.   Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.   Then remove from the pan and let cool completely.

zucchini, garden, newfoundland, highway, dessert,

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Zucchini Loaf
These moist and not too sweet loaves will help you use up all that wonderful zucchini you have been blessed with.
zucchini, garden, newfoundland, highway, dessert,
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50-60 minutes
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50-60 minutes
Servings
loaf
Ingredients
zucchini, garden, newfoundland, highway, dessert,
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. In your mixing bowl combine the eggs, oil, sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Then add the grated zucchini. Mix on low until evenly combined.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and powder. Mix thoroughly with a wire whisk until evenly distributed. With you mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the wet. Combine until you no longer see any flour. Add the All Bran Buds cereal.
  4. Pour into a greased 8X5 loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. It's done when a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and let cool on the rack completely.
  5. Makes 8-10 slices.
Recipe Notes

I like to take some of the moisture out of my grated zucchini before I bake with it.  You can toss the grated zucchini with some salt and then place the zucchini in a fine sieve.  Place the sieve over a large bowl to catch the liquid.  Let sit for a least an hour.  Afterwards pat dry with a clean dish towel.  You can also use paper towel.

 

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Screech Pecan Tart

tart, pecan, nuts, screech, rum, pastry, crust, newfoundland

This is the week that most of us will be courting our sweetheart with flowers, chocolate, or a lavish dinner.  If you haven’t remembered that holiday here’s a quick easy tart to help you get back in the good books.  This tart contains a little bit of Newfoundland dark rum for flavour.

Newfoundlanders have been drinking rum as long as they have been trading with the British.  They traded with Jamaica and other islands for sugar, molasses, and rum.  I did a post about the history of molasses and the sugar trade, and you can read about it here.

Long before any Canadian liquor board was created, the Jamaican rum that was eventually to be known as Screech was a mainstay of the traditional Newfoundland diet.  At this time, salt fish was being shipped to the West Indies in exchange for rum. This resulted in fish becoming the national dish for Jamaicans and rum becoming the traditional drink for Newfoundlanders.

Not being overly concerned with alcohol content, the early fishermen tended to drink the rum at incredibly high strength with no attempt made to temper the taste.  When the government took control of the alcohol trade in the early 20th century they put the rum in a sophisticated, unlabeled bottle and fortunately did not alter the rum itself.

This delightful product may have continued indefinitely as a nameless rum except for the influx of American servicemen to Newfoundland during World War II. As the story goes, a visiting American WWII serviceman downed the rum in one quick toss. His howls of distress caused a bystander to rush to his aid, roaring “What the cripes was that ungodly screech?” The taciturn Newf simply replied, “The screech?” ‘Tis the rum, me son.” As word of the incident spread more soldiers began trying this mysterious rum, adopting it as their favorite. Thus a legend was born.

This dessert contains a little bit of the drink, but not enough to make you howl in distress.  It’s quick to make, and looks grand on the plate; like you spent hours.

You’ll first need a pre-made frozen pie pastry from the store.  Get the kind which is rolled into a tube, instead of the one that comes with a foil pan.  You won’t need the pan and the rolled pastry is easier to manipulate.  Place the thawed pastry into a 9″ tart pan.  Get the pan which has a removable bottom.  It will make removing the tart so much easier after it’s baked.  Press the pastry to the sides of the greased pan and trim off any excess over the edge of the pan.  Place the pan on a lined cookie sheet and set that aside.

Preheat your oven to 350F.  In a large bowl whip your eggs, brown sugar, and melted butter.  The sugar shouldn’t have any lumps.  If they do, crush them down with your whisk.  Add the clear syrup and rum.  Whisk until combined.   Pour the mixture into the tart pan.  Place the pecan halves into the slurry in any design you like.  You can leave a little space between the nuts so you can see the batter in between. Carefully carry your tart pan to the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes.  Check the tart after 45 minutes to see if the pecans are getting too brown.  If so, cover with foil and continue baking.

Remove tart from the oven.  The filling should be a bit wobbly but it will set once it cools.  While still warm sprinkle the tart with a couple more tablespoons of Screech.  Let cool on a wire rack before removing it from the pan.  Serve with a nice whipped cream or your favourite ice cream.

pecan tart with screech dark rum

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Pecan Tart with Screech Dark Rum
This pecan tart fortified with Newfoundland Screech Dark Rum will get you hot under the collar in more ways than one!
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Take pastry out of the freezer to thaw about 30 minutes before you make the dessert. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Press the thawed pastry into a greased 9" tart pan. This pan should have removable bottom. Press the pastry up the sides of the pan evenly and remove any excess. Place the tart pan on a lined cookie sheet. This will make transferring it to the oven easier and catch any spills.
  3. In a large bowl whip the eggs, brown sugar, and melted butter. Add the corn syrup and rum. Transfer the mixture to the tart pan. Add the pecans in a nice pattern in the filling. Place in the middle rack in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes. Check after 45 minutes and cover the tart with foil if the pecans are too dark.
  4. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 tbsp. of rum and then let cool. Carefully remove the tart from the pan and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Recipe Notes

You may use any dark or spiced rum if you don't have Screech.  I was not endorsed or compensated by the makers of Screech for this post.

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Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies

A little while ago I found an article through Flipboard about baking your cookies in a muffin tin.  Here’s one such article from another baker: Chocolate Covered Katie.  Many times I’ve scooped cookies out onto the pan, have them all a nice uniform scoop, only to have them bake and spread.  The bane of many a baker.  While there are a few reasons for spreading (ie. batter not blended well, butter deposits, etc.) this muffin tin method will at least control the spreading.  So I decided to give it a try.

The result: amazing!  The cookies all came out a nice uniform shape and thickness.  They’re on the thicker side, but that gives the cookie a lovely chewy texture with crispy edges.  I used my tried and true chocolate chip recipe and was delighted to see the lovely browned cookie pop of out of the muffin tin.  Needless to say I tried a couple once they were cooled with a glass of cold milk.  Heaven.

One of the great things about cookies is that you don’t really need a special occasion to bake them.  I know that the holidays are done for most of us, but you have to try this method of baking cookies.  Just make one batch and invite some friends over for tea, or slip a couple in your kid’s lunch.   They also freeze well.  Once they’re baked and cooled, put them in one layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer.  Once frozen, place them in a plastic container or cookie tin between layers of waxed paper.  That way they won’t stick together.   Then you can grab a couple at a time, throw them in your lunch bag and have thawed cookies by lunch.  Once frozen they are good for up to three months, if they last that long.

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  With your mixer cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla extract.  Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture.  Mix until you can’t see any more flour in the batter.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  I just dump them in and put the mixer on low for a couple of turns.  Just enough to evenly distribute the chips.

I sprayed my muffin tin with a non-stick spray only because I wanted to make sure that the cookies came out.  Using a two tbsp scoop, place an even scoop in each muffin tin.  Press down the batter with the floured bottom of a glass.  Don’t worry about the little excess flour.  That will get absorbed by the cookie.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned along the edges and the center is still soft.  My cookies baked for 15, so I suggest set the timer for 15 minutes, check them and add one or two minutes if necessary.  It’s super easy to go from just baked to over-baked.  Plus the cookies will continue to bake while they rest in the muffin tin as they cool.  Once removed from the oven allow the cookie to cool completely before you remove them from the muffin pan.  At least 20-30 minutes.  I know you will be tempted to take them out early (I was) because of the enticing smell of freshly baked cookies wafting through your house, but persevere.  The waiting will be worth it.  Once they are cooled pop them out with a butter knife or small spatula and put them on a cooling rack.

The result: perfectly round cookies that are thick and chocolaty with nice crisp edges and a soft, chewy center.

Print Recipe
Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies
These deep chocolate chip cookies are the perfect snack.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 min
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 min
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  3. On medium speed cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the egg, one at a time, until incorporated. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Turn speed of mixer to low and slowly add the flour mixture. Continue mixing until you can no longer see any flour in the batter. Fold in the chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
  5. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Using a 2 Tbsp. scoop (#30) place an even scoop into each muffin cup. Press down the batter with a lightly floured bottom of a glass. Bake for 15-20 minutes. The cookie should be slightly brown on the edges with a soft center.
  6. Allow the cookie to cool in the muffin tin: 20-30 minutes. Remove with butter knife or small metal spatula.
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