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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Baby Steps

It's official.  I am in the worst cooking slump of my life.  Not just the worst slump in recent years, but the worst slump ever.  This slump is so slumpy that it harkens back to the days when I though cooking was dumping a can of cream of mushroom soup over some chicken pieces.  In fact, given my lack of motivation, I am somewhat surprised that I haven't resurrected that delectable recipe and served it up to Ted for dinner.

Yes.  It's that bad.

Not that there's anything wrong with cream of mushroom soup.

But here I am.  Another week.  More dinners to slog my way through.  This is not, by the way, an attitude that suggests delicious multi course meals awaiting Ted when he gets home from the office.

What to do?  What to do?

Start small.  Make something I like.  Make something for which I have all the ingredients already on hand.  Make something I know will work.  That's the ticket.  No fuss.  No muss.  No disasters.

What could be better than a quick little quick bread to get the dust off and get me back into the mood?  I always find making a loaf of something, anything, to be very satisfying.  And easy.  And successful.

I had a couple of zucchinis hanging out in the frig, probably from when I thought I would make them to go along with dinner.  Well, that didn't happen, now did it?  Nope.  But here they are, a couple of weeks later, looking a little tired.  Clearly they're a little past their prime and in no condition for even a supporting role at dinner.

Zucchini bread it is.  And since I'm all about success in this venture, who better to turn to than Smitten Kitchen?  I always say: "Check Smitten Kitchen first".  And so I did.

And I am happy to report that the results were encouraging.   The loaf rose nicely and looks pretty.  And it tastes really good too.  Too bad I can't make a main course out of zucchini bread for dinner tonight.

Maybe tomorrow?

Recipe:  Zucchini Bread
Adapted from several sources/Smitten Kitchen


3 eggs
1 cup olive or vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries, raisins or chocolate chips or a combination thereof (optional)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease and flour two 8×4 inch loaf pans, liberally. Alternately, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as nuts, chocolate chips and/or dried fruit, if using.

Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.

Bake loaves for 60 minutes, plus or minus ten, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Muffins will bake far more quickly, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

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