Zuc Suit Riot


Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Saturday, July 25, 2009

What's your take on acting your age? Is age really just a number? Is it all in your head? Once you receive your 20-30-40 card on your birthday, do you have to change? Or are we always allowed to tell pseudo-innuendo jokes and give a noogie to an old friend?

I've met 20 year olds that I have their heads on straighter and sensible than most married 40 year old couples. But then again, I've also seen middle aged women with permed hair, mid-drift shirts, belly button rings, and eye makeup must of raised Avon's stock 100 points.

So, I think to myself... Balance. Act middle aged when it's time to budget and pay bills. Laugh, play, and learn the rest of the time. I think it's simple, and I plan on sticking to this for a real long time. I don't plan on ever being boring, but I plan on acting my age or older when it counts.

What's this have to do with food? Well, you see... Zucchini Bread is something of a childhood favorite of mine. My mother made it all the time, and I ate it light years before I ever ate zucchini raw.

So whenever that delicious veggie-cinnamon smell creeps out of the hot box, it time travels me back. I think about Transformers (which apparently is back now), Edward Scissorhands (kinda scary for a kid), and The Red Hot Chili Peppers (Great Album). I'm older now, but it's amazing what a certain scent can do for your hardwiring. I just bake these up, share with some friends, and think, dude we've come a long way.

I found this recipe over at Simply Recipes. I didn't change it much, I just tweaked the spices a bit, and brought the butter down a little because that's all I had left. The mix was still plenty wet because of the zucchini. I came out with 12 muffins, and a little extra. Definitely enjoy this while summer squash is cheap and in season.

Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from Simply Recipes

-3 cups grated fresh zucchini, grated up
- 2 or 3 medium sized ones

-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

-1 1/3 cup sugar
-2 eggs, beaten

-2 teaspoons vanilla

-2 teaspoons baking soda

-1/2 tsp salt

-3 cups all-purpose flour

-1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

-1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 350*. Butter or grease a 12 cup muffin tin. Break out your wooden spoon and some guns. Muffins are muscle work.

In a large bowl, add the sugar, vanilla, and eggs together. Mix until they are pale yellow and sandy creamy. Stir in the zucchini and melted butter gently, until a nice green buttery batter is made. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt on top and stir.

To the top of the batter, pour in the flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter until it smells wonderful and no flour bits remain. Try not to overmix the batter.

Fill up each muffin cup up until the brim. You will probably have used up 90% of the batter (it's alot of flour and batter).
Bake for 25-30 mins, or until they turn a little golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and remove and let cool for another 30.

These muffins were a little dense, but still tender and the taste was pretty awesome. It had just the right amount of spice, and I love the green speckles throughout. Definitely a keeper, and a nice travel treat... in case you have a road trip to the beach like I do :)

And according to the Facebook poll I had... Zucchini Bread beats Banana Bread by a large margin. Feel free to discuss. Catch ya later Buddies :)

Pockets of Blue


Posted by Adam | Posted in , , | Posted on Sunday, July 19, 2009

I ate a pint of blueberries in about 30 minutes the other day. Now, as funny as that sounds, I blame it on a few factors...
  1. I just got back from the gym after a squat day and was famished.
  2. Summer sales twisted my arm to buy more blueberries than a single guy should consume.
  3. I just really, really like blueberries.
They remind me of those super old Lays Potato Chip commercial of "Betcha Can't Eat Just One", because honestly... can you eat one blueberry and walk away? Try it. I'll bet top nickel that you'll be back at the fridge or counter within 15 seconds, grabbing not one... but two handfuls.

It's all cool though. As I'm sure many of you know, blueberries are one of the kings of anti-oxidants, and generally a good source of fiber. I'm pretty sure I killed whatever germs or diseases were trying to creep up on my that day, because I had my super-fruit. Germ proof, you might call it.

I'm still working on injury and bullet proof, I'll get back to you on that :)

So... I wrote a post last summer (wow as in like last year) about pierogi I made with plums. While plums are a favorite, my family used to always make pierogi with a blueberry filling. A little powdered sugar on top is all you need, and it makes a nice accompaniment with some meat and cheese for a light lunch. You can check out the old post for more step by step directions, because I used the same recipe again... the only change was the filling :)

Blueberry Pierogi
Dr. Adam

-1 pint blueberries
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 tsp lemon juice
-1 Tbsp honey
-1/4 cup water or so

-3 1/2 c. AP Flour
-1/2 c. sugar
-1 tsp salt
-1 c. milk
-1 egg, beaten
-2 tsp canola oil

Directions the same as the other post...

Again I came out with about 30 pierogi or so. There might have been a couple more, because I had some real cute nimble fingers helping me. I'm usually pretty good with my hands, but when working on small delicate things I can get a bit clumbsy. So, I owe most of the awesomeness of these treats to my helper. I'd probably have purple fingers for the rest of the year if it wasn't for her.

Have a fantastic week, and I'll catch up with you guys later. Just some FYI, my blog is up on Facebook now, so go on and be a fan. I'll follow you, you can follow me, and hopefully we won't end up in circles :)

Get Shortbread


Posted by Adam | Posted in , | Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So just like I mentioned it a bazillion times before, I'm pretty excited that most of my favorite fruit is in it's full blown season. Strawberries are cool, but cherries and plums are really where it's at. I know chocolate or fudge withdrawl can set in pretty quick for some folks, but I say lets keep this fruit filled fun fest rocking. Honestly, it's halfway through July already... and I mean I'm seeing sales on Summer stuff. That's not a good sign for Summer longevity.

But anyways, here's a simple Plum Shortbread type recipe I like to use, especially when I buy too much fruit at the store. It's not too sweet, so you can always dust it up with a little powdered sugar, or vanilla sugar... see below (plus it makes it look real nice) :)

Oh, and there's two colors because I bought black and red plums. I bought black I thought, but I guess sometimes maybe I forget my colors or something :)

Plum Shortbread
Dr. Adam

-2 cups AP flour
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 1/2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 cup butter, softened
-1/2 cup sour cream
-2 eggs, beaten
-4 ripe plums, pitted and sliced into wedges
-Powdered/vanilla sugar for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 375*. Grease a 13x9 pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder together. Mix well.

Cut the butter up into small pieces and add to the dry mixture. Using your hands, crumble the butter into the dough until coarse big crumbs form, kind of like making a crumb topping. Add the eggs and sour cream and mix until a dry dough forms. You may want to use your hands... I think it makes it easier.

Take the dough and press it into the prepared pan, making sure it is evenly spread out. Take each plum wedge and press it into the dough a little, so it sticks to it. Sprinkle with a little granulated and/or vanilla sugar, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust gets a little golden brown. Try not to overbake, or the crust may get dry. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Super easy.
So there you have it. This is a re-make of a family crumb cake recipe I like to use, but the texture is a little different. It's a little drier, but I think it works well with the moisture of the fruit. Does anyone else have any "oh man, people are coming over... what do I do?" go-to type recipes? This falls into that catagory for me...

Have a great week, and get out and enjoy the weather :)

Strawberry, White and Blue


Posted by Adam | Posted in , , , | Posted on Sunday, July 05, 2009

I hope everyone had a fantastic Independence Day. Once again, I am very thankful that there was no alien attack or Jeff Goldblum sightings, because honestly, that would be pretty scary :)

I had a fantastic time with some very cool friends, and we did what we do best... swap good stories and do semi-embarrassing things. We all have different interests, but still mesh really well. If you wonder how that can happen, I think it's because fun and awesomeness never go out of style. It's pretty simple. Every time we get together, there are always a few good pics that surface, especially without any acknowledgment of the parties involved. You have to stay on your toes, right?

The fireworks were held at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh, and I think they did a great job. While I get reminded daily that I'm not a kid anymore (aches and stiffness when I wake up, being addressed as Dr., paying bills), there is something about fireworks that take you back. I'm not sure whether it's the bright colors or the loud pops and wrinkly clatter, but it makes you want to go back to the old days of Huffy Bikes and staying up so late that you get "beyond tired" and loopy at sleepovers.

So Happy Belated Birthday America, and Happy Belated Youth to all my "grown up" friends :)

Here's a couple of pics.... and of course a recipe I made not for this event, but earlier in the week.

The recipe is super easy and I pulled it from this site I like called The Kitchn. It has all sorts of great ideas for recipes and decorating, and while it's not quite a Testosterone site, is important for a guy like me who is looking at homes and needs to learn how to decorate :) The only changes I made was to take out the oats, add a little more flour, spice it myself, and add some coconut... because I wanted to :)

Strawberry Crisp
Dr. Adam
-1 1/2 cups AP flour

-2/3 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
-4 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

-Pinch of salt
-Spices to taste
-nutmeg a bit of black pepper in this case

-1/2 tsp almond extract

-Dash of milk

-2 cups sliced strawberries, or enough to fill your dish/pan

-Sugar for sprinkling - 1/2 cup

-Lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 375*
In an 8x8 pan, placed sliced strawberries in an even layer. It's ok if they overlap, as long as it coats the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with granulated sugar evenly, and sqeeze some lemon juice on top. Stir slightly to make sure it's evenly mixed and coated.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, salt, coconut and spices together.
Add the melted butter and extract, and mix with your hands until coarse crumbs form. You can add a little milk or water if needed, and the topping should form a type of stickier, crumbly dough. You really can't ruin this, just don't make it too wet, it should be dry.

Sprinkle the topping over the strawberry filled pan/dish... and bake for 45 mins, or until the top is crispy brown and your kitchen smells like the 4th of July. Let cool for a few mins, and serve.

Feel free to try this dish with whatever fruit you like, and add in just about anything. Oats, nuts, crushed cookies, probably even cocoa (within good reason). The sky's the limit.

Speaking of sky... here's some great pics from a photo-enthusiast buddy of mine... nice job W.

My favorite one... tell me you don't feel like a kid again

What's a trip to the fair without a giant turkey leg?

Have a great week blogger buds... I'll catch you on the flip. And local friends, well... as The Cars once said... Let the Good Times Roll :)