Zucchini Bread

In an intense battle between savory and sweet, this treat emerged the victor for what to do with two zucchini fresh from the farmers’ market.  We incorporated yogurt and coconut oil to help scale back on butter and keep things moist, and snuck in some wheat flour to boot. (Though it’s possible the chocolate chips negated these attempts at added nutrition). Perhaps not the healthiest thing one could make with zucchini, but certainly one of the more satisfying.  If your shredded zucchinis make more than a cup, you could always balance things out by serving them as a raw side with a squeeze of lemon, a few drops of olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Zucchini Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch cardamom 
2 medium eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons yogurt 
1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar

2 cups grated zucchini, squeezed and drained of extra liquid
Handful chocolate chip and/or chopped walnuts 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, whisk together first 5 ingredients through nutmeg.

In large bowl, cream butter, honey, yogurt, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt with sugar. Beat in eggs until the mixture is combined. Next, slowly mix in the dry ingredients with a spatula or spoon until just incorporated. Add zucchini (and chocolate chips/nuts, if using) and stir in until evenly distributed in the batter (do not over mix).

Pour the batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.

Country Drive

“I’m bored is a useless thing to say. You live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of.  And even the inside of your own mind is endless – it goes on forever inwardly, you understand? Being-the fact that you’re alive is amazing. So you don’t get to be bored.”

Some episodes of Louie require a steel stomach and an openness to hearing pretty shocking stand-up comedy, but in the end, it’s worth it for episodes like this one: http://www.hulu.com/embed/xrLKZDYVpXLOTXke6CtbOw/263/465

The first eight minutes alone are awesome, the best part being Louie car-soloing to The Who. Reminds me of my dad when my sisters and I were young, gaping in the backstreet while he belted Cat Stevens or Three Dog Night with a steering wheel and cup-holder drum set.

Spiced Tomato Sauce That Works Hard

Here’s a versatile, thick sauce that goes well with just about anything. We’ve enjoyed it with lentils, a drizzle of plain yogurt mixed with lemon juice and fresh herbs, Andouille sausages crisped in a skillet or on the grill, and with various grains and starches – pasta, brown rice, quinoa, polenta.  The red pepper flakes and paprika give a nice, warming heat, and the cinnamon adds a hint of exotic spice without overpowering the sauce.  It can serve as a end-of-summer appetizer on thick slices of toasted bread with shavings of pecorino, or establish itself in your fall and winter repertoire as a healthy, warm and filling side or main. And as with all great tomato sauces, the flavors continue to develop in the refrigerator if you have leftovers.

Spiced Tomato Sauce

Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-sized onion
4 cloves of garlic
Red pepper flakes
Spicy paprika
Madras curry powder (if you have it)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 large can diced tomatoes (San Marzano if you have them)
1 bay leaf

As you heat a large skillet, mince the onion and garlic.  When the skillet is hot, add a drizzle of olive oil, then the onion. Saute for a few seconds, then add the garlic. Sprinkle on red pepper flakes and spicy paprika to taste, add a hefty pinch of salt and few cracks of the pepper grinder. When the onion is translucent, move to one side and add the tomato paste; continue to cook until the paste turns a darker shade of red, then stir it with the onion/garlic mixture. Add the can of tomatoes and the bay leaf, turning down the heat to a simmer.

Once the liquid has reduced by a few tablespoons (about 10 minutes), sprinkle on the cinnamon (I used a quarter teaspoon and also a pinch or two of Madras curry powder) and stir. Continue to cook until liquid is almost gone (about 10 more minutes), adjust spices to taste, then remove from heat and take out bay leaf.

Serves 6.

Monday Morning Music


There is no replacement for Peter Gabriel, but Gotye could be his little brother, or at least a cousin. Try “Somebody I Used to Know” (above), “Eyes Wide Open,” and “Hearts a Mess.”  If you like “Somebody,” keep going and look into Kimbra.  I know what I’m listening to today.



Hurricane Irene

There’s a carpet of green leaves on our side streets, and a few larger bows that peeled off older trees to sag and settle on the ground. On Rutland, a huge branch with a waist-sized circumference blocks the road and is cordoned off with yellow police tape. People were out and about around 2 p.m., some already picking up debris, when we decided to go for a walk.  We ended up at the Prudential Mall, meandering through the passageways with a number of other people, most of whom were foreign tourists appearing dismayed at the shuttered stores but sharing in the sense of adventure that comes with extreme weather conditions.  The best part of the day was taking a loud elevator (the whoosh of the winds was very loud in the Prudential lobby) to the Top of the Hub, where we watched the clouds speeding past and the nearly empty rainswept streets below.