Tuesday, September 23
Martian-green zucchinis took over our fridge. It happened so slowly that we didn't notice. It started with one small zucchini. Every time we opened the fridge it would peek out. It was so oddly charming that we celebrated and cooked it up with some red pepper flakes, garlic and lemon juice.
Within a week, we welcomed three more green friends. Excited, I pulled out the recipe books and found that three was just enough for two loaves of zucchini bread. My Better Half welcomed the bread to his breakfast menu and together we celebrated the bounty. We were so happy that we hardly noticed as the zucchini grew larger and more in number. Soon, we were overwhelmed. The zucchini bread was flying out of the oven. A takeover was apparent and they were winning. Better Half tried to save us but could only eat so much - each slice weighed in at a hefty 4g of fat and 100 calories. Drowning in a sea of vegetables and spongy breakfast bread, we swam for the bookshelf and grabbed a life raft - The Betty Crocker Cookbook.
Lucky for our waistlines, my pharmacy training provided me with the skills and desire to thwart the squashes' attempted coup de fridge. Soon, deliciously moist and fat-free bread joined our family. The mornings were healthy and guilt free. Last night, we finally negotiated a cease-fire.
If I am being truthful, I will tell you that Better Half still harbours some resentment towards the zucchini, though they are working through their differences. Our negotiating team has recommended that they take a break from one another, perhaps until next season. However, for all of you also under attack (they are sneaky buggers - go check your fridge) we hope that you too can find some reprieve. Besides - I hear the pumpkins are already arming up. If you need me, I'll be stocking the culinary bomb shelter for round 2.
Light Zucchini Bread a la Betty Crocker
**Note - those with diabetes or heart disease can also try this recipe as an alternative to standard zucchini bread recipes. However, consider using the whole wheat flour and skipping the chocolate chips.
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees Celsius. Grease 2 x 8" or 9" loaf pans with olive oil.
2) Mix 3 cups of shredded zucchini (3 medium), 1 2/3 cups of Splenda Granular sugar substitute, 2/3 cup unsweetened apple or prune sauce, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 2 eggs plus 4 egg whites.
3) Stir in 3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, t tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and as many chocolate chips as you can stand. Pour into pans.
4) Bake 8" pans for 50-60 minutes or 9" pans for 70-80 minutes. Place on wire rack to cool.
Photo by: looseends
Sunday, September 7
Ah, the end of summer. The time of year when farmer's markets are like multivitamins. Soon, root vegetables will take center stage and flavourless tomatoes will start piling up in grocery stores. Ugh.
I think I noticed the changing season more this year due to a recent read - The 100-mile diet (to summarize - a young Vancouver couple committed to a 100-mile diet for a year and blogged about it). The book may have blipped across your radar screen and, depending on your enviro-politics, you may have considered it granola-living propaganda and shot it down. On the other hand, if you're like me, and the couple is both demographically and geographically similar to your spousal unit, you may have consumed it with great enthusiasm.
Early on, the female half of the literary team took up the fine art of canning. Canning?!? Growing up, my parents (not notably earthy, though I was introduced to yoga before I hit double digits - make your own conclusions) canned tomatoes, peaches, pears, salsa and raspberry jam every summer. I hadn't thought to do it myself but a visit to the West End Farmers Market combined with book-induced-SUV-diet guilt motivated me to try it out. Along with my kicking-screaming-and-almost-crying better half (who recognized that he was in for another one of my fad lifestyle modifications), I hit up the library for canning books and learned everything I could in one afternoon. We then hit Canadian Tire for supplies (i.e., mason jars, canning rack, tongs, and a funnel for $40 total). The next day we put together 6 jars of my mom's spicy salsa in 2 hours!
Encouraged by last weekend's success, we visited the Trout Lake Farmer's Market yesterday (I use we liberally as my still kicking-screaming-and-almost-crying-better-half was horrified by the market culture of chunky knits, babies and dogs and vowed 'NEVER AGAIN'). We picked out 40lb of Okanagan peaches for $30 and a small bag of tomatillos for $2.50. Last night - a Saturday night - we cooked up Salsa Verde and Peach Salsa. Within 2 hours, an eyeball and a jalapeno-marinated finger had an unfortunate meeting and someone (not saying who) finished the night on the couch watching Total Recall. With the sound of smooth-talking Governor Schwarzenegger in the background, I preserved/froze the rest of the fruit. In 4 hours, we made 5 jars of salsa, 10 jars of peaches and froze 2 large containers of peach wedges. Phew!
I am already negotiating for canned pears and applesauce. Will keep you posted.
PS. To tie it back to pharmacy - I used a mortar and pestle to crush up vitamin C tablets for the anti-browning solution.
PPS. I haven't posted in a few weeks because I've been getting SO MUCH DONE - thank you Mr. O'Connell! After finishing 7h of teaching, a MSc Research Proposal Meeting, preparing a continuing education package, organizing a community pharmacist journal club, finishing a paper on statin monitoring and sending off an ethics submission, I was tapped out and understandably due for some domestic indulgences.