June 27, 2008

Summertime Anytime

The most recent addition to my cookbook collection is Dana Slatkin's cheery filled Summertime Anytime Cookbook. Slatkin is the co-owner of Shutters on the Beach located in Santa Monica. I've never been, but from the photos it looks like the perfect taste of the seashore.

She groups her recipes into charming categories, Sunny Days, Cloudy Days, Balmy Nights, Stormy Nights and Misty Mornings. I've tested out her Cucumber Gazpacho from Sunny Days and the brilliant Shutters Vegetarian Burger from Cloudy Days. (Mom I think even you will like your veggies this way!)

I still have yet to try her Pomegranate Mojito and Chilled Avocado-Corn Soup with Cilantro Oil, oh and Iced Nougat with Honey & Figs. She beautifully captures the ingredients of Summer in her stunning beach cookbook.

June 25, 2008

For the Love of Spice Cake

Cake as a child was never my thing nor was frosting. In fact frosting was my least favorite bit of it all. I've learned as an adult to appreciate the yummy world of cake. Seems a little backwards don't you think? I'm still not a true cake lover, but I do love ganache cloaked Marjolaine's, toasted coconut cake & nutty carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

One constant in my cake endeavors has remained, my love of spice cake and freshly baked zucchini bread.

So there it was my basket full of zucchini and my cupboard full of spices. Warming spices always conjure up images of scarves, mittens and cocoa by the fire, but ginger is something that soothes the tummy any time of year. That and I'm still finding fresh ginger at my Farmers' Market. Fresh zucchini reminds me of sunshine filled days playing by the pool or packing a picnic for the park.

I've only given this one run through so I may tweak it a little in the future, but it is quite delicious as is.

Candied Ginger Zucchini Bread
scant 2 C grated zucchini (1 large zucchini)
1/2 C diced crystallized ginger
1/3 C coconut oil
1/3 C almond oil
1/2 C light brown sugar
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 t vanilla
1 T freshly microplaned ginger (or finely minced)
1 1/2 C AP flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cinnamon
3/4 t nutmeg
1/2 t sea salt
**Canola oil works just fine in place of either the almond or coconut oils.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Oil an 8" loaf pan, really well.

In a large bowl whisk together the oils, sugars, eggs, vanilla and ginger, set aside.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder & soda, spices and salt.
Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until combined.
Fold in the zucchini and the crystallized ginger.

Pour into prepared loaf pan & bake for approximately 45-55 minutes until the crust springs back when lightly touched and a skewer comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes on a cooling rack and then pop out of loaf pan and invert on rack to finish cooling before slicing. That is if you can resist the scent. I inevitably end up cutting off a chunk before it's cool.

June 19, 2008

Popsicles All Grown-up

Popsicles playfully pair with a sunny day. Especially when it's 106 degrees outside!

If you're yearning for something cold, a tad bit sweet & bursting with antioxidants. Try my acai berry pops, no artificial coloring here and packed full of beneficial bacteria. A refreshing alternative to those neon, sugar plumped pops leering at us through the foggy freezer doors at the grocery store.

Acai (ah-sigh-ee) is grown in the Amazon rainforest. An indigo stonefruit that grows in clusters on the Acai Palm. It tastes of rich berries flecked with hints of cocoa.

This berry packs quite a bit of superpower. Chock full of antioxidants with 10-30 times the anthocyanins of red wine. Also, bursting with healthy doses of Omega 6 & 9.

I prefer to use Sambazon's frozen acai puree since they practice sustainable agriculture and they've created a supply chain that benefits thousands of local families. You can find acai puree in the freezer section at most natural foods stores.