Monday, July 14, 2014

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread
Submitted by Marcia & Casey Van Camp

Poppa Van Camp showed me how to make this and it was delicious!

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup packed brown sugar (we used light)
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp. vanilla (extract is fine)
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar (white)
3 cups flour (all-purpose)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (ground)
1 tsp. allspice (ground)

1. Beat eggs until foamy
2. Add oil, brown sugar, zucchini, vanilla and granulated sugar.  Mix lightly
3. Stir in flour and the remaining ingredients
4. Pour mixture into 2 loaf pans
5. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean

To prepare the zucchini, wash them off and cut off the ends.  Chop them into medium/large pieces and put them in a food processor.  They do not need to be grated more than a few seconds because you want to get them finely chopped but not squishy.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Biscoff Cupcakes

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp
Inspired by

Biscoff Gourmet Cupcakes
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp. whole milk
1/2 c. Biscoff spread (creamy*)
1/4 c. Biscoff cookies, crumbled
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Biscoff buttercream frosting:
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature
2/3 c. Biscoff spread
3 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. powdered sugar
4 tbsp. heavy cream

DIRECTIONS (cupcakes)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can either make about 12 normal sized cupcakes or about 48 mini cupcakes

2. In a medium size mixing bowl, add flour, salt and baking soda, and mix to combine (you can use a spoon)

3. In a large bowl, beat together the remaining ingredients for the cupcakes.  When all of these are well mixed, add in the dry ingredients from the other bowl.

4. Fill the cupcake / mini-cupcake liners 3/4 full

5.  If you are using regular cupcake sizes, cook about 20 minutes.  If you are using mini-cupcakes, bake about 10 minutes.

6.  When the cupcakes are done, allow them to cool.  I usually like to make them the day before and let them sit in the fridge overnight.

DIRECTIONS (frosting)
1. I doubled the original recipe because I hate running out of frosting.  Also, if you have some left, you can store it in the fridge or freezer.

2. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix until they are smooth and the frosting is the consistency you desire.

3. If you want to make sure it is stiff, you can mix it longer, or even add meringue powder.

4. Frost the cupcakes and either serve or put them in the fridge to keep them fresh until serving.

*My cupcakes turned out a little flat on the top, but they taste very good.  You could try adding sour cream vs. whipping cream to the cupcakes like in the original recipe but I don't know if that will make a huge difference in the shape.
*I really REALLY like this frosting and I want to try using it on other flavors of cupcakes.

Also - if you aren't familiar with Biscoff, here are pictures of the cookies and spread.  They have these at our local grocery store.  If they don't have them where you live, you could order them online, or perhaps even be brave and try a different type of cookies.'

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dragon Fruit aka Pitaya

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

If you are having a Hobbit party, you should try to add Dragon Fruit to the menu.  I bought this at Grand Mart, and although I had heard of them, I had never eaten one before.  It has the prettiest color, and it looks like it could really be a dragon's egg.  

This fruit, reminds you in flavor a little of the kiwi, but without so much acidity.  If you are allergic to kiwis, don't worry, because this fruit is part of the cactus family.

Here is a picture of me...with a Hobbit shirt, being VERY excited to eat this fruit with my husband and friends. 

Basically, the outside is not very hard, so get a sharp knife and just slice it down the middle.

So cool!!!  This is probably not what you were expecting, but yes, it looks like cookies and cream.  After you have opened it up, you can easily scoop it out with a spoon and start eating it.  The seeds are soft and not a problem or annoying to eat.

This fruit is very good and it is more of a mild sweetness, so you can eat a lot of it.  We mixed some into a smoothy and really liked it that way.  Since the skin is so pretty, you could also mix it with other fruit, and then use the skin as a bowl for fruit salad.  I am sure there are plenty of fun recipes online as well.


Rambutan aka "Dragon's Eyes"

Submitted by Marcia Van Camp

For my birthday this year, I decided to buy some unique fruit for our Hobbit themed party.  I bought Dragon fruit and also "Dragon's Eyes" which are officially known as Rambutan.  They are sweet, very good for you, and are similar to a lychee.  I bought these at Grand Mart in Falls Church, VA, but other international stores might carry them as well.  The clerk who helped me said they had a lot of these in Honduras where he grew up.  There are also several different types, so what you see might be a little more colorful, or might be smooth as well.

Below is how to eat them, so if you find these, grab some and try them out!

When rambutans are on the tree, they are very brightly colored.  The ones in the store I bought were darker, but they tasted great.

To open them, take a sharp knife and cute a circle around the outside of the rambutan.  Keep in mind that the outer layer is very thin, so you don't want to cut very deep, or you will cut into the fruit.

After you are done cutting, you can take the fruit completely out.

There is a seed in the middle, so you can bite around the seed, or put the whole thing in your mouth and spit the seed out.  You could also try cutting around the seed if you prefer.  Regardless of the method, some bits of the seed will come off with the fruit, but that is ok.  You can eat them, or spit them out.

Another note about ripeness.  When you open the rambutan, the fruit should be clear and firm without a lot of excess liquid.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Golden “chicken” Patties

From Vegetarian Times
Submitted by Mom

(2) 15 oz. cans chickpeas
1 ½ c. quick oats
1 clove of garlic minced or 1 tsp garlic powder
Salt to taste (1/2 tsp season-all works well)
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
2 tbls. olive oil (optional)
2 to 3 tbls. vegetable oil

1. Drain the chickpeas and keep the liquid
2. In a food processor or blender process the chickpeas with ½ c. of the liquid.  If your puree is dry, add more liquid a tablespoon at a time to achieve a smooth, thick paste
3. Place the chickpea puree in a mixing bowl
4. Add the remaining ingredients expect the vegetable oil
5. Mix well, adding additional water or oats as necessary to make a mixture that keeps its shape.
6. Shape into 8 patties (put a small amount of butter in your hands to form the mixture so that it doesn’t stick)
7. In a heavy skillet, heat the oil (about medium) and fry the patties until golden brown on each side.  About 5 minutes on each side

Serving Suggestion: serve like burgers, with tomatoes, lettuce/spinach, etc.