Thursday, March 20, 2014

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread  -  one of my favorites

ready to go in the oven

Preparation time about 30 minutes.  That includes gathering the ingredients, weighing, measuring, cutting, chopping or shredding as required.

Cooking time:  about 55 minutes

* Freezes really well.


2 eggs, beaten
1 cup  brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups grated fresh zucchini
23 (two thirds) cup melted olive oil spread  (substitute butter if desired)
2 teaspoons baking soda
a pinch salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
12 (half)  teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans 
1 cup dried cranberries 


Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).  
Prepare pans by wiping with paper towel and a spray of olive oil.
I use loaf pans, or a muffin pan depending on my mood. 

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla and melted olive oil spread. 
Stir in the grated zucchini..

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt and add a small amount at a time stirring.
Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg over the batter and mix. 
Crush the nuts and chop the cranberries
Fold into the mixture.

Put the batter into your baking pan of choice. 
If using a muffin pan, check after 30 minutes, otherwise check at 50 minutes.
Insert a sharp knife, or a wooden pick if it comes out clean, your bread is done

Cool on a wire tray and freeze what you won't consume within 3 or 4 days.
good enough to eat!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Blue Corn Harvest - Cedar Park

I give them 7 out of 10, we will definitely return.

They would have scored higher but for the number of flies due to the open door, the uninformative and inadequate wine list and the unnecessarily large portions. I wish restaurants offered half portions for their older, or more weight conscious patrons. I would gladly pay more than half price for a half portion. I really hate to see so much waste.

As I mentioned before, when a new restaurant opens in our area we are always keen to try it. Our first visit to Blue Corn Harvest was very positive, the only reservations we had were the fact that they left the doors open. This was to facilitate wait staff going back and forth to the patio area outside, but it also facilitated flies and mosquitos coming in and, no doubt, once it got dark, many other flying creatures. The other disadvantage was that for those among us who suffer from seasonal allergies, there was no relief inside the restaurant. The menu was very interesting and the food and service was flawless.

Our second visit was terrible, being creatures of habit we ordered the same items we had enjoyed on our first visit and when the food eventually arrived at the table it was not hot and nothing was up to the standard of our previous visit. What upset us most is that when we brought this to the attention of the manager, he was not only less than interested, he was actually quite rude. We vowed never to return.

I am happy to say we returned. I was curious to see if they had improved and wanted to add them to my restaurant comments here, luckily my mother in law and my husband both agreed to try it again.

We were seated and our drinks order taken immediately. This wasn't too surprising as we do eat early so it was almost empty. We not only like to get ahead of the crowds, but we are early risers and so everything else in our day is early. One of the two complaints I have about the Blue Corn Harvest is the wine menu. It is very sparse. The house wines are listed as 'red' or 'white', no further information was available. My drink of choice is Cabernet and there was only one listed at $9 a glass. As I didn't know the wine, I was not prepared to pay $9 and settled for the mystery 'red' at $5. Larry ordered a frozen marguerita.

Our drinks were served promptly, and I was slightly disappointed that my wine was definitly not a cabernet, it was too sweet to be, however after tasting one of the complementary corn bread muffins, their sweetness took the sweet edge off the wine and it was passable though I think I will try the $9 glass next time. Larry's marguerita was good, but very small and so, not really good value, he said it would be perfect at $3.99 but was overpriced at $5.99 in his opinion. Mildred always settles for water, and so had no complaints.

The food once again was great. I do want to try other items on the menu, but I can't seem to get past the blue crab stuffed chicken and it was amazing. The temperature was perfect and it was delicious and perfectly cooked and the sauce was wonderful. I am not a fan of mashed potatoes but these potato cakes are great (that is the bright orange thing on my plate), I particularly like the seared cheddar crust. Finally, the vegetables were to die for. If you have looked at any of my recipes, you will know that I am a great fan of vegetables, these were the best I have ever tasted. They were crisp and full of flavor. As always, I was only able to eat half my meal and as always, when the food is good, I got a take out box and lunch next day was taken care of.

Blue Crab Stuffed Chicken
Blue Crab Stuffed Chicken 13.99
Grilled chicken breast, stuffed with crab meat
jack cheese and sweet roasted peppers
with Cajun cream sauce, cheddar seared
potato cake and farm fresh vegetables

Larry had his old favorite and was not disappointed. He substituted extra mashed potatoes for the vegetables, he does like mashed potato, and asked for extra gravy on the side. His dish was exactly as he requested and the rib-eye was most definitely tender. In this part of America, a knife is only used if a fork will not do the job, he never used his knife once and he finished off the entire piece of meat. Not the potato, that was too much even for him despite asking for and receiving even more gravy. He might have been better off having the vegetables, did I mention they were amazng?

Chicken Fried Rib-Eye

Chicken Fried Rib-eye 12.99
Choice Rib-eye with peppered gravy
mashed potatoes
and farm fresh vegetables

The Chicken Fried Rib-eye was also one of Mildred's favorites, but after the disappointing meal the last time when the meat was like leather, she decided to try something different and went for the Grilled Chicken Breast. Her only complaint was that there was way too much on her plate, in fact there was enough for all three of us. The fact that she didn't request a take out box left me question how much she really enjoyed her meal. Perhaps she just regretted not having the chicken fried rib-eye, but also some meals do not lend themselves to reheating next day.

Grilled Chicken Breast
Grilled Chicken Breast 13.99
with fire roasted pineapple relish
veggie rice and farm fresh vegetables