Zucchini Spice Bread

Adapted from this recipe on SmittenKitchen.com

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 t orange extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 t crushed anise seed
  • 1/2 t cardamom
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cup whole fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Whisk together the eggs, oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and orange extracts and the zucchini. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, spices, soda and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients in batches until just barely mixed in. Add in the nuts and fruit/chocolate chips.

Grease and flour two loaf pans and pour the batter into them and bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes until golden on top and done in the centre. Cool on wire racks and turn out when cool.

*I use freshly ground whole spices whenever possible, so for this I simply approximated the amount of spices I would need and ground them all together in my spice grinder. I crushed the anise seeds with a small mortar and pestle until they were mostly all cracked open. You could also grind the anise seeds in with the other spices if you wanted, I just thought the little bits of anise flavour would be nice in this.

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Spiced Tomato Ketchup

Adapted only very slightly from Hungry Tigress’ Sweet Tomato Ketchup

  • 4-5 lbs very ripe (home grown, heirloom) tomatoes in any colour you want, peeled and chopped.
  • 1 C raw sugar
  • 1  1/2 C white wine vinegar
  • 1 T sea salt
  • 1 head garlic, peeled & chopped fine
  • 2  1/2 T fresh ginger, peeled & chopped fine
  • 1-2 dried red chillies, pounded in mortar & pestle (or 1/2 – 3/4 t red pepper flakes)
  • 1/2 t  fennel seeds
  • 1/2 t cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 t allspice berries
  • juice & zest of one lime

Place in 1/2 pint or smaller mason jars. Yield: approximately 2 pints

Blanch your tomatoes: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, drop the tomatoes into the water a few at a time for 30-45 seconds and then immediately place them in a ice bath. This makes the tomatoes incredibly easy to peel (and it’s incredibly difficult to peel tomatoes if you don’t blanch them first.)

While waiting for the water to boil, zest and juice the lime and prep the garlic and ginger. Process the garlic and ginger into a smooth paste in a food processor. You will probably have to add some water for it to form a smooth consistency.

Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle, or do what I did and put them in a plastic ziploc bag and pound on them with a heavy rolling pin. You want the spices to be bruised and release their flavour, but not ground or crushed too much. Even though they’re whole, with all the cooking we’re going to do to them, the spices will essentially melt into the sauce.

Place all ingredients in a large non-reactive pot. You want lots of space so that when it bubbles up when thick it doesn’t splotch all over the place.  Warm on low until the sugar dissolves and then bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until desired thickness has been reached.

Wwhile the ketchup is simmering prepare jars & lids for hot water bath processing. Process full jars for 10 minutes.

While this recipes says this is a ketchup, I’d say it tastes more like a tomato chutney. Which means it’s still fantastic on all the things you might use ketchup on: potatoes of all kinds, eggs, burgers, hot dogs, etc. It’d also be a fantastic sauce for meats on the grill, especially chicken or pork.

Garam Masala

2 T coriander seeds
1 T black peppercorns
1 T cumin seeds
1 T fennel seeds
2 t cloves
15 green cardamom pods
2 4″ cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg
6 star anise pods

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the spices, being careful to not let it burn. Toss frequently and remove when it just barely starts to smoke slightly.

Grind in a spice grinder or mortal and pestle until a fine powder.

This makes quiet a large amount, so if you’re not going to use it all up within a couple months, cut the recipe in half. I use this in tons of different recipes, from mint chutney, to peanut chicken, to coconut kurma.

Mint Chutney

1 C firmly packed spearmint leaves
6 scallions
2 green chillies
1 clove garlic
1 t salt
2 t sugar
1 t garam masala
1/3 C fresh lemon juice
2 T water

Cut the onions into small stalks, and seed and coarsely chop the chillies. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse until well blended. Place into a small dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Serve on anything even remotely Indian/Pakistiani/Sri Lankan.

Curry Powder

2 t cumin seeds
1 1/2 t coriander seeds
2 t fenugreek seeds
3 dried bay leaves
1/2 t celery seeds
3/4 t ground turmeric

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin, coriander, fenugreek, celery seeds and bay leaves being careful to not let it burn. Toss frequently and remove when it just barely starts to smoke slightly.

Grind in a spice grinder or mortal and pestle until a fine powder, adding in the turmeric at the end.

Indian Style Meat Rub

1 t cumin seeds
3/4 t coriander seeds
3/4 t fennel seeds
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground garlic
1/4 t cayenne

In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin, coriander and fennel, being careful to not let it burn. Toss frequently and remove when it just barely starts to smoke slightly.

Grind in a spice grinder or mortal and pestle until a fine powder, adding in the ginger, garlic and cayenne.

I use this as a general rub for all sorts of meats – whether as a seasoning before going into a curry, or as a rub before being grilled.

Taco Seasoning

1 T chilli powder
1½ t freshly ground cumin
1 t freshly ground coriander
1 t smoked paprika
1 t oregano
½ t garlic powder
½ t onion powder
½ t red pepper flakes, depending on how spicy your chilli powder is
1 t kosher salt
1½ t corn starch (optional)

First of all make sure your chilli powder is nothing but dried, ground chillis. Often they’ll sell you chilli powder that has many other additives in it. I like a nice hot chilli powder, and if it’s hot enough, will omit the red pepper flakes entirely.

Mix all ingredients together, adding the corn starch only if you want to have a thicker, saucier taco meat (you’ll have to add water as well to the taco meat for this to happen). Alternatively, you can make the spice mix and add in the corn starch to the meat separately.