A Smorgasbord of Goodies

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The last couple days have been filled with goodies of all kinds and I felt like I needed to blog about it. First of all, I woke up sunday morning, sat my self on the couch with my computer, and started perusing the many food blogs of the internet. I found an “Olive Oil Zucchini Bread” from Not Without Salt. It just so happened that I was only a few ingredients shy of whipping that bad boy together. I walked a block to one of my favorite stores, Newleaf Natural Grocery, picked up a couple of zucchinis and a little nutmeg, walked back to the apartment with a hop in my step, and got to work.
Aside from the fact that I completely and utterly despise having to squeeze the water out of zucchini, it is a necessary evil. When you put the elbow grease necessary to really wring it out, you just know it is going to be that much better. I actually ended up having a funny experience with this bread. I think my pan was just a tad shy of being big enough for the batter, so I ended up with a loaf of zucchini bread , with a muffin top, overflowing while still in the oven. Thank goodness for aluminum foil. However, when it was done, it was fantastic. It was super moist, the flavor of the olive oil came through nicely but wasn’t too strong.  It was even better toasted in a skillet with some apple-fennel butter spread on it. YUM!

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Speaking of apple-fennel butter… this stuff is the bomb. I found it on twitter via the James Beard Foundation. First off, super easy to make. It takes 20 minutes to make this dreamy little jar of flavor. Second of all, just put it on everything. I was putting it on the zucchini bread, muffins, hell, just put that on some plain white toast and you have a quick tasty breakfast. Nom Nom Nom Nom!!!

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My next experiment happened at 9 o’clock at night. For starters, this takes 2 1/2 – 3 hours to do, so don’t start that late! The windows in the whole apartment were all nice and steamy by the time I was done. Anyway, dulce de leche does not need much of an explanation. It is super sweet, but oh so yummy.  I spent 4 months in Argentina where it was served everywhere so it is kind of special to me. Basically, buy a can of condensed milk, remove the wrapper and any of the sticky stuff, place in a pot of boiling water, and let simmer for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Make sure when it is simmering that the top of the can is always covered by water. I have read that if it is not, you will have a small dulce de leche bomb on your hands.  I have never experienced it, and would prefer not to. After it is finished, remove from the pot and let sit until it reaches room temperature. Then remove the top and BOOM! Sweet, caramel awesomeness.

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We are nearing the end of this, I promise, like I said, goodies of all kinds. This goodie just so happens to be candied ginger. Ginger is already one of my favorite things to cook with. I love the flavor, I love the versatility, it is just the cats pajamas. The reason I made this was because I was planning on making some muffins that required candied ginger. I could have bought it at the store, but I had never really “candied” anything before. I found this nifty recipe on Food52. It is a little tedious, you have to be diligent with your stirring, but the end result is worth it. Waiting for all of the water to evaporate and then all of a sudden the ginger has gone from syrupy and dark, to light little chips with a sweet coat of sugar.. I was a little too excited about it.

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Alrighty! Here it is, the last of the goodies! This recipe is coming to you from a food blog that is going to make me a million pounds heavier cause I could just, sit, read, bake, eat, and repeat all day. Top With Cinnamon  is one of my go to blogs when it concerns baking. The pictures are great and the baked goods that come out of it are always a crowd pleaser. These “Whole Grain Apple Ginger Breakfast Cakes” were made for a group of friends that I play Magic the Gathering with every monday. Don’t judge, because it was “Magical Muffin Monday” and it was awesome. Anyway, these were kind of the culmination of all the goodies. They were made with the candied ginger, and people were putting the apple-fennel butter and dulce de leche on them to make it a delectable treat that would fill and satisfy!
All the recipes for these guys are included in the links. I figured if I wrote out the recipe for each one this post would go on forever. Now go make some goodies and enjoy!!

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