Thursday night dinner and more.

To fulfill my promise to myself to keep adding content and do something with my blog, I”m here taking a leaf out of the food blogger’s book…or webpage.

Not to toot my horn, but I’m a bit of a magician with leftovers.  I LOVE turning something old into something new in the kitchen and my domestic exploits last night are proof of my skillz.

Yes. With a ‘z’.

I’m going to Jackson, MS this weekend to play some ultimate and catch up with a couple sorority sisters.  Nothing says ‘thanks for letting me crash in your guest bedroom’  like lemon-zucchini bread!

I found the recipe on allrecipes.com and it was super easy:

1.5 cups shredded zucchini (this is equal to one small zucchini, i just grated it with a normal cheese grater)

.75 cups white sugar

1 egg

.5 cups vegetable oil

1.5 cups all-purpose flour

.5 tsp salt

.5 tsp baking soda

.25 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp lemon zest (about all of a good-sized lemon. I don’t have a zester, so I used the same grater I used for the zucchini, taking care not to grate down to the white pith of the lemon.)

Beat the zucchini, sugar, egg, and oil  in one bowl, and the lemon zest and dry ingredients in another. Combine the two and pour into a greased loaf pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes, let cool before turning out of pan.

The finished product

The bread was moist, and both spicy and a little citrusy from the combination of cinnamon and lemon.  The next time I might add a few teaspoons of lemon juice and vanilla extract just give the bread more depth of flavor.

A cross-section of my bread. See the zucchini? Yeah you can.

But I didn’t stop here, I had dinner to cook!

I can’t be a normal college kid and eat pre-made or frozen dinners.

I won’t. I won’t. I won’t.

This is  because I refuse to eat processed food when fresh meals are just as easy (and usually cheaper) but mostly because I get bored and I like thinking up recipes and cooking at night.  Beats homework right?

So tonight I wanted to use up the ham (literally a Christmas ham) my mom sent me home with after our family togetherness time over the fourth of July weekend.  I remembered I had a can of black-eyed peas and biscuit makings, so it was game on for a down-home Southern meal.

My ham, thanks mom!

Another fun fact about my cooking style, unless I’m baking, I usually don’t use recipes. I’m a dash and a pinch cook, I have a pretty good idea of what spices and foods go together, and when in doubt I experiment.

Tonight was an experiment night.  I cubed up some of the ham and tossed it into a saucepan with the can of black-eyed peas, which had some green beans in it as well. As an afterthought, I grabbed some frozen sweet corn out of the freezer and dumped that in too.  Look how healthy that is! And they say Southern style food isn’t good for you….lies.

I brought it to a simmer and let it get happy with a very liberal amount of Nature’s Seasoning.  When it still wasn’t up to my flavor standards (I like a LOT of flavor in my food.), I put in about a teaspoon or so of Dale’s.

If you don’t use Dale’s, start. It makes everything delicious,. especially burgers and meat on the grill.  For the poor souls who don’t know what Dale’s is, it is a bottled steak seasoning that you can use on just about everything.  It comes from the restaurant of the same name in Florence, AL and is  in most any grocery store in the south.

And I’ve digressed. Back to dinner.

I had a hankering for biscuits, so to go with my happy melange of beans, corn, and ham, I whipped up a mini-batch of savory cheddar biscuits.  Bisquick has a  garlic-cheddar biscuit mix I tried a couple of weeks ago when I barbecued chicken with some friends and they were SO good.

I put together from scratch basically what is in that mix: Bisquick, grated cheese, and garlic powder, but I added freshly ground pepper and tabasco. Spicy AND cheesy. SO good, and super easy.

Before going into the oven

I don’t think I bake biscuits as long as recipes suggest.  I don’t want brown, crunchy biscuits, so I take them out while they are still a little doughy, and barely golden-brown.

There they are in the oven, mmmm

Everything turned out AWESOME. The beans and ham concoction was so good I’m going to have to come up with a real name for it.  Believe me, it tasted nothing like the mushy, flavorless black-eyed peas my sorority house  likes to serve.

Food Network, eat your heart out.

I’m off to Jackson now, tune in next week for more adventures!

Zucchini Bread Update:  I scored some more farmer’s market zucchini and made another loaf for my boyfriend’s family since I will be staying with them this weekend while we go to the Top of the Hops beer festival. I added a 1/2 tsp more cinnamon, a pinch of allspice and the juice of half the lemon I zested and WOW. That made all the difference in taste.

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One thought on “Thursday night dinner and more.

  1. Hey, I read your blog just like you told me to!! : ) At first I started reading your article on the AmeriCorps volunteer thing, and I was like, Why did she want me to read this? But then I got to your food blog entry and everything made sense. Awesome entry!! I enjoyed it, sweet pics too, you’re a natural. Oh, and by the way, the white stuff in the lemon is called the “pith”, just so you know. Keep blogging!

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