Thursday, August 26, 2010

Overall Winner Recipes

Tonight I'll post the overall winner recipes.  Then tomorrow the blue ribbon, etc.  So you should have all my ribbon winning recipes by Monday.  Sorry these are coming the end of the week but Tuesday night was date night and Wednesday night was mommy night out.  We are extremely excited ISU is back in session because this means we have more babysitters to call! 

All right, all right - now what you really want to read the blog for:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Yield: 1 – Bundt Cake
Ingredients: 2 (1 oz) squares     unsweetened chocolate
3                           eggs
½ C                       canola oil
½ C                       unsweetened applesauce
2  C                       granulated sugar
2  C                       100% whole wheat flour (King Arthur Flour)
1 t                         baking soda
1 t                         salt
1 t                         ground cinnamon
¾ C                       miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 t                         Madagascar vanilla extract
(this item I get from King Arthur Flour - you can use regular vanilla extract but I am telling you this makes a difference)
2 C                        zucchini, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour Bundt pan – set aside.

2. Melt chocolate squares and set aside.

3. In large bowl, combine the sugar, flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; whisk. Stir in chocolate chips to coat and set aside.
4. Combine the oil, applesauce and eggs. Add chocolate and vanilla extract and mix well.
5. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture.
6. Fold in zucchini.
7. Let rest for 5 – 10 minutes (with the addition of the wheat flour it helps to have it sit just a little while to moisten the wheat flour).
8. Pour into greased pan. Bake for 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the bread comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out cake and allow to finish cooling on wire rack.

This is a great cake!  My boys love it and quite frankly I don't bake it that often unless I know I will give it away because I could sit and eat way too much of it.  Believe it or not this is the same recipe as the one I took for the same division last year (with some modified tweaking).  Last year only earned honorable mention but this year did much better.  Sometimes it's a small tweak (or a major overhaul - or you scrap it all together and find a new recipe), sometimes its all in the day's baking conditions and sometimes it's just the judge's particular taste and judgement on the day of judging.  But it is a wonderful use of zucchini and has some other healthy ingredients in it too.  The sitting before baking with whole wheat flours in quick breads/cakes is something I picked up from my King Arthur Flour Whole Grains cookbook - it does seem to make a difference.  Another tip for competition is to get it to raise nice and high I only grease/flour the bottom portion of the bundt up only about a third of the way (or slightly above where the batter will sit).  It is more time consuming on a bundt to carefully use a small spatula and work at ensuring the cake will drop but worth it.

Banana Bread
Yield: 1 Bundt OR 1 – 9x13” pan OR 2 – 7x3” loaves

1  C                 mashed banana (~3 medium)
1  C                 sour cream

¼ C                 butter
1 1/3 C            granulated sugar
2                     eggs
1 t                   Madagascar vanilla extract
2  C                 all purpose flour
1 t                   baking soda
1 t                   baking powder
¼ t                  salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one Bundt pan (or 1 9x13” pan or 2 7x3” loaf pans). (I prefer the Bundt pan because it makes a pretty looking treat to take to events or share with friends).

2. Combine the banana and sour cream. Set mixture aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and the banana mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir into the banana mixture. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan or pans.

3. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the bread comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out bread and allow finishing cooling on wire rack.

For those of you saying to yourself she's nuts about the type of vanilla to use - well, during the banana bread review where the judge discusses the winning entries and announces winners the judge asked me specifically about the type of vanilla used and how she could taste the difference (she actually asked if it was Mexican vanilla - which the judge also believes makes a big difference in flavor even if we aren't supposed to use it - her words).  The type I use from KAF is more expensive but it is so worth it. (I also love their vanilla bean paste - yummy!)  If you can't get ahold of a high quality vanilla then at least use PURE vanilla extract rather than imitation.

This bread never fails me - it is an awesome recipe.  This is actually the second time this bread recipe has won the Overall Banana Bread at the ISF.  So even if I thought the first time was a fluke I am now pretty sure it is just a great recipe!
And finally in the recipe category - Alan's Chicken Noodle Soup:

Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
Yield: ~ 10-12 servings
Ingredients - Broth:
3 leftover chicken carcasses*
1 med. Unpeeled onion, cut into wedges
2 small Unpeeled carrots, cut into chunks
6 – 8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 quarts + 1 cup cold water, divided

*We roast chickens ~ once per week to have chicken for salads and other chicken dishes throughout the week. The carcasses are saved in freezer bags until we have enough saved up for soup. We use our own chickens that we raise and have processed.

Ingredients - Soup:

3 Quarts water
5 C uncooked home style egg noodles
2 C diced carrots
2 C diced celery
3 C diced cooked/roasted chicken
¼ C fresh parsley, minced
2 ½ t salt
2 t dried thyme
1 t pepper

Place the chicken carcasses, onion, carrots and garlic in a 15 x 10 x 1” baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 1 hour, turning once.

Transfer the carcass and vegetables to a large soup kettle. Add 4 quarts cold water; set aside. Pour remaining cold water into baking pan, stirring to loosen browned bits. Add to kettle. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3 – 4 hours.

Cool slightly. Strain broth; discard bones and vegetables. Set soup kettle in an ice-water bath until cooled, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Skim fat from broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add noodles and carrots; cook for 4 minutes. Add celery; cook 5-7 minutes longer or until noodles and vegetables are tender. Drain; add to simmering broth. Add diced chicken; heat through. Stir in the parsley, salt, thyme and pepper.

By roasting the carcass and vegetables there is a richness added to the soup flavor without additional fats.

This afternoon the boys and I walked down to the mailbox to pick up the mail.  Inside was one of my premium checks.  It was the one for Horticulture - so I think since we determined Clark was the true owner of the blue ribbon on his pumpkins he deserves the $15.00 first place premium too.  Yes, my son planted the pumpkins by bashing the old gourds and pumpkins with a hammer.  Now the only garden item that is successfully growing is our backyard gourd/pumpkin patch all from last year's bountiful harvest.  The day before horticulture entries were due last week I went out and picked about 12 little white "Baby Boo" pumpkins.  Clark helped me sort them and I selected the 3 nicest of the bunch. 

Clark chose one that he insisted on keeping in his room and sleeping with.  It was cute - the next morning he came out crying because he thought he had gotten poopy on it accidently.  I looked at the pumpkin and told him - no, that is just a little owie on the pumpkin but it healed itself leaving a little scab.  He was so happy that he hadn't hurt it and then sad it had an owie.  When I reassured him it was OK now he happily took the pumpkin back to his room.  Of course harvesting pumpkins led to inquiries regarding when we can go trick or treating and a further discussion on how many months away Halloween still is.  Nonetheless; he retrieved his trick or treat bucket and it is now sitting in his room waiting for Halloween season.  In addition, he crawled up on his chair to retrieve all of his Fall/Halloween books off the upper shelf. 

Anyway -- I entered some green beans, 5 different herbs and the little white pumpkins.  Clark's pumpkins took 1st place!  We decided it was his first ISF Blue Ribbon; and thus, I think he can use the premium money for something special.  After all, there would not have been such cute little pumpkins if he hadn't planted them all throughout my new backyard landscaping.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipes and congrats on your winnings. Where do you buy Madagascar vanilla extract?

spencers said...

You can find the Madagascar vanilla extract on the King Arthur Flour website - there is a link to their site on the right hand side of the blog. On the store site if you just type in vanilla on their search box it should pull it up for you.