Summer Baking…Tasty and Healthy (Well, Sorta Healthy…)Posted: August 3, 2012
Hi Janet, Hi Rachel
Well, I’m back after my two month hiatus. Sorry!!!! Between the move and some playing that I’ve picked up (as well as my usual festival playing in Maine during July), I just haven’t had the time to cook… at least anything special enough worthy of Table1095’s standards!
Now that I’m back into my marathon training, I’m trying to eat much healthier… my daily routine usually involves some sort of protein-packed berry shake for breakfast, salads for lunch, and a nice dinner of chicken or fish with even more vegi’s (almonds and trail mix for snacks? well yes, please!!). But of course, who can live without dessert? Certainly NOT me! (And no, I haven’t given up drinking, which of course would be very VERY healthy, but much MUCH less enjoyable… more on that later!)
Which is why I came across this fantastic recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod for a Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownie. Yes, there’s sugar… yes, there’s oil… and yes, there’s chocolate! BUT, there is zucchini and lots of it… remember, zucchini is a vegi and it’s GOOD FOR YOU! And personally, I’d rather be eating this than a tired zucchini bread anyday! AND I must say, these brownies are amazing… they are rich, flavorful, and MOIST… certainly better than most non-zucchini brownies I’ve ever had (and why would you go back to that box stuff?!?!).
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Brownies
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
2 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 350*. Spray an 8×11” baking pan with non-stick spray (we used a 9×9” pan and adjusted our baking time accordingly).
Mix together the sugar, oil, and flour with your stand mixer, hand mixer, or wood spoon. When well combined, mix in the zucchini, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Stir in the chocolate chips at the end.
Distribute batter evenly into your prepared pan and bake until brownies are set, which is about 25-30 minutes for an 8×11” pan.
Cool, cut, and serve… raspberries and strawberries (fresh and local?!) are desirable, but certainly not required.
Beer of the Month – Russian Imperial Stout
As if I didn’t get to see enough of Tim over the summer (between staying at his house on my drive to the east and spending a week with him at the chamber music festival in Maine), we’re about to embark on the first of several brewing projects together (PS stay tuned… ideas have included but are not limited to a sour-beer-blending project, barley wine batches, and even a combination beer pairing dinner to end all dinners!).
Our dear friends O & A will be married this coming weekend… O was Tim’s student at Penn State, and I know O from the summer festival over the last few years. We’ve remained in touch, and I think Tim and I are honored to be invited to the wedding. Of course, the only gift to bring is beer… of course. It’s the obvious decision, right? I mean seriously, how many blenders can one have…
So naturally, Tim and I sat down with O this summer to pick his brain and figure out what his and his soon-to-be-wife’s tastes are… do they like light or heavy? light or dark? bold or subtle? something fresh or to age?
We finally settled on a Russian Imperial Stout… dark and roasty, full of flavor, and something that ages well so the happy couple can open a few bottles a year to appreciate the changes in taste over time. The plan: wedding Saturday, recover and brew Sunday, bottle in October/November, and deliver to the happy couple in December/January, just as the frigid cold becomes overwhelming! As for long range process, this isn’t the first time I’ve come to brew with Tim and then he’s managed the fermentation on his own… I think there might be something to this Anyways, wish us luck!!!!
Here’s the recipe, straight out of Brewing Classic Styles:
19 lbs 2-Row Base Grain (maybe try 20 lbs in case your efficiency drops due to a large grain bill!)
1 ½ lbs Black Roasted Barley
1 lb Special B
½ lb each CaraMunich, Chocolate, and Pale Chocolate Malts
Mash around 154* F for at least 60 min
1.5 oz Horrizon @ 13%AA for 60 minutes
2 oz each addition Kent Goldings @ 5%AA for 10 minutes and 1 minute
Yeast & Conditioning:
A REALLY big starter of your favorite American yeast strain… Brewing Classic Styles recommends WLP001, WY1056, or US05 (all of those are basically the Chico Strain), but I think we’re going to use a pitch of my house yeast, the Pacman yeast, from Rogue. I think Tim is going to brew a light mini-beer as our starter… we calculated 2 gallons of OG 1.030 should give us enough yeast, rather than build up starter after starter after starter. Ferment cool: 67*F for the Chico yeast or a bit lower for the Pacman yeast. As with many high alcohol beers, yeast health becomes an issue especially when packaging in bottles… Tim and I will keg the beer, force carbonate to about 2 volumes of CO2 saturation, and then bottle from the keg. Store the beer for at least 6 months, but will certainly improve with age!
- Mike TGBG