Garden · New Favorite

Chocolate Zucchini Cake…good for you, right?

Zucchini has been plentiful this year and I was craving a chocolate fix.  I found this recipe and LOVED the cake. The glaze turned into chocolate globs which I did try to spread on top of the cake.  Next time I’d either just skip the glaze, or make my own.

The cake is moist and delicious…a keeper!

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

Unsalted butter, for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon honey

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-square cake pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
  • Toss 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Whisk the remaining flour, the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Beat the sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, the eggs and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the flour-cocoa mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes (the batter will be thick). Add the zucchini and beat until combined, about 2 more minutes. Fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
  • Make the glaze: Combine the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the honey in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Spread over the cake, then cut into pieces.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/chocolate-zucchini-cake-recipe.html?oc=linkback

NOTE:  I made this recipe again and used a different glaze that was perfect:

GLAZE
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave at 15 second intervals and stir each time until mixture is smooth. Pour over cake.

New Favorite

Cheesy Sausage Grits…MMMM, MMMM, Good!

Grits and Cathy did not have the opportunity to meet until about 8 years ago when I tasted a Grits Breakfast dish at a party. They actually tasted good and weren’t just a mushy, bland bowl of nothing like I expected.  Of course, what doesn’t taste good when mixed with cheese and sausage?

A few weeks ago I bought a bag of grits at Sprouts before I found a recipe for this yummy dish for my annual Mother’s Coffee/Tea. Every recipe I came across called for ‘instant grits’ not just plain old grits.  After much searching, I found this recipe. As one Southern friend told me, instant grits aren’t as good so don’t even bother!

Grits are now like a dear, old friend (at least when cheese is involved). I plan to make this again, without the sausage, as a side dish for BBQ.  MMMM, MMMM, good!

CHEESY SAUSAGE GRITS

1 cup grits (uncooked)
1 lb. breakfast sausage (bulk, if you need to use links, finely dice the cooked links)
1 cup onion (diced)
9 oz. green chiles (drained and chopped)
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
10 drops Tabasco
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Cook the grits in 4 cups of salted water until done (follow package directions). (I whisked the grits into boiled water and it only took me about 5-10 minutes to cook the grits)
  • Saute the sausage and onions, breaking the sausage into small pieces.
  • Drain the grease from the sausage and onions.
  • Add the chilies, butter, eggs, cheese and Tabasco to the cooked grits.
  • Combine the sausage and onions with the grits mixture.
  • Pour everything into a 9″x 13″ casserole and garnish with the paprika and parsley.
  • The mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days before baking (bring to room temperature before baking to use the same bake time).
  • Bake at 325°F for one (1) hour.
  • (The recipe states that this freezes well but I didn’t have any left to freeze!)

http://www.food.com/recipe/sausage-and-grits-casserole-92343

Nicaragua

The dogs of Nicaragua

Being a dog in Nicaragua can be a good and a bad thing.  Most of them run free, wandering the streets of the small towns or countryside without a care in the world. But many of them also are in need of vet care, food, and boundaries.

Coming from a long line of dog lovers, I HAD to take pictures of the many dogs that crossed my path.  I thought about a calendar highlighting a dog each month, but will settle to share these little darlin’s with you on my blog.

Just say AAAWWW and then scroll to the bottom for more information on how to help our canine friends!

Nicaraguan Farm Watch Dog…Watching what…I don’t know

Yes, Maam there are fleas in Nicaragua!

Beggar Dog outside Granada…quite the performer!

An afternoon out with the boy at the local gaming pavillion

While these dogs appear to have a wonderful, carefree life, many of these have health issues, suffer from malnutrition, and over-population. I chose to take photos of the healthier dogs, but we saw many dogs that were suffering.  For more information on how to help, visit the WorldVets website.