Baking

Zucchini Bread

This is not something that I grew up eating, but it's become a tradition in the summer since I tend to grow monstrous sized zucchini in the garden. Really I just forget to pick them earlier, but I like to think I just planted the dino-era variety.

This bread, just like a lot of the things I like to make, is pretty versatile ... which is a good thing since baking makes my palms all sweaty. You like chocolate? Throw some in. Dried fruit? Do it. I like almonds, so I'm going to go that route. 

Zucchini Bread

Blackberry Crumble

Blackberries usually make me think of clam digging. Us youngsters would have to go with the adults to up their seafood counts - I'm sure no one ever did that - and we would run a muck all over the rocky Northwest beaches. My favorite part, besides trying to start fires on my own, was finding all the blackberry bushes everywhere on the beach paths. I still think about the salty air, and my grandmother that's no longer with us, when I see the berry bushes all over my neighborhood. I think that's also why when it comes to the few desserts I'll actually want, this crumble is on the list. 

Blackberry Crumble

Rosemary Coffee Cookies

Saying that people living in the Northwest consume a lot of coffee would be like saying "Did you know that Koreans eat rice?". There are tea drinkers in the mix and - blasphemy - some of us drink both. But what I love about this place that I call home is that there are vast varieties of that cup of joe we adore so dearly. You want a darker blend? Smoother? A little acidic? Maybe some apple notes? You got it. 

Now, what does one do when they are addicted to an ingredient? They use it in different forms and put it in everything. This is how it ended up in my cookies, alongside rosemary which is just as abundant as java in this town. Walk down any suburb around Seattle and you'll see huge rosemary bushes that look like they've been there since the beginning of time. 

I love my city. 

Rosemary Coffee Cookies

Orange and Nutmeg Muffins

Sometimes I feel like I get the short end of the stick for breakfast since I prefer savory over sweet. Especially now that I'm on this baking kick, I can't help but notice that sugar is king. Then I found this basic muffin recipe from Epicurious and remembered that I get along with the less sweeter cousin of the cupcake. Even better, this is great for a quick bite in the morning without feeling like you need to go to the dentist. Plus, with the added Vitamin C, we're off to a great start! Speaking of orange, I love how it's a perfect companion for nutmeg. It almost makes the kitchen smell like the holidays all over again.

Orange and Nutmeg Muffins

Herb Beer Bread

Well, Happy New Year! How 2015 is already here is beyond me, but what can you do. 

Speaking of new beginnings, I've decided to stop labeling myself as "not a baker". For me, cooking a pot roast in the kitchen for family and friends is pleasant, full of meditation and I know the results will be delicious. When I think about baking breads and sweets I feel panic, restricted and I'm not confident on the outcome. Then I had a bit of an epiphany that (a) people feel the same constraint with cooking if they don't do it often and (b) just because most of the contestants on Top Chef wont touch dessert doesn't mean I should be fearful of it.   

Herb Beer Bread