Wednesday, December 23

Time Well Squandered

I've been on vacation this week. All of my Christmas duties are complete. All of my gifts are purchased, wrapped and sitting under the tree. I baked some spectacular Oatmeal Pecan Raisin cookies for my Dad and soon after became obsessed with finding some new quality cooking sites online. I found some great ones to add to my blog's sidebar:

Taste Spotting
Smitten Kitchen
O Pistachio
What We're Eating
Mixing Bowl
Love & Olive Oil
Make Life Delicious
The Bitten Word
Sugar Crafter

But hands down my new favorite has got to be:

Food Porn Daily

Despite all of these great new finds I wandered over to Allcooks and was entirely mislead.

I felt like baking but didn't have the patience for cookies (all those pesky batches!). Instead, I zeroed in on banana bread. Unfortunately, I could only find green bananas (much less over ripe bananas). I switched gears and decided to make a zucchini bread instead. I sadly did not do the wise thing and ask around for a decent recipe. I did the lame thing and logged on to AllCooks, found an ok looking recipe and baked what has to be the worst zucchini bread of all time. I knew 2 shredded zucchinis looked like way too much but I shrugged and baked it anyway. The resulting bread looked perfect but tasted all wrong. It tasted of way too much zucchini and God knows what else. I hated it. My Mom tried a bite and said "Is this supposed to be a healthy recipe?" Yeah, it was that bad. Even my Dad bravely tried a bite and exclaimed "Blechh, that's pretty bad". They were right, it was a damn bad sweet bread.

I redeemed my skills in the kitchen later by making Julia Child's Onion Soup. It was amazingly good despite my one exclusion. Julia says to add some cognac to the soup right before serving. I had already cooked some dry vermouth into it and thought it tasted sublime as it was. I really dislike the taste of alcohol and couldn't imagine cognac helping any. I told my Dad he could add a splash of cognac if he wanted. He didn't. Dad agreed that it tasted great as it was. I toasted up some fresh French bread and melted some good Swiss cheese over the toast. The soup over the toast was fantastic.

Even my soup success didn't make me feel better about the great zucchini bread debacle. I decided to give it to try again but this time with a pro's recipe. I looked for an Ina Garten zucchini bread recipe with no luck. I then visited Martha Stewart's site and found what seemed to be a much more reasonable zucchini bread recipe than this afternoon's. In fact, I baked Martha's Zucchini Spice Bread and it came out amazingly good. It's not very sweet, it's just right. I highly recommend it.

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