Summer Chocolaty Birthday Cake




You have read the title "Summer Chocolaty Birthday Cake" and are thinking what does summer have to do with chocolate cake? Chocolate Cake can be served at any time, but this cake has a "secret" ingredient. Not really a "secret" ingredient, but a summer ingredient. The ingredient is....(drum roll, please)........ZUCHHINI! Another way to use zucchini and it is tasty. Very tasty. A coworker compared it to a famous restaurant's cake. I will give you a hint; is no longer in existence. Make this recipe and leave a comment and let me know the what you think the name of this restaurant is.





I created this recipe because like everyone else right now, I have zucchini in my refrigerator that needs to be used. It is that time of year and it is in abundance. Anyway, I saw this recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake and thought, Hmmm, I have all those ingredients I will make it. I made it. It had cinnamon and nutmeg in it. I am sorry cinnamon and nutmeg do not go in cakes. Not in my cakes anyway. When I think cinnamon, nutmeg, and zucchini, I think bread. When I think of cake, I think sweet and birthday-ish. No where in my mind does spice come into play, but I made it anyway. It had the texture of cake, but the spices came through and therefore it is not cake. It is bread. The difference between cake and bread is the moistness, texture and crumb. Growing up I never had a birthday cake that cinnamon and nutmeg were added to the batter, they were always in the sweet breads that we ate; but NEVER in my birthday cake. Therefore I was disappointed in the recipe and I needed to fulfill my expectations of what a Chocolate Zucchini CAKE was supposed to taste like.

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Garlicky Guacamole




Fall is in the air, and so is football season. It is time to start making those game day snacks. What better to go along with your chips and salsa than guacamole? Rich and buttery avocados make the most creamy accompaniment to any game day fare. This quick and easy dip will be a crowd pleaser.




I like a little spice in my guac, so I add jalapenos. Pickled jalapenos to be exact. I have tried the pepper right off the vine and it just does not give the dip that special pizazz that your looking for in a game day spread. I also add garlic, lots of garlic, to give your breathe that amazing odor that everyone loves. As an added bonus, the spicier and garlickier the food, the more beverage consumption. I am into the beverage consumption. Food and beverages on a Sunday afternoon, how much more fun is that? Oh, and the game too; right and the game.

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Bacon Wrapped Scallops with a Spicy Mayo Sauce

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Turkey Burgers topped with Caramelized Onions & Pear Chutney sitting along side of Parmesan fries


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Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes



A month ago I received some cookbooks dating from the depression era to the early nineties. Oh boy! I was in heaven. I have had a chance to go through some of them, but there is still a plethora to go through. One that I came across was a sourdough cookbook. I was intrigued. I remember as a kid having a starter in our refrigerator. I remember it being in there for a long time, until one day we threw it out. That is all I remember. I don't remember having anything sour-doughy from the starter, just that it was in the back of the fridge and it was stinky.

The cookbook is called Sourdough Cookin' It's "Starting" All Over Again, dated June 1978 from the Michigan State University Cooperative Extension Service. It has a recipe for a starter as well as numerous recipes for pancakes, waffles, muffins, coffeecakes, biscuits, etc... I read it and decided to make my own starter. The recipe calls for all purpose flour, yeast, and water. That is it. I started with this "original" recipe, until it was time to "feed" my living organism. At the time I was out of all purpose white flour, milk, and sugar. Everything I needed to "feed" it. I did however have whole wheat flour, honey, and almond milk. I thought a moment...Ok, I do have flour, sugar, and milk; just not your ordinary types. I tried it. The next day I checked it, it was bubbling, the yeast cells were working. A week later it was time to feed it again. I still did not have the ordinary ingredients, so again I added wheat flour, honey, and almond milk. I have added these ingredients each time I have "fed" my starter. Since it is a living thing, it should probably have a name. Let's name it Jack, as in flapjack. Sounds appropriate to me.

It now has been over a month since I have been "feeding" Jack. Last night I thought that a portion of him was ready to be consumed in some manner or another. What other way than to start with pancakes, it is traditional. This morning I got up and started with the recipe in the book for Original Sourdough Pancakes, as I was mixing batter I looked over and there on the other end of the counter there were a bunch of bananas calling to me. "We would taste amazing in those pancakes your making, pair us with some pecans and we will make them taste out of this world". Who could argue with a statement like that. I diced one up one large banana, chopped up a half cup pecans and folded them into the batter. I cooked them up on the griddle. I served the pancakes with some maple syrup, garnished with sliced bananas and more pecans. They were "out of this world".


I would recommend starting your "Jack", Jim, Fred, Betsy, etc... whatever name you call it, at least one week before making these pancakes. The starter will have more of a chance to ferment and develop more of a sour taste, and that is the point of having sourdough pancakes. I added bananas and pecans, feel free to add blueberries, apples, peaches, or even zucchini. Add-ins or plain they are still good and healthier than your average pancakes.


SOURDOUGH STARTER

2 c. all purpose flour
2 c. warm water
1 package of active dry yeast

Mix the yeast, flour, and water throughly in a glass or plastic bowl....don't use metal. Set the mixture in a warm place overnight. The next day the mixture should be bubbly and a yeasty smell. Refrigerate.
Over the course of time be sure to feed your starter 1c. milk, 1c. flour, and 1/4c. sugar (I used whole wheat flour, almond milk, and honey). Mix and leave at room temperature for 24 hours (not using in the mean time). Refrigerate.

SOURDOUGH PANCAKES

2 c. sourdough starter
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. applesauce (or oil)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. soda
1 large banana, diced + more sliced for garnishing (optional)
1/2 c. chopped pecans + more for garnishing (optional)
Maple syrup

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (or lowest setting to keep warm). Stir the salt, sugar, applesauce, and flour into the starter. Mix the eggs and soda in a small bowl. Add the banana and pecans to the starter mixture, then the eggs and soda. Mix.

Bake on a greased griddle. As pancakes are done, place on a plate and keep in the oven to stay warm until the others are finished cooking. Garnish each individual plate of pancakes with extra bananas and pecans. Drizzle with maple syrup. Serve.

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