Baking Fail

My dad is in China at the moment for business and he left me in charge of the garden. I checked the garden yesterday and right now everything seems to be in between seasons. Strawberries, lettuces, and broccoli are all finished, but the blueberries, blackberries and tomatoes aren’t quite ripe yet. Most just need a few more days. I did mange to grab a few good tomatoes and two small eggplants. There are also beets , but to be perfectly honest I don’t know what to do with beets. I suppose I could roast them or pickle them, but I just didn’t feel like tackling a new veggie this weekend. (I’ve eaten beets before; I just haven’t tried cooking them.)

The one thing we have in abundance at the moment is zucchini. Unfortunately, it is all very large. Zucchini is best when it is small. Once it gets too big it isn’t good for much except zucchini bread. This one, for example, is too big:

image_5When I stood that sucker on the ground it came up to my knee! It was ginormous!

That one was even too big for baking (it would have been very bitter) so it went straight to the compost pile. The others I harvested were shredded and baked into muffins. I used this 100% whole wheat zucchini bread recipe from King Arthur Flour. I ended up making two batches. In one I used butter instead of veg oil and in the other I used applesauce. I also used sucanat instead of brown sugar. I made muffins instead of loaves because I find muffins are easier to freeze. I can just pull out a few at a time rather than thawing a whole loaf. Both versions were good, but not amazing. I’d make them again simply because they use honey in place of refined sugar and are 100% whole wheat, but I think I’ll probably shop around for another zucchini bread recipe. As for the applesauce vs. butter,  I really couldn’t tell the difference between them.

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I also made this brownie-walnut pie for garden night. Last week I mentioned that I was thinking about making pie and one of the guys said he didn’t like pie. I took this as a challenge to find a pie that he would like. I think I failed. It just wasn’t my weekend in the baking world.

First the crust wouldn’t come together like I wanted it to. It kept cracking and falling apart when I rolled it out. Too much flour? Not enough water? I have no idea. I made it exactly like I always do, but it just wouldn’t cooperate today.

The recipe called for a 9-inch pie pan, but I only had 8-inch ones so I used 2 of those and then some single-serving pie pans for the overflow. (I doubled the recipe.) Again, I followed the recipe exactly and they looked great coming out of the oven. I decided to try one of the small ones and it just wasn’t good. The crust was tough and crumbly (but not flaky if that makes sense) and the brownie filling was dry and dense. I am hoping just the small ones over cooked and that the regular sized ones – the ones I am taking to garden night – are OK.

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Even my whipped cream failed. Mom had some leftover heavy whipping cream from making ice cream the other day so I decided to make whipped cream to go with the pie. It came out perfectly, but when I went to pack it to bring back to the farm it had gone all runny.

You win some, you lose some, right? I think next week I’ll make my grandmom’s cobbler. It’s pretty foolproof and always delicious. Plus, I can use seasonal fruit which is even better!

Four days until NYC/Brooklyn!

Update: I gave one of the small pies to Manda and Joel and they said it was good. So maybe it was just mine or maybe it is just me, but I feel less concerned about taking them to garden night tomorrow. Perhaps it will be OK after all.

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