Sunday, April 26, 2015

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Blue Cheese Dressing: Changing my attitude

To all the moms who have gone before me...

#1 is nearing puberty, as she is almost 11 years old, and I'll just go on record that this is a time period that I've dreaded quite a bit.  It has everything to do with my discomfort with talking about certain topics with #1 (and #2, and #3) and I've kind of been on pins and needles waiting for this time.

I think mostly my discomfort arises from the fact that my own parents didn't discuss this time period with me.  I have no recollection of their discussing it with my younger brother, and I'm fairly certain one of my brothers got the talk from the older one after we had figured some stuff out.  The brother, just 30 months younger, and I were given a book, checked out from the library, with some strange cartoon-ish type drawings in it, explaining the changes that were to happen in our body along with the background on reproduction.  There was no open, warm, loving conversation inviting questions and curiosity but rather a cold book, and a succinct, "Read this" without any follow through. 

The irony of being the daughter of an OB/Gyn doesn't escape me either.  My father KNEW about this stuff intimately, and still I was not given ANY information from his lips or my mom's.  There were major cultural issues of course - my parents being immigrant Koreans, despite intimate knowledge of the science at hand, didn't have the ability to communicate such things with me.  They also trusted the school system to give me the nuts and bolts of the matter and left it to the system.  Puberty came and went like some weird secret systemic overhaul, with some tinkering by the school system, with no participation from my parents. Recently, I spoke with my mom regarding this, as I explained I was gearing up and mentally preparing myself for this conversation and I kind of jokingly said, "You didn't tell me anything!  Why do I have to tell #1?"  My mom kind of laughed and said, "There is NO way I would have told you anything.  That is not how things were done back then." I'll have my readers note, however, that while I was a high school teacher, I didn't have any trouble discussing these issues with students that came to me to talk about their confusion and their questions.  They weren't my children.

However, now I am a parent, with a real live child nearing puberty.  And in order to prepare myself, I decided to invest in some outside support and help.  I had no real sense of the scope of the matter, what is appropriate, any new science or ideas, and the tone in which to approach the conversation. Many friends tried to coach me to be open, honest, scientific, but my inner self kept shrieking "NO I'm NOT READY FOR THIS" and running in the other direction.  I asked my best friend Ob/Gyn if she would be willing to do it in my stead, and she looked me straight in the face and said, "My conversation will be strictly about body parts and how they make a baby.  Is that what you want?" I decided to get help.

Many of my peers who have daughters a few steps ahead of my own told me of their wonderful experiences with Heart to Heart, a program that discusses puberty, reproduction, the opposite sex, but more importantly (for me) gives parents some ideas of how to be open and straightforward and calm in such discussions.  When I signed up #1, and told her how we'd be taking this class together, there were such shrieks of consternation and drama that ensued that I was kind of fearful. She used words like, private, embarrassing, weird, to which I responded that some people do feel that way during puberty, but we were hoping for a better result.  The drama was so much that #2, who had some insight into changes of the body during puberty tried to analyze the situation and asked, "Is the seminar where she gets her armpit hair?"

Today was our first session.  And I'll tell you, 120 minutes of my time were well spent.  And I'll say that I learned something really amazing today - that the lecturer's TONE and energy was amazing.  She took a room of about 100 mothers and daughters, and had us laughing and smiling and rethinking our [my] fear of puberty.  I don't know if other moms in the room had come to it with the same trepidation and fear and anxiety that I had, but I do know that most of the girls had some level of concern that mine did.  And the lecturer made it all so much better.  She changed my perspective.  Puberty is AMAZING!  EXCITING!  Your mother is your resource and loving expert!!  (I'm a bra consultant with years of experience, evidently. ) Most changes have been happening ALL THE TIME!  But it's AMAZING!  Wonderful!  The puberty 6 hit parade!  And why do we fear it so much. Later in the car, I found myself with the strength, calm, and humor to speak to #1 about the changes that were going to happen and also asked her how I might support her when these changes do happen, something that wouldn't have happened two days ago. My attitude has completely changed.

So, now, I present to you CAULIFLOWER!  It's AMAZING!  Wonderful!  Delicious!!! And can be an unexpected kind-of-healthy-but-kind-of-decadent appetizer (which by the way, I can consume all on my own.)  And it's not like your old cauliflower that you didn't like, but it's the new cauliflower that is yummy, spicy, and delicious.  Let this recipe change your mind.  The preparation is straightforward, the sauce is delicious, and it's just going to make you think of cauliflower in a whole new way.

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Blue Cheese Dressing
Serves 2 to 3

1 head cauliflower, about 1 lb, or 1 lb of cauliflower florets, already broken up
¼ cup flour
¼ cup water

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
⅓ cup sriracha
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped chives
½ cup crumbled blue cheese
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  Grease a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan.  Prepare cauliflower into bite sized chunks, about 2 to 3 inch pieces.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour and water until it is smooth and uniform.  Add cauliflower chunks and toss until pieces are all well coated with flour mixture.  Place cauliflower on baking pan and cook for 8 minutes in the oven, and then turn pieces over and cook for another 8 minutes.

While cauliflower is cooking, prepare hot sauce coating and blue cheese dressing.  In a small sauce pan, add vegetable oil, sriracha, rice vinegar and warm mixture.  It will begin release sharp spicy notes as it warms up.  No need to boil.

Mix together sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, chives, blue cheese and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Once cauliflower has roasted, dump cauliflower mixture back into large bowl and pour over hot sauce mixture.  Once again toss well, and once cauliflower is well coated with hot sauce mixture, place it back on the roasting pan and stick it in the oven for another 3 or 4 minutes.

Serve hot or room temperature with sauce and celery or cucumbers on the side.  Enjoy alone or with a friend.

Printable recipe
not going to lie...this is something I enjoy just eating on my own.

Some nice resources:

The authors of this book are the writers of the work behind Stanford's Heart to Heart.  They are based out of Washington, and have this book, which is essentially the same material covered in the two day seminar.  I haven't gotten the book yet, but I did look through and the tone and the material covered is essentially the same.  There is a section detailing reproduction (family life) so if you're not ready for that, this isn't the book for you.

Many pediatricians as well as the Heart to Heart series recommend this book, which is much more about the body changes of puberty.  It's a great guide, non threatening (although my own #1 found the pictures kind of gross - they were cartoonish) and it is where my #2 got the information about armpit hair.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Vanilla Buttermilk Bundt Cake: Mistaken identity

A couple of days ago, I found myself wanting to make dinner for close family friend, who lives in the neighborhood.  The boys had been my students, the family close to me when I was young and single, and even now the boys and I still talk.  I had one of them come and pick up the food which wasn't fancy - just chili and a nice chunk of cake, but I told him, "Chili - eat it with crackers at home, and the cake is for dessert."

A couple of days later, in texting with the older son about something, he graciously thanked me for the dinner from earlier in the week.  He stated, "The chili and cornbread were both SO good. Especially the cornbread. It was like eating cupcakes sooo good!!"

I, of course, paused for a moment, thinking that his mom must have whipped up some cornbread, because I didn't recall having made any cornbread.  I replied, "You're welcome" but the cornbread comment kind of threw me and I couldn't quite get my head around it.  Knowing the family's schedule and what they had time to do, I was pretty sure it wasn't cornbread that he had eaten with his chili.

"That was CAKE!! Not CORNBREAD!" I texted back.

"WAT?  My mom said it was cornbread so I put butter on it and ate it. No wonder it tasted like cupcakes!"

I chortled and giggled. I texted him, "I'm laughing so so so so hard."

"I was like, wow, this cornbread is REALLY soft!  and she was like it's because it's fresh and she just made it!  LOLOL  I even TOASTED it.  This is embarrassing on so many levels."

So there you have it.  A very strange case of mistaken identity, where a large chunk of vanilla buttermilk bundt cake gets mistaken for a piece of cornbread.

Rest assured.  There is nothing cornbread-like about this cake.  This cake, as my young friend put it, is soft, tender, fluffy and much more like a cupcake.  Not cornbread.  Perhaps if you put some chili on it, it'd be more like cornbread, but really, it's not.

Someone else I gave a slice of this cake to likened it to the old school Sara Lee poundcake from way back from my childhood.  It definitely has that flavor and feel and it's so good.  I love it because it's easy to make, and my friends like it because it can be both dessert or cornbread in a pinch.

Vanilla Buttermilk Bundt Cake
Makes 10-inch bundt cake, serving 12 to 14

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 350.  Grease and lightly flour inside of 10 inch bundt pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.

Using either a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Gradually add sugar and beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 30 to 40 seconds after each addition.  Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.   Add vanilla extract.  At low speed, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with buttermilk. Scoop batter into pan and spread with spatula.

Bake cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto another rack.  Place the cake, on the rack, over a baking sheet.

After cake has cooled, slice and serve, with berries, vanilla ice cream or just plain.

Printable recipe
Let's just all agree that this doesn't look like cornbread.

Pan Seared Halibut with Carrot Purée and Asparagus: Allergy Testing

My longest-time readers will know that much of my life seven years ago, was consumed with managing Son's numerous severe food allergies.  It was a time of my life that I changed a lot of who I was as a mom and as person in the kitchen.  I became fanatical about reading labels, I restricted foods that came into the house, I refused to go out to eat or to even eat in other people's homes (unless they were on my mental approved list of people that would be able to avoid cross contamination) and all in all, ran my life around #3's allergies.  As time has passed, many of the allergies have gotten much better, and about every two years or so, I subject him to a round of food allergy testing, which is at best, tedious and nerve wracking.

As all three of my kids have some sort of allergy, (#1 has environmental, #2 is allergic to peanuts, #3 has both food and environmental) I decided to get them all tested this year, as it has been nearly two years since our last round of testing.  I called the office and asked them to book me the appointments, preferably all three on the same day, same time, to which they denied my request (because they wanted me to focus, as a mother, on each individual child's treatment) and instead offered me the next best thing - same time of day, but different days.  I sighed inwardly and signed up to be in their office for three consecutive days to test the children.

It's all very straightforward, this allergy testing thing, and as I'm an old pro, I went in, prepared my list of questions, and then attempted to prepare each kid for the uncomfortable sensation of being uncontrollably itchy for 30 minutes. When #1 did it, I had all three kids with, and it was a slow kind of twisted torture, having #1 lying down, and trying to keep her from flipping out over her itchy back, while #2 and #3 bickered and fought with each other about ridiculous things such as which chair was theirs.  I made the conscious decision, after a series of head-banging-into-wall-inducing moments, to leave two kids at home the following day.

Testing severe food allergies is often this strange cocktail of pessimism and hope.  If you've tested enough times, and there hasn't been much change, then what you expect is very little, and yet at the same time, there is that tickle of hope in the back of your mind, that yes, this time, things might be better.  For Son, in the past three rounds of testing, since he was 3, there has been no improvement in his allergies, and he's outgrown nothing new.  I was hopeful that this time, egg and maybe even mustard would be allowed into his diet, but as I watched his back swell up and welts rise, I knew that once again, there wasn't a change this time, and that we were continuing with the same vein of allergies - no milk, no egg, no peanuts, no nuts, no seeds (except sesame seeds).

I won't lie.  I was desperately hoping that at least milk or egg was no longer an issue, but when results came back showing that I'd still need to manage those foods in his diet, I reminded myself that having a kid with allergies has made me a far better, and far more creative and experimental cook in the kitchen. I decided to play around with  a fish dish I saw in Suzanne Goin's A.O.C. Cookbook  which I found inspiring and exciting.  The result was a simple to make, almost a restaurant worthy dish that Son loved, and both Daughters gobbled up and declared was their favorite dish of all time.  When I took my first bite, there must have been some look on my face, because Daughter #1 asked me, "Do you think you're the best cook in the world?"  I stated, "YES!"

I've written the recipe below in order that it needs to be accomplished, and although it may sound fussy (carrot purée what?) don't let it daunt you.  Prepare everything as I've ordered it in the recipe and you'll find yourself with a delicious fish dinner in under an hour.

Pan Seared Halibut with Carrot Purée and Asparagus
(Adapted from the A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin)
Serves 6

2.5 to 3 lbs halibut fillet, cut into 6 to 8 portions
zest of one lemon
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 lbs carrots, peeled, cut into ¼ inch rounds
¾ cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
salt and pepper

1 lb thin asparagus, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
1 cup sliced spring onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter, or vegan butter option (like Earth’s balance)

In a large pot fitted with a steamer basket, steam carrots for 20 minutes, until nice and tender.  Remove from heat.  (can be prepared ahead of time.) In a heavy pot, over high heat, add ½ cup olive oil and onion.  Season with 2 teaspoons of salt and a nice helping of fresh ground pepper, and cook onions for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add carrots and cook for another 8 minutes, stirring and scraping, and allowing carrots to become caramelized.  Using an immersion blender, or food processor, add ¼ cup more olive oil and puree until olive oil is incorporated and carrot is smooth.  Season if necessary.  Set aside until fish and asparagus are completed.

While carrots are steaming, carefully dry fish pieces with a paper towel, absorbing any excess moisture on fish.  Season fish with salt and pepper on both sides as well as lemon zest.  Heat large saute pan over high heat for 2 minutes, add oil and carefully fish in pan.  (You may need to do this in two batches.) Cook on high heat, one side of fish for 4 minutes, and then carefully flip fish, lower heat, and cook on the second side for 4 more minutes. Fish is ready when it begins to flake nicely and is almost entirely opaque.  Remove from pan and prepare asparagus.

Heat large saute pan over medium heat for 1 minute.  Add olive oil, spring onions, asparagus, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes then add butter (or vegan butter) and 1 tablespoon of water.  Continue tossing until vegetables are nice, green and tender.  Taste for seasoning.

Plate your meal, by placing carrot puree on the bottom, asparagus next, and then a piece of fish on top.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Printable recipe

Dinner.  Served.  For all.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Modochis (Mochi donut): When your kids are on spring break...

It's the time of year when my kids are on spring break, and I take it upon myself to obsess and perfect some dish since I'm with the kids so much.  I have a lot of taste testers as I can use my own three and other families are home more and in need of a break so I even have a few more testers.

This year's obsession (last year's was boba tea) was a donut made with mochi flour. I've been debating a good old yeast donut for a while, but haven't had the chance to work through all the steps of dough making a yeast donut.  I heard about mochi donuts and took it upon myself to mess around with the stuff until I got something that I liked.

There were three uneven, not-so-skilled batches, and then there were the final four with subtle, yet meaningful differences.  What would the ideal texture be inside?  How should it look when you broke it open?  How crispy should the outside be?  What kind of finish should it have?  Children, Friends, and I explored the various permutations and silently, I cursed my obsessive nature as it came into direct conflict with my healthy side.  Fried dough?  Come on!  It just TASTES so good!  And it can be worked off...later, so don't worry about it.  You just need to make this perfect so that you can stop making it!  My healthy side simply whimpered in defeat as it couldn't combat the deliciousness of a mochi donut...7 times over.

When you make the mochi donut, SURROUND YOURSELF WITH FRIENDS who will prevent you from eating the entire batch ALL ON YOUR OWN!  It gets dangerous and you will thank me for this warning.

And now, on to the modochi itself.  The modochi has a crispy exterior and an amazing chewy interior.  When you bite into it, it doesn't collapse under your teeth but rather springs back at you forcing you to really commit to your bite.  And that springiness and chew is what keeps bringing you back for more and more, because it's not soft dough -it's dough with character. And it keeps reminding you that you want more, all the time, and that is its weapon.

The trickiest part of the mochi dough has to do with temperature.  There is the temperature of the mochi dough itself and the temperature of the oil.  Both are important to take seriously, because not taking those two aspects seriously will yield to modochis that are dark and that can be used as a golf ball.  Neither is really that desirable to stick in your mouth.  Your oil should be steady at around 375 degrees F and your milk needs to be scalded (nearly boiling) before being to your flour mixture.  If you bear these two crucial facts in mind, the rest is pretty easy (but maybe a little sticky.)

A final note, a mixer is your friend.  I cannot imagine doing this with your arms by hand, but it can be done...your arms may never be the same after, but it can be done.

Gather a few friends around and have loads of fun!  You won't regret it.

Makes 20 donut holes

Donut Ingredients
1 lb box sweet rice flour (mochiko - I prefer Koda Farms brand)
¼ cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup whole milk
¼ cup (half a stick) unsalted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten together

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook (if you have) or in your mixing bowl, whisk together sweet rice flour, white sugar and baking powder.

In either a pot over medium heat, or in a microwave safe cup, cut up butter into small chunks and add milk.  The goal is to scald the milk at the same rate as melt the butter.  Heat milk and butter to steaming, but not boiling.  (My microwave accomplishes this in 1 minute 52 seconds.)

In the middle of your rice flour mixture, pour in heated milk butter mixture and begin beating for 2 minutes.  The rice flour will look strange at first but after 2 minutes you should begin seeing some clumps coming together. Add beaten eggs and scrape down sides of bowl and begin beating the dough for 8 minutes on medium high, to get everything  into a sticky yet workable mess.

In a pot, heat oil to 350F.  (I like smaller deeper pots with fewer donuts to fry in order to save oil, but if you like to fry them all at once, get a shallower wider pot.)  Oil your hands with spray oil (quickest way) and rub palms and fingertips together. Scoop about a golf ball amount of dough and roll into a ball.  Once oil is the right temperature drop into oil.  The modochi will sink to the bottom first and cook there for about 2 minutes and then float up to the top for the last 6 minutes of cooking time. While the modochi is on the bottom, give a quick stir so that the modochi doesn’t stick to the bottom.  Total cooking time for a donut hole is about 8 minutes.

Once donut is nice and golden and beautiful even in color, remove from oil and drain on a rack over a tray.  Continue rolling donuts until all are cooked.  While donuts are still warm either glaze them or roll them in a sugar cinnamon mixture.

Serve warm or later in the same day.  Modochis do NOT like being eaten the next day.

Glaze Ingredients (enough for 20 modochi)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Whisk together melted butter, powdered sugar, water and vanilla extract until glaze is uniform and smooth.  Dip donuts into glaze and roll around and then allow to dry on a drying rack.

Cinnamon Sugar Ingredients (enough for 20 modochi)
¼ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Whisk together cinnamon and sugar.  Roll still warm donuts into mixture.  Set aside to cool.

Make sure you call some people over before you start on this.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Japanese Curried Fried Rice: The Bookfair COMETH!!!

The other day,  Daughter #1 came home and said, "Hey mom.  The school librarian asked me if I was ready for you to be cranky because of the book fair."

I asked, "How did you respond?"

#1 replied, "I told her you were always cranky anyways, and that the book fair didn't make much difference."

And there you have it. The ever wise and ever candid daughter described her mother succinctly. Cranky.

Truth be told, the bookfair really does make me crazy and cranky. The combination of those two things can't be easy on the family, but they have to put up with me and my insanity for a week.  During those times I'm looking for meals that I have stored up in the fridge as well as quick to make dishes.  This my friends, is that quick to make dish.  As my family are curry fiends, this dish comes together way faster than curry rice, satisfying them quickly and with minimal effort from me. It goes great with kimchi and the first three times I made it, my kids went nuts, begging for more and for more.

Curry.  No stress.  No sweat.  No problem.

Japanese Curried Fried Rice
Serves 6

2 tablespoons butter (or some sort of butter substitute, like Earth Balance)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
½ onion, peeled and chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
¼ cup sake
4 tablespoons curry powder
6 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Heat butter and olive oil in a wok over high heat.  When butter has melted, add chicken, a dash of salt and pepper, and cook until chicken is opaque.

Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, another pinch of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, until vegetables are softer.

Add sake, and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Add curry powder, and keep stirring because curry can burn.

Add a bit of oil if desired.  Add rice, and work quickly, incorporating vegetables and chicken throughout rice.  Sprinkle soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Printable recipe

So yummy, sometimes you need to put a guard in front of it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread: The things I wished I said

For JH and RL, and all those who miss them too.

The start of 2015 was a bit rough as I lost two lovely ladies in my life.  After a battle with cancer, Son and Daughter's beloved preschool teacher JH passed away.  I wept so much at her passing, because she loved and doted on both my kids and me so much.  In one of our sporadic email exchanges back and forth, she said that she had pulled out the good china, was using new sheets, and was enjoying the time she had left with her beloved family.  Her last days on earth were about enjoying them to the fullest and to live without any regrets.  But her passing was like a candle being blown out; the room suddenly went dark for me. I found myself really missing her and wishing that I told her more often how much she meant to my family and me.  Although she left without any regrets, I found that I had more than a handful.

And then more recently, a fellow mom and lovely human being RL, collapsed while at choir practice with her two children, from a cerebral aneurysm.  It was sudden, unexpected, and so quick that most of us were left shell-shocked and astounded that someone could be here on earth one moment and gone the next. Life shifted in a split second for RL - there and then no longer. I didn't get to say all the prayers I wanted for her; I missed out on asking her for the zucchini bread recipe, and I didn't schedule that extra playdate that we wanted to have for our kids.  The time to do so was already gone.

I mourned very deeply the loss of these two tremendously amazing women. I also found myself upset that I didn't say and do all the things that I had planned to, because they had simply run out of time. And I find myself with the realization that when death occurs, those who are left behind can often spend more time thinking of their regrets and the "didn't do's" and not so much of all the things that they had already done.  That's where I am. I want to do more but my opportunity is already done.  I'm reminded over and over that I shouldn't wait until tomorrow to say what I want to say or do what I want to do.

I honor their memory and our relationships with this post.  Teacher J was a phenomenal gardener and one who enjoyed the growing of plants, and RL was always planting zucchini in the summer that overflowed and produced way more than she could eat.  Both would have loved this zucchini bread: Teacher J, if I had made it for her, and RL because she made something similar.  I miss you both ladies, and have been thinking of you often while baking and trying to prefect this.

If you've never made zucchini bread, for the record, it doesn't taste like zucchini. This is really much closer to a dessert than a vegetable dish.  I like to call it, "Eat your veggies in your dessert."  The zucchini adds tremendous moisture and richness to this bread and even though you can see the flecks of zucchini, it doesn't add to the flavor.  This bread is not overly sweet, but has a rich and deep chocolate flavor that just can't be beat. As you make it, think of the things you want most to say to those around you, and don't hesitate to express your love.
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Makes 2 loaves

1½  cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tablespoon  vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3  cup baking cocoa (I love Guittard, but if you can’t find it, just use what you have on hand)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½  teaspoon baking soda
4 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease two 8X4 loaf pans with cooking spray or butter.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda; gradually stir into sugar/oil mixture until blended. The mixture will be stiff.  Stir in zucchini. Carefully fold in chocolate chips. Transfer prepared loaf pans.

Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely

J and R - more than words can say, I miss you.


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