Saturday, July 25, 2015

Zucchini: From Flower to Bread

Olive Oil Zucchini Bread.
I planted a couple of zucchini plants in my raised bed this year, and so far I have harvested two zucchinis.  The plants are quite lovely, and they produce beautiful yellow flowers of two kinds: male and female.  It is the female flower that produces the fruit (yes the zucchini is actually a fruit even though we think of it as a vegetable).  Botanically speaking a fruit develops from the ovary of a flower. 
Zucchini developing from the ovary at the base of female flower petals.

As I said it is the female flower that develops into the zucchini squash. 
Lower flower is female developing into zucchini.  Male flower above produces the pollen.
One of my zucchinis still on the vine.

I am quite fond of zucchini bread so I used part of my zucchini harvest to make a loaf of  bread using a recipe that was in the NY Times.  It uses olive oil instead of butter. 

I mixed the wet ingredients together.

Wet ingredients.
Wet ingredients mixed together.

Then I mixed the dry ingredients together, and folded the dry into the wet.
Mixed dry ingredients.
Ready to bake at 350F for 40 to 55 minutes.

After 50 minutes of baking here is the loaf of bread.
Olive Oil Zucchini Bread.

It is quite delicious.  Maybe not quite as good as the recipe that calls for butter instead of olive oil, but I like to think of this as a pretty healthy variant.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Destination Wedding (Part Two): Who's Who

I thought you might like to know the cast of characters in the destination wedding in Northern Ireland, my recent post.  

Main characters:  The bride Rebecca (my first cousin, twice removed) and the groom Thomas.
Thomas and Rebecca (Photo by Chad Frey.)

Father of the bride:  Kenneth, the Colonel
Father of the bride, Ken.

Mother of the bride:  Robin
Maternal grandmother of the bride:  Joan

Robin the mother of the bride.  Joan the maternal grandmother of the bride.

Maternal grandmother of the bride:  Joan
Joan, the maternal grandmother of the bride. (*Joan had a destination wedding too.  Future blog will cover that.)

Father of the groom:  David
David, the groom's father.

Mother of the groom:  Ann
Ann, the groom's mother.

Maid of honor:  Kate
Kate, the maid of honor. (Photo by James Laker.)

Bridesmaids:  Elizabeth and Emily
Ken with his three daughters.  Bridesmaids Elizabeth on left and Emily on right.

Best Man:  Aidan
Aidan the best man with Thomas. (Photo by James Laker.)

Groomsmen:  Stewart and Eddie
Groomsmen Eddie on left, Stewart (Thomas' brother) in the middle, Aidan, the best man on the right.( Photo by Helen Hillis)

Family of groom:
Thomas with his parents and sibs.  Sister Val on left and Helen on right and brother Stewart.(Photo by Helen Hillis)
Nephew and nieces of Thomas:
The nephew and nieces of Thomas enjoyed the wedding too.
This wedding brought together two wonderful families.  Blessings on the bride and groom for a long and happy life together. It was a fun wedding.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Destination Wedding in Northern Ireland

Rebecca and Thomas were married in Northern Ireland.

When Rebecca and Thomas recently were married in Thomas' native Northern Ireland, it was a destination wedding for Rebecca's family (from the US) and what a lovely place for a wedding.  The destination wedding theme was carried out from the invitation (a Northern Ireland "passport" and plane ticket) to the globe that was signed by the wedding guests to the compass received as a favor for the guests at the reception dinner.

The clever invitation to the wedding established a destination wedding "theme".

Instead of signing a guest book, wedding guests signed this globe.

The compass was the favor for each wedding guest.  

The venue, Parkanaur Manor, could not have been more lovely. 

Parkanaur Manor (Photo from their website.)
Because it was a wee bit windy, the ceremony was held indoors.

The wedding arch. (Photo by James Laker.)

Bride and groom at the altar.(Photo by Kate Beiler.)

I thought many of the guests would be wearing fascinators, but I learned that fascinators are usually worn when the wedding is in a church.  At least one guest did wear a beautiful fascinator though.

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Glass (Photo by Chad Frey.)

It really was a beautiful wedding and fun reception.  I enjoyed it very much.  The reception will be covered in my next blog.  Stay tuned.   

Sunday, July 12, 2015

An Early Birthday Present

 Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake. 

My birthday isn't until August, but when I was in Cleveland County last week, my friend Peggy gave me an early birthday present.  Peggy knows I like to cook, and she knows I like to stay at B & B's so this cookbook of signature recipes from B&B's around the state is just the perfect gift.  Thank you so much Peggy.
The cookbook.

This morning I made one of the recipes: A Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake, the signature recipe of the White Doe Inn in Manteo, NC. 

The White Doe Inn (Photo from their blog.)

Here's the recipe:

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch springform pan.
Grease and flour the springform pan.
 In a large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup of sugar.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly.  Remove 1 cup of flour mixture and set aside for topping. 

Cut in butter with pastry blender.

Reserve one cup of flour mixture.
Add baking powder, baking soda, almond extract, sour cream and 1 egg to flour mixture in the large bowl; mix well and spread mixture over bottom and 2 inches up sides of pan.
Spread mixture over bottom and up sides of pan.
Combine cream cheese, remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and remaining 2 eggs; mix well and spoon over crust. 
Spoon cream cheese mixture over crust.
Carefully spoon raspberry preserves over cream cheese mixture. 
Spoon raspberry preserves over cream cheese mixture.
Combine reserved 1 cup of flour mixture and almonds; sprinkle over preserves.
Add almonds to reserved cup of flour mixture.
Add topping to cake. 
Bake for 45-55 minutes.  Cool for 15 minutes in pan, then remove sides of pan and cool cake completely. 
Cool in pan for 15 minutes.
Remove sides of ban and cool completely.
Ready to eat. 


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Courtyard Renovation

Our renovated courtyard.
In order for Dan to have easier access to the driveway when navigating with his walker we redesigned the little courtyard between the master bedroom of the house and the garage.  The French door from our bedroom opens out to a small deck with no steps involved.  Going out our front door requires going down two steps. 

We removed the pergola and fence that separated the courtyard from the driveway and built a new fence separating the courtyard from the backyard. 

Original fence and pergola in foreground was removed.  Deck is extended.

New fence and wrought iron gate.
The deck was rather narrow so we extended it by half.  To make an easy transition from the deck to the driveway and to the backyard, we installed stone pavers making a nice wide walkway that easily accommodates a walker (or even in the future if necessary will accommodate a wheelchair.)  We are making changes around the house that will enable us to stay here rather than our having to move to a Continuing Care Residential Center. 
Installing the stone pavers walkway from deck to driveway.

These renovations required that we redo the landscaping in the courtyard. 

Plantings along the space between the deck and the garage.

The "rock" at the base of the arborvitae is the signal for the invisible fence that keeps Maggie in the courtyard. 
(Notice the white flags.  Maggie is  being trained to stay away from the electrical field.  The flags will be removed.)

Annuals in space between walkway and driveway. 

Daniel Johnston pottery shows up nicely at night. 
Joel Haas "mask" made of garden tools. 

Opening up the courtyard has given a whole new view from the driveway and the street. 

The changes that we made are making it much easier for Dan to enter and exit the house.  It has been a fun project.