Thursday, July 30, 2009

Contests are fun + Squash time

As if Homegrown.org weren't awesome enough, they had to go an hook me up with some free swag. A free issue of MAKE magazine #18, to be exact.

All I've got to say is, keep an eye out for promotional contests on your favorite websites. You never know if you're going to win, and it's a lot of fun to get a package of free stuff waiting for you. Especially if that free stuff is a magazine with directions on how to make an off-the-grid laundry machine, recommends great urban homesteading books and blogs, and has all sorts of crazy inventions for hacker type projects that are way beyond my head.

All I had to do was respond to the discussion post, "Mid-Summer Making: What's Your Project?"

My response was picked at random from the other posted comments:

"Late July is way too hot and humid in Baltimore to cook, so I sliced my patty-pan squash very thin and marinated them in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and black pepper. The sourness of the vinegar is very refreshing, the fresh squash still maintain a bit of crunch, and the veggies are perfect as a side salad or on top of pretty much anything for a wonderful summer meal!"

I brought a jar of the marinated squash to the Foodmaker's Potluck last weekend, and I'm bringing another jar to a potluck tonight. It's a great potluck food because I don't have to worry so much about the food being hot or cold, and it's really easy to just toss into a canning jar instead of wrestling with a big tupperware container. For an on-the-go lady such as myself, a food that I can toss into my bag and easily carry around is a big plus.

Speaking of squash... zucchini bread!

The end of the week means time to pick up my CSA share of the week. Which usually means I'm scrambling to either can my excess food, make dinner for people, or am eating a lot of kale for breakfast. This time, I baked, which is usually not one of my strong suits. But the bread actually turned out quite fluffy and yummy!

I scanned over a lot of different zucchini bread recipes online, then kind of winged it using what I had in the house. A list of tips:

1. 3 cups of whole wheat flour. Most recipes I saw used a white/wheat blend, maybe added some oats, but I found that the wheat texture was fine.

2. Fat? Most recipes I saw called for oil, and I actually often bake with oil. But a friend of mine came into a ridiculous amount of extra margarine (let's just say that filming commercials produces a lot of waste sometimes), so even though I know that stuff is grosser than butter, I used it anyway. I'm curious if that's what made the bread more fluffy than usual. I think oil can make the texture dense? I creamed the butter together with brown sugar as if I were baking cookies.

3. Brown sugar and cardamom. Yum.

4. Share with friends. Preferably while playing Settlers of Catan and drinking a few brews.

Here's to squash, MAKE magazine, and internet contests! Also, thanks to Farm Aid for creating homegrown.org. Your "Eat Your Zip Code" pin is now on my bag.

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