Sunday, September 18, 2011


I spent last weekend in Juneau- a very short trip, just barely three days for a family wedding. The weather was uncharacteristically beautiful for September and it was hands-down one of my favorite trips home in the past six years. It's so strange without my mom there, though!

My #1 required stop is always, always Paradise Cafe & Bakery. My brother met me there within an hour of my plane landing and we stuffed our faces with bread pudding and pastries. Perfection.

My grandpa Ralph spends a great amount of his time painting nature scenes with oil on canvas. His apartment is full of his work, and I snuck into his studio while my dad + uncle + grandpa were distracted trying to set up a tv. There's seriously amazing video of that- here!

Sandy Beach is sandy.

On the way to a family birthday party (seriously this weekend was full), Lizzie and I stopped by an open house for what used to be Kowee Creek Fish Hatchery, and is presently a beautiful home on the most insane piece of property I've ever seen. A salmon spawning creek runs along side the house, there's a massive garden, two waterfalls, a cave, beautiful old windows, and on and on.

My flight back to Seattle was perfectly clear almost the entire way, which is incredibly rare flying out of Juneau. I basically spent two hours staring out my window at ice fields.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Bread & A Lighting Issue

Two weeks ago, in my first CSA from Tiny's Organic- I was blessed with a child-sized zucchini. "Blessed" being a bit of an objective term. I've spent the past two weeks staring at this thing. It took up half of my butcher block counter and I'm pretty sure that it moved on its own at least once. A giant zucchini is not a thing to be dealt with lightly. You cannot just chop it up and throw it into whatever happens to be for dinner, or munch on lovely little zucchini spears. Absolutely not. Giant zucchinis exist solely to be baked into things.

I modified this recipe to suit my needs. Gluten free, more zucchini, less sugar, and butter instead of oil. Feel free to work with the original recipe if you find it suits you better. My version yields a nicely sweet, soft and moist loaf, without even a hint of the density or gritty texture that's characteristic of many gluten free baked goods. It's hands down my favorite GF recipe so far.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (I used half Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free AP Flour, a quarter millet flour, and a quarter white rice flour- use whatever mixture you prefer.)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if using standard flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini - moisture squeezed out (I do this by wringing it out wrapped up in a clean dish towel or cheese cloth- do not skip this step or you'll end up with soggy bread!)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease two 8"x4" loaf pans. In a large bowl beat together sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla extract until foamy. In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, xanthan gum, baking powder, and baking soda. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet, being sure not to over-mix. Fold in shredded zucchini and chopped nuts, then pour batter into pans. Bake 50-60 minutes, until top is cracked and a toothpick inserted in the middle of your loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool before slicing.


I'm having major issues with lighting my photos in my new apartment, and I need your help! Even in the middle of the day with both of my blinds open I don't get enough natural light to get a decent photo. The light in my apartment is extremely yellow, and I don't have enough photography/lighting skills to get around this. My food photos are hideous and it's bumming me out! Without being able to rely on natural light- what are my options for taking decent photos? Below is the best I could get of my zucchini bread. And normally I wouldn't photograph brown on top of brown, oops. Suggestions?

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