If necessity is the mother of invention, then overabundance is the brainchild of resourcefulness.
This week our CSA share was filled with zucchini squash. In an effort to not waste a single thing, I turned to using zucchini in baked goods. After all, isn’t that what everyone does with an over-abundance of zucchini?
Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery shares a killer Good Morning muffin in the first Flour Bakery cookbook. While similar to the morning glory muffins, this one is chock full of fruits, nuts, and…. zucchini.
Good Morning Muffins
- 1/2 cup wheat bran
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 small zucchini, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped and toasted
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin, coat with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the wheat bran and hot water until the bran is completely moistened. Add zucchini, raisins, pecans, coconut, and apple. Stir until well mixed.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat together the sugar and eggs on medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture thickens and lightens. On low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil and then the vanilla. Add it slowly so as not to deflate the air you have just beaten into the eggs (should take about a minute). Remove from the stand mixer.
- In medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well mixed. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and fold carefully just until the dry and wet mixtures are well combined. Then add the bran mixture and fold again just until well combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly and filling the cups to the rim (almost overflowing).
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned on top and spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan.
- The muffins taste best the day you bake them, but then can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you keep them for longer than one day, refresh them in a 300 degree F oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Or you can freeze them, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 1 week; reheat, directly from freezer in a 300 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes.
With all due respect, Montreal has the best bagels that I’ve ever eaten. Ever. Hands-down. No contest. We always leave Montreal with at least a dozen ready for the freezer as well as a few for the ride home.
Basically, bagel worshippers fall into two very loyal schools regarding which of two Montreal bagel bakers makes the best. My personal favorite is from St. Viateur on the Plateau; however the “other” bagel bakery, Fairmount Bagels, also makes a great Montreal-style bagel.
There is a subtle sweetness to Montreal bagels which comes from malt or other sweeteners in both the dough and the water. The bagels themselves are much less dough-dense than the supermarket or bakery bagels one finds here in New England, and for me, that makes them enjoyable. For purists looking for malt, King Arthur Flour and/or a local beer making supplier should be able to help out.
Since, for the moment, a trip to Montreal is not in our future, I set out to find an authentic Montreal bagel recipe, and thanks to the MTL Blog, found this one on a great Montreal food blog called “My Second Breakfast“. Sami Berger, who write a regular food blog here, suggests at the outset that one can either make the bagels large (yield 12) or smaller (yield 15), but I would suggest that dividing the dough into 18 knobs (yield 18) is just about right for a Montreal sized bagel. The process – start to finish is about 90 minutes.
My Second Breakfast’s Montreal Bagels
Adapted from bigoven.com
- 1-1/2 cups warm water
- 5 TBSP granulated sugar
- 3 TBSP canola oil (I substituted coconut oil, melted)
- 8 grams active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs, divided (1 for the dough, 1 for the egg wash)
- 1 TBSP maple syrup
- 4 to 4-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup poppy seeds OR sesame seeds
- 16 cups water
- 1/3 cup honey
- (for chocolate bagels, add 1/2 cup of chopped dark chocolate or chips) – I love chocolate, but wouldn’t think of doing this to a bagel!
- In a large bowl (I used my mixer and a whisk for steps 1 and 2), whisk together the
warm water, sugar, oil,yeast, egg and syrup Combine until the yeast dissolves.
- Stir in salt and 1 cup of the flour.
- (Now using the mixer’s bread dough hook), add enough flour to make a shaggy, soft dough – about another 3 cups.
- Knead the dough (yes, on the machine!) for about 12 minutes, adding flour as you go (I ended up needing an additional cup of flour, but baking day was a high-humidity day). If you are adding chocolate or raisins, knead in the chunks at the last minute (don’t do that with a machine!).
- Once the dough is smooth and firm, flour the countertop and cover the dough with an inverted bowl. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Divide the dough into (12/15/18) pieces. Roll each piece into an 8-10 inch rope, then curve each on pressing together the ends to make a bagel shape. Make SURE the ends are firmly stuck together at this point or they will come apart in the boiling process. Note that the bagels will look pretty deformed and the holes will be very big – not to worry!
- Let the shaped dough rest for 30 minutes. About 5 minutes before the dough has finished rising, fill a large pot with water (16 cups) and stir in the honey. Bring that to a boil.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Boil the bagels by placing them in the pot, 3 or 4 at a time – you don’t want the bagels to be over crowded. Boil for 45 seconds on each side (90 seconds total). Remove and let the water drain off onto a clean towel or paper towel.
- Whisk the egg in a small bowl and set the seeds on a small plate.
- Dip the boiled bagels first in egg wash and then coat both sides in seeds. Note that the bagels will tend to get very dark in the areas without seeds so if you plan to leave any “plain” you’ll need to watch them carefully.
- Bake at 425 for 8-10 minutes (they should be starting to get golden brown on the side touching the baking tray), then flip and bake another 6-8 minutes until completely lightly golden brown.
- Cool the bagels on a cooling rack.
- Once complete cool, store in a freezer bag for a few days.
Last week I was reading a NY Times food article on the subject of vegetarian and vegan cooking (The Hippies Have Won). In the middle of the article, was a reference to a blog and cookbook series, Thug Kitchen. No kidding, this was one of the most fun cookbooks I ever browsed through and since all the recipes were plant-based, well… it was a win for me. If profanity is a hang-up, you might want to just follow the sanitized version below, but if you want some real kitchen coaching, buy the damn book, cook from it and learn to eat healthier.
Here’s the recipe for a strawberry version which was posted on Thug’s website. My version was based solely on what I had in the house to use up. I’m pretty sure the Thugs would be okay with that.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup uncooked millet
- 1-1/4 cups chopped mixed nuts or seeds (I used all almonds)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries or similar dried fruit (I used half dates and half ginger – not the sugary stuff)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff, not corn syrup with maple flavoring)
- 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter (I used Sunbutter)
- 1/4 cup refined coconut oil or olive oil
- 2 tbsp white or brown sugar (I used brownish – Florida crystals)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grab a 9×13 inch baking dish and line with with parchment so some of the paper goes over the edge of the pan. (Seriously, my mother reads this, so I’m leaving out the “good parts”).
- Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-low heat and add the oats, quinoa, and millet. Stir them all around until they start to smell toasted, about 3 minutes. While that is happening, combine the nuts and cranberries in a large bow. Pour in the all the toasted oat mix and the salt and mix together.
- In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, peanut butter, oil, sugar and vanilla and warm until everything is melted. Make sure that the peanut butter is all mixed, and then remove from the heat. Pour this all over the dry mix and stir until everything is coated.
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish and press it down with a spoon (or a hand!) to even it out and make sure it is really in there. Throw it in the oven until it all looks toasted, 25-30 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature in the pan then throw it into the fridge. When it’s all nice and cold, cut into bars. They keep best in the fridge.
Now, go and buy the Official Cookbook and enjoy the ride and some great advice on plant-based.