Blueberry Thyme Zucchini Bread

Brace yourself. The zucchini invasion is upon us. And it’s only going to get worse.

At first, just a few short weeks ago, you were excited for the first squashes of the season – either in your garden, CSA, or at the market. But then you ate a couple. And another. Then a few more. Eventually the charm wore off. Now, they’re slowly piling up on your counter, one by one. You realize that perhaps you shouldn’t have planted twelve squash plants after all.

Now what do you do? Simple. Put zucchini in everything. But mostly, in things where you don’t even realize it’s there. And better, paired with other seasonal ingredients that can steal the focus.

Memories of your grandmother’s zucchini bread will remind you that this is certainly not a revolutionary concept. I haven’t come across a ton of recipes where blueberries were part of the mix (pun intended), though. What if you threw in some chocolate and a little thyme? Suddenly, it becomes more unique and you forget there was ever zucchini there to begin with.

Unless you are without a food processor and have to grate that zucchini by hand. In which case, it’s really not that terrible. Three medium zucchini are generally enough for two loaves of bread and that’s not too much effort. The processor just cuts the time down to a few seconds rather than 5 minutes.

The blueberries add a mouth popping burst of flavor while the thyme lends an earthiness that cuts the bread’s sweetness. If including chocolate, go for dark. I go through these breads for breakfast in no time and I don’t care for or benefit from too much sugar in the am. Add your own combination of nuts and seeds if you want.

Blueberry Thyme Zucchini Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • zest of 1 lemon or lime
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and grease two 8×4 inch bread pans liberally.
  2. Mix the zucchini, sugar, oil, yogurt, zest, vanilla and eggs in a bowl.
  3. Remove the leaves from the sprigs of thyme by pinching your thumb and forefinger and running them down the stem. Add to the mixture.
  4. Whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a second bowl.
  5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  6. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts.
  7. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pans.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes.

Beef, Turkey & Mushroom Meatloaf with Cider Mustard Gravy

I grew up eating meatloaf on a regular basis. It was a popular item in my mom’s dinner rotation, usually served with baked potatoes – because they could bake at the same time – and a green vegetable, like broccoli. Although I’ve knocked my mom’s cooking on occasion (sorry, mom) I actually liked her meatloaf quite a bit. And the leftovers made for a good sandwich on toasted bread with cheese and ketchup.

But not everyone has happy memories of meatloaf and there’s that association with bad cafeteria food. Just the sound of it is perceived as a bit unappetizing. A loaf of meat? Surely someone could have thought of a better name. Though isn’t it strange how no one reacts that way to meatballs, especially when a meatloaf and a meatball are so similar? Hmm.

Traditional meatloaf “mix” is packaged with beef and pork. But as I browsed around the Rutland Co-op last week, turkey caught my eye over pork.  I guess my turkey craving couldn’t wait for Thanksgiving. Mushrooms called to me as well and add an extra savory depth to the loaf. And that’s what I love about foods like meatloaf, meatballs and burgers – you can always play with the flavors.

Chopped onion, garlic, sage and thyme flavor the meat as well, while egg and breadcrumbs bind it all together. It’s really pretty simple to put together, that must have been why my mom relied on it so often. Once the meat is mixed it bakes unattended for nearly an hour.

meatloaf ingredients

The best tool for mixing meat is your hands. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty.

You don’t need a loaf pan for a meatloaf. It bakes up fine just shaped on a baking sheet. See the large flecks of onion? Yum. But if you’re not an onion fan, chop those up a bit more than I did here.

cider gravy
A little homemade gravy cannot be overlooked when serving meatloaf.  Just save some of the onion from the loaf, cook it with tomato paste, mustard and flour, reduce with apple cider and it’s good to go well before the meatloaf comes out of the oven. Or if you’re on top of your game and have the gravy made before the meatloaf is in the oven, spoon some over top before baking.

meatloaf

Beef, Turkey & Mushroom Meatloaf with Cider Mustard Gravy

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup bread crumbs (or 1 large slice of bread, chopped)
  • 2 cups broth (beef, turkey or vegetable)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 leaves sage, chopped
  • 8 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • A small bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a small bowl, pour one cup of the broth over the breadcrumbs and let sit for a minute as you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Combine the beef, turkey, mushrooms, half of the chopped onion, garlic, herbs and egg in a large bowl. Mix together with your hands and fold in the breadcrumbs. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Form the meat mixture into one large loaf or two smaller loaves on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of your loaf.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small pot cook the onion, tomato paste and mustard in a tablespoon of the oil. When onions have softened, about 5 minutes, sprinkle over the flour. Cook another minute, then add the remaining cup of broth and the cider. Simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes, then add in the parsley.
  7. Slice the meatloaf and serve with the gravy.

Leek and Potato Soup

Forget the cans. Homemade soups can be simple, delicious, and highly nutritious. Once a medieval peasant dish, leek and potato soup needs nothing more than the two vegetables in its name and thirty minutes to result in a soup worthy of any classy restaurant. Add a side of greens and some bread and you have dinner.

Leek and Potato Soup

serves 6

If you’ve never prepped leeks before, all you’re going to want to use are the whites and tender light green portions – like those in the cover photo.

leeks

3 cups sliced leeks (the white and tender greens, save the greens for a homemade vegetable broth)

3 cups peeled and roughly chopped baking potatoes

6 cups water or broth

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (optional)

1 small bunch of thyme (optional)

splash of cream or milk (optional)

In a stockpot combine the leeks, potatoes, salt, water/broth, and thyme, if using. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Although optional, at this point I like to puree the soup with a hand blender and, also optional, pour in a quick splash of cream or milk. Before serving, you could top with a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt, some thyme or chives would be nice too.

leekandpot