Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Suzy Homemaker? So NOT!

Tonight (which, since it's now after midnight, would technically be last night) I decided to make Zucchini Bread. Not just any zucchini bread, mind you; gluten-free zucchini bread. It’s not that I have to eat gluten-free, it’s just that my doctor wants me to cut back on my wheat intake AND I still have that pesky soy and dairy allergy so I thought why not try it?

It all started with a cookbook that I asked for, and received, for my birthday. (Thanks Adam and Heidi.) The book is called “Allergy-Free Desserts” by Elizabeth Gordon. It was the yummy looking cupcakes on the cover that suckered me in. Clearly Elizabeth loves to bake. Me? Not so much. But, I do love to eat baked goods and sometimes the only way to accomplish that goal is to actually bake. I decided to start with zucchini bread for a few reasons; 1. Zucchini is in season, 2.) I like zucchini bread but haven’t had it for years (ever since I grew out of my Suzy homemaker stage), 3. I figured it would be a good way to get some vegetables into my body since that is a challenge for me, and 4. The recipe looked fairly uncomplicated. Ha! So wrong little baker girl.

I should have known I was going to be in trouble when I went to the grocery store yesterday. I had to ask another patron if the zucchini was actually zucchini and not cucumbers. I have a hard time telling the difference. Adam once brought home a veggie pizza (pre-dairy-free days) from Papa Murphy’s and when I looked at it I said “who in the world would puts cucumbers on a pizza?” What can I say? I’m not a vegetable girl. So, let me give you a brief run-down of tonight’s festivities in the kitchen. In an attempt to keep it brief, don’t expect complete sentences. The fun started around 8:15 PM. This will become important later in the story.

  • Decide to make zucchini bread
  • Hunt down Allergy-Free Dessert cookbook (Where did I put it?)
  • Thank John for locating cookbook hiding under my purse.
  • Decide I’ll share some of my bread with my neighbor who has Celiac Disease and can’t eat gluten (again, this will be important later.)
  • Find large mixing bowl for the base flour ingredients. (This base is used for many recipes in the book so pre-mixing a large portion will save me HUGE amounts of time later. Or so I’m told.)
  • Mix base flours together.
  • Realize I need an apron
  • Find apron - note that it will need to be washed before I use it again.
  • Look for loaf pan. Find it in freezer with a chicken dinner in it for later use.
  • Call neighbor to see if I can borrow her loaf pan.
  • Take off dirty apron
  • Walk across the street to neighbor’s house, get pan and head back home after a little chit chat.
  • Put dirty apron back on – again noting that it now seems even dirtier.
  • Follow directions to pre-heat oven and grease pan with canola oil
  • Get small bowl out to mix water with flaxseed meal (I know, it’s already sounding yummy, right?)
  • Look for a large bowl in which to mix the dry ingredients while noting that I’m going to need my stand mixer for the next part which means I can’t use the bowl from said mixer.
  • Wonder how many bowls Elizabeth things I own?
  • Pull out stand mixer so I’m prepared for next step.
  • Realize that the stand mixer has white flour rather encrusted on it from years of poor care (what can I say, I’m left Suzy homemaker behind, remember?)
  • Decide if I’m going to share with my neighbor I’ll need to clean it up so as not to contaminate the bread.
  • Find ice pick to get the dried on flour out of what I assume are vent holes.
  • Wonder how much poking I can do without doing damage to myself or mixer?
  • Unplug mixer before proceeding with ice pick.
  • Bring the “head” of the mixer down to get out loosened flour. A whole bunch comes off.
  • Note that there is still more encrusted flour to remove.
  • Poke around again.
  • Repeat above process and rather "firmly" move head up and down.
  • Notice a little plastic piece that has fallen from somewhere and decide to just give up the sharing with the neighbor idea. I don’t want to make him ill and clearly this mixer isn’t safe.
  • Try to put beaters into stand mixer.
  • Realize the little plastic piece is actually an important part of the operation. It seems to be an integral part of holding the beaters in place.
  • Take mixer to garbage can (it was never all that great anyway and it is, after all, 35 years old this month.)
  • Pull out hand mixer and pray it’ll do the trick.
  • Back to the bowl issue - Find a round baking dish that will suffice for dry ingredients – mix them together.
  • Read next part of directions realizing - a wee bit too late - that the sugar (which is now mixed with the flour) was supposed to be creamed together with the oil BEFORE adding the flaxseed mixture and dry ingredients.
  • Again, pray that this will still work.
  • Add remaining ingredients taking special precautions not to lick my fingers. At least I read THAT warning before starting the whole procedure. Apparently gluten-free foods don’t taste good before they are baked.
  • Pour mixture into pre-greased pan at 9:15.
  • Check cookbook for baking time. 90 MINUTES! Yikes! And then 45 minutes to cool before taking it out of the pan.
  • Realize it’ll be a late night
  • Wait, and wait, and wait.
  • 11:45 – remove bread from pan realizing there is no way I’ll be able to wait for breakfast to taste it.
  • Slice a piece off. Apply dairy-free “buttery” spread and taste.
  • YUM!
The baking adventure was a success! Not only did I produce some great tasting bread, I cleared up all that cupboard space that the mixer was hogging. Of course, if I’m to continue in this current Suzy homemaker direction, I might need to hunt down a new mixer. Or, I could just hire a cook. It might be cheaper.


Marlana said...

Oh my, too funny! I'm so glad it all turned out at the end. And I'm glad you didn't contaminate your neighbor or lick your fingers :)

Sarah N. said...

I couldn't help but to actually laugh out loud while reading this! You are hilarious Nancy!

Julie said...

Ok, good laughs! If you decide you need a dessert, I'd hate for you to go through all that again. May I suggest you meet me at the Bittersweet Bakery in Eagan for some gf/non dairy baked goods? Their carrot cake muffins are to die for (and you'd be getting the veggies in)! And I'll bet we could get out of there in less than 3 hours! But could easily drop $20 on goodies to bring home for the ...ahem..."Family"!