moist and sweet zucchini cake with streusel topping

It's that time of year when the zucchinis suddenly spring up from "I'll pick it tomorrow", to "where did that come from" overnight.
That's what's happening in my garden!
This recipe will take care of one good sized (about 9" zucchini) shredded and drained. I make all my food gluten-free, but if you use wheat flour, you shouldn't add the xanthan gum.
Delicious and moist, this cake is the best zucchini cake I've ever tried. 
1. Preheat oven to 350F & line the cake pan with parchment paper,
2. weigh out butter + coconut oil and warm gently,
3. grate the zucchini and let it drain in a sieve.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add the melted oils and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Squeeze the water out of the drained grated zucchini and mix well into the batter. Pour into prepared cake pan.
Mix Streusel ingredients with a pastry knife until butter is incorporated.
sprinkle Streusel topping over cake until even and place in 350F oven for 50 minutes.

2 1/2 cups Gluten free flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

4 eggs
1/2 cup gently melted butter
1/2 cup gently melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini, drained and the moisture squeezed out before measuring

Streusel topping:
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup quick oats
3/4 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup gluten-free flour
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper.
Grate zucchini and set in a sieve to drain. Over very low heat melt the butter and coconut oil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until fluffy, add the oils and vanilla and beat another couple minutes. Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Squeeze the moisture out of the grated zucchini and add. Stir well.
Spoon into the prepared cake pan.
Mix the streusel topping in a medium bowl with a pastry knife or your fingers until crumbly and the butter is well incorporated. Sprinkle evenly over the cake.
Bake at 350F for 50 - 55 minutes or until a tester inserted near the middle comes out clean.

Fresh Apple Cake

First apples of the season for us are the Transparent Apples. They are delicious, but not my favourite to eat raw. They make the smoothest, easiest apple sauce, and this fabulous cake.

3 cups Gluten-free flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp guar gum

3 eggs beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup butter

4 Transparent apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside
Gently melt the coconut oil and butter together and add to the eggs and vanilla.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Add the apples and mix.
Pour into prepared pan.
Place in the middle of preheated oven and bake 60 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool in the pan on a rack for 1/2 hour before removing from the pan. It's a little fragile when hot. 

Bonus recipe: Apple Sauce
Wash and quarter a big bowl of apples. No need to peel or core if you have a food mill. Otherwise, I would suggest getting an "Apple Master" to peel, core and slice the apples.
Place apple pieces in a large, heavy-bottom pot with 1/2 cup of water. Cover. Cook gently, stirring once in a while until it boils and the apples start to melt.
Turn off the heat and let sit, covered until they are quite mushy.
Run through a food mill to remove the peels and cores. Add honey or sugar and cinnamon to taste.

Gluten-free Lemon Muffins

Super simple and absolutely delicious. I had to reassure my family that they are gluten-free!

1 1/4 cup Gluten-free flour
1/4 cup corn starch (or tapioca starch)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs
3/4 cup mayonnaise (or sour cream)
6 Tbsp butter, melted
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix for Glaze:
1 cup icing sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp melted butter

Preheat oven to 425 F. 
Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Stir them together just until mixed. Fill 12 muffin cups just about full. 
Put them in the hot oven at 425 F for just 3 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 F for 15 minutes.
Cool a few minutes before drizzling with lemon glaze.

Kale Caesar Salad

Kale is the one veggie I can rely on all year round in my garden, and although some of my friends consider it a weed, I love it. Kale chips, steamed kale, shredded into stir-fries, but especially salad.
This is the best Kale Caesar Salad recipe I have ever done, so give it a try while the plants are still tender. YUMMY!

2 big handfuls of kale leaves (about 2 quarts)
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 anchovy fillets, minced (about 1 Tbsp anchovy paste)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 green onion, sliced thinly

Remove the thick stems from the kale. Roll the leaves into little bundles, and slice into 1/4 inch strips. If there are any florets, chop them in as well. Toss in olive oil and let stand to soften the leaves while you make the dressing.
Mix mayonnaise, anchovies, garlic, cheese, Worcestershire and lemon juice. Stir into the kale (you may have to use your hands) and then sprinkle the green onions slices on top.
Some people add croutons, but it's not my choice. 

pudding and cookies

We love eggs! This time of year we are getting eggs from our chickens, ducks and turkeys, so we have lots of eggs. These two recipes I always make at the same time, because it uses up the yolks for the vanilla pudding, and the whites for the meringue cookies. Two of Will's favourite desserts. Enjoy!


Meringue Cookies

3 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Dash salt
2/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 250°.
Separate three room temperature eggs. Set aside the yolks for pudding. Put the egg whites in a small bowl with vanilla, cream of tartar & salt. Beat with mixer on medium until they look frothy. Turn the mixer to high and add the sugar slowly, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep on mixing until stiff & glossy.... about five minutes.
With your largest cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper.
Using a pastry bag & large start tip (or like I did the first few times, cut a tiny star in the corner of a food-safe plastic bag) Pipe 1 1/2  inch cookies. I do them pretty close because my cookie sheet isn't very large and I want to do these in one go!
Bake for about 40 minutes. Turn off the oven. Leave the door shut until cooled completely. Usually an hour or two is fine.
Remove from cookie sheet when absolutely cool. Store in air-tight containers. Makes about 5 dozen.


Vanilla Pudding

1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 cups coconut milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in saucepan. Slowly add coconut milk, stirring with a whisk. Heat to a boil over medium heat. Boil for one minute.
Mix egg yolks in small bowl. Slowly add the hot pudding mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended. Pour back into the saucepan and reheat over medium. Boil one minute. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut oil and vanilla.
Pour into dessert dishes and chill.
Makes 4 servings 4 oz each. 

Venison Sausages

Will got a new (used) crossbow and on his first hunting trip with this bow, with his first arrow, he managed to get a Texada Island black tail deer. These Texada deer are very small, but big enough for him to cube 15 pounds of meat for sausage making.
The next cool thing that happened was that our friend Patches sold us one of his young heritage pigs for roasting, but instead, we cut it up to make two hind quarter roasts, ribs and then cut the front shoulders into 15 pounds of sausage meat as well.
Yesterday I ground and mixed these meats, and made three fabulous kinds of sausages!

Be sure to keep everything very cold while working.
With a medium plate on your grinder, grind the meats together.
Mix the seasonings and spices with the liquid. Pour over the ground meat and mix thoroughly.
Refrigerate 4 hours to set the seasonings.
Remix and either stuff into casings or divide into one pound packages.
Label and freeze.

Smoked Breakfast Sausages
7 1/2 lbs venison
7 1/2 lbs fatty pork
250 ml jar smoked pickled peppers, minced (including the juice)
2 Tbsp pickling salt
2 Tbsp poultry seasoning
2 Tbsp ground pepper

Drunken Deer Sausages
2 1/2 lbs venison
2 1/2 lbs fatty pork
1/2 cup brandy
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp pickling salt
1 Tbsp ground pepper
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger

5 lbs venison
5 lbs fatty pork
4 eggs
2/3 cup gluten free panko
1 1/2 Tbsp pickling salt
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

Almond Crusted Halibut

We served this tonight with spinach salad and gluten-free pasta with a light mushroom & veggie sauce. So delicious! 

4 serving sized pieces of halibut
1/2 cup almond slices, chopped finely
2 Tbsp millet flour
2 Tbsp corn meal
2 Tbsp tapioca flour
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
zest of 2 lemons
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted butter
juice from the other lemon reserved for finishing

In a small bowl, mix finely chopped almonds, millet flour, corn meal, tapioca flour, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and melted butter.
Pat the halibut dry with a paper towel and season with salt & pepper.
Preheat the broiler and set the rack a few inches below.
Heat a large oven-safe pan on high. Add a little vegetable oil, then sear the halibut for about a minute or so per side (depending upon thickness) until it is nearly done. 
Top each piece with 1/4 of the almond crust mixture.
Place the skillet in the oven to brown under the broiler. Do NOT walk away. It will go from uncooked, to perfect, to burned before you know it!
Squeeze the other lemon over the fish.
Serve right away.