On the Local Flora and Fauna

I love everything about walking down our country road. (I must insert here that is with the singular exception of Chrysops niger, the deer fly, my arch nemesis.) I spotted a whole family of Dryocopus pileatus (the Pileated Woodpecker), crow-sized omnivorous birds with striking scarlet crests. These were largely unbothered by my presence as long as I was still. I also came upon two perching birds that seemed to be some type of flycatchers and less tolerant of my company.

The weather is beautiful here today. The highest temperature was something like 69°F, whereas the norm ought to be about 80°F. That’s not a complaint on my part, but the coolness and rain has left me looking prematurely to the autumn months.

On that note, my garden seems grateful for the massive amounts of rain that came from the sky in torrents yesterday. It’s beginning to look like a jungle, what with a copse of five foot tomato plants and the spaghetti squash decimating my poor marigolds. Nonetheless, the broccoli continues to produce as does the zucchini. I can now join the club of persons who have a metric ton of zucchini and not enough willing consumers. My saving grace has been a recipe my mother brought to my attention–a sort of lovely, moist carrot-zucchini-spice bread. It’s robust enough to serve as something a little more than a snack, fairly healthy, and tasty enough to serve as breakfast for a week straight. (Not that I’ve tried that experiment. Ahem.) Recipe included at the end of the post.

My next edible experiment is digging up some of the Cichorium intybus, also known as chicory or succory, which is prolific along the roadsides here. Apparently the greens are high in vitamin A and have been used for medicinal purposes time out of mind. My own desire is to try roasting the root for a sort of coffee substitute that was popular during the Civil War. I’ll letcha y’all know how it goes, hopefully with pictures.

 

 

“Spice Carrot-Zucchini Bread”

5 c. all purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 c. finely chopped/shredded carrots
2 c. finely chopped/shredded zucchini
1 1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 c. milk
4 eggs

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 70 mins
Makes 2 loaves (ish)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F & grease the bottom of your bread pans.Then shred, shred, shred your zucchini and carrots. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add shredded zucchini and carrots.

3. Add vegetable oil, milk, and eggs. Mix until the dry ingredients are moist, but don’t over-stir! Pour it into the pan and then desperately try to be patient as the glorious smell of spices waft from your oven. (Also, I always have a slight bit of batter left over which I make into a “baby” loaf. If you aren’t afraid of raw egg, it’s quite good enough to just eat with a spoon…)

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