my alarm went off at 9:00. time to make the zucchini bread! what i thought would be a simple matter of mixing the ingredients ended up taking me about an hour. last night i had the foresight of laying out all the things i need on the kitchen counter, but even then that didn't help me out too much.

i started by slicing the zucchini in half and using the food processor with the special attachment blade to shred the zucchini. i didn't know whether or not i should keep the skin so i cleaned it up with a peeler. the food processor made quick work out of the zucchini half, reducing it all to nice long strands that looked like pasta noodles. even though it was only half a zucchini, it still managed to produce 5-6 cups of shreds. i only needed 2 cups; the rest i put away in a container, to be used another time (or thrown away when it goes bad).

the recipe calls for mixing the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately before combining the two. for the dry: 3 cups of flour, 3 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 cups chopped walnuts. why it asked for both baking powder and baking soda i have no idea. i even looked it up online and still not quite sure what the difference is. as for the wet: i beat 3 eggs with a mixer, then beat in 1 cup of vegetable oil and 2 cups of sugar. i had just enough sugar for 2 cups, but only enough vegetable oil for 1/2. i have really old vegetable/canola oil that expired in 2008 so i figured it was most likely rancid. i ended up using 1/2 cup of olive oil that i had lying around. next came 2 tsp of vanilla extract and the 2 cups of shredded zucchini. i mixed the zucchini with a spoon because i didn't want to mash then up. i then pour in the dry mixture and mixed everything until it had an even consistency.

the recipe would make 2 8x4" loaves of bread, but i only had one loaf pan. the other half i pour into small half dozen bundt cake molds. my parents gave them to me when i first moved into my place. i like them better than muffin tins because i can get more crust. into the oven they went, baking at 325°F for 70 minutes. by then it was 10:15. the house smelled like heaven (scent of cinnamon and baking) and i was getting hungry, but saving myself for the zucchini bread.

when it was done, i tried a zucchini bread bundt cake. it was okay, sweet with a hint of cinnamon and sprinkled with walnuts, but it was impossible to tell what kind of bread it was. the zucchini had no taste, which is good, because i don't particularly like the taste of zucchini, but if it's so tasteless, why even bother putting it in the first place if not just for filler?

with bread still steaming, i wrapped them up, threw them in my motorcycle saddlebags, and rode off to belmont. my mother and sister tried them my zucchini bread. they said it was good, but my mother gave me a few suggestions: try adding some yogurt next time, to make the bread fluffier; or add some pineapples (i actually bought a can of pineapples but didn't add it because i wanted to see if i can get a purer flavor); bake for less time because the bread was a little dry.

there are certain vegetables grown at home that beat any supermarket bought varieties. tomatoes are a good example. however, there are also certain homegrown vegetables that can never compete with store bought ones. beets seem to be one of them. after more than 2 months growing underground, their shoulders were finally poking out of the dirt, meaning they're ready to harvest. of the roughly dozen beets i uprooted, none were bigger than radishes. compare that to the beets you in find stores, that are the size of apples. though they may lack in size, they might gain in taste; however, i didn't get a chance to eat them yet.

maybe it's just hotter upstairs, but hailey has developed a habit of sleeping in the basement, even when there are people home. she'll only come back upstairs during feeding time. i tried stopping her by closing the basement door, but she ended up sleeping out the door, and it was just too sad that i let her down in the basement again.

my sister made dinner. my mother told me her agreement with my sister, where she'd pay my sister $50 to make dinner saturdays and mondays. i told my mother this was a terrible idea because i don't particularly like my sister's cooking. tonight it was okay, some lamb stew, but i prefer my mother's homecooking.

the hungry tiger street festival was happening in union square tonight. "inspired by the night markets of the far east," there'd be food vendors and live entertainment. since i was on my motorcycle, it wasn't a big deal for me to swing around union square to take a quick peek to determine whether or not it was worth going. i just saw a lot of people. once i got back home, i changed my clothes before riding the bike back down to union square. it sounded more interesting than it actually was. it was so crowded with people, you wouldn't have known there were food vendors. the nearby parking lot was roped off and converted in a performance area where fire eaters and dancers were practicing their crafts. i stood on a park bench and watched a bit before growing bored and leaving.

my thermos-brand insulated urban elements bottle arrived today. it features thermos' patented thermax insulation and a 16 oz. capacity, the same size as my contigo travel mug. i was so excited when i got my contigo but soon discovered it has a few shortcomings: the no-leak spout lid isn't insulated, so it loses its insulation that way; and because the way the spout is designed, it's really easy to burn your tongue when drinking something hot because there's no way to gauge the temperature until it enters your mouth. in the meantime, i've been searching for an insulated bottle that will insulate my drink entirely, top to bottom. i thought i found it in the urban elements. shaped like a silver missile, it looked very promising. the flip-up lid has a recessed cavity where a small amount of liquid can pool, so i can determine beforehand the temperature. as for the stainless steel cup (which functions as a cap), i can't tell if it's insulated. i poured in some cold water and it kept things pretty cold, but the top of the bottle felt cold as well, which can only mean it's not insulated all the way. so the urban elements didn't pass 1 of 2 tests. it's still not a bad partially insulated bottle for $10.1

Janet Jackson - "Nasty"

1 i'm going to revise what i said. the urban elements might be entirely insulated after all. with the outer cap in place, it's almost impossible to feel the temperature of what's inside, except a very minute amount along the edge of the cap. i poured in some boiling as a test, will leave it overnight and see what temperature it is tomorrow morning. i might've found the holy grail of insulated bottles!