Saturday, July 18, 2015

Road Trip Back to the 50s: Kokomo's 50s Diner

One of our favorite things to do is, of course, eat. One a recent trip I spotted a copy of Anita Musgrove's Tennessee Back Road Restaurant Recipes: A Cookbook and Restaurant Guide. It has a selection of small-town restaurants separated according to the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee. A quick look gave me the idea to use this as a sort of road map for some Saturday afternoon road trips.

One warning about the book: be alert as you read. We were looking for dishes made from the recipes in the book but discovered that some of the restaurants list "family favorites" and "local favorites" instead of actual restaurant recipes.

We took the first today, heading toward the Tennessee River. Our first stop was a the Toll House Restaurant in Savannah. My open-faced steak sandwich was unremarkable, but Jim ordered a loaded baked potato with chopped chicken and barbecue sauce. It was huge and he really enjoyed it. We were surprised to find they were out of desserts at Saturday lunch, so we headed to another place featured in Musgrove's book, Kokomo's 50s Diner in Adamsville, Tennessee.

What a great surprise! First off, we were greeted with the aroma of luscious hamburgers and decor straight out of, well, the 50s! Since we were only there for dessert we ordered a caramel sundae and a hot brownie cake sundae. Wow! They were a perfect treat on a wickedly hot day.

It was a lovely trip, showing us, again, the value of eating at local restaurants.

What about you? Where is your next gastronomic road trip?


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Zucchini Undercover: Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Freeze pureed or shredded zucchini
 in recipe-sized batches.
Around this time of year, the zucchini is in full crop. In fact, some folks have reported finding bags of zucchini abandoned on their doorsteps! Okay, maybe not, but if you're wondering what to do with all of that zucchini goodness, try this Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread. It's based on recipes from colagal at and the Cooking Channel. I've sort of spruced them up and here's the result:

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 cups pureed zucchini
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup olive oil (NOT EVOO)
2 t. vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
2 t. baking powder (low-sodium, aluminum-free)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups chopped pecans (optional-reserve 1/2 cup for topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil 2 loaf pans.

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, olive oil and vanilla extract until well-mixed, then mix in zucchini. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. Add zucchini mixture and stir until just mixed. Do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans, then turn into prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle nuts over loaves.

Two loaves fresh from the oven (no, there are no pecans).
Bake for 55 minutes to an hour. Cool pans on rack for about 30 minutes, then turn loaf onto rack. Wrap well and store in refrigerator for up to a week (I guess; we've never had a loaf last that long!) or freeze.

Who would have thought that zucchini could be so yummy! Enjoy!

What's cooking in your Savory kitchen?