Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dealing with the Plethora, IV

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This recipe is my adaptation of a recipe in the G.M. Girl's Club Cookbook. It is probably best to use a stand mixer to put this one together.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease (well) and flour a Bundt pan, or a 9x13" cake pan.

Cream together in large bowl:
3/4 cup margarine (or butter)
3 eggs
2 cups sugar

Beat in:
1/4 cup orange juice (or lemon juice)
1/2 cup milk
2 t. vanilla extract (substitute coconut extract for a rich flavor)

Stir in:
2 cups grated zucchini (I've used up to 3 or 4 cups of zucchini, and it doesn't seem to be a problem)

Sift together in a separate bowl, then stir into wet ingredients:
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon

Optional stir ins:
1 cup chopped nuts or chocolate chips

Spread evenly in pan, then bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until it tests done with a toothpick.
Frost the cooled cake, or not. I don't think it needs any additions, except if you really wanted to splurge on the calories, add ice cream and warm chocolate sauce.

NOTE: A great version I made years ago and jotted down included additions of raspberry flavored chips, 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped, and 1/4 t. peppermint extract.

Dealing with the Plethora, III

Zucchini for lunch?
Here's a great recipe for a zucchini bread that I love to eat spread with peanut butter. The added sunflower nuts (shelled seeds) make it special. For many years I made your typical zucchini bread with walnuts or occasionally with raisins, but I like this better!

(I started posting this yesterday, along with the other zuke recipes ... but then K and A arrived, and we went off to play. The girls loved sandwiches made with this bread. They spread their own peanut butter and jam, to the PB&Jelly song ... what fun!)

(Warning! A (gasp!) Political Note on my 'happy talk' blog:
I also appreciate the fact that this recipe calls for sunflower oil, a healthy alternative to the Genetically Modified - sourced oils such as soy, corn and canola that I no longer use. I believe in voting with my wallet, which is why I don't shop at Wallymart or eat at fast food chain restaurants. So kill me.)

Sunflower Zucchini Bread
Source: Country Living Gardener magazine (1993)

1 3/4 cup unsifted flour (I use spelt when I have it)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a loaf pan (I use a minimal amount of shortening to stick wax paper to line my loaf pans. Never have a problem with sticking.)

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine dry ingredients, then stir in peel, raisins and sunflower nuts.
In a separate measuring cup combine the shredded zucchini with the wet ingredients.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated.
Spread batter into the loaf pan and bake 55-60 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.

Cool bread in pan for at least 10 minutes, then on wire rack until cool.

Dealing with the Plethora, II

Zucchini for breakfast?
Sure, zucchini fritters are just another name for pancakes if you serve them with maple syrup or fruit jam.

A recipe? Just take your old favorite corn fritter or potato latke recipe and substitute shredded, drained zucchini for the corn or potato.
If you're making them to serve as a side for dinner, serve with a dash of salt and pepper, no syrup. When we ate hot, fresh Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) on the street in front of the wonderful Medieval cathedral in Koln, Germany, they were served with applesauce.

Here's how I make Easy Zucchini Fritters:

Put a couple of cups of shredded zucchini (and/or summer squash), squeezed to drain well, in a bowl. Stir in an egg or two. Beat in enough biscuit mix to make it look like a very thick pancake batter.
Like any fritter measure by 1/4 cups into hot oil and fry on both sides.
Keep warm on a paper towel and serve hot.

Dealing with the Plethora

... of zucchini.

The best thing about using a microwave oven in the summer is that you can steam veggies in no time at all, and you don't add a lot of humidity to an already humid afternoon. Three minute corn on the cob? Wrap 1-4 shucked cob(s) in a sheet of paper toweling, wet it, place it in the microwave oven and cook on HI for 3 minutes.
No pot of boiling water, no humidity.
Believe me, if you have always lived in an air conditioned home, you are one of The Lucky, and you should count your blessings.
But on to the topic of the day, zucchini, a gift from the garden that keeps on giving.

We've been backyard veggie gardeners since before the days when it wasn't 'kewl', and after I finally relented to modernism and let the guys add a microwave to the kitchen remodeling plan back in the late eighties (after our third son was born and life was hectic) I adapted the following zucchini recipe from an old Flint, Michigan Junior League's cookbook.

Cheezy Zucchini Casserole
4-5 servings

2-3 cups zucchini, diced

Microwave zuke on HI in a covered bowl with a small amount of water (1/4 cup?) about 5 minutes. Stir and nuke again a few minutes if needed, until tender but not mushy. Pour into a colander and drain well.

Combine, in the bowl:

1 egg
1 Tblsp. flour (heaping)
1/2 - 3/4 cup sour cream (I use my homemade Greek yogurt, but don't tell Herb)
1 - 1 1/2 cup shredded cheese, your choice
1/2 cup bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

Stir it all together, then fold in the zucchini.
(At this point you can refrigerate it to finish later, but it will need another minute of cooking in the following step.)
Microwave on HI for 3 minutes. Stir lightly, then sprinkle with more crumbled bacon or buttered bread crumbs, and microwave for about 2 more minutes.

And remember to pick your zucchini while they're still small!