Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Zucchini, Zucchini, Zucchini!

Now that I’m done making pickles, it’s time to move on to other blessings from the garden--like zucchini, the huge baseball bat variety from my sister’s garden in Iowa. She gave me four of them, but one was already spoiled when I cut into it on Sunday afternoon. So that left me “only” three of these giants to carve and shred for baking…When they get to be this big, they don’t work for anything but baking. The seeds inside were so large that I roasted them like pumpkin seeds!

I shredded five quarts of zucchini, used one right away and froze the remaining four. It was a tough job because of the thick rind, which had to be carved away before I could cut the flesh inside into chunks for my food processor. And it was messy with all that grated zucchini going into quart-sized freezer bags. But it’s done now, and we’re enjoying the fruit of the labor this week.

I used three cups to make chocolate chip zucchini bread—a recipe that I should add to this blog in case anyone else is interested in trying it. It’s lower in fat than most zucchini bread recipes I’ve had because half the fat is replaced with applesauce. And because of the chocolate base, it looks and tastes more like cake than anything containing a vegetable. In fact, when I bring it to potlucks my husband usually coaxes me not to tell anyone about the zucchini…just let them think it’s something decadent, he says.

The remaining cup I made into lemon zucchini muffins, a new recipe I found in a cookbook. To be honest, I wasn’t terribly impressed with the muffins when I tried them that first day. The lemon zest taste didn’t permeate enough and, though I’m usually in favor of reducing sugar, the muffins also lacked in sweetness. But this morning, two days later, I had one for breakfast and there was definite improvement. I think everything must have mellowed well because my muffin this morning tasted both sweeter and more lemony.

So I might make that muffin recipe again, though I will probably fiddle with it as I’m mixing the batter. It originally called for lemon zest or lemon oil, but I might try using both the next time. And I might also substitute honey for the sugar, and then decrease the oil just a bit. And possibly, I would use whole wheat flour for a fraction of the white, though I did like the light golden yellow color of the muffins so it might be best to leave that part alone and just accept that they’re going to be more like cupcakes.

Another recipe I’m going to alter a bit in the near future is one for chocolate zucchini muffins that I found on the Mama’s Fixins blog. I really enjoy the recipes she posts there, but I can’t resist trying out my applesauce for oil substitution to see if it works as well as it does with my chocolate zucchini bread. I’ll use a 50/50 split of oil and applesauce, and I think I might also substitute baking cocoa for the chocolate called for in the original recipe. That will necessitate adding a little more sugar and a little more oil/applesauce, but I think it might make a good substitution since I like the way the baking cocoa works in the chocolate zucchini bread.

One of these days soon, I need to write about something other than food. In addition to cooking, I like to embroider, crochet, knit, sew, and quilt. I love to read a good book. And for exercise, I’m into walking and swimming. But I guess this part of the summer tends to be dominated by garden produce. Hopefully, next Sunday I’ll be able to get away from the kitchen long enough to play in the sewing room.


USAincognito said...

Food is always a good topic to write about! lol. ;)
Glad to hear you are finding some recipes to use with all the zucchini given to you. Zucchini bread and fried zucchini are my two favorite ways of eating that vegetable. Mmmm.... ;)

Karen said...

Thank you again for the encouraging words. Would it be possible for me to use your first name or a nickname to address you? I enjoy the dialogue, but it would be nice to have a name, even if it's an pen name for use in email...In any case, your fried zucchini sounds good, too. I might have to try that if I can get to farmer's market to buy some smaller zucchini. Other than cornmeal, how do you make your fried zucchini?

USAincognito said...

I usually slice up the zucchini in thin round strips. Then I dunk it into milk (or you can use a beaten egg) before coating in the conrmeal. I just use a plain deep frying pan on the stovetop with a ton of vegetable oil to fry up the zucchini. Pretty quick and simple. :)
Some of my friends call me "Princess" or "Shorty" or "Smiley" - but some in the blog world just call me "Inc" for short.
If you want to correspond via email at all, that would be fine. :) I would post mine on here but I know how people browse blogs. If you have the email button selected on your posts, I will send you a quick email with my email contact info. ;)

Karen said...

Thanks for the recipe, Shorty...I guess, of all of the nicknames that you mentioned, that seems like the easiest to use.

USAincognito said...

lol. That works! :)
I was going to send an email your way but I guess you don't have the email button on your posts. That's okay!
Well, I am off to make some coffee and whip up some biscuits and gravy.

Karen said...

I guess I don't know how to add an email button to my site. Can you tell me how to do that? I'm still learning how to do most things. In fact, I just figured out this how to add photos...Now, if I just had a digital camera so that I could take photos of what I make. Especially when I start to write about my craft projects, I would like to be able to post photos...Maybe I'll think about that for a gift request next year.

USAincognito said...

I have no clue how to add that button! lol. I am still trying to figure out this blog thing, too. I am so much better at law enforcement stuff and training horses! ;)