Monday, October 19, 2009

Zuchinni Mania!

Today was a Zucchini Bread day. In the fall, during "zucchini season" we have a sort of joke around here - always keep your car doors locked while you're in church. If you don't, your car will be stuffed full of zucchini when you come out! I never could figure out why every fall people have so many zucchinis from their garden, they practically offer to pay you to take them away. You'd think they would plant less the next year. But I'm sure not complaining because I have been the fortunate recipient of the abundance and generosity of over-exuberant zucchini growers!

Zucchini is a very versatile vegetable. It's mild flavor makes it adaptable to a wide variety of recipes, whether they are spicey, salty or sweet. It goes well with other vegetables and with meats, or in cakes and breads. I've come across a lot of recipes for chocolate zucchini cakes, cookies and brownies. You can bake it like squash or add it to a soup. My husband loves some chopped up in his chunky spaghetti sauce. Here are a few of my favorite things to do with zucchini:

Fried Zucchini
I dip the slices in raw egg and then in bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan cheese and whatever seasonings sound good to me that day - usually a little seasoned salt, or sea salt with a dash of garlic powder and some Parsley flakes. Then I fry them up with olive oil.

Veggie Cakes
These are so good! My Mother-in-law invented this great idea. I shred any combination of fresh veggies that I have in my refrigerator at the time; like potatoes, jicama, carrots, turnips, bell peppers, finely chopped broccoli, celery and of course, zucchini. Add enough eggs to make the mixture very wet and sloppy. Be generous with the eggs because they hold the rest together when it cooks. Depending on what veggies you used, select salt and other seasonings to taste. Put about 3/4 c. of mixture on a griddle or in a skillet and spread it out like a thick pancake. I use my electric griddle so I can make 8 or 10 at a time. Let it fry until golden brown, flip over and repeat. When I turn them, I also sprinkle grated cheese on top. It melts while the cake finishes cooking. These are so good and maybe a good healthy way to get fresh veggies down your kids that aren't vegetable fans.

Almost everyone with a garden has a good Zucchini Bread recipe. I certainly haven't tried them all, but of those I have, I've got a favorite. It's a little more flavorful than some and always moist. It came from my Great Aunt Evelyn who won a blue ribbon at the Umatilla County Fair with it!

Zucchini Bread

3 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
1 c. oil or melted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. raw shredded zucchini, unpeeled
1 c. nuts (optional)

Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the eggs, oil or butter, vanilla and zucchini. Mix well. Pour into 2 greased and lightly floured 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 60 minutes. Cool and slice.

You can only eat so many zucchini entrées at once, so the rest you can shred and put in the freezer. I freeze it in 2 cup quantities in Freezer Ziplocks. Then you can enjoy your zucchini all winter long!

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