Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Using up the Zucchini

August has passed and the end of gardening season is upon us. It was a late start, with the lack of hot nights in the early part of summer, a lot of the plants just didn't get the opportunity to flourish. The tomatoes, for example, never really turned color except for one or two weeks. Instead, the green tomatoes I kept hoping beyond hope would ripen started rotting on the vine. Near the start of fall though, things really started to get going. Especially the squash. We have more squash now that we know what to do with, of both zucchini and scallop/patty pan varieties. There's plenty of kohlrabi and the tomatilloes are finally filling in their husks. The peppers are coming in and sadly, a large rabbit has completely obliterated the broccoli.

In the front yard, there is chocolate mint. Oh is there chocolate mint. And I have been delighting in mint tea, with and without chamomile. Since the chamomile never grew in, I have to use tea bags to get my chamomile fix. The mint leaves, though, I just pluck off the stem, give a wash, and throw in my Teatanic tea infuser, a lovely novelty gift given to me by a friend who shares my love of bad puns.

It sinks every time.

To use up my plethora of zucchini, I decided it was finally time to try out the recipe for zucchini chocolate chip cookies from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle, one of my favorite books on food and eating whose website features an easy print version of the recipe, which I have conveniently included above.

We also took this opportunity to use our handy food processor for the first time ever. It was a wedding present, I do believe, but since we lived in an apartment when we got hitched, there was no counter space with which to use the food processor and it was just relegated off in a cabinet, never to be used. When we moved into our house, it sat there on the counter and I would say, "You know, honey, you should really use the food processor to shred that" and the husband would poo-poo and say it was easier to just do it with our manual shredder.

I'll have you know, I was right. He was wrong. And we have much shredded zucchini bagged and stuffed in the freezer for future use. The cookies were delicious.

And because I had a family reunion to attend in which a dish to pass is required and a mass of shredded zucchini. I baked some zucchini bread too, using my mother's recipe, passed down from her mother. The best thing about these sorts of recipes is that they give no real instruction and often interesting directions. For example, I had to call my mother and ask if by "Crisco oil" she meant "Crisco" as in shortening or vegetable oil. She meant vegetable oil. Why it was necessary to specify a name brand, I leave for you to ponder, but I have left off the name brand placements in my recipe here.

Mom's Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I tend to be more liberal with my cinnamon)
1 c chopped nuts (optional)

Mix together in a bowl, pour into two greased bread pans, and bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for one hour, or until the top is firm and golden brown.

Easy peasy and delicious. Some of my more modern recipes in the recipe box require stapling on an extra index card to fit all the instructions. Not the good, old-fashioned recipes of my childhood. They usually contain no instructions at all on the back, just a list of ingredients on the front with a notation for the number of degrees for the oven and length of time in which the baked good should remain in said oven. That's all and sometimes, it's all you should need: a boatload of shredded zucchini, some bread pans, and a list of ingredients.

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