Sunday, August 31, 2014

Going out of my Gourd: A Zummer of Zucchini

Hello? Who is this? Mother Nature, you say?
thanks to Intern Elizabeth for letting me take these with my iTouch

You want me to what?
Pick the Zucchini?
It's growing out of control?
1 bucket full just of cucumbers and one bucket full of zucchini from the office garden; 
1 morning's harvest to be joined by the pile on the table from the superintendent's garden

I mean, we're trying to harvest them before they grow out of control ... but
there's only so much you can do when you are getting zucchini the size of babies.
I'm not kidding. This one was 5 lbs and 7 ozs. I weighed it on the postage scale.
And when you are going of your gourd on zucchini, you get a little silly after a while.
photos: courtesy of Christine's iPhone; Emma is proud mom and Auntie Tahra is cooing in delight

So you bake, share, bake, share, and share some more.

left: traditional zucchini bread from ye old-Better Homes and Garden recipe book (see below)
right: Chocolate Zucchini Cake from Summer 2014 Penzey's Spices Catalog

Zucchini Bread

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, white
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar, white
1 cup finely shredded unpeeled zucchini (I peel mine)
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a mixing bowl combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg. In another mixing bowl combine sugar, shredded zucchini, cooking oil, egg, and lemon peel; mix well. Add flour mixture; stir just until combined. Stir in chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into a greased 8x4x2-inch loaf pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes or till a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Remove bread from the pan; cool thoroughly on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 1 loaf (16 servings).

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake from John and Lois Thomas

  • 1/2 Cup margarine or butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 13/4 Cups sugar
  • 1/2 Cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup buttermilk or sour milk (1/2 Cup milk plus 1 tsp. white vinegar = sour milk)
  • 21/2 Cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Cups grated zucchini, peeled if desired, drained (about 2 medium)
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 Cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 325° (for a glass pan) or 350° (for a metal pan). In a mixing bowl, cream together the room temperature margarine/butter and sugar. Add the oil, eggs, VANILLA and buttermilk and mix well. In a small bowl, combine the flour, COCOA, baking soda, CINNAMON and salt. Gradually add to the wet ingredients and mix well. Fold in the zucchini. Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and nuts over the top of the cake. Bake at 325° for 45-50 minutes or at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Let cool before cutting.

Prep. time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 35-50 minutes
Serves: 12-15

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Today's creation is destined for chivalrous neighbor Darryl who always insists on holding the door for me (even though "I know you are a strong, independent, and capable woman, I have to do this. My mama [said with a Southern-inflection] would be angry at me if I didn't.") and graciously admiring my "confidence" and silver streaks. The smells coming out of my oven were an interesting counterpoint to the nasty and quick summer rain monsoon and wafts of ozone from oh-that-was-too-close-unplug-everything lightning that were coming in my window about 2 hours ago.

From Betty Crocker website: 

Cinnamon-Topped Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread


  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (2 to 3 medium) [Or 1 ginormous one, cut down to get most of the seeds out]
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups Gold Medal™ whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • Topping

  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter or margarine

  • Directions

    1. Move oven rack to low position so tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans or 1 (9x5-inch) loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray. 
    2. In large bowl, stir zucchini, 1 2/3 cups sugar, the oil, vanilla and eggs until well mixed. Stir in remaining bread ingredients; mix well. Divide batter evenly between 8-inch pans or pour into 9-inch pan.  
    3. In small bowl, mix topping ingredients with fork until crumbly. For 8-inch loaves, sprinkle evenly over batter in both pans. For 9-inch loaf, sprinkle over batter in pan. 
    4. Bake 8-inch loaves 50 to 60 minutes, 9-inch loaf 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on cooling rack 10 minutes.  
    5. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on cooling rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

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