The mighty zucchini!!!!
Those of you who know me well were probably expecting this post to happen at some point. It’s not so much that I love zucchini, but more that I seem to have an abundance of it growing in my garden (and frozen in my freezer) and am always looking for new ways to cook it. Now, I like zucchini well enough to fry it up with a few onions and mushrooms and eat it as a yummy side dish, but, alas, my husband is not a lover of vegetables so it is always my goal and challenge to find ways of cooking them that make them palatable to him. Meaning no disrespect to him, the recipes I have discovered might also be handy for children who do not like to eat vegetables! I do love zucchini as a garden vegetable though – it really is a satisfying thing to grow. With its big beautiful leaves, and continual crop of fruit from August to frost, it really makes you feel like a successful gardener with very little work. The trick is not to plant too many plants (we only have three this year) or you will end up leaving them on your friends front porches, ringing the doorbell, and running away (or so I’ve been told.) I like to pick mine while they are still small – but I have sometimes let a day or two go by between visiting the garden and end up with giant zucchinis (maybe some day they will have giant zucchini festivals like they do for giant pumpkins and I can win a prize )
So…why eat zucchini (or courgette as the are referred to in British cookbooks)? It is full of folate, potassium, vitamin A, and manganese. It can be cooked in a variety of ways and is excellent added to baked goods. It freezes well (I grate it and freeze it in quantities required by my favourite recipes) and you can hide it in less-healthy things like cookies and brownies (hello sneaky chef.) I have not developed any of my own zucchini recipes (other than a stuffed and baked version I created before I was married but never cook now because my husband won’t eat it…) so I will leave you today with links to the best of the online recipes I have tested so far. As always, if you have a zucchini recipe or story, leave a comment! (I know nobody has left a comment yet, however, I will keep asking in the hopes that someday someone will actually read this and have something to share – I love learning about food!)
My current main dish favourite can be found here. This one pleased both the husband and my mother – definitely a winner! I only made a few modifications to the recipe – real garlic instead of powdered, green and red onions (because I have lots in the garden) and two eggs instead of one.
As a tasty treat I also discovered zucchini brownies. I made these with whole wheat flour, carob powder instead of cocoa, and honey instead of sugar, and we ate them un-iced. They still got a thumbs-up from my sweet-toothed sweetheart. I also made some tasty zucchini cookies once again substituting whole wheat flour and honey and using carob chips instead of butterscotch chips.
And then there are muffins – there must be at least 101 ways to make zucchini muffins (now that would be a fun blog project – make all 101 varieties to find the best one….). As it is very rare for there not to be homemade muffins on the counter at our house (they are my favourite snack food!) I have tried many recipes, but have not yet found that “yes! I will make this every time!” recipe. My favourite so far is made with orange juice and has wonderful flavour and are very moist. When I first made them I thought they were not going to turn out as the batter is very runny – however, they were excellent! I did find it makes more than one dozen and that they cook in less time (perhaps the recipe creator makes extra-large muffins?) Lemon Zucchini muffins are also really good – I love that zucchini and citrus combination. I also made these with whole wheat flour with good results.
I can’t write about zucchini without mentioning the classic zucchini bread. Everyone seems to have their own recipe for this – sometimes passed down from their great-great grandmother, or it’s their mother-in-laws top-secret recipe or something. My absolute favourite recipe comes from this cookbook . Made with whole-wheat flour and honey it has a moist, crumby texture very different from your average zucchini bread and I love it! If you want the recipe, you’ll have to check out the book (try the library if you’re not interested in owning it yourself) as I am not going to break copyright law and post it here. But trust me, it’s yummy and worth trying.
So there is but a small sampling of the culinary world that the humble zucchini belongs too. Perhaps it will get your own creative juices flowing and you will discover new and exciting things to do with this tasty green squash (and then you can post your great discoveries here!) Enjoy!
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