Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Zucchini that Took Over the World

...maybe not the world. Just my garden...
            No matter what we plant in our garden, the thing that grows most abundantly is zucchini. Zucchini is best when it is picked small—no more than 8 inches long. But it grows FAST. If you skip a day or two in the garden, your zucchini (which ironically is Italian for little squash) ends up looking like this…
Last year's bumper crop.

            When zucchini gets that big it isn’t as tasty, the skin is tough and the seeds are really big and unpleasant to eat. But it doesn’t have to be destined for the compost pile. They can be used in recipes that call for grated zucchini. Be sure and slice the zucchinis lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon before grating. The King Arthur Flour Company has this wonderful recipe for zucchini pancakes. This version of the recipe calls to add oil to the pancake batter. Omit the oil from the batter and fry the pancakes in olive oil. It’s sort of like the Italian answer to the latke. I serve it with pasta and marinara sauce. I’d love to tell you they’re a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables, but some children I know (not mentioning any names) see the green and are automatically suspicious.  Zucchini Pancakes freeze really well so you can make a big batch and put some aside for when zucchini is out of season.

            I’ve mentioned before that I make muffins every Saturday (unless we have an 8:00 soccer game—I’m not Super Woman). This week I tinkered around with a few variations on zucchini muffins and came up with this recipe. Everyone in my house thought they were delicious—until someone noticed the green specks. I may start blind folding one of my children before he eats.

Zucchini Spice Muffins

Dry Ingredients

2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

2 beaten eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

1.) Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray and set aside

2.) *Preheat oven to 500º

3.) Wisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

4.) Mix remaining ingredients together in another bowl.

5.) Gently stir the liquid ingredients into the dry. Do not over mix. Over mixing quick bread batter makes tough muffins.

6.) Fill muffin tins approximately 2/3 full.

7.) Put into oven and lower temperature to 375º

8.) Bake for about 20 minutes. Muffins will be golden in color and a toothpick inserted into one will come out clean.

9.) Let your muffins rest for a few minutes before removing them—they’ll come out of the tins more easily.

* Preheating your oven to 500 degrees then dropping the temperature helps the muffins rise.

            Do you have an abundance of anything from your garden? What do you do with it? I’d love to hear your ideas.