Thursday, August 6, 2009

Zucchini Madness, or, Learning to Love the Squash Life

Hi all. While I am still suffering tomato envy (I still have only green tomatoes, while the other gardeners here at DR are beginning to harvest big red juicy globes, and even making SALSA!), everyone has been very generous with their zucchini. No surprise there.


The good news is that I've learned to enjoy zucchini and other summer squash (including yellow crook neck and patty pan). They all can be used in the same ways. Today I'm sharing two recipes; one for chocolate cake and one for relish. Both are fantastic. Good luck!



This is an amazing recipe. It uses two whole cups of squash and tastes like BROWNIES! Gotta love it. I found that walnuts work well. I also use Sunspire Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips - they taste great, plus are organic AND Fair Trade.


DOUBLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

Ingredients

3/4 c. softened butter
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sour cream

2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda


2 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. chopped nuts, walnut
1/2 c. chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bundt pan, a 9” x 13” pan, or two 8” round pans.
  2. Beat butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Add vanilla and sour cream.
  3. In separate bowl mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder. Add to butter/sugar mixture half a cup at a time.
  4. Fold in zucchini, nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into a greased and floured pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
  6. This is great by itself, with a chocolate glaze, or with chocolate buttercream.


Next, Zucchini Relish. Do not let the sound of it scare you - it is supremely delicious. Sweet and tart, it is very similar to chutney. We love it on crackers with cream cheese. The recipe comes from St. Louis blogger Alanna Kellog at A Veggie Venture.

Zucchini Relish

Hands-on time: 60 minutes up front, an hour or so to can
Time to table: 6 hours
Makes 8 or so pints but can be canned in half pints if preferred


VEGETABLES
15 cups grated zucchini, from about 4 + pounds of fresh zucchini
1 pound carrots, grated
6 cups chopped onion, from about 5 onions
8 sweet peppers, a mix of red and green, chopped
1/3 cup table salt (using pickling salt will keep the mix from getting “cloudy”)

Mix these together in a very large bowl. Let stand at least three hours. Drain in a colander or wrap in cheesecloth so the excess liquid can be squeezed out.

LIQUID & SPICES
3 cups vinegar (cider is gentler and more fruity plain white vinegar is fine.)
6 cups sugar
3 teaspoon celery seed
1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1-1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
3 tablespoons cornstarch stirred into a little cold water to make a paste

Mix ingredients in a very large kettle, stir until sugar is dissolved. Add drained vegetables and bring to a boil. Let cook just a few minutes, until liquid is mostly gone (Alline's note: this took about 25 minutes for my batch). Transfer relish into sterilized jars and seal. Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

KITCHEN NOTES

--Large zucchini can be seedy and spongy in the centers -- cut this out before grating. If large pieces of skin get through the grater, pull these out, they'll likely be tough. The small slivers cook fine, however.
--Grate the zucchini and carrots in the food processor. Onion and peppers get mushy in the food processor so should be chopped by hand.