Monday, September 12, 2011

Veg Police: good zucchini gone bad!

Come on people, why does it always have to get so ugly? You know who you are; I don't have to name names do I? Do we have to put you in a lineup? Why do you insist on growing squash the size of children?


I understand how a few of these can sneak by unnoticed until it is too late. However, it's a crime to let summer squash hang on the vine until they are unnaturally large!
Stuffed zucchini blossoms are a perfect way to prevent this felony. Here is a great recipe for stuffed blossoms, almost any combination of cheese, herbs and some fresh breadcrumbs makes wonderful stuffing. Should you find yourself in the fateful position of having to process large zucchinis, in large amounts, here some tips!
• Wash and trim the ends of the squash
• slice lengthwise, using a soup spoon or teaspoon carve the seedy pulp out of the middle of the squash (the larger the squash the more you carve out)

• shred large amounts of squash with a food processor in no time, using shredder blade.

• make refrigerator pickles out of cubes of squash, adding herbs, spices and other vegetables. Let cure a few days and then chop or mince and use in coleslaw and potato salad or anywhere else crunchy, salty, sweet goodness will shine.
You can always whip up a couple batches of this Zucchini Bread Recipe (see below). It is an adaptation of the traditional America's Test Kitchen recipe. I omitted cinnamon and allspice and added fresh ginger and lemon, I also replaced 1 cup of white flour with 1 cup of white wheat flour. I use Red Mill white wheat flour to replace some of the white flour in rustic baking recipes. Besides the health benefits it adds a nutty flavor and a rich dark color. This recipe uses a full pound of shredded zucchini in each bread. When making breads measure the dry and wet ingredients into separate bowls. If you want to make multiple breads do not double or triple the recipe. Measure out the ingredients for each single bread and then combine. This recipe tastes great, is easy, freezes well and is pretty good for you! (Less than a quarter cup oil or butter for the entire loaf).

Meyer Lemon and Ginger Zucchini Bread
Preheat an oven with an oven rack in the middle position to 375°. Baking time is approximately an hour and 20 minutes.
Spray a loaf pan with pam, alternatively you can use a bunt pan, cupcake pan or any other shape pan.

Dry Ingredients: measure and mix well
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• 1 cup white wheat flour

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wet Ingredients: measure and mix well

• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled or 6 tablespoons corn oil

• two large eggs

• 1/4 cup plain yogurt
• juice one half lemon
• zest one small lemon Meyer Lemon or regular (you can also replaced with orange, lime or grapefruit zest)

• 2 tablespoons shredded ginger, packed

(I use a vegetable peeler to lightly peel the lemon zest leaving the white pith behind, then rough chop the zest and process it in the food processor, much easier than zesting with a zester. The ginger doesn't have to be peeled: Cut off three or four thick slices of ginger and again process in food processor. Scrape down sides and process until shredded. Measure out appropriate amount.)
• 1 pound shredded zucchini green or yellow, after shredding and weighing squeeze the shredded zucchini to extract as much liquid as possible. Moisture levels will vary depending on the zucchinis.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; it might seem as if there is too much of the dry mixture. Once you have these two pretty well mixed, add the zucchini. Don't over mix, pour into pan and pop in oven.

The finished bread, cake or muffins are rich in color, flavor and very moist. They freeze well and have a light, airy crumb. Worth the little bit of effort to enjoy on a rainy winter morning with a cup of coffee! The zucchini bread or zucchini refrigerator pickles are emergency measures taken when faced with an avalanche of squash from your or your neighbors garden. A delightful way to make lemonade from lemons, they work just as well with small zucchinis!

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