Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Zucchini-licious

Even though it's been hot, I've been turning on our oven almost every morning.  It may heat the house up a little but it's worth it because come fall and winter, I'll have zucchini bread ready and waiting to help round out supper when I'm busy with kids and school all day.  (See the very bottom of this post for the recipe.)
Making eight loaves at a time is actually a breeze if you have enough pans.  I use four regular loaf pans and two long commercial pans.  I cut the longer loaves in two and wrap them up in plastic wrap, then foil, just like the others.  I mix two batches (four loaves each) in two large bowls and once you have the routine down, it goes fast.  The equipment stays out on the counter because I don't care how it looks. Our favorite version is made with chocolate chips.


What else can you do with zucchini?  Well, you can make this casserole.  It's creamy, hearty, delicious, and can be made ahead of time, ready to pop into the oven when you get back from the pool or mall or wherever you're spending your time trying to keep cool.


Zucchini Rice Casserole (adapted from the "Spinach-Rice Casserole" in the Moosewood Cookbook)

2 cups uncooked brown rice
3 cups water
1 tbsp. butter or oil
2 cups onion, chopped fine
3 cups zucchini, shredded
1 tsp. salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. spicy brown mustard (optional)
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

Place the rice and water in a medium-sized, covered saucepan and bring them to a boil.  Keep covered and simmer on low for 35 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  In the meantime, saute the onion in the butter or oil until almost tender.  Add the shredded zucchini , salt and garlic and saute for 5-10 minutes or until the zucchini begins to look a bit translucent and very soft, adding a couple tablespoons of water if the pan gets too dry.  Add the nutmeg, black pepper, mustard (if using), combine well, and transfer the zucchini mixture to the brown rice in the large bowl.  Add the beaten eggs, milk and shredded cheese and combine well.  Place in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until lightly browned on top.


Or, you can grill it, stuff it or put it between tortillas.

To Grill: Cut in 1/4 inch slices, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and any other dried herbs you love.  Grill until tender.
To Stuff: Cut in half (length-wise) and scoop out the seeds.  Steam in an inch of boiling water in a covered pot for 10 minutes.  Drain and sprinkle with salt.  Fill with cooked ground beef or sausage, onions, tomato sauce and sprinkle with your favorite cheese.  Place in a baking dish with a half inch of water, cover and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
With Tortillas: Saute finely diced zucchini in oil until tender.  Add some salsa (and black beans if you like), spread on tortillas, and top with cheese.  Fold over and warm in a skillet or microwave.

Or, you can make cakes.  I tried these and, while I don't like fried food very much, Jamey thought they were great.


This last suggestion comes courtesy of Jamey who told me one day that he had dessert covered.  He shooed the kids out of the kitchen and proceeded to make this pie which totally tricked the kids.  You can't (obviously) taste apples, but you can't taste the zucchini either.  All you taste is crust, cinnamon and sweet.  Your kids will never know the difference.


Zucchini "Apple" Pie (adapted from a recipe by Elizabeth Gochenour)

4 cups zucchini that has been peeled, seeded and sliced as you would apples (see photo above)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. butter, chopped into large pieces
2 unbaked 9-inch pie pastries- one in the pan and one ready to top the pie

Prepare the zucchini and place it in a glass bowl.  Add about an inch of water to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5-10 minutes or until the zucchini slices are very tender.  Drain out the water and carefully place the zucchini slices in a clean towel and press them gently to extract as much water as possible and set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, cream of tartar, nutmeg and flour.  Add the zucchini to the sugar mixture and toss.  Place the zucchini into a prepared pie crust and dot with butter.  Add the top crust and bake for 30 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown.  Let stand for 30 minutes and serve.

Still want more?  Have at it...

Freezing Zucchini
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15 comments:

  1. do you freeze your bread and thaw for later?

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    Replies
    1. Yep. I double wrap the loaves (plastic wrap and foil) and freeze them. They thaw in a few hours on the counter or can be microwaved for a couple minutes (minus the wrappings).

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  2. Zucchini pie! That is hilarious! In "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" Barbara Kingsolver's daughter hides it in chocolate chip cookies.

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  3. You can't forget Mama's Minutia Dark Chocolate Zucchini cake! I have one sitting in my freezer right now!

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  4. :) I counted my zucchini plants yesterday to see how many I ended up with. 28. Think it'll be enough??? I see lots of bread and pie in our future!

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  5. thanks for all the hood culinary idea or could that be zucchini coming out your ears --lol

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  6. I'm actually a bit jealous of your zucchini output. Usually I'm overwhelmed with it but we got a week or so of zucchini here in Central Illinois. Then we went away for a few days over the 4th and came back to about 5 gargantuan zucchini that I discarded, thinking, "That's fine. There will be more." Now the drought has hit so hard that the zucchini plants are just dying. We have had a number of flowers that never get fruit, and I've pretty much given up on the green beans--flowers with no fruit. I've watered a bit but it's difficult to get water to our garden's location and so it just doesn't happen like it should.
    Last night at church my husband's friend was praying and prayed for rain to help the farmers, but what he said next really got to me. He prayed especially for those who will go hungry as a result of the lack of grain from this drought. The truth is, we'll be okay. Our crop is insured, as is typical in this area. We won't make a bunch of money, but we'll at least break even. But what is more important is that it truly means lack of food, and as prices WILL rise across the board, there will be people who cannot afford food who have previously been able to. Sobering thought, and it's definitely affected my attitude about the need to pray for rain to salvage whatever little bits of corn are left.

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  7. The pictures are LOVELY! And way to go Jamey!

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  8. You are so BLESSED!

    ♥♥♥
    Sue

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  9. Ashley@AllRoadsLeadToHomeLoveJuly 19, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I love the pie idea! Thanks for the ideas!

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  10. I like to slice mine using a mandolin and dehydrate it and then use the dried slices in place of noodles for lasagne. The sauce re-hydrates it perfectly and you have a yummy totally veggie lasagne.

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    Replies
    1. Awesome! I would have never thought of that:-).

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  11. I love it! I've been putting zucchini in everything, too! I've baked it, fried it, sauteed it, made brownies, made fries, made quiche, you name it. I'll definitely be trying the "apple" pie!

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  12. I like to slice it long-wise, put in a cookie sheet, top with pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese . Bake for a few mintues and wh-la you have lunch!

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  13. I add it to my meatloaf and also to my sloppy joes. YUM!

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