Thursday, August 30, 2012

Things to do with all of your extra Zucchini

It's fall here in Utah and everyone has loads of that green vegetable Zucchini in their gardens and no one knows what to do with it. So here's a top ten list of things to do with all of that extra Zucchini.

1. Doorbell ditch your neighbors. They'll love you for it! There's actually an day called "Leave a Zucchini on your neighbor's porch day," it's August 8th, too bad I missed it! 

2. Take it to church and look for unlocked cars to leave it in. (Remind me to always leave ours locked!)

3. Donate it to the food bank. I'm sure they could always use more Zucchini right?

4. Carve it into a jack-o-lantern. Sounds fun, but doubt that it really would work.

5. Put them in your neighbor's mailboxes for a nice surprise. 

6. Take them to the office and leave them on co-worker's chairs or maybe in their desks. This sounds like a fun idea!

7. Do any of your friend's have huge purses, that'd be the perfect place for a Zucchini, just sayin'!

8. Veggie Derby! Make cars out of the long squash and use other veggies and things to decorate them and then race them down a track. You can get pretty creative with this one!

Okay, I really can't come up with ten funny things right now, the last two are actually recipes that you can try. The first one is a faux apple pie that uses Zucchini. I do have to admit that I haven't tried this one yet, but I'm really intrigued by the idea. I found this recipe in our local paper yesterday morning.

Zucchini Apple Pie
Tiara Auxier

Dough for double crust 9" pie
4 1/2 to 5 cups halved and sliced Zucchini
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 tablespoons flour

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel Zucchini, cut in half lengthwise then scrape out the seeds. Slice Zucchini halves, you'll end up with semi-circles.

Boil some water, add Zucchini to the water and boil for about 6-7 minutes until fork tender. Put Zucchini on a paper towel lined plate and salt. Leave them to drain.

In a bowl combine brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon, cream of tartar and flour.  Return the Zucchini to the pan and add the sugar/spice mixture, stir. This will be pretty runny.

Place the crust into a 9" pie pan and pour the zucchini mixture into the pan. Top with a few pats of butter.

Place the top pie crust onto the pie and secure however you like, fork, fingers, etc. Make a few slits into the top of the pie and sprinkle with white sugar.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. The liquid inside the pie will still be runny, but as the pie cools it will thicken.

And last but not least Chocolate Zucchini Bread. You'll notice that I use a lot of recipes from Our Best Bites, either the website, or their cookbooks. They are one of my very favorite sources for recipes. 

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
From Our Best Bites Mormon Moms in the Kitchen by Sara Wells and Kate Jones pg 40

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups shredded zucchini (I peeled it first, then shredded with a cheese grater)
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet chips, and just chopped them a bit to make them a bit smaller)

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. They recommend buttering and flouring 2 loaf pans, I simply used the baking spray with flour included. I used two 9" pans, but you could also use 8" or one 9" and one 8" and have it work.

Start by making the topping, combine all three items in a bowl and set aside.

Next whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl.

Beat oil, sugars and eggs until slightly fluffy, I used my stand mixer and it only takes a couple of minutes to do this. 

Mix in vanilla and sour cream until combined. Stir in zucchini, the recipe says "Gently" but I just kind of threw it into the mixture and tuned on the mixer, seemed to work fine! Next take a bit of the flour mixture and add with the chocolate chips (somehow it's supposed to help evenly distribute the chocolate, I confess this kinda confused me!). Add the remaining flour to the batter and mix until just combined. You need to watch this, because if you mix too long, you can get tunnels through your bread and you don't want that!

Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and top with the reserved cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes. If you start your timer at 45 minutes, then check to see if it's done with a toothpick in the center (if it comes out with runny looking batter stuck to it, then it needs a little longer, bread crumbs are okay though), if it needs longer you might want to stick to checking it in 5 minute increments. When done, remove from the oven and let sit on a wire rack, still in the pans for 5-10 minutes, then remove. You can eat it warm, or allow it to cool, what ever you'd rather!

This was my first time making this recipe, the bread was great! We enjoyed the texture and the flavor. If you notice in my picture, though, the bread loaves didn't raise very well. That's a problem we've battled with our oven the whole time we've lived in our house, and it's something that I'll have to adjust for the next time I make this bread. I will probably start by making some high altitude adjustments next time and if that doesn't work, I'll go from there.

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