|8/20/2021 11:13:00 AM|
Zucchini's back, tell a friend
I brought a bagful of zucchini from our garden in to co-workers last week, and as I got to thinking about it, I realized one week of zucchini recipes probably wasn’t enough.
Zucchinis came in fast and furious starting in mid-July, and there’s a good chance you’re still plucking some really healthy and really big zucchini from your garden. I figured we could get another handful of zucchini recipes in since I’ve been trying a few different ones with the abundance we’ve grown this year.
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1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. shredded zucchini
1 package chocolate chips
1/4 c. unsalted butter
6-7 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper.
Using an electric mixer, combine oil, sugar and vanilla until it resembles wet sand.
Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and zucchini. Mix until a batter forms. Stir in chocolate chips.
Spread mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
For the frosting, melt butter and cocoa powder in a small saucepan over low heat.
In a bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until creamy. Stir in chocolate-butter mixture.
Spread the frosting over cooled brownies (frosting will be on the liquid side but will firm up eventually).
We’re going to have an honest moment here though about this recipe: Personally, I don’t love it.
Now don’t scoff and ask why I included it because when I made them, the handful of people who tried them told me they were very good. The zucchini and chocolate taste just doesn’t do it for my palate but, if nothing else, what I want to do with this column is to show that you can be adventurous with what foods you try and recipes you make. Just because a recipe doesn’t sound good or isn’t something you would typically eat, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot. You can discover some really funky and really good combinations in food making if you take some risks and get creative.
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This fantastic recipe comes from the New York Times cooking section, which is a gold mine of creative, fun and delicious recipes. They aren’t always the easiest to execute or feature the most common ingredients, but most that I’ve tried have been well worth the extra shopping and time, and this one is no different.
SUMMER PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 lbs. zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick pieces (for larger zucchini, cut in half lengthwise before slicing)
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced, or 2 tablespoons chopped green garlic
1 oz. basil, about 2 c. loose leaves
1 lb. ziti or other dry pasta
8 oz. ricotta, about 1 cup (see recipe)
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
2 oz. grated Parmesan, about 1 cup, plus more for serving
Put a pot of water on to boil. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the onions in 3 tablespoons olive oil until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat as necessary to keep onions from browning. Add zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rather soft, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle to pound garlic, basil and a little salt into a rough paste (or use a mini food processor). Stir in three tablespoons olive oil.
Salt the pasta water well and put in the pasta, stirring. Boil per package instructions but make sure to keep pasta quite al dente. Drain pasta, reserving one cup of cooking water.
Add cooked pasta to zucchini in skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Add 1/2 cup cooking water, then the ricotta, crushed red pepper and lemon zest, stirring to distribute. Check seasoning and adjust. Cook for one minute more. Mixture should look creamy. Add a little more pasta water if necessary. Add the basil paste and half the grated cheese and quickly stir to incorporate. Spoon pasta into warm soup plates and sprinkle with additional cheese. Serve immediately.
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We’ll end with a bit simpler recipe to execute, and one that is fun on top of that. Kabobs are a family friendly meal that everyone can help put together and customize to their own taste. You really can’t go wrong with the options that are provided by kabobs.
SAUSAGE SQUASH KABOBS
1 lb. small red potatoes, halved or quartered if desired
1 tbsp. water
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest
1 lb. smoked turkey kielbasa, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 small yellow summer squash, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2 small zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine potatoes and water. Cover and microwave on high until tender, 6-8 minutes; drain and set aside. For glaze, combine the honey, mustard and orange zest in a small bowl.
On eight metal or soaked wooden skewers, alternately thread the sausage, potatoes, yellow squash and zucchini; brush with half of the glaze.
On a lightly oiled grill rack, grill kabobs, uncovered, over medium heat or broil four inches from the heat until vegetables are tender and sausage is heated through, 10-16 minutes, basting frequently with glaze. Serves a family of four.
TFD: Remember as the weather is still beautiful for us here in Minnesota that it’s summertime, and the livin’s easy.