Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Rhapsody On Zucchini

During the summer between 6th and 7th grades, my family moved into a new house. We were living in Oregon at the time. My parents had rented a house upon first moving to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. But that summer we moved into our brand new, custom built home. Our house was one of the first in the subdivision. It was so new that the forest grew right up against the neighboring lots. There was many an occasion when a mama deer and her babies would take a stroll down our cul-de-sac. This house will live forever in my mind as "the best house ever!" It was the first time I could remember living in a house with two floors. I had a HUGE bedroom. We could see Mt Hood from our front step. The kitchen was spacious with a beautiful butcher block island. Then...there was the garden. While gardens may not be rare to some of you, this was special for us. You see, we had moved to Oregon from Arizona. Aside from the grapefruit tree in our backyard there was no garden. The climate was not hospitable enough. At the new house Dad created this amazing multi-tiered garden. We grew everything (it seemed). Potatoes, swiss chard, green beans, snap peas, tomatoes, onions, and (best of all) zucchini. Ah, that zucchini. How I loved that zucchini. We would have tiny baby zucchini and great big giant overgrown zucchini. My dad and brother had this idea that they were going to let one of the green buggers grow for as long as possible to see if they could beat the Guinness Book of World Records. Alas, the final fruit fell short. That being said, we had to find a variety of ways to cook all the zucchini. We cooked it in casseroles and roasts. We sauteed and grilled it. I wish we had known about this fantastic recipe for stuffed zucchini that Mom and I made for the first time last night (with zucchini from their current garden). Now, while I have only tried a few recipe's from Elise's site, they have all been winners.

I have to say, though, that my absolute favorite is still zucchini bread. What??!!?!? You say you have never had it? That you think it sounds icky? Scandalous!!! Never speak ill of my beloved 'chini! Zucchini bread does not, in fact, taste like zucchini. The shredded green stuff gives the bread a great moist texture, and some wonderful healthy vitamins. (Makes it easy to justify eating an entire mini loaf by yourself in 24 hours.) We have been using the same recipe for my whole life. After doing a bit of research it looks as though most of the recipes out there are variations of the same one. So with four ginormous zuchs sitting on the counter, Mom and I began the Zucchini Cooking Royale. Ok, maybe it wasn't so grand as all that, but it sure turned out tasty. We started with the Zucchini Stuffed with Ham and Cheese (the recipe linked above.) I used Ener-G Bread Crumbs for the first time and thought they were pretty good. Even Dad thought they were the real thing. Next we tackled zucchini bread with Kinnikinnick flour. I only had the Pastry and Pie crust flour mix at my parents' house. It turned out fine, I just omitted the salt (since it is in the mix.) Mom then made a "regular" batch so that I could have the GF loaves all to myself. Yay Mom! Sadly, I do not have my camera with me. No pictures for you! But I do have the recipe. Enjoy!

Pineapple-Zucchini Loaf
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 T vanilla (yes it calls for 3 T, but you can use far less)
2 cups peeled, grated and well drained zucchini
3 cups Kinnikinnick GF Pastry and Pie Crust Mix
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9x5" loaf pans. Beat eggs until fluffy. Add sugar, oil, and vanilla and blend well. Add zucchini. Sift together flour, baking powder, and soda and add to batter. Stir in pineapple and nuts and mix well. Turn into pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on wire rack before removing from pans. Wrap and store overnight to develop flavors before slicing. (Note: If using another GF flour mix, add 1 t of salt with flour.)

If you are like me and my father you will love topping this bread with butter or, better yet, cream cheese.

1 comment:

ByTheBay said...

Wow, what an intriguing flavor combination