Friday, August 15, 2008

Chocolate Zucchini and other delicacies

8/13/08 Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

 Squash. You either love it or you hate it. At our house, one of us (me) loves summer squash and zucchini. My beloved husband, however, doesn’t like squash in any way, shape or form. So, every summer we have a dilemma: to plant or not to plant. And every summer I promise myself that I will not plant anything in the prolific squash family.

Do I keep that promise? No. Come June I throw caution to the winds and trot down to the Bookmine’s enticing vegetable starts section. There I buy just two itsy bitsy, teeny weenie little plants. I know, it’s wrong but I’m weak. Subconsciously I’m hoping that this will be the year that Chuck will fall madly in love with zucchini. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It never happens. But I keep trying.

This year, our plants have outdone themselves. The bounty of green and yellow squash has once again sent me in search of new recipes to entice my husband. Thanks to my voluminous recipe file and “Cooking in the Grange,” a cookbook of great family recipes compiled by the National Grange, I hit pay dirt.

The Grange is a fraternal, grass-roots organization located in more than 30 states. Locally we have three active granges. They are located in Dorena, Lorane and London. Each one offers a range of activities and programs for all ages. Programs cover a variety of subjects from gardening and police reports to nonpartisan positions on legislation. Wildlife was recently the subject in Lorane after a cougar was seen prowling near the local school.

Thousands of Grange suppers are held every year. Just this last weekend the Lorane Grange held their annual Community Picnic and Ice Cream Social at the Fire Hall. Member Berneda McDonald reminded me that everyone is invited so be sure and mark the second Sunday in August on your 2009 calendar to enjoy next year’s event.

Well, back to squash. I didn’t find any zucchini ice cream recipes but there are lots of nice things to be done with this prolific green vegetable. Today I’m offering a variety of ideas for you to try beginning with a tasty appetizer, moving on to a multi-meal pancake and finishing with a rich, moist chocolate cake dessert. Enjoy!

Zucchini Squares
A quiche-like recipe made with eggs and zucchini.

 3 cups grated zucchini, unpeeled
1 cup biscuit mix
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Dash garlic powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; mix well. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cut into small 1-inch squares and serve as an appetizer or side dish. If desired, garnish with sour cream or salsa.

Organic Zucchini/Cornbread Pancakes Recipe
Recipes from the Garden” Rosalind Creasy

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup grated yellow or green zucchini
3 tablespoons onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons yellow or red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 cup of your favorite salsa

In a medium bowl put flour, baking powder, sugar, cornmeal, and salt. Blend with a spoon. In another small bowl put the egg, milk, oil, squash, onion, and pepper. Mix the wet ingredients with a spoon and pour over the dry ingredients and lightly stir until just barely moist.

Heat a frying pan or griddle, grease it, then cook 2 or 3 pancakes at a time over medium heat until both sides are golden brown and the insides are firm. Keep pancakes warm in a low oven until all are cooked.

Makes 8 to 10 3-inch pancakes. Serve these pancakes with salsa (homemade or bottled) for a light dinner or a weekend breakfast.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Donna Bulger, Vermont Grange

2-1/2 cups flour
¼ cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1-3/4 cups sugar
½ cup (1 stick) margarine, softened
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
½ cup sour milk (or buttermilk)
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and mix well. Beat sugar, margarine and oil in a mixer bowl until creamy. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour milk, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the zucchini and vanilla. Spoon the batter into a greased bundt pan or 9X13-inch cake pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 40-45 min. or until the cake tests done. Invert onto a serving plate.

Betty’s note: To serve, dust with sifted powder sugar or drizzle with:

Chocolate  Glaze:
Put ¾ cup chocolate chips, 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon light corn syrup in a heat safe bowl. Microwave 45 seconds; stir until melted and smooth; add ¼ teaspoon vanilla. Spread warm glaze over cake, letting it drizzle down sides.

Keep it simple and keep it seasonal! 
Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner is dedicated to sharing a variety of recipes 
that are delicious, family oriented and easy to prepare. 

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