Monday, September 20, 2010

Zowie! I'm Still Harvesting Zucchini!

My zucchini plants have been producing fine vegetables since the beginning of July. I just picked three more large zucchini squash over the weekend. I gave one to my mom and one to my neighbor, and I baked up most of the third.

I shredded 4 cups of zucchini for the two recipes
and still had a third of the squash left over.

I don't bake very often, but this past Sunday was cool and drizzly, and it just seemed like a good way to use the oversized zucchini I harvested. I pulled out The Classic Zucchini Cookbook and looked up "bread" in the index. There were several options, but after some thought, I decided on two recipes: Zucchini Bread and Garden Cornbread.

The Zucchini Bread recipe called for three eggs. I used
locally grown eggs that coworker Ilona
picked up from the Egg Man on Thursday.

I made four miniloaves of zucchini bread so I could share it more easily. I gave one to my Gram, who split it with my mom; I gave one to my husband's parents; I brought one in to work; and I kept one at home for myself and Ryan.

Right-out-of-the-oven zucchini bread and garden cornbread.

The Garden Cornbread I shared with my husband. We've been having a piece each with our meals throughout the week — it goes with pretty much everything. Everyone can find a recipe for classic zucchini bread, but this recipe is unique and should be shared. Pick or buy some fresh zucchini, corn, and peppers, and give this bread a try!

Garden Cornbread recipe from The Classic Zucchini Cookbook
by Marynor Jordan, Andrea Chesman, Nancy C. Ralston

This bread is so packed with vegetables, you can almost regard it as a side dish. I always bake it in my trusty cast-iron skillet because I like its rustic look, especially with the cobbled top this recipe produces, but an 8-inch baking dish can also be used. Preheating the pan in the oven produces a nicely browned bottom crust.

Ingredients: 2 cups grated zucchini, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 red bell pepper, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 cup stone-ground yellow or white cornmeal, 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, kernels scraped from 2 ears of corn (about 1 cup kernels), 2 large eggs, 3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt, 1/4 cup canola oil

1. In a colander, combine the zucchini and salt. Toss to mix, and set aside to drain for about 30 minutes.

2. Under a broiler or over a gas flame, char the bell pepper on all sides for about 10 minutes. Place in a bag or covered bowl to steam for about 10 minutes. Slip off the skin and discard, along with the seeds and stem. Finely chop the pepper, and set aside.

3. Add the butter to a large, heavy cast-iron skillet, and place it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix well. Squeeze the zucchini to remove any excess moisture, and add to the cornmeal mixture. Add the bell pepper and corn. Mix until the vegetables are distributed throughout.

5. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture. Working quickly, stir just until well combined. The batter will be lumpy.

6. Remove the skillet from the oven and tilt to swirl around the melted butter to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour the batter into the skillet, and smooth the top.

7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

8. The bread is best served warm, directly out of the skillet.

Serves 6

— Kristy L. Rustay, Marketing Manager

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