Zucchini


This is a basic chocolate zuchinni cake. You can Google chocolate zucchini cake all day long (and I encourage you to explore), but here's one of my old faithfuls, if you don't want to spend any time searching:




Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark Dutch cocoa 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups shredded zucchini   
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Squeeze the grated zucchini with your hands to remove excess moisture. Set aside.Sift and blend the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir in the zucchini and pecans. Transfer to two prepared 8" square cake pans Bake in a pre-heated 350ยบ F oven for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. 


I used the proper Dutch cocoa from the Bulk Barn and it does add a little extra element of flavour.  This is not an overly sweet cake, but my favorite kind of chocolate is the 70% cocoa, dark kind, so it suits me just perfectly.  For my less enthusiastic dark chocolate lovers, I made a quick ganache to go on top, that I just dipped the cupcakes in and let sit until cool.  My ganache was basically just what I had on hand, which was 2 oz. of bittersweet chocolate and as much cream as I could skim from one jug of our jersey milk (sorry I can't be more specific on that measurement, but a good splash of cream will do it.)  Melt together and let sit until cool enough to not drip, but warm enough to dip. Add a pinch or two of sugar if it's not sweet enough for you.


Jen mentioned freezing zucchini, pre-shredded in the right measurements and that's a fantastic way to take this diverse ingredient into the cold, short days of winter.  And if you think these cupcakes look good now, imagine how great they'd be about mid-February!  - From Sally's Real Food Blog



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Crispy Zuke Pucks

Zucchinni, sliced into discs, at least 1/4 inch thick.
Bread crumbs, or crushed organic cereal
Spices of choice (cayenne, paprika, dill, salt, pepper, garlic, etc. etc....let your spice rack speak to you)
1 egg, beaten
Dip of choice (we used tomato sauce) 
Slice, dip in egg, dip in bread crumbs, fry until crispy on the outside, and soft when pierced.

My only tips would be to make sure you have a hot pan to ensure good crispiness and to slice them thick enough that they have time to get crispy without getting too mushy in the middle.  And don't be afraid of lots of seasoning.  There isn't much about zucchini's nature flavour to conflict with other flavours, so have fun with the bread crumb mixture.  And the finer the dry mixture, the better.   A food processor is one of my favorite kitchen tools.  - From Sally's Real Food Blog

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I have a new gadget in the house, a spiralizer vegetable cutter.  This thing makes really neat spiral vegetable cuttings in just a few minutes and almost no effort.  I tried it the other day for some zucchini noodles to put under a delicious roasted tomato sauce.   I’ve also used it to make thinly sliced vegetables for a thai vegetable salad.  I can’t tell you how many carrots, beets, zucchini and apple ‘wormies’ my daughter has eaten lately because of this slicer.  Sometimes just cutting things a different way can inspire kids to eat their veggies and make it fun.  I’d highly recommend getting one of these gadgets in your home.
I had been stockpiling my tomatoes from Jen & Derek’s veggie box for a couple of weeks to have enough large tomatoes for this sauce.  I like pairing homemade tomato sauce with one can of tomato puree to make the sauce thicker.

Zucchini Pasta Noodles with Roasted Tomato Sauce
Serves: 6-8
For the sauce:
10-12 medium or large tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt
lots of freshly ground pepper
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloved, minced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 cups of pureed tomatoes, no salt added
Fresh basil for serving
Freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving
For the zucchini noodles:
2 large zucchinis, one yellow and one green was fun, slice with spiralizer or make long thing strips with a knife
Preheat your oven to 350F.  Place the tomatoes cut side up on a baking tray and evenly cover drizzle with the oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until soft and releasing their juice, about 30-45 minutes.  Meanwhile, Preheat a large saucepan with a little oil.  Add the onion, saute for a minute or two until soft and aromatic.  Toss in the garlic and cook for a minute or two.  Add the tomato paste and pureed tomatoes, warming slightly before adding the entire tray of roasted tomatoes.  Continue to cook for at least 30 minutes.  Using a food mill, strain the mixture before serving.
Please note that I”m using a food mill to strain the tomato seeds and skins out.  If you don’t have one of these great gadgets, just cool the tomatoes slightly after roasting and remove the skins by gently rubbing them off.  Then add your tomatoes to the pot and cook with the rest of the ingredients.
For the noodles: you can serve them raw or lightly saute in a pan with a tablespoon of oil or melted butter for a minute or two to heat slightly. - From Sara's Be Nourished by Food Blog

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Zuquinoa Salad

I'm not great at measuring things and for this one it really doesn't matter, so here's what you need (and I'm pretty sure you have nearly all of this in your fridge/cupboard).
Cooked quinoa (if we ever had leftover quinoa we'd use it, but I just cook some and then run it under cold water-same thing.)
Shredded carrots
Shredded zucchini
Fresh dill
Feta
Olive Oil
Vinegar (I've used both balsamic and red wine vinegar and they were both good, will try white wine next).
Salt and pepper.

That's it.  Seriously.  Sounds kind of bland right?

I think it's the dill that does it for me.  (In all fairness Mark made a subtle comment that suggested maybe I'd gone a little overboard on the dill, but I thought it was just right, so add it to your taste).  I've only used Jen's fresh dill so I don't know what dried dill would be like, but I think it's the freshness of everything that makes it so light yet satisfying.  I used a lot of zucchini (one whole smallish one of both green and yellow) and a fair bit of feta, but I could have cut back on both without affecting the final product.  I wasn't wasting the new candy baby carrots on shredding so I used old, last season carrots and they were fine. - From Sally's Real Food Blog




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Sally's Quick Zucchini Chicken Bake



-Cook 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves minced garlic in olive oil in a large skillet, until golden.  (If you're using raw chicken, add it here, in dice-sized pieces and cook nearly through.) 

-Add 2 chopped zucchini, along with a shake of oregano and some basil and cook briefly, about 3-4 minutes (don't let it get mushy!). If using left-over chicken, add it along with the zucchini so it has time to pick up some of the flavours, but not so early it gets dried out and sad. haha.

-Add half a jar of tomato sauce to the skillet and stir in.  Top with some cheese and bake until bubbly. 
-I served it on rice, but most anything or nothing would do just fine.

Zucchini is easy to dismiss as a boring vegetable, but it's so versatile and under appreciated that I feel obligated to promote it.  Enjoy the underdog!! - From Sally's Real Food Blog