Thursday, May 21, 2009

What to do with all that Zucchini!!

We are back now from an extra long weekend away. It was a nice chance to visit with family and friends, and to try out the Volkswagon camper van. We had an interesting sight within the first 30 minutes of driving, and it looked like it was going to be a lucky trip. It's not very often that I've been able to see the complete rainbow from end to end. We could this time although it did not fit in the photo all at once. This is as close as I've ever come to finding the end of the rainbow although we never did get to the pot of gold.....the end seemed to move every time we got closer. I think the man with the stop sign was a little large to be a leprechaun.........but what would I know......I've never been that close to one before.
Our stay in the mountains was fun. Food always seems to taste better when cooked on a camp stove, and baked beans just seem like the appropriate side dish for any camping meal. We had our first breakfast in the mountains of Pancakes (I had some buttermilk to use up), bacon, and pork and beans of course.

Spring is well underway here (despite the fact that it snowed on our return drive). Everyone is just itching to plant up their gardens. In light of the recent snow we may wait a bit longer. While in the market I got a great deal on some zucchinis and it made me think again about planting and what I should attempt to grow this year. And my thoughts wandered to zucchini. It seems that everyone has a friend with an over active zucchini don't they??? Well if you have an over abundance of zucchini, here are two things that I enjoy that are good at using it up. It goes almost without saying that most people have an awesome Chocolate Zucchini Cake recipe and a delicious zucchini loaf recipe, and I do have two that I would share, but they are yet to be made this season. With two zucchini sitting in the fridge.....I don't think that they are too far behind. But to start out with are two that you might not have tried.

With BBQ season officially on us, there will be a lot of burgers this summer. One of the toppings I really enjoy (especially on a chicken burger) is this Zucchini Relish Recipe from Company's Coming (A very popular series of Canadian Cookbooks) I was introduced to this recipe by my aunt Lucille while visiting one summer in Victoria. Her family makes a batch each and every year to stock up for BBQ season. It is a fresh and sweet tasting relish perfect for chicken or beef burgers. If you'd like to use up some zucchini, give it a try!

Zucchini Relish

5 cups Zucchini with peel, about 1/8 th inch chopped
2 cups onion , similarly chopped
2 1/2 tbsp coarse (pickling) salt
1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp celery seed
2 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine the zucchini, onion and salt in a large bowl. Cover and let stand on the counter over night. Drain, and rinse in cold water. Drain. Turn into a large pot.
Add remaining ingredients. Heat on medium-high, stirring often, until it boils. Boil gently, uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into hot sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch of the top. Seal. Makes 5-6 half pint (one cup) jars.

Another thing we like to make when we find ourselves inundated with zucchini is zucchini fritters. I got this recipe from a good friend many years ago. I'm not sure if this is a typical Italian recipe, but she and her family are from Italy and their cooking usually reflects that. In any event, after having some at her house along with some.....okay maybe a lot......of home made wine........I asked for the recipe. It is a very easy thing to make and the recipe was related to me not so much as a recipe but more of a method.

Today, I had a zucchini about 10 inches long to use up, and it produced about 2 1/2 cups chopped zucchini.......When I make this, I never measure anything.............but this seems to be roughly the amounts I used today. This batch made enough for four people, and we had these along with our chicken and beef burgers.

Zucchini Fritters

1 medium zucchini (about 10 inches long)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
enough flour to hold it all together (I used about 1/2 cup)

Remove, stem from zucchini and chop the entire zucchini into 1 inch cubes. Put this into a pot large enough to hold it and add a 1/2 inch of water to the pot. Bring to a boil on the stove and put on the lid. Once it has reached a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until you can easily put a fork through the zucchini....about 3-5 minutes. Drain away all the water. Put the softened zucchini into a medium mixing bowl. Add eggs, milk, cheese, and seasonings and give it a little stir. Add flour a few tablespoons at a time until you have a stiff batter. It should not be runny like pancake batter.
Heat a small skillet with 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium high heat. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter into the hot oil and fry about 2 minutes per side until they are golden on each side. If you find they are spreading too much in the pan, stir in a bit more flour.
Serve with a dip. Ranch or Caesar is nice, but my son likes them with ketchup.....not a big surprise. Tonight, I had them with Jufran Banana Ketchup. Ike will even eat them in his lunch the next day.


♥ GRACE ♥ said...

Wow! I didn't expect to see so many ways to cook zucchini! U make a boring vegetable so delicious.

Anonymous said...

OMG YOU HAVE A VW CAMPER VAN??? I have never been more jealous in my life!!


LittleRed said...

It has been Jim's dream vehicle for many years, and it has been lots of fun so far;)