Posts Tagged ‘Zucchini Bread’

Betsy’s Herbed Zucchini Soup

Monday, August 4th, 2014

zucchini basil soup web

Zucchini has arrived in these parts. This squash is much maligned because it tends to overwhelm gardeners before they can finish uttering the word “zucchini.” I have a couple of suggestions to help readers embrace zucchini and avoid feelings of inadequacy.

First, when you are doing your spring planting, don’t feel obliged to place an entire six pack of zucchini seedlings in your vegetable patch. A plant or two will do nicely. Zucchini is a friendly neighbor that likes to wander all over the garden, and it CAN take over.

Next (this is the part at which I am bad), once the zucchini gets going check it every single day and pick ruthlessly. You want delicate squash, not baseball bats.

If you do end up with giant zucchini, do what my neighbors Susan and Peter Purdy did a few years back and throw a Zucchinipalooza party. Everyone in the neighborhood brought zucchini-related foods, and we played games. Large zucchini were literally used as bats in a ball game. Strangely shaped squashes were placed in a tub for bobbing. And so on.

Finally, in addition to throwing zucchini into lots of different dishes—stir fries, soups, stews—look for zucchini recipes you can make and freeze. In a very few months, you’ll be missing this vegetable and longing for a taste of summer.

The recipe here, from my friend and former babysitter Betsy Kovacs, is eminently freezable. It’s also great fresh (hot or cold); it positively bursts with flavor.

If you don’t have the exact proportions of ingredients listed below, go with what you have. With more zucchini it will be thicker; with more stock, thinner. With more herbs it will just taste more summery.

As you can see from the video below, I made it recently on Mass Appeal. It comes together very quickly so it’s perfect for a TV appearance—or for a summer day.

zinpotweb

The Soup

Ingredients:

1 to 2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds zucchini, with stems removed, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups water or stock (chicken or vegetable, depending on your taste)
1 handful basil leaves, tightly packed—or dill or parsley; your herb of choice
salt and pepper to taste
a little half and half, sour cream, or yogurt (optional)

Instructions:

In a 4-quart Dutch oven cook the onion and garlic in the oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped zucchini and the teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Add the water or broth plus the herbs. Simmer the soup, partially covered, until it is tender, about 15 minutes.

Purée the soup in a blender or food processor. Remember to use caution with the hot soup; you will want to process it in batches to avoid eruptions.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Adding a little half and half to the soup or serving it with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt can give it a bit more depth. Or you may prefer leaving it as is to let the zucchini and herbs shine. Serves 4 to 6.

[youtube width=”560″ height=”315″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4Mje3MfHgA&list=UUhrpfuBCFEPoURYVpsi4iHw[/youtube]

Lock Your Doors!

Friday, September 11th, 2009

zucchini cake web

 
My neighbor Jack, who read my recent rant about zucchini bashing, shared a zucchini anecdote with me the other day.
 
He was asked recently where he was living. When replied that he was in our small town of Hawley, he was told:
 
“Hawley’s a nice town. People don’t lock their doors there–except at this time of year. They’re afraid someone will come in and leave zucchini in the house.”
 
Here I try once more to redeem zucchini’s sinister reputation with a recipe.
 
Pam Matthews of Phillips, Maine, was one of my co-thespians (and friends) when she lived in western Massachusetts.
 
She sent me the moist, flavorful zucchini formula below. She says the recipe was originally meant to make zucchini bread, but she found it cakelike and decided to bake it in a Bundt pan instead of bread pans.
 
It makes a lovely coffee cake (or yes, sweet bread) on its own. You can also dress it up (as my young friend Maija did) with a little cream-cheese frosting. (The candy corn is not obligatory, although we had a lot of fun with it.)
 
 
Maija considers her candy placement.
Maija considers her candy placement.
 
Pam’s Zucchini Cake
 
Ingredients:
 
1 cup canola oil (or 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup softened butter)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I like these so I used a little extra)
1/2 cup raisins (ditto)
1/4 cup finely chopped pineapple (optional: this wasn’t in Pam’s recipe, but I had it in the house so I threw it in, and it worked)
3/4 cup shredded coconut (again you could use a little more; I LOVE COCONUT)
2 cups grated zucchini, drained in a dishtowel
 
Instructions:
 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan.
 
Cream together the oil and sugar; then beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in the vanilla, followed by the cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.
 
Stir in all but 1 tablespoon of the flour. Add that tablespoon of flour to the walnuts and raisins and mix well. Stir them into the batter, along with the pineapple (if you are using it) and the coconut. Fold in the zucchini.
 
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake it until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Serves 10 to 12.
 
icezcakeweb