Saturday, September 1, 2007

Zucchini, anyone?

We're suffering from end of summer, summer squash over saturation. I've grilled zucchini, sauteed zucchini, hidden it in turkey burgers and I have 8 cups shredded and frozen. Last Sunday I made pretty little round Italian-sausage stuffed ronde de nice (8-ball or globe squash) from a recipe featured on Smitten Kitchen's site. I really enjoyed them, my husband, notsomuch. He like the sausage, but I think he's suffering from squash fatigue.
Our CSA included 2 green zucchini, 2 yellow zucchini and 2 more ronde de nice squash this morning. I knew I had to make something really yummy or else he would never eat summer squash again. I discovered a wonderful zucchini bread recipe on Heidi Swanson's 101 cookbooks food blog. I really enjoy her recipes and just purchased two of her cookbooks. She has a lovely writing style, unbelievable food photography and promotes a whole, vegetarian approach to cooking without being preachy or overbearing. I highly recommend her cookbooks, especially Cook 1.0 for someone who wants to start cooking. The book very simply outlines really simple, fresh recipes, with a number of tasty variations.

I've attached the link to her recipe below. I had so much squash that I actually made two variations. For the first, I used her recipe, minus curry powder and poppy seeds, simply because I didn't have the ingredients, resulting in 6 muffins and a loaf of bread. The second, I omitted the first four ingredients and instead used 1 1/2 cup of chopped raw walnuts, 1 cup of oatmeal, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter and made a crispy, crumbly mixture. I also used Almond extract instead of Vanilla. This resulted in 6 more muffins with the crisp sprinkled on top. I also made a bundt cake, using half the batter in the bottom of the pan, sprinkled the crisp evenly over the batter, then covered with the remaining batter. (Bake muffins 20 minutes, bundt cake 40 minutes.)
This morning in the City Market, Shatto Farms, a local dairy farm was selling fresh butter, milk and other products. They even brought three little black & white Holstein calves for children to pet. It took me back to growing up on the farm. Shatto's products are amazing, I used their unsweetened butter and it creamed so well in my favorite cooking tool. The bread is really, really moist. The batter was really fluffy and rich. Even with a little wheat flour. (I always try to sneak in a little wheat flour, but not much, replacing no more than 1/2 cup.)

I will be conducting an unofficial poll to determine which of the muffins are the best. Personally, I love the crystallized ginger and lemon combination. The ginger is such a sweet surprise in the bread and the lemon provide a fresh note. My husband, digs the almond version. His reasons have yet to be explained. He's a man of few words.

Unofficial taste test results will be updated:
  • Lemon, ginger, walnut - 4
  • Cinnamon, almond - 1

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