Zucchini Time!

 

zucchiniIt is that time of year again!  Zucchini are everywhere.  If you have a garden, you may be inundated with these beautiful green vegetables.  If you know a gardener, you may be the recipient of one or more of these beauties.  I can remember one summer when we were kids that our garden supplied us with more zucchini then we knew what to do with.  We literally had wagon loads! We gave a lot of them away but even so my mom had to make some very creative recipes to try and use up our supply before they went bad.  Zucchini soup, zucchini casserole, zucchini pizza … and the list goes on and on!  Needless to say, I am sure we were not the first family to be so sick of zucchini by September that we never wanted to see another one again…well at least until the next year.  There are a million ways to use a zucchini but the recipes below are made especially for that zucchini that was hiding underneath the leaves and is now the size of a small baby.  These are not the ones to use in a recipe that requires a tender vegetable.  These are better served peeled, de-seeded, grated and then baked into all kinds of fun recipes. I will often grate and measure the exact amount required for my favorite zucchini bread recipe, bag it and freeze it to use mid winter.  I am sure that everyone has their favorite zucchini recipe.  Here are just a few of mine.  Enjoy!

Paleo Friendly Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup shredded, unpeeled zucchini

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray or grease 2 mini loaf pans or muffin tins.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Place the wet ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, then beat on medium for 1-2 minutes until frothy and fully combined. Add the zucchini and beat again just enough to incorporate.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer running, until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated.
  5. Spoon the batter into 2 mini loaf pans. You can also use this batter to make muffins.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup blanched almond flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, moisture squeezed out
  • Optional add-in: ¼ chopped walnuts, ¼ cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease two mini loaf pans or one large loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Stir in the nuts or chips if using.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Whisk in the maple syrup and oil, then stir in the squeezed zucchini.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Transfer batter to the prepared pan(s). Bake for 28-30 minutes for the mini loaf or 35-40 for the large loaf.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 whole eggs (preferably medium in size)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1-2 tablespoon coconut oil for frying

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, place the shredded zucchini and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Stir gently and let set for 10 minutes to allow zucchini to sweat. After the 10 minutes, transfer the zucchini to a flour sack towel, cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Squeeze as much liquid out as possible so you don’t have soggy fritters.
  2. While the zucchini is “sweating,” in another bowl combine the eggs, oregano, basil, additional sea salt, black pepper, almond and coconut flours.
  3. Combine the squeezed shredded zucchini with the egg mixture and stir to combine. If the zucchini still holds a lot of moisture or eggs were on the larger side, you may need to add additional flour to achieve that pancake-like consistency.
  4. Place a medium/large skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add coconut oil to the skillet. When the skillet is very hot, drop 1/4 cup portions of the zucchini mixture onto the pan. Press down gently so they’re about 1/2-inch thick.
  5. Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes. Flip carefully so they don’t fall apart. When done, transfer to a wire rack or plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat until zucchini mixture is gone, adding more coconut oil to the pan between each batch. Coconut oil spray will also work well between batches.
  6. Serve with apple sauce or sour cream, or eat them plain. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Little Things

photo

I think it is important to find the little things in

everyday life that make you happy.

~ Paula Cole

Well, it has been awhile since I shared anything about my garden but today these little carrots made me so happy I just had to share them!  I think that I have been trying to grow carrots now for about the past 5 years. The greens on top of the ground always look beautiful but I assume that my clay-like soil has usually prevented them from growing any bigger than the size of a baby carrot.  So you can only imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to see these beauties when I pulled them from the ground.  Now, I know, you are looking at them and going, really, they are still so small.  Well, you would be right but compared to my previous years, these are monsters. No matter – they made me smile anyway!  And really, I think that this is why I have a garden: to be surprised and to smile at whatever happens to grow!

Calling all Gardeners

I love to be in the kitchen experimenting with different recipes, but my other love is being outside in the gardens. I have been trying to plant a garden for the past 4 or 5 years. I have a very shady property which makes it very difficult to grow vegetables, but I keep trying anyway! I am pleasantly surprised that this year my garden is actually growing! The moon, the planets and the stars must have all lined up perfectly this year!

gardenThis is my one garden.  Look how green everything is!  I have been eating onions from last year, lettuce, spinach and peas so far.  I also have a lot of squash growing – plus I had a volunteer grow out of the compost pile.

compost pileI had no idea what kind of squash it was until I finally saw one growing amongst the weeds!

squashLooks like a butternut squash variety.  One of my favorites!

Last year when my garden wasn’t growing well, I asked my husband if we could make another garden on the side of the house where a tree was taken down. I thought maybe it would be a sunnier location for some of the vegetables.  Not much grew in that space last year, but this year…

garden2I have a lot of beets and beet greens.  We ate some of the greens but none of the actual beets are quite ready.  I have more lettuce that I just picked today and in that big mass of leaves there is one yellow squash growing.  I hope that the other plants will soon produce zucchini  but you never know.  They look healthy though!  On the far side of the garden I have a lot a different squashes growing.  I was looking the other day at one of the plants that I  thought was a cantaloupe plant.  That is what I planted.  Well, it isn’t.  It’s cucumbers!  I have several of those popping out on the vine as well.

You can’t see it, but on the other side of the squash I have strawberry plants.  They did great in the spring.  Every morning my husband would go outside and bring at least 10-15 in each time.  There is nothing as sweet as the strawberries that you pick and then eat!  I also really wanted to grow raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.

blackberriesThe blueberries are not liking the soil so I just amended it with some nice organic acid fertilizer and put pine bark around them so hopefully next year we will be eating blueberries.  The raspberries are not so great either – I think we ate 2 and the birds got the rest.  The blackberries have flowers and fruit but you have to time it just right or the birds get them before we do.  That’s ok, I don’t mind sharing.  I did give my daughter one blackberry that was about an inch long and she said it was the best she ever tasted!

As you gardeners know, gardening takes up a lot of your free time.  In february, I swore I was not even going to plant anything.  Well, you can see where that got me.  I just couldn’t resist.  My husband laughs every time we eat anything out of the garden and jokes about my million dollar vegetables, but I don’t care.  I just love to see it growing in my yard!

All you gardeners certainly know just how I feel.  There is nothing fresher than walking outside, picking what you want for dinner and then preparing it in whatever way you want!  There is really nothing quite like it.  So, if you see me next February and I tell you that this year I am not planting a garden, check back with me in July and see what sprang out of the earth!  Happy Planting!