Posts Tagged "zucchini"

Zucchini-Carrot Bread

When I first heard of zucchini bread, I thought it sounded odd. This was during my not-quite-as-adventurous food days. I was in college and my roommate’s grandmother sent her back to our apartment with a loaf. I was hesitant to try it, but after my first bite, I was hooked. It’s so moist and so glorious that I can’t wait for the first sign of zucchini at the market every summer.

The following recipe is based off of one found in Sur la Table’s cookbook Eating Local. As usual, I’ve made some adjustments. Though I’m not including it in the below recipe, the book uses 1/2 a cup of minced candied ginger. It is a wonderful addition, and if you happen to have some, do add it. I don’t often have it on hand, so I don’t usually use it.

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And so, the recipe:

Preheat the oven to 325. Coat two loaf pans with butter or cooking spray. (I, personally, prefer butter.)

Stir together:

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

In a separate bowl, whisk:

3 eggs

Whisk in:

1 cup of canola or safflower oil
1 1/2 cups brown sugar*

2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly ground ginger

Once the sugar has dissolved, whisk in:

1 cup of grated carrots**
1 cup of grated zucchini**

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture all at once. Stir just until blended. Divide the batter into the two loaf pans. Bake about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it sit in the pans for ten minutes before removing the bread from the pan and cooling it on a rack.

Once the bread has cooled, you can freeze a loaf, if need be.

*One of my goals this summer is to try and tweak this recipe even more and use less sugar and white flour. If I succeed, I will post it here.

**I use my food processor to shred the carrot and zucchini. I’ve used a box grater before, but it’s time consuming. If you have a food processor, use it.

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Summer Squash Risotto

Risotto

One of my favorite comfort foods, this time with summer flavors.

Simply follow my Basic Risotto Recipe, but make the following changes:

  • Use vegetable broth instead of chicken.
  • Use two varieties of squash for the vegetable
  • At the end, stir in fresh basil and lemon zest

Some directions:

Sauté the squash first in olive oil. You can use any summer squash. I used one zucchini and a pattypan squash, and I thought the pattypan worked particularly well with this recipe. I also chopped the zucchini but cut the pattypan into thick strips, just for some variety. Both shapes worked well. Sauté until they’re just barely tender, but still have a bite. Remove from the pan.

In the same pan, follow the instructions in the above link to make the risotto.

Towards the end, once the rice is tender and it’s time to stir in the parmesan or Romano cheese, add the squash to the rice, along with a handful of basil leaves, chopped into strips, and the zest of 1/2 a lemon. Now, this time when I made the risotto, I also stirred in a spoonful of Mascarpone cheese, just for the heck of it. The result? It certainly gave it a nice creamy texture, but I don’t think it’s necessary  The risotto is wonderful on its on, without the Mascarpone.

Garnish with Parmesan or Romano cheese and fresh ground pepper.

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Nonna’s Fried Zucchini

My great-grandmother was from Italy, and this is one of the many recipes she used to make. I don’t think she used bread crumbs.** I think that’s something my mom and I have added over the years. And this method also works well for cauliflower, potatoes, and chicken (just to name a few). My favorite, though, is the zucchini.

**Update: After talking to my mom, I found out that the breadcrumbs is something her and I changed some years back. My great-grandmother always did flour-egg-flour. My mom and I both prefer the breadcrumb method for zucchini, but the flour-egg-flour method is still best for chicken (but that’s a slightly different recipe for another day).

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Heat olive oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. You don’t need a lot. This isn’t deep frying. Just enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

Start by slicing your zucchini into around 3/4 slices. Season with salt. I like fat slices, but you can cut it thinner, if you like. Next, set up three bowls. The bowls should contain the following:

  1. All purpose flour, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper
  2. One egg, beaten
  3. Bread crumbs

How much of each depends on how many slices of zucchini you’re doing. For one medium sized zucchini, you’ll want about a cup of flour and at least a cup of breadcrumbs. Don’t worry. It’s easy to add more as you go if you’re running low. One egg should be plenty.

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Next all you have to do is dip your first slice of zucchini into the flour until it’s covered. Shake off the excess. Then dip the flour covered slice into the egg. Flip it a few times to make sure it’s covered. Hold it above the bowl for a few seconds to let the extra egg drip off. Next dip it in the bread crumbs. Flip it again to cover both sides with breadcrumbs. Immediately add the zucchini to the pan. Repeat with remaining slices.

Let the zucchini cook until the first side is brown and then flip it over to brown the second side. When it’s down, move it to a plate and sprinkle the top with salt and parmesan or Romano cheese. It’ll be crunchy on the outside and tender, but not soggy, on the inside. It’s a wonderful contrast. And be careful with your first bite. Those little zucchini hold a lot of heat!

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