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Monday, September 24, 2012

What I do with all that Zucchini...

Last Christmas when the parents and in-laws asked my husband and me for Christmas gift ideas we told them we would just like to receive money. We had something very specific in mind to do with it... we wanted to buy one of these:

If you don't have a food processor, get out your Christmas Wish List and add one to it right now, this minute! Seriously, it's one of the best kitchen power tools I have. I think I may even get rid of my small chopper and blender, I love it that much! We use it for any number of things: cutting butter into something I am baking, canning, preparing to freeze veggies, shredding cheese, mixing dough, chopping onions, making salsa, making baby food, blending refried beans, the list goes on and on........... So, I bring this up now because it has become a life saver for dealing with my garden. This week things were a little crazy with our schedule and we couldn't get out there to pick vegetables for several days. There were several baseball bats zucchinis out there for me to use up.

Here is where my food processor comes in ---- I can really quickly chop the zucchinis into large pieces that will fit into the mouth of the processor and run them through the shredder disc to get cup after cup of shredded zucchini!

What am I going to do with it when I am finished?

I love to put my zucchini into bags by the 2-cupful so that when I am ready to prepare a recipe that calls for it, I can grab one bag per 2-cups and let it thaw on my counter ahead of time. I usually put them in smaller bags and then put those into a large gallon size bag in the freezer, labeled and dated. Zucchini will be good for 9 months in the freezer or 14 months in a deep freezer. Do your very best to get all the air out of the bags.

TIP: Use a soda straw, insert it into the bag and zip it all the way closed up to the straw. Suck out the air and then pinch the straw closed and continue sealing the zip as you pull the straw out. You can do that or you can invest in one of those fancy vacuum sealing machines... but that might have to wait for next year's Christmas Wish List...

We make a lot of casseroles and soups in our house. Adding a cup or two of shredded zucchini will totally fool the kids (even the hubby sometimes) and can be a great way to add more veggies to your diet without affecting the flavor or texture of the dish.

We also love to eat Zucchini Bread. I prefer to make it in muffins these days so that my little people can just reach into the refrigerator and pull one out of the container. I use this recipe, which makes 2 regular sized loaves of bread, or in my case--24 muffins.

Several summers ago, a mother of some of my piano students shared this recipe with me and I give it to you now:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups zucchini, peeled and grated
2 1/2 cups flour
4 Tbs cocoa
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 (12oz) bag chocolate chips
Brown Sugar
Cream butter, oil and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and mix well. Add zucchini, flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder and mix well. Stir in one cup of the chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Top with remaining chips and some brown sugar. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.