Friday, August 14, 2009
In Season NW: Want Some Zucchini?
Dana Zia, writer, blogger and Oregon coast resident, was recently moved to deliver an encomium on the many blessings or, to put it another way, the avalanche of challenges presented by her vegetable garden this year.
Did you know that August 8th was national "leave zucchini on your neighbor's porch" day? I found out why this year. I wrote an article on zillions and zillions of zucchini around this time last year. I thought I knew a lot about this prolific plant, oh, but I didn’t. No no no. This is the saga of Dana and her zucchini crop.
I have decided that everything about zucchini is enthusiastic. It all started with a little package of seeds from Territorial Seed Company and it said something like, "packaged for use in 2009." Okey dokey, I can do that, I thought. So, here is me, all excited about finally being able to grow zucchini on our property up river, away from all the salty beach air, which zucchini do not like. So I planted all those lustrous "black beauty" zucchini seeds, in a fit of enthusiasm. And they all came up in fit of enthusiasm. And they have all flourished in a fit of enthusiasm. And they are all growing tons of zucchinis in a fit of enthusiasm.
Luckily, I had a sense of foreboding about all this when the zucchini plants were still small and dug up half of them and gave them away to the community garden and friends. Yet! That still leaves me with about 10 plants. Yes, I know, 10 plants! So needless to say, I have been pimping zucchini to all my friends and cooking with it in everything, enthusiastically!
And, you guessed it, in a fit of enthusiasm I think I found the crowning jewel of zucchini breads. I have made probably 10 loaves of this in the last week and only two of them have made it into the freezer. We have enthusiastically eaten them and not-so-enthusiastically given them away. It is moist, chocolatey and has the perfect crumb. I think I’m off to, yes, enthusiastically make more later today, since they freeze so well and taste oh so good!
Double Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Cooking Light
For the bread:
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 c. fat free cream cheese
1/3 c. of a vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp. of vanilla
2 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. unsweetened dark cocoa (can substitute Dutch processed cocoa)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. of baking soda
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of cinnamon
3/4 c. fat free buttermilk
2 c. grated zucchini
1 c. dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)
1/2 c. chopped nuts (walnuts are good)
For the glaze:
1/2 c. chocolate chips, melted in a double boiler.
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil two bread loaf pans. (I like to use glass ones cause they don’t change the flavor.) Enthusiastically cream together sugars and cream cheese with a mixer. Add in the oil and mix till more creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla till well blended.
In a medium bowl, add all the dry ingredients, flour through the cinnamon, and whisk enthusiastically together till it looks perfect. With the blender on, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour blend, till all is just mixed in. With the mixer on low, add the zucchini, chocolate chips and nuts and stir till just mixed in. The mix will be quite watery, due to all that wonderfully enthusiastic zucchini. Don’t worry, it bakes up great!
Pour equally into the bread pans and bake for about an hour till the house is filled with that magical chocolate smell and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for about 20-25 minutes in the pan, then turn out on a cooling rack to finish cooling. Glaze with a 1/2 cup of melted chocolate chips and enthusiastically enjoy!
Note: This recipe doubles well, too. It can be easily made into zucchini cake by just switching the style of pan you bake it in, and then frosted with chocolate ganache.
Posted by Kathleen Bauer at 5:21 PM