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Eating From My Garden

I consider my garden to be my “extended pantry.” Right now I am harvesting zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and carrots. I have learned how to use zucchini in an amazing number of ways—all of them delicious. Equally good in a main dish, as a side dish, or in a dessert, zucchini is wonderful and so versatile.

When I have more than I can  use right away, I grate the fresh zucchini and store it in quart freezer bags in 2-cup quantities, since this is usually the amount called for in most recipes. You can also puree, chop or slice it before freezing for use later in a main dish or as a side dish. Be sure and label the zip-top bag with the month and year. Use within 3 to 6 months. When thawing, press between paper towels to remove extra moisture before using in a recipe.

These are three of my favorite zucchini recipes—Zucchini Patties, Zucchini With Tomatoes and Bacon and my Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cupcakes. All of these are easy and quick to make.

Zucchini Patties

3 cups coarsely grated zucchini (more or less)
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1-½ cups fresh breadcrumbs (I use whole wheat bread)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon Dijon type mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Oil for frying (I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Panko bread crumbs

Place grated zucchini in colander, sprinkle lightly with salt and let stand about 30 minutes. Press with paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible.  In a bowl, mix zucchini and remaining ingredients (except oil). Form into 8 small patties and chill. (Or you can chill the mixture before forming into patties.)
Coat patties with Panko bread crumbs and cook on both sides in small amount of oil until browned. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately.

Variation: Add 1 or 2 cans 6-ounce tuna or salmon, well flaked with fork, to the mixture. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice, if desired.

Zucchini with Tomatoes and Bacon

4 small zucchini, sliced (or medium sized, cut in half lengthwise and sliced)
1 15-ounce can diced Italian style tomatoes
1/2 small onion, chopped, or 3 tablespoon dry minced/chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
Dash pepper to taste
5 slices bacon, sliced and cooked crisp, or 1/4 cup Hormel Real Bacon Crumbles*

Wash and slice zucchini. In medium-size saucepan saute bacon pieces, chopped onion and chopped peppers. (If using dried chopped onion, add with tomatoes.) Add tomatoes, zucchini and seasonings to taste and heat to simmer. Delicious served as a side dish along rice and chicken or other meat. Can also be served over noodles.

Variation: Add 1 cup cooked corn and/or ½ cup sliced olives.
*Bacon: I use 4 or 5 slices of Hormel Precooked bacon, sliced

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Cupcakes

1 devils food cake mix (18.25 ounces)
1-½ cups pureed zucchini (good way to use larger zucchini)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º. Mix all ingredients except for chocolate chips until smooth, about 2 minutes. Fod in chocolate chips. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake about 20 minutes, or until cupcake bounces back when touched. Remove cupcakes from pan to wire rack. Cool about 10 minutes and then frost while still warm with fudge frosting
Makes 24 cupcakes.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting

1 cube butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup half and half or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Melt butter with cocoa powder. Whisking while it melts until well blended. Remove from heat and whisk in milk and vanilla. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating with mixer or using a whisk. Frost cupcakes with warm frosting while cupcakes are still warm. Frosting cools and become firm and fudge-like while cooling.

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 29th, 2011 at 8:59 pm and is filed under Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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