Saturday, July 7, 2012

A few summer treats

Is it just me, or does everyone suddenly have more zucchini than they know what to do with?

I got two big zucchini from a friend a little bit ago, so I've been testing different recipes with it.  I don't actually like zucchini, as a general rule, so it's been fun trying to see how I do like to eat it.

First was zucchini falafel.  You just take shredded zucchini (shredded on a box grater or in the food processor) and sub it in for chickpeas in falafel.  I added salt, garlic powder, and cumin, plus enough flour to make it a doughlike consistency.  (For a mid-size zucchini, maybe 1/4 cup.)  Then I cooked it in my hot cast-iron pan in a bit of olive oil.  It wasn't as delicious as real falafel -- more chewy, less crunchy -- but it was quite good.  Especially considering it's zucchini!

Then this morning, I adjusted my applesauce cookie recipe to make zucchini cookies.

Zucchini Cookies

1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (whole wheat or white)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
(1/2 cup chopped nuts)
(1/2 cup raisins)

First mix the wet ingredients together, then the dry, then mix together.  Cook in a 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  To make applesauce cookies instead, use 1 cup applesauce in place of the zucchini AND the sugar.  I think applesauce is sweet enough as-is.

Another new development is my first cucumbers.  I am so excited because I love cucumbers.  I wasn't quite sure when to harvest them, because they kept getting bigger and less green, but they still had little spines on them.  Eventually I just picked them, spines and all, and peeled them.  My first bite of the first cucumber made me think, "Uh-oh, it must be overmature," because it was bitter.  But once I got past the stem end of the cucumber, it was the sweetest cucumber I'd ever tasted.  The variety is called Delicatesse.  I'd better save seed from them -- they're a keeper.  Took no particular effort to grow, either.

With that first cucumber I made a cucumber-mint smoothie.  It reminded me a bit of a Starbucks green tea frappecino ... which happens to be my favorite drink ever.  I grated the cucumber and stuck it in the freezer a couple hours to get half-frozen.  Then I blended it with several mint leaves and about 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, with a little squirt of honey to sweeten it.  Now I'm thinking I want to make another one, but with green tea added.  Doesn't that just sound delicious and summery?

Now if only my tomatoes will get ripe ... I have dozens of green ones and check them every day, hoping I can stop eating grocery-store softballs and actually eat a REAL tomato again!


Salixbabylonica said...

You have cucumbers already? Nice! Mine are still pathetic seedlings. We had to replant this year, since the first batch of seeds didn't sprout, so got a late start. All the cucumber varieties we've grown have still had the spines when ready to pick. You can just rub them off if you don't want to peel it.

The zucchini falafel sounds really interesting, I'll have to try that. Another yummy savory zucchini dish is zucchini fritters. Even C. will ask me to make those, and he really doesn't like zucchini. I can give you the recipe if you like.

The Sojourner said...

My mother tends to make chocolate zucchini bread--I don't remember the exact recipe, but it uses a couple cups of shredded zucchini and a whole bag of chocolate chips, and you end up with this super-moist, super-chocolatey bread that always disappears from the house in a couple of hours.

The best part is that while you're eating what is essentially a dessert, you get to pretend you're eating it for the vegetables.

I don't have any garden-fresh vegetables here. I planted some peas on my apartment patio and they did splendidly up until around the time they started getting baby pea pods, and then they abruptly all died. :( I might be scarred for life by the experience.

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