Monday, August 6, 2012

Zucchini Coming Out Our Ears

The Mother's garden is beginning to explode with produce, despite the dry and hot conditions the Midwest has been experiencing this summer, her gardens are starting to pump out tomatoes, eggplant (or, as they are called Europe, aubergine), zucchini (courgettes, in Europe), cucumbers, peppers, beans, peas...if you ask us there is far too many vegetables, we can barely eat and preserve them fast enough.

Yesterday, confronted with a giant bowl of shredded zucchini, we decided to do a little baking. We ended up with half a large bowl of shredded carrots too, leftover from last years gardening, that had been kept over the many months in a cool dark refrigerator and periodically repackaged in order to remove ones that had gone bad, preventing them from compromising the others. Add some over ripe bananas (the BEST kind for banana bread, hands down) and we had a palate of ingredients we could turn into works of tasty art.

So we set to work baking, and in the middle researched pickled zucchini recipes because low and behold, after shredding the eight large zucchini, four more appeared in the kitchen...

We found a few zucchini recipes, and tailoried one to meet our ingredient needs, thereby creating our very own zucchini and carrot bread recipe...which you can locate below. It's super low in fat, as there is no oil or butter in the recipe, simply two eggs, a very healthy fat.

The oven filled with large, and mini, loaves of our creations

(we also made a zucchini-raisin, and a carrot-banana bread, all of them tastier than the next)

Zucchini (courgettes) is a squash that is ready in the summer, as opposed to others like pumpkin and acorn, which are typically ready in the fall. Zucchini it generally better when smaller in size, about 7" or less in length, and are great simply sliced and fried in butter with some garlic, as well as added to many other dishes (vegetable lasagne for instance). Sometimes they grow fast, and before you know it they can be GIANT. Some can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) in length, and while you can still fry them, and use them in other dishes, at that point they tend to be a bit more fibrous, which affect the texture after they are fried/cooked, and start to produce large seeds inside, which makes them great for scooping, cutting into chunks and shredding, but to the picky eater, no longer has the desired firmer texture of a young zucchini.

Alternatively you could also scoop out the halves, stuff them with different mixtures and bake them.
Or slice them and dehydrate them to use as snacks, or for storing and rehydrate for using in winter soups and stews. There is just so much you can do...and we'll be finding more creative uses for them, because we can't eat that many baked goods...and they are coming out our ears.

In addition there is a growing number of other produce waiting to be processed, dried, pickled, canned, frozen and otherwise preserved.

For instance, today we canned some green beans, a recipe we may share after we taste them in three weeks. Hint. They don't have dill, but instead basil in the ingredient list. Canned pickled vegetables are best after a couple of weeks. 

Next week we will start on canning whole tomatoes, salsa, pasta sauce, and making green tomato mincemeat (great in pie!).

Anyway, if we aren't writing much these coming days it's because we're creating again...this time foodstuff. Distractions such as these are good, they make us feel balanced and healthy.

The following is our Zucchini Carrot Bread Recipe, most of these types of recipes call for a half, or more, cup of oil or butter, this one has neither, making it low in fat. This recipe is also light on processed sugar, and is therefore not as sweet as one might expect.

If you want to fancy up your creation and make a special breakfast or dessert, after it is cooled slice it and treat it like plain bread by make a super special French toast! Dip the about four slices in a mix of 3 eggs, 1/4 milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, melt butter in a frying pan on medium heat, and fry both sides until browned to desired doneness.
Serve with butter, real maple syrup, and a bit of whipped cream. Maybe some chocolate shavings.
There. Now we've made it unhealthy for you.
Want it a little healthier? Omit the butter and use yogurt, instead of whipped cream for a tangy sweet treat.
Make enough for two, and eat in bed for breakfast with someone special. They'll come back for more of all you have to offer.
We made some in muffin form too.
They cook in half the time.
We'd like to say you'll eat less by making them this way...but you won't.

Frankie’s Zucchini Carrot Bread
3.5 c flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp ginger, ground
2 eggs
12 oz evaporated milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ c brown sugar
1 c zucchini, shredded
1 c carrots, shredded

- Preheat oven to 350° Celsius
- Grease an 8 x 4 (or similar size) loaf pan. (pan spray works well, especially if you want to reduce the calories even more)
- Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
- Whisk together all wet ingredients.
- Quickly fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients.*
- Place mixed ingredients into the greased loaf pan. The mix will be a little dryer than most quick bread mixes, but it still should easily come out of the bowl, and into the loaf pan, with relative ease.
- Bake in preheated oven for about an hour, start checking with a large toothpick or knife after about 45 minutes by inserting it into the top of the center of the loaf. It should come out relatively clean, with dry, not wet, crumbs, if any, adhering to the knife.

*Note: when making quick bread it's important not to overwork the mix, so try to incorporate the ingredients without too much stirring. Stirring activated the gluten in the mix and will make for a more dense, less delicate, crumb. If you like it to be a bit more chewy (we don't mind it sometimes) then it's not a big deal.

We wish we could send you some.

Hope you enjoy! If you have any questions feel free to ask.


  1. Can't wait to make this! Glad you guys have found a healthy distraction :)

  2. This looks delicious! I am baking some this week. xo