Picture this: It's 1988, it's late August, and our neighbour Mr. Bell just gave my mom one of his zucchini's from their veggie garden. It's a big one - probably 19 pounds. Ok, not that big - but it's the size that when you look at it you wonder what in the world you will ever do with so much zucchini.
I see the zucchini sitting on the counter and pray that we won't be subjected to having any of it. (I know!!!! I used to really dislike zucchini.) Later that same evening, after a day of sleeping in, hanging with friends, watching Days of our Lives, and napping, I sit down to dinner with my mom and dad. We have just had bbq'd burgers that my dad has cooked 'cajun style' b/c he likes to make sure that they're really cooked. We're also having ripple potato chips and potato salad. I am ladylike so I only have one burger. My mom is on a 'diet' so she doesn't have the bun. And my dad has 2. I give our black lab, Shadow, the last bite of my burger. She always got the last bite. Loved her so.
As we are finishing, my mom let's my dad and I know that we are having chocolate cake for dessert. At first, I am so excited. I love chocolate cake - who doesn't? And then it hits me - there has been a time before that my mom has made chocolate zucchini cake, and I was not a fan. I immediately look over to the counter and notice the monster zucchini isn't there. My mom brings over the cake and slices 3 pieces, one for each of us. I ask her if it has zucchini in it and she says 'no, of course not'.
My first bite, I can see little green and white flecks. And I can taste a bitterness that is not supposed to be in chocolate cake. I knew it!!! I tell my mom that I can't eat chocolate cake with zucchini in it and push the plate away. My dad gives my mom a hard time, but finishes the cake and has another piece. The cake is eaten over the next couple of days, but not by me.
What a horrible child.
Now, when I look back on that story, there are a few things that stick out. 1. I really didn't like the bitterness of the zucchini in the cake. 2. I am not sure why it freaked me out that a vegetable was in a dessert. 3. My mom is an incredible baker - always has been. 4. I didn't know then that I would now LOVE zucchini. 5. My dad was so funny - I miss him so.
Whenever I do stuff like this, I feel like a farmer. And I didn't even grow this.
Now we are in 2011 and I not only love zucchini, but I baked with it! I know!!! Our friends Christopher and Claire brought us a jumbo zucchini and I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. They grow so many vegetables in their garden - and are always blessing us with homemade treats. I also got another zucchini from a friend at work - so it's crazy zucchini time. Today I made the husband shred the rest of what we had - and I froze them in ziploc bags with 2 cups in each. They will come in handy when I want to do some more baking or add to spaghetti sauce.
I found a couple of different recipes online for zucchini bread - so I tried to combine a few - and it turned out quite well. I reduced the sugar by over half - and I am really glad that I did b/c it was definitely sweet enough.
Pre-heat the oven to 350.
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups shredded zucchini
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
3 cups of flour
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of raisins
Zest of one lemon
In a large bowl mix together the eggs. sugar, and vanilla. Add in the shredded zucchini and the vegetable oil and mix together. Sprinkle with the baking soda and salt. Add in the flour and mix it. Add in the walnuts, raisins and the lemon zest.
Place in a large loaf pan or two smaller loaf pans.
Bake for 60 minutes. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Remove it from the pan - and enjoy!!
I just know that I am reformed - and I love zucchini in baking. Well at least in bread. I may give the chocolate cake a try and I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.