Monday, June 28, 2010

Zucchini, How Do I Eat Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

In the nearly 11 years that we’ve been married, Shawn and I have attempted a backyard vegetable garden three times. Our first attempt took place in Florida and the fruit of our labors was a handful of green beans.

Garden number two went under construction in Spring 2009. Our daughter Lucy has for the past couple years told us that she wants to be a gardener when she grows up so we thought we’d encourage her desire by starting a small vegetable garden for her and her older brother in the backyard of our Virginia townhouse. So Shawn went to Home Depot, they picked out which seeds they wanted, and came home to turn my kitchen counter into a mini greenhouse for a couple of weeks. They tended their seedlings until the temperature outside was prime for planting, then made the fateful transition outdoors.

The plants survived about a week.

The soil was like cement and the fact that our backyard had a serious downward slope didn’t help. So when we decided to make another attempt at vegetable gardening this Spring at our home in Lancaster, PA, my hopes weren’t high. I figured if I got a handful of fresh cilantro and enough spinach for a side salad, I’d consider our garden a rousing success.

Well, Mother Nature had other things in mind. The combination of ridiculously fertile Lancaster-county soil and my husband’s late night studying of Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening and we have ourselves a VERY fruitful garden this year.

Besides already harvesting more peas and lettuce than an army of rabbits could ever hope to eat, on Saturday we found 3 mutant zucchini hidden underneath the jungle that is currently our garden, and we've got about 14 more monstrosities gaining strength and size with each passing day.

I love zucchini, but there is a limit to my affection, and I think 17 zucchini the size of my calves could be that limit. The bright side is that I do have an outrageously good zucchini bread recipe. The down side is I estimate that my impending zucchini could produce upwards of 500 loaves. I need some other options, so I turn to you, my good readers, to help.

What does a mere woman do with all these zucchini? I'm looking for your absolute favorite zucchini recipes here. And while I'll keep Guideline #2 from last Friday's post (I like my food real, nothing artificial), please bombard me with your best ideas. And whichever one I like the best will be spotlighted on this Friday's post!


  1. My mother-in-law has always made zucchini bars as a dessert, and they are so good!


    3 eggs
    1 cup vegetable oil
    2 cups white sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups grated zucchini

    1/2 cup margarine
    1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese
    2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

    In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the zucchini. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow bars to cool completely before frosting. To make the frosting, blend together the margarine, cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until well blended. Spread over cooled bars before cutting.

  2. I just got one of these giants and heard that you can slice them and either fry them or bake them like eggplant. Perhaps they would be good on top of spaghetti?

  3. Shish kabobs! I like to take zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions and chop them into equal size chunks. Put them all in a bowl and throw some Paul Newman's Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing on them; let them marinate for a couple of hours. Push them on some skewers and put them on the grill, turning them every couple of minutes. Enjoy them like this or toss it back into a bowl and crumble some goat cheese or gorgonzola over them. Toss and then serve warm. Yum yum yum.

  4. Once you've exhausted all cooking options and given away what people will take, I was always partial to using them as target practice for my sling-shot. If this little gem as yet to make an appearance at your house, I highly recommend it, as a kid it was one of my favorite things and kept me outside!

    - Jason

  5. I love zucchini. This is my fav recipe, and Caitlin's too. Slice them in half like a boat. Scoop just a little bit of the flesh out. Fill with feta cheese, fresh basil, kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes. Put in your oven for maybe 15 minutes at 400. They are delicious!
    Kim Silva

  6. Here's a simple one my mom used to make. I don't have the exact recipe, but in general, it goes something like this:
    Grate the zucchini, salt it (here's where quantities would be useful...)and put it in a colander over a bowl to drain for an hour or so. Squeeze out as much juice as you can.
    In a big skillet, stir-fry the zucchini in olive oil until tender.
    Add a chopped fresh herb of your choice. The original recipe called for italian parsley, but basil would be great, too.
    Take skillet off the heat and add a big dollop of sour cream.

    I also love zucchini roasted in a hot oven with olive oil and a few chopped tomatoes.

  7. Caitlin wanted me to add one more. Make your couscous with cut up zucchini and cherry tomatoes. When completely done add goat cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper and some fresh basil. It is wonderful and she just loves it. Add in the olives too. She does prefer no goat cheese in hers, but I can't resist it! Have fun. I can't wait until mine get ripe. Caitlin loves your blog!

  8. I personally never liked cooked zucchini except for zucchini bread...BUT I posted my all-time FAV recipe for Zucchini Casserole on my blog at It is the best I ever tasted. This casserole also freezes well. And the best part is it actually tastes better re-heated the next day!

    I have also in the past shredded, pre-measured for bread recipes and froze it. Works well if you use a food saver. Just thaw and bake in your bread.

    My husband loves fried Zucchini, slice, dip in flour, then egg, then crushed Ritz crackers and fry in oil.

    I have also used it to make like Eggplant Parmesan.

    Hope the suggestions help with your abundance of zucchini...isn't Lancaster County wonderful? BTW I found your blog through your husband, I'm a follower on twitter.

  9. I think that you should shred some of the zucchini and become a "sneaky chef". Hide some of it in anything you are baking and the kids will never know! Just think of all the different places you could hide it...pancakes, brownies, bread, etc.
    How about chocolate zucchini cupcakes?! YUM!
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    1/4 cup melted butter
    3/4 cup vegetable oil
    3 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    2 cups grated zucchini
    1 cup chocolate chips
    2 cups unbleached flour
    1 cup cocoa, sifted
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp allspice
    1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease large muffin pans and line with muffin cups.

    In a medium bowl mix together the sugar, butter and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well incorporated. Stir in vanilla, buttermilk, zucchini and chocolate chips.

    In a separate bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients and mix until well combined. Spoon batter into large muffin pans. Bake in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, while preparing the icing (note: Don't overcook them or you will lose all the moist goodness - you want them to look almost done in the oven - they will continue to cook for a few minutes after you pull them from the oven from the residual heat).

  10. You know what they say .... ". The only time you have to lock the doors to your car in the country is July and August to keep out runaway Zucchini!"

  11. We cut the zucchini in half or quarters, depending upon how big it is. Then, put a little olive oil on it, salt, pepper, garlic (whatever seasoning you really enjoy), and Chris grills it. A couple/few minutes on each side - enough to soften it a bit and get some good grill marks. Our kids scarfed it right up!! REALLY GOOD!!!

  12. Hi Maille- I found your blog through Shawn through FB- I went to Messiah with Shawn and my brother played soccer with him there. . .I've really been enjoying your blog!! Here is a recipe for a veggie burrito with zucchini that I really love! so here it is:

    Either use 1-2 cans kidney beans or get the dried ones ready, then mash them up and add 1 cup salsa (or more, depending on your taste) and 1 tsp cumin.

    Saute in olive oil: diced onion, carrots, peppers, zucchini and minced garlic (in that order so the carrots get soft) for 5-10 minutes.

    Place a large spoonful of bean mixture on whole wheat tortilla, followed by veggie mixture and finally cheddar cheese. Fold and place in 9x13 pan. Repeat until pan is full and sprinkle more cheese on top.
    Bake at 350 about 15 minutes. Serve with guacamole and sour cream-yum!!!

    PS- hope to try the black bean cakes soon! i am always looking for a yummy veg. recipe to try to cut down on our meat consumption, purely for financial reasons!!!