Yes, it's zucchini season chez Dig In. I love zucchinis (luckily), but there have been days when I have dreaded going into the vegie garden to see how many I will find, and how big they are. Because anyone who grows zucchinis knows: there's always one that gets away. That the day before was a wee petite thing, and the next was a granddaddy, a monster.
So yes, it's been 101 ways to cook zucchinis here. Okay, that is a slight exaggeration; I have settled on a couple of main ways of cooking them. The first is roasting them with olive oil and S&P; very simple, but it brings out the creaminess of the vegetable. It pairs well with chickpeas this way, as you can see in the picture above. I then toss the pieces through a warm salad or even squish onto grainy toast. I am experimenting with freezing some like this, to stir thru my tomato pasta sauce in the winter months.
Grilling them is fun, too:
I also love spiralizing zucchinis, especially when they are still slender. I use the spaghetti-like strands tossed thru a salad, squished on a salad breadroll (a surprisingly good lettuce substitute if caught short) and stir-fried; with other green vegies and again with chickpeas (it's a combination I find so delicious). I mean, how pretty is this?
Finally, the best way of eating any vegetable, must surely be as cake. So, when life hands you zucchinis in excess and you can't give them away, make cake:
Mini carrot cakes so moist and rich, full of flavours from mixed spice, brown sugar and boozy sultanas. Mum actually said you couldn't tell it was carrot cake, the spice and sherried sultanas so potent. But who has ever had a wodge of carrot cake and said mmmmm, so carroty? I rest my case.
Zucchini cake / carrot cake
Adapted from a 'Super food ideas' magazine.
- A week or two ahead of time, start soaking 3/4 cup sultanas in sherry. If you prefer a non-boozy version (huh?!) or you forget to do this, on the day soak your sultanas in hot tea, just to plump them up. But I recommend the boozy option.
- Preheat your oven to 180 and prep your baking tin. I used my mini loaf tin (8 loaves) plus 4 holes of a muffin tin; the recipe specified a deep 20 cm round tin.
- Gently toast in the warming oven 3/4 cup walnut chunks; do keep your eye on them.
- Grate enough zucchini to get 1 1/2 cups.
- In another bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 3/4 cup vegie oil or light-flavoured olive oil, 1/2 cup golden syrup, and 3 large eggs.
- Sift into this 1 cup SR flour, 1/2 cup plain flour, 1 tspn bicarb soda, and generous 1/4 tspn each cinnamon, ginger and mixed spice (or whatever spice combination you like. I'm always heavy-handed with the mixed spice).
- Stir in the grated zucchini, sultanas (drained if a lot of liquid, though a little extra sherry certainly won't hurt) and the toasted walnuts. You can also add the zest of one orange for even more flavour.
- Pour into the pans. If you are using mini-loaves or muffin sizes, try for 20-25 minutes or until done. If a single large tin (which I have not used), the recipe specifies 60-70 minutes or until done. The cakes should be cooked but still moist.
- When done, stand the tin on a rack to cool for a few minutes before turning out to cool completely.
- PS I know there are some people who say 'the best bit of a carrot cake' is the cream cheese frosting, but I'm not one for all that gooeyness at home (and especially not in summertime). Hence, no cream-cheese frosting recipe. And if that's the best bit of the cake, then there's something wrong with your cake. Enjoy.