Posts Tagged ‘zucchini’

Almond Zucchini BreadI have my go-to zucchini bread — err, actually cake — recipe, but it’s nice to switch it up sometimes. Now that the zucchini in the garden are finally abundant, I’m stocking up the freezer with this almond zucchini bread.

The recipe is super easy. Like muffins, it’s the mix-wet-ingredients-mix-dry-ingredients-combine method. The resulting cake is moist, with an even texture and a pleasant almond flavour.

Recipe: Almond Zucchini Bread

This recipe is adapted from a blog called Whet Your Appetite. I’ve significantly reduced the sugar, because I prefer my cakes less sweet, and the other flavours can shine through. I make this recipe into two medium-sized loaves, but I imagine you could also bake one large cake.

3 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup yoghurt
2 tsp almond extract
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup ground almonds
Sliced or slivered almonds for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two loaf pans.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, yoghurt and almond extract.

Combine wet ingredients with dry; do not overmix. Fold in grated zucchini and ground almonds. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle with sliced or slivered almonds if desired.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown.

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Summer Lentil Chili

It’s the time of year when fresh produce is plentiful. My vegetable garden (and the farmers’ market) is a riot of bright colours and peak flavours. It’s also the time of year we stuff our freezer with all this goodness, so we can benefit from it year-round. Some of it “unprocessed” and some of it “processed” into ready meals.

This year though we have an extra incentive to have prepared meals at our fingertips. In as early as a couple of days, at the latest within a couple of weeks, we will be three! In anticipation of the busy and sleepless time ahead, we have been busy cooking and baking. I’ve been balancing the heat outside with the heat of the kitchen, and have pulled chocolate zucchini cakes, banana breads, oatmeal-chocolate-walnut-cranberry cookies and sunflower butter cookies out of the oven.

Meanwhile, David has been the master of the main meals, making turkey pot pies, lasagna, beef and tomatillo stew, sausages, lentil chili. Lentil chili is something we make every year at this time. It’s the perfect way to use the many zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and herbs growing fast and furious in the garden, and makes a colourful and healthy meal.

Recipe: Summer Lentil Chili

The vegetable measurements need not be precise. A little more or a little less garden goodness won’t make a big difference!

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-large carrot, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp chili powder
1 generous tbsp each ground cumin and ground coriander
2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and cleaned
5 cups vegetable stock
6-8 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
2-3 medium zucchini, sliced/cubed
4 red peppers, chopped
4 cobs of corn, kernels removed
1 hot pepper (depending on how much heat you want, slice in half and remove seeds or pierce skin with a toothpick before adding)
2 generous tbsp each fresh thyme, oregano and basil, chopped
Salt to taste

Heat vegetable oil in a large pot. Sauté onions, garlic and carrot until tender. Stir bay leaf, chili powder, cumin and coriander into onion mixture. Add lentils and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until lentils are tender and liquid is reduced by half. Mix in tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, corn kernels and hot pepper. Cook 10-20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and hot pepper. Stir in herbs. Season to taste.

We freeze our summer lentil chili in 1L yoghurt containers and get approx. 4 containers per recipe.

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There’s a running joke in my family about zucchini plants. When I was growing up, my mom always insisted my dad plant two zucchini plants “in case one dies.” Needless to say, every summer both plants survived and inevitably we would end up with some XXL zucchini at more than one occasion during the season.

Zucchinis in my garden

*Only* five zucchini plants in my garden this year. Trying to pick them all while still small!

I like to plant both green and yellow zucchini. I buy baby plants at the nursery. There’s always more than one plant per container. You can see where this is going…

This year I have a bed with 5 (yes FIVE) zucchini plants in it. With the recent hot weather, they’re growing like crazy. I tried hand pollination and witnessed the effects—zucchini matures properly growing big and strong instead of staying small and eventually rotting—but they don’t even need that help!

Yellow zucchini

Hmm, I see one zucchini for every day of the week (and more)!

I’m picking at least one zucchini per day. I’m giving them away. I’m gathering and trying recipes: zucchini relish (from mom and mother-in-law), zucchini fritters (fast, easy and tasty, use less oil and fry in a non-stick pan), zucchini tart, zucchini frittata (eggs, sliced zucchini, basil, goat cheese, salt & pepper), stuffed zucchini flowers (eat the flowers and I may get a zucchini picking break for a couple of days), pasta tossed with zucchini (spaghetti, sauteed sliced zucchini, basil, mint, bit of garlic, toasted pine nuts), … I’m eating lots of zucchini!

Here are two recent creations:

Recipe: Zucchini and Chickpea Salad

I just threw this salad together, so measurements are approximate (or non-existent). Adjust quantities to your own taste.

*Make this recipe at least one day ahead to allow flavours to meld.*

1 tsp cumin seed, toasted
½ tsp coriander seed, toasted
approx. 20 large basil leaves + more to finish
approx. 20 large mint leaves + more to finish
flat-leaf parsley
lemon juice, from half a lemon
olive oil
salt & pepper
2 green onion, cut into 1 cm pieces
3-4 smallish zucchinis

If using dried chickpeas, soak and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.

Cut zucchini into thin slices. Saute until just soft. Add green onion and remove from heat (green onion will cook lightly in the remaining heat, but not lose its colour).

Using a mortar and pestle, grind cumin and coriander seeds. Add all herbs, a bit of salt and some olive oil, and work the herbs into a paste. Once the herbs start to break down, add the lemon juice and more olive oil and keep working it to create a paste. Adjust seasoning.

Toss chickpeas, zucchini and herb paste. Let rest at least 12 hours, preferably one day, before serving.

Recipe: Apricot Almond (Zucchini) Muffins

Apricot almond (zucchini) muffins

1 egg
¾ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1 cup zucchini, finely grated (2-3 smaller zucchinis)
6-8 apricots, diced

1 ¾ cups flour
½ cup ground almonds
3 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
sliced almonds (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line/grease 10-12 muffin cups.

Combine all wet ingredients. Combine flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and blend until flour mixture is just moistened.

Fill muffin cups. Sprinkle with sliced almonds if desired. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.

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