Sunday, August 7, 2011

Zucchini - veggie or fruit?


Today is National Zucchini Day.  Now you may be saying to yourself...what exactly is a zucchini?  Zucchini is part of the squash family.  More specifically a summer squash, however it can be found all year long in your grocery store.  It is formed from a flower of the zucchini plant and can grow up to 3 feet in length.  It is dark green in color and looks like a cucumber.  Zucchini is normally cooked, while cucumbers are served raw. In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower.

Zucchinis can be prepared using a variety of cooking techniques, including steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, fried, or incorporated in other recipes such as breads or soufflés.  In Mexico they use the flowers to make a soup, and also used in quesadillas. 

Zucchinis also are packed full of Vitamin A and potassium, and also contain foliate and manganese.  Depending on how they are cooked, they are also low in calories too.  Raw they are 15 calories per 100 grams.

The first time I ate zucchini was at one of my high school graduation lunches.  We went to a restaurant call the Widow Watsons.  It was a quaint little place that had wonderful quiche served with a spinach salad and nut muffin.  Chick food.  We ordered the fried zucchini as as appetizer mostly because it was so exotic sounding.  It was served with horseradish sauce.  For those of you who don't know, horseradish sauce is very spicy!  But the zucchini was sliced into spears and deep fried and was very delicious.  The next time I had zucchini it was baked in bread.  Now you might think this wouldn't be so good, I had my reservations too, but it too was delicious!  It’s a sweet bread like banana bread.  Here is the recipe I use.  While I was doing some research on zucchinis...I came across this site:  http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Of course I had to check it out. It’s a fun site with lots of recipes from a lady in Paris.  This also confirms my thoughts that chocolate does go with everything! 

So...on National Zucchini Day, grill, bake, fry or steam some today and celebrate squash!

Zucchini Bread
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions
  • Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  • Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  • Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.


No comments:

Post a Comment