Tuesday, August 7, 2012

National Zucchini Day

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By Chef Diane

My dad's neighbor grew a garden this summer, he had squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini and peppers, even a few cantaloupe, that the deer out there really enjoyed. Just about the time his produce began to get ready for picking, he and his wife went on vacation.  He told my parents to pick what they wanted, so my dad picked a few squash and zucchini. My mother sliced them up along with some onions and a little all-purpose seasoning, then poured a couple of tablespoons of oil in the pan, put everything in and let it cook on medium heat, while covered, until it cooked down. After it was finished, she sprinkled some fresh shredded parmesan cheese on top, and I think it was probably one of the best things I had ever eaten.  I had to convince them that there wasn't enough left over for the both of them, so I would be happy to take it off their hands.  I love doing special favors like that for them.
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Today is National Zucchini Day.  Zucchini is a type of squash, it’s long and green, like a cucumber. Actually they are all in the same family.  Zucchinis are from Italy, and the name means small squash.  When I was in high school, I was treated to a small graduation dinner at a small restaurant.  for the appetizer we were served fried zucchini.  The zucchini was sliced long ways into spears, then battered and fried and served with a creamy horseradish sauce. They were fantastic that way too!  The restaurant closed, and I have never found any fried zucchini again.

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Another favorite for zucchini is zucchini bread.  It is sweet bread, like banana nut bread, and you can put nuts in it as well.  Zucchini is also good on the grill, or on shish k bobs.

There are several ways to cook it, and it’s delicious and good for you too.  So today on National Zucchini Day, you have no excuse not to eat some your favorite way.  Here is the recipe for Zucchini bread from allrecipes.com for you to try.  You will be glad you did.

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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 walnuts or pecans


Directions
  1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


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