Zucchini might be the most versatile vegetable out there; it can star in both a savory dish as well as a dessert, like the bread. (Although I guess pumpkin would fall into that category, too, but really, who thinks of anything OTHER than pumpkin pie??) I adhere to the “only buy when in-season” for certain fruits and vegetables, zucchini being one of them. In fact, I found a recipe for a zucchini cake too late last summer for fresh zucchini, and have refused to make it until they’re back in season again. Now I just need an occassion…
-The zucchini joins the yellow squash in the “summer squash” category
-The name is derived from “zucchina” in Italian, which means ‘small pumpkin’
-Zucchini is in season here from June to October
-Look for firm, heavy vegetables with glossy skin
-They are hardier than their yellow counterparts and don’t need to be eaten immediately; store in the fridge up to one week
-Zucchini is a good source of both Vitamin A (75% RDA) and C, as well as potassium and phosphorus
-Zucchini (as well as many other vegetables) are called “low-energy dense” foods, which means they fill you up without a lot of calories–be sure to fill your plate with them!
-Whip up the French dish ratatouille, in which the zucchini is a main ingredient
-Check out my ‘made-over’ version of my mom’s interchangeable pumpkin/zucchini bread recipe
This is that cake recipe I was talking about… Does it not look AMAZING?! This might be worth all the elbow grease it will take to make it look this good.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
Orange Glaze Orange Glaze
Candied Zucchini Strips (optional) Candied Zucchini Strips
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush a 6-cup Bundt pan (surlatable.com) with butter, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, then squeeze dry in a clean kitchen towel or press in a ricer. (You will need 2 1/2 cups.)
- Stir together eggs and sugar, then stir in melted butter, zucchini, and orange zest and juice. Stir in flour mixture. Transfer batter to pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour (cake will rise quite a bit over the top of the pan but should not run over). Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cake cool for 10 minutes. Run a paring knife around edges of cake to loosen, and turn out onto wire rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Brush several layers of orange glaze evenly over cake, and garnish with candied zucchini before serving.
Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related. An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy. Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive! You can find her at www.thefrozenpineapple.com.