It’s that time of year again. Summer is peaking and so is the annual zucchini crop. Stuff it or sauté it, fritter it or fry it, grill it or bake it – keeping ahead of it is nearly impossible. Those long, green summer squash just keep multiplying, it seems.
Need proof? According to The Pickled Pantry by Andrea Chesman, two “small” zucchini weigh nearly a pound; they’ll yield about four cups when sliced. Factor in the number of times someone picks a passel and brings them to you…well, you can see where this is going.
Chesman’s book offers some tasty solutions, including a recipe for Curried Zucchini Pickles made with pomegranate molasses and Chinese five-spice powder for a tangy flavor. Another book is the Everything Zucchini Recipes Cookbook: Zucchini Breads, Muffins, Main Dishes, Desserts, Jams & Marmalade by Katherine Hupp. It’s available on Kindle and promises: “The problem of what to do with huge baseball bat sized zucchini is solved.” But the best book title has to be The Zucchini Houdini by Brenda Stanley. Still uninspired? You can browse the 22 million recipes Google promises to serve up.
Perhaps you’re not much of a cook but you’d like to sample some creative concoctions. Visit the annual Zucchini Fest, August 17 and 18 in Hayward, California. That’s where you can enjoy the green squash in “pasta, quiche, bread, sandwiches, ice cream, pizza, sausage, cakes and more.”
Recently, a neighbor brought a just-baked cobbler to a potluck dinner. It was buttery and crumbly, full of cinnamon and nutmeg. She challenged everyone to guess what her “secret ingredient” was.
Now you know the secret. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
- 8 cups peeled, chopped zucchini*
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 3 cups sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups butter, chilled
*if the zucchini are large, remove seeds before chopping to prevent bitterness
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir zucchini and lemon juice until zucchini is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour and the remaining 2 cups sugar. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir 1/2 cup of flour mixture into zucchini mixture. Press half of remaining flour mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Spread zucchini mixture over top of crust and sprinkle remaining flour mixture over zucchini. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until top is golden. Serve warm or cold.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings