Sunday, July 27, 2008

From the Farm: More Zucchini...for the Freezer

Not only have I been getting great zucchini from the farm stand, but now my neighbor is giving them to me. People with gardens are always growing more than they can eat, and usually end up begging you to take their surplus. No one needs to ask me twice---because I'll take all of it and use it to stock my freezer with all sorts of goodies. This way, long after zucchini are out of season, I'll still have plenty of reminders of the summer bounty.

Let round two of the zucchini bonanza begin! My first order of business was to use my food processor to shred the zucchini. This is, by far, the easiest way to shred or grate large quantities of food (veggies, cheese, etc). Just use the disc attachment that came with your processor...yes, those flat, round metal things with holes that you stashed in the back of the cabinet. They do in fact have a purpose!

Armed with a giant bowlful of gorgeous green and white goodness, I was ready to start cooking. As I gazed into my pantry, I wondered what I could create without having to go to the grocery store. I found a box of multi-grain baking mix (think Bisquick gone healthier), and figured that was an easy place to begin. The first experiment was the most simple... zucchini pancakes. I simply folded in 3/4 cup of the shredded zucchini into one batch of pancake batter, hauled out my over-sized electric griddle, and set to work. They were really yummy and moist, thanks to the zucchini. I liked them served with just a touch of butter, but my kids wanted to stick to what they knew and opted to eat them with maple syrup. I made enough for dinner (why not--they incorporate veggies!), and froze a dozen for another time.

While I had the baking mix out, I remembered the great drop biscuits my mom always made when I was a kid. By adding the shredded zucchini along with some cheddar cheese to a basic drop-biscuit recipe, I was on to something good. The result was a wonderfully savory biscuit, with a hit of sweetness. They were such a hit with my family, they were gobbled up pretty quickly. Needless to say, tonight I'm going to make a double batch for the freezer.
After the pancakes and the drop biscuits, I still had quite a bit of zucchini left over. I decided to revert to my standard zucchini bread recipe to finish it off, but decided to add 1/4 cup of Dutch process cocoa powder to the dry ingredients. The kids especially liked the chocolate version, since it seemed more like cake than bread.

Zucchini are available at the farm stand for a good part of the summer---so get it while it's good and bake a bunch for your freezer!

Zucchini-Cheddar Drop Biscuits
Makes 1 dozen biscuits
By using a store-bought baking mix, you save time on these delicious homemade biscuits. The zucchini give great texture, color and added moisture, and the sugar sprinkled on top right before baking make them a treat everyone will love! (photo top)
2 cups multi-grain baking mix (okay to substitute regular)
2/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons sugar (I prefer Sugar in the Raw)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix together the baking mix, milk and oil. Stir until just combined.
Gently fold in the zucchini, then the cheese.
Using a spoon or small ice-cream scoop, drop onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 tablespoons of dough per biscuit. Be sure to leave approximately 2 inches between each biscuit.
Sprinkle tops of unbaked biscuits with sugar.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until set and lightly golden.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Store completely cooled biscuits in an airtight container (or ziplock freezer bag) and freeze for up to 3 months.

1 comment:

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