The Richmond Register

August 13, 2013

What’s with this long green item call zucchini?

By Arritta Morris
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — Less than 30 years ago, the zucchini often called a green Italian squash, was hardly recognized.

Today, it is a particular favorite of home gardeners. It’s popularity is probably due in large part to its versatility as a vegetable as well its being able to be put into a dessert or bread.

A member of the cucumber and melon family, Christopher Columbus is said to have brought zucchini seeds from Central and South America to the Mediterranean region.

I have tried this bread and hope you enjoy it. A great source of fiber.

ZUCCHINI BREAD

INGREDIENTS:

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp nutmeg

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

3 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup water

2 cups grated zucchini

1 tsp lemon juice

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in.

Bake in two standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for one hour, or until a tester comes out clean. I sometimes bake this in my mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.

ZUCCHINI PIZZA CASSEROLE

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups (8 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 

1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese divided.

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 can Italian tomato sauce

1 medium green pepper, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Place zucchini in strainer; sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze out moisture. Combine zucchini with the eggs, Parmesan and half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

Press into a greased 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add green pepper.

Bake 20 minutes or longer till heated through.

Yields 6-8 servings. I usually leave out the ground beef but you make that choice.

You know we make dumb choices in our lives. I made a big one a couple of years ago.

If any of you have ever been to Pennsylvania and tried a dish famous in that area called “scrapple,” you will know what  it is and what crazy thing I did with it.

It looks like a pudding loaf. I got a recipe to make it and, of course, misread it and did not follow the directions correctly.

I thought it said to place in a cool place until it set (loaf style). I put it in a cool place alright, the garage. It took about three weeks for it to smell in there like a dead body.

The cool place was supposed to be a refrigerator instead of a freezer.

So, that was the end of my scrapple business.

If you are wondering what’s in scrapple, the main ingredients are the parts of the pig that one usually doesn’t bother with, such as the organs, etc. When I go back to Pennsylvania, I buy what’s in the store and am careful to bring it back on ice.

I am surprised that the neighbors did not call the law thinking I might have a dead body in the garage.

ZUCCHINI FRITTATA

When your garden is overflowing with zucchini, if the horn of plenty has become the horn of “too much,” take a couple of pounds of that green squash and make this delicious cheese and egg frittata. (Frittata is fancy word for pie.)

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds zucchini grated

1/2 tsp salt 

1 large onion, peeled and diced

1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese (I love to use the fresh type)

8 large eggs

2 tbsp flour

DIRECTIONS:

Stir the salt into the ground squash. Place the squash in a colander, weigh it down and let it drain for a hour or so. Combine the drained squash and onion. Fry in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet until soft, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the cheese, eggs, and flour. Add the cooked squash, drained of any liquid. if necessary. Stir to combine. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into a 9 or 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Heat the skillet on the stovetop until the oil is very hot. Spread the vegetable mixture evenly in the pan.

Bake the frittata for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it’s light golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and serve hot, in wedges. Serves 8 to 10 servings.

If you have an overflow of any type of vegetables from your garden, give it to any of the many food banks here in our county. They will give it to those are having a hard time in these rough economic days.

I always am amazed at the story in the Bible where Jesus fed the thousands with very few fishes. I bet your zucchini could do the same.

Arritta Morris holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a master’s degree in counseling from Eastern Kentucky University. She is certified as a food service specialist by the School and Nutrition Association.