What’s in the box – 6/7 April
The list of contents for this week’s boxes is here.
I’ve been a little preoccupied with zucchini this week.
I’ve been faced with the challenge of dealing with one of those great big ones. You know the kind – the ones that someone so generously gives you, and all you can think of is how many meals it is going to take to get through it all, as you smile and accept it gratefully and graciously. Zucchini is a member of the squash family and, as such, has it’s roots in the America’s, although the variety of squash known as “zucchini” was developed in Italy, probably towards the end of the 19th century. Anyone who has ever grown them will be familiar with how very prolifically they can fruit. Indeed, anyone who has ever grown them will probably be familiar with the experience of seeing their friends and neighbours run shreiking as they advance with yet another armful to offer. However, they are versatile, lend themselves to blending with any number of different flavours and ingredients and contain serviceable amounts of folate, potassium, vitamin A and manganese.
I tackled my monster squash in three different ways. The first was by baking a chocolate zucchini cake. I figured chocolate cake with chocolate icing was an easy way to get it down the kids throats with the minimal amount of fuss. The recipe I used was less than ideal, though, so I won’t be sharing it until it has been quite significantly tweaked – although the icing did the trick for my kids. Actually, sometimes I wonder why I bother with cake, when all they really want is the icing.
My second effort was to make zucchini soup. This was very simple and basic. The potato thickens the soup and makes it quite creamy, but milk can be added if you prefer more body to the soup.
Recipe: Zucchini Soup
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 potatoes, scrubbed and diced
- 3-4 zucchini, diced
- 50 ml olive oil
- Chicken stock
- Salt & pepper
- Small bunch of fresh thyme, chopped
- Heat oil in medium sized saucepan and saute onion until soft.
- Add vegetables and cover with stock. Bring to boil and simmer 7-10 minutes until potato and zucchini are soft.
- Cool for 10-15 minutes, then puree until smooth in a blender or food processor or using a stick blender.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and add thyme.
- Reheat until hot, but not boiling, to serve .
The last of the beast was put into an old and popular standby – Zucchini Slice. I had thought that everybody in the whole world was familiar with Zucchini Slice and it was a staple for my children when they were small, who loved it’s cheesiness. I loved it because huge amounts of vegetables could be hidden in it, so I was very surprised to meet a woman (with both a veggie patch and young children) who was unfamiliar with it. I include the recipe here for any of you who might not know of it and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks for helping to nourish my kids in their formative years. Any number of substitutions and/or additions apply here. Ham or salami can be used in place of the bacon and grated/finely chopped vegetables can be added at will. This freezes brilliantly, reheats well and is just as nice cold in the school lunch boxes. If necessary, it can also be tarted up with fresh herbs, sundried tomatoes and feta, cut into small cubes and served as finger food at parties. The recipe for this or something very similar can be found on any recipe website – this is just the one that I used.
Recipe: Zucchini Slice
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup SR flour
- 350 gms zucchini, grated
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 rashers bacon, chopped
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/4 oil
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Beat eggs in a large bowl.
- Add rest of ingredients, mix well.
- Pour into greased, ovenproof baking dish and bake for 40 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through.
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