Sunday, May 18, 2008

Zucchini Days (Daze)

The garden is going great guns. Last year in May we had very little rain, and of course the rest of the summer was pretty dry. This May we've had rain every week and the tomato plants are already putting on fruit. The watermelon and cantaloupe plants are up and zinging...the cucumbers and beans are grabbing the fence and the okra is popping up in neat little rows. Everyone has a method for preparing okra seed, which is very hard shelled. Some soak them in bleach overnight (yes, really) some soak them in water overnight. The method I have had the most success with is so simple...I simply fill several ice trays with water and drop at least two seeds in each little cubby hole in the tray and freeze them for a day or so. When we get the row prepared, I take out the ice trays (one tray at a time) and plant the ice cube. The cube melts and waters the planting spot thoroughly and in about ten days up pops the plant(s). If I thin the plants to one plant per drill after they have four leaves and transplant the "thinned" ones to their own separate drill (hole). So anyway, this looks like it's going to be a humdinger of a season since most of the plants are up and bounding away. The other day I bought four little zucchini plants (that's courgettes to my British friends) and that's probably three plants too many. The first year we actually planted a garden Mac opted for three different kinds of squash...Patty Pan which is white and has a scalloped's very good battered and good as fried green tomatoes in my opinion. Then we grew yellow straight neck squash...some prefer crookneck but I can't tell any difference in taste. The straight neck is easier to prepare for canning...more uniform. Then I chose the zucchini. I love zucchini bread and always had to buy the zucchini in the grocery store, but I was determined that this particular year we would have our own plants. I seem to remember that we planted six plants and they grew quickly and flowered before the other squash. Every day when I came in from work I'd walk out to the garden to check the progress. My first zucchini was a marvel to behold. That lovely deep green color, the rather delicate veggie lay nestled in its bed of straw. I wondered if more would come on to accompany the first one because what in the world could you do with one zucchini? Place it on a pedestal and admire it till it was reduced to mush and compost? I had no recipes for one zucchini. In fact I only had one recipe for zucchini period...zucchini bread, which is rather a lot like banana bread but with a distinctly not banana flavor, and a green tinge to it if you leave on the skin...which I do. So I started going through my cookbooks (and let me tell you I have shelves upon shelves of cookbooks) looking up zucchini recipes so that in the off chance we had a successful crop of them I'd know what to do. Did you know you can make zucchini pizza? Yes, and zucchini casserole, fried zucchini, stewed zucchini (yuck) and zucchini stuffing. I kid you not. So everyday, here I come to the garden and wow, there are three zucchini .Then there are nine zucchini and suddenly I can't pick them fast enough and everyone is sick to death of my zucchini bread and zucchini one wants a bite of zucchini cassarole and I have been threatened by Mac that he will set fire to the garden if I bring in one more mess (I'm not quite sure how this term came about, but a mess is enough to feed everyone at your table) of zucchini. So now my six little plants are producing enough to feed the county and I'm giving it away to anyone who stops by, I'm taking it to work to share with the entire Sheriff's Department and still they come. People are warned not to drive by my house with their car windows open (and I deny ever chasing anyone down and throwing zucchini through their open car windows, it's a lie and I'll swear to it with my last breath). The last of the season came and hiding under one of the plants was the biggest zucchini I had ever seen. It weighed every bit of three pounds and measured about fourteen inches long. Enough time had passed that I had forgotten how overrun with the green squash we had been. I stood up holding that giant progeny of the zucchini vine and watched as Mac approached me. Grinning from ear to ear, I held it out to him proudly. "Look honey, we can use this for seed next year!" He took it from me and walked over to the blazing burn barrel where he unceremoniously dropped it into the flames. "Over my dead body," he calmly replied.

Due to popular is the recipe for Zucchini's the best one I tried...hope you enjoy it Mary!
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F ( 165 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8x4 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy. Mix in oil and sugar. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. Combine flour, cinnamon, soda, baking powder, salt and nuts; stir into the egg mixture. Divide batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until done.


Justabeachkat said...

Gosh, I'd love to meet Mac sometime. He sounds like my kind of guy! Wish I lived close enough to have some of your produce!


Carol said...

I do love your awesome dog!
Zzucchini bread, I have never tried and you have made my mouth water, I do love breads but have to watch how much I eat, I think my body does not like too much bread! Your garden sound great but I really would love to see pictures, please. Great tip for okra, I will have to try this. I was told to put seeds in the fridge just before planting them!
Carol x

Vee said...

Hahahahaha...I'll be careful when driving by this summer! Your garden just sounds great, Sandi. I would love to be the recipient of any number of those great tomatoes and cukes.

Love your wit, hon. LOVE IT!

Everything Stops for Tea said...

ooh I love courgettes!!! You'll have to post the receipes for things to do with them!

Ally Jay said...

Sounds like everything in the garden is coming up beautifully. Must be very green fingers in your household.

Jeni said...

Why is it that the zucchini plants do seem to produce an over abundance of those puppies anyway? I've noticed any of my friends here who have veggie gardens, when they give us a bag of their produce, it seems there are always numerous zucchini in there as compared to other plants. Oh, and my daughter likes to take really large zucchini and fill it with ground beef, topped with shredded cheese and bake it. Yeah, it's pretty good too.

Lee said...

Aw Sandi! Burning your prize zucchini. That's so funny! I'd get tired of too much of the same vegetable too. Suggestion...have you tried making Calabacita? It's a really great dish and uses lots of those vegetables you are talking about.


Mary said...

Please post the recipe for courgette bread sounds delicious My surgery has been put off for 6 weeks or so I am having physio as much as I can take Hope you are well

Donna said...

What a fantastic tip!! I have Never thought to freeze the seeds!! I'll try that!!hughugs

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

I'm not a fan of zucchini. But yellow squash? Hold me back! I could eat that all day long. Boiled, fried, whatever.

I think I will stick to flower growing for now. I don't think I have what it takes to grow actual food. Maybe I'll try some cherry tomatoes again, though. How hard can THAT be, right? lol

It reached 100 degrees here 2 days ago. I couldn't believe it. Only the third week in May and already it's blistering here. (sigh) We planted a few things in the front flower bed. Hope they'll do well but who knows. Randey's been tending to his roses but I think he's leaving it to me to weed his rose bed. I hate weeding the rose bed. I need to get it done, though before the weeds take over completely. Nothing spoils the look of a pretty flower bed quicker than ginormous weeds (and at their current rate, I expect those weeds to outgrow the elephant ears any day now. lol)

So how'd you like Idol last night? I think Simon was smoking some kind of weed himself! Sure, little David did fine. He always does. But I was blown away with David Cook's songs. I cannot wait to purchase his CD when it comes out. I usually agree with Simon, but last night...well last night, he seemed bound and determined to crown the young guy a day early. Guess we'll see tonight if his plan worked, eh?

Love ya'll,

bj said...

ummm, i love zucchini..especially raw.
You gotta show us a pic of your fabulous garden!
hugs, bj

Jan said...

LOL! That brought back memories from when my parents planted zucchini for the first time! They had zucchini everywhere! Those little things just grow like crazy. My mother still will make a bit of zucchini bread every now and again. Fried zucchini was my favorite!
Enjoy your garden!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Hey, completely off subject-- thanks for the tip on the Bra Olympics it was hilarious!

Sandi McBride said...

And for everyone else who is wondering just what the hell the bra olympics are you have to go to see Kari at She'll tell you all about it...go to the loo first, you're gonna laugh till you pee

Pam said...

I bet you are going to have an tremedous garden this year. Just thinking about all that produce makes my mouth water.

Akelamalu said...

Sounds like you're going to get a bumper crop Sandi! :)

Unknown said...

Hi Sandi,

Love some good zucchini. I used to make zucchini bread and my hubby loved fried and breaded zucchini. Haven't had that in years and I got to try your recipe. Loved your story, you always make me laugh with the way you describe things.

Jeanne said...

Glad your weather has been good for growing. Don't know what our season will be like. Asparagus got ruined a lot. Had a hot spell in April that set things on high speed then a couple bad frosts in a row just when it came up. Now we've been having temps in the low 40s at night and 50s during the day. Cold, damp and rainy. Not a very nice May.
Mmm zucchini bread. I used to work in a bakery that made the most awesome zucchini bread and muffins. We even had people bring us extra zucchini(and everyone that grew it had too much) so we'd make more.

Merisi said...

Oh, Sandi,
you are worse than my mom!!!!
Luring me over with the promise of coffee and petit fours and all I get is zucchini zucchini zucchini, and then some more zucchini??? *grin*

Have you ever tried to nip the crop in the bud so to speak? Pick a zucchini flower that has already an itsy-bitsy baby zucchino attached (this is a female blossom, forget about the males, they are half as good *sorry, guys, nothing personal*), stuff it with a piece of mozzarella cut the size of a French fry, and a small piece of an anchovy. Carefully flatten the blossom lengthwise with your hand, then sprinkle a little flour with a sieve on both sides. Beat an egg with a fork until the yolk and the egg white are mixed well, turn the zucchini blossom in it, and fry it in a non-stick pan in a bit of good canola or peanut oil. Sprinkle with salt before serving (but only of you haven't used any anchovies for the stuffing).
Bon appetit!

Sam Fox said...

MMmmmmm just copied out your recipe, Sandi for next summer.

Season last we only had two zucchini plants and they kept all summer to the point of devising new ways to use!


Sandra Evertson said...

Oh, Yum! Thanks!
Sandra Evertson

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

You are sooo funny!!! When my baby daughter was growing up we would take the zucchini and slice it thin (like fried green tomatoes) then we would dip it in egg wash and then in a mixture of cornmeal and flour then fry it till it was golden brown. Then we would sprinkle parmesan cheese over it and dip it in ranch dressing. Oh it was so good and the time we spent together was the best!!
Wish we lived close so we could do this......Hugs my friend....Mary

Mary said...

Thanks for the recipe Sandi But being an ignorant English girl how much is a cup ? approximately in ounces??? I suppose its as much as the cup holds and can you use olive oil?

indicaspecies said...

Yummy. You have a lovely blog. Thank you for passing by mine and leaving such kind words. :)

Christine Boles said...

We've had lots of rain and chilly weather~ even now, near the end of May, it's in the 40s at night!
Good information about growing these things, thanks!

Country Cottage Chic said...

Our courgettes are up & running too & we'll probably have far too many, but I just give them away. I like to grow different varieties as it's fun to have all the different shapes & colours. I particularly like the yellow ones. They are good in muffins too!

Jamie Dawn said...

I copied your recipe so I can make it and compare it to my mom's yummy recipe.

The ice cube trick you use to plant those okra seeds is nifty.
This post had be cracking up with images of you forcing zucchinis on people.
"You will take these and like it!!!!"
"I expect a full accounting of the ways in which you prepared the zucchinis I gave you, and I expect photographic proof!"

We were in Dallas, so I'm back home now and was able to stop by to read your posts.
I enjoy your writing so much.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! Reminds me of when we first got married and decided to grow vegetables. We had NO idea how much of everything to grown and among other things we put in two thirteen foot rows of sprouting broccoli! My Other Half doesn't even like broccoli! I do, but there was no way I could eat all that. I bought a freezer ...

Angie(quillysilly) said... I am getting hungry! I am going to start my first attempt at a garden this year and (insert sigh here..) I hope it survives. I'd take your zucchini anyday... I also read your post on your lovely Digby. She sounds absolutely amazing. I had to put my own Tobie to sleep this past January and it was so hard. I had him for 14 years and if a Cocker Spaniel could be a human trapped in a fur body, he'd have been the one! I still miss that dog every day. Thanks for sharing...Angie

Mima said...

I have got my first veggies out of the greenhouse and into the ground and am watching them anxiously out of the window where I have my little mini veg patch. This year I am trying savoy cabbage for the first time, so we will have to see how it turns out! Love the courgettes story, maybe I should try them next year!