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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Using your Frozen Zucchini

So, now you have a freezer full of shredded and cubed zucchini, what to do?
There are many recipes for shredded zucchini, and you can use the frozen shredded in many of these recipes.  The best uses are in zucchini bread, muffins and fritters.  I am not going to give a recipe out for zucchini bread, because everyone who knows what a zucchini is, has a favorite recipe, and I am not gonna mess with that!  If you do not have a favorite, check the net, there are literally thousands to chose from, but I have never been disappointed with any recipe off the Food Network site.  You can use your favorite bread recipe to make mini-loaves, or use a muffin pan, and then your zucchini bread becomes portable.

Fritters, or Fry Bread, is another way to use up your shredded zucchini.  The following recipe is from our cousin Chris, who said this way a delicious way to make zucchini:

     2 cups grated zucchini (I recommend thawing the zucchini out, but keep in fridge)
     1/4 cup minced onion
     1 cup bisquick
     1 egg
     1/2 cup chedder cheese
Mix in a bowl, make the fritters and fry in butter or oil.

You can also "hide" it in other recipes.  I will throw some in a meatloaf or meatballs:  just saute the frozen shreds with some onions, garlic and chopped red peppers and add that to hamburger, and with an egg and some breadcrumbs, you have a tasty meatloaf, or form into meatballs and bake.  The veggies are "hidden" and the meatloaf does not get all dried out.  You can also add it to lasagna, which is tasty, or make it into meatless "meatballs".  There are many recipes on the net for meatless dishes involving shredded zucchini.

A favorite in our house is a recipe that I have adapted from a recipe for eggplant that I used at Firestone Farm.  The recipe is in "The Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping" 1880.  The recipe calls for eggplant, flour and 1 egg, and salt and pepper.  I have made these "pancakes" many times, and they go over big everywhere.  The zucchini ones are more complex, but oh so good!  This recipe uses the cubed frozen zucchini, and is based on a zucchini about 12-14 inches long.  Please adjust to your zucchinis.

1 cubed zucchini
1 garlic clove - diced
1 small onion - diced
1 egg- beaten
3-5 heaping tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
spices to taste - I like oregano, thyme salt and pepper.  Fresh basil is good too.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the frozen, cubed zucchini to the pot.  Boil until it breaks apart, and boil for about 4 min longer.  Just make sure the zucchini is hot all the way through.  Stain the zucchini and let it cool enough that it will not cook the raw egg when it is added.  Put in a food processor, add spices and egg, and blend for a few seconds.  Remove to a bowl and add the garlic and onion, and spoon stir.  Next, add the flour one spoonful at a time until you have a thick batter.  Add the cheese and stir it in.  Using a tablespoon of olive oil, (Buckeye calls for butter or lard) ladle batter into a hot saute pan, and brown on both sides.
Once they are done, place on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.  There should be very little, as only a very small amount of oil needs to be used.  Once you are finished, you can dress these little zucchini cakes several ways.  One is with marinara sauce and cheese:
Another way is with fresh chopped tomatoes and fresh basil.  These little cakes are also delicious plain, and my son likes them with ranch.  However you enjoy them, it is a great way to use up frozen zucchini!  If you would like to share another way to use frozen zucchini, please comment!

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