Wednesday, 4 September 2013

So your boss gave you a giant zucchini.

A couple of weeks ago, I walked in to the kitchen at work in the morning to get my coffee. I am used to being greeted by a plethora of cookies, muffins, squares, etc. As I have mentioned before, we are never lacking in sugar-laden processed foods put there by our office manager in the guise of an act of kindness. I'm more likely to notice the kitchen table when it is bare rather than when it is covered with treats. This morning was one of those mornings that I took note of the table: there was a giant zucchini on it.

In an office that has a "it wasn't me" attitude (leaving dirty dishes in the sink, empty containers on the table, a tablespoon of milk in the bag - no, of course it wasn't you. The milk finished itself), I did what I'd been programmed to do, I stared at it, and left.

A few hours and a few gourd jokes later, my boss came in to my cubicle carrying said vegetable. He explained that he'd brought it in from his mother's garden. "If I give this to you, can you do something with it?"

My mind began to race with all the healthy things I could make. I told him I'd love to have the zucchini. "Specifically, could you make zucchini bread and bring it here?"

Sure, why not? (prepare yourself for a long post - there are three recipes in here)

to scale

even my little wine-holding man is shocked at the size.

So I did.

Recipe #1
I used this recipe from the Recipe Critic. Despite my love of Pinterest, I still like to Google for recipes. I like to see the websites' name (which I will absolutely judge a recipe by) and a picture in plain view. I also like that the top options will normally come up first. And when you start having a few favourite go-to websites, if you Google "chocolate zucchini bread" and see that one of your favourites are in the first few options, it's a no-brainer.

I chose this recipe because the picture looked delicious, the website looked professional, and it called for sour cream. If a baking recipe calls for sour cream, you know it will be good.

Follow her directions exactly, they are perfect. My substitutions:
- whole wheat flour instead of white
- coconut oil instead of canola
- regular sized chips instead of mini
- no orange zest
- hot chocolate mix in equal amounts of the sugar and cocoa required (I just happen to have a bulk supply of hot chocolate mix...)

It turned out perfectly, I only wish I had doubled the chocolate chips. It lasted a day at the office, most of it gone by 2 p.m., but that last slice hung on until 4:30 p.m. because ALL OF A SUDDEN no on wanted anymore. (actually, no one wanted to be responsible for washing the dish). In the end I forced it upon my boss who'd brought in the zucchini. And he even washed the dish.

in other amazing news - i FINALLY moved my hand mixer to my place. omg was i ever happy.

mixing wet ingredients like a BOSS

fold in zucchini
combine dry mix into wet mix
And a few other steps obviously, that I didn't photograph. 

how many ways can you look at freshly baked zucchini before it becomes too much?

three, would be my answer.

This recipe accounted for 3 cups of the zucchini since I had doubled it.

Recipe #2
So, I also made paleo zuchini bread, recipe from Against All Grain. This would use another 2 cups (doubled again) of zucchini.

This is a very nice, simple recipe. The only change up I made was using one regular-sized loaf pan in lieu of two mini loaf pans. And instead of almond flour, I used the failed attempt at paleo morning glory muffins which was basically almond flour, raisins, carrots, applesauce, and egg whites. More on this in a future post - but the reason, I believe, that that recipe failed is because I attempted to dry out the almond meal I had leftover from making almond milk by baking it on low in the oven. I have a feeling that this technically already baked the almond flour and therefore made it harder to combine. Because those muffins just fell completely apart.

dry mixture: it looks like it should be chocolate but it's just that the almond flour has already been baked... twice.

the recipe calls for a ripe banana - which i had in the freezer. so to speedily defrost i put in a pan with some water on medium heat and prayed to the cooking gods that i wouldn't burn it. it worked perfectly.

blending wet mixture + zucchini

blending wet mixture with dry mixture added (i love my hand mixer)

"oh wow - that turned out great!" - is what you're all thinking, I bet.

me too - until I flipped it out and this happened.

I wasn't totally surprised when this loaf fell apart too. What I did was cut it up into sliced bread-like slices the next morning, fry lightly in coconut oil, and serve like a paleo/zucchini/carrot French toast, topped with leftover paleo vanilla ice cream I had in the freezer for such an emergency, almond butter, strawberries, and bananas. This was actually so delicious and I really wished I had taken pictures but when my stomach takes over, there's not much my brain can do.

Recipe #3
And finally, the last of the zucchini was used to make zucchini pancakes from: "a good little Jewish Russian Afghan Muslim (ugh)."
Actual recipe origins are unknown to me, my friend, (the good little JRAM) passed it along to me.

- 2 cups shredded zuchini
- 2 eggs
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- salt
- 1 tbsp coconut flour

This recipe is EASY. Mix everything together, let sit for about a minute so coconut flour absorbs moisture, and then scoop into a preheated (medium heat) pan coated with coconut oil (about 1 tbsp). Then just DON'T TOUCH IT until it's browned and solidifying on the bottom. The zucchini will be in a little lump and the liquid will run. Don't sweat it. When it's time to flip them, I sort of shimmy the runny bits back towards the "pancake" and then when I flip it, it will resemble more of a pancake shape. Let cook for a few more minutes (like two) and then serve. DELICIOUS. It satisfies salty, fried needs without actual deep-friedness.

I managed to fail at this recipe twice. A wise man once told me that journalists cannot make good omelettes because we have no patience. His point was hit home when I tried to make these and kept fiddling with them, squishing them down, moving them around, flipping back and forth, until they resembled a a dried out zucchini omelet.

Then I saw my friend make them, using the process I described above. HELLO LIGHT BULB. And they tasted amazing. So I tried it at home, and it WORKED.

So HA to the guy that said I had no patience.

My mods: I used a 1/2 cup of egg whites instead of eggs because I LOVE eggs and would rather taste an egg in its wholeness than have it mixed in somewhere else, and I did not use onion powder because I did not have it (after I made them properly, I could not notice a difference between my friend's - who used onion powder - and mine).

See how they get all runny? When you flip them you can fix them up a bit.

finished product


And so was the consumption of an entire, giant zucchini.

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