Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Ultimate Hide-a-Veggie Recipe - A Letter to a Home Town

My Family Says I Try to Hide Veggies in Everything!

In honor of Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Day (August 8th) here is a Letter from the archives.

Those with a garden of significant size can tell you: now is the season of bounty! Veggies abound in midsummer. Tomatoes shine like red Christmas balls on the vine. Carrots have grown beyond wee fingerlings. Summer squashes could squish out every other dish on the table.

Thanks to the CSA I mentioned a while back, even without a garden of our own, this year we are lucky enough to partake as though we had. The quantity of fresh vegetables delivered weekly reflects the bounty of the season. (Bonus: knowing it would cost far more if we bought them at the grocery store.)

Contrary to planting our own garden, we had no say over what seeds were sown in spring. The result is that nearly every week we receive some vegetable that I have no experience preparing: garlic scapes, purple kale, fava beans, etc. I consider this incentive for culinary exploration. I am also thankful that my companion has an adventurous pallet!

Along with the unusual, sometimes the sheer quantity of produce presents a challenge. Nearly every dish I have prepared over the past few weeks, from stuffed eggplant to fresh squeezed lemonade, has contained fresh basil. One week’s surplus of cucumbers became refrigerator pickles for the elder kids to enjoy when they come home from their upstate adventures. Lately the challenge has been how to use the gluttony of zucchini.

Excess zucchini is not an unfamiliar experience. Zucchini grows well in the North East. Almost everyone with space enough grows them. This means a bumper crop in one garden is a bumper crop in every garden. This inevitably leads to sneaking zucchini onto neighbor’s porches in the dead of night; a well meaning, yet desperate measure that an unyielding overabundance of zucchini may yield.

Thankfully zucchini is a versatile and easily disguised vegetable. (Come to think of it, I don’t remember Grandma ever making plain zucchini.) Zucchini bread was the first thing I made (Joan’s recipe from the church cookbook.) I’ve snuck it into omelets. It is a staple in stir fry. Marinated in Italian dressing, it is fabulous on the grill (an idea borrowed from Aunt Patty). With eggplant in the CSA basket, ratatouille is on the menu. My latest endeavor: Chocolate Zucchini Cookies - an ultimate hide-a-veggie treat! Just in case anyone else is looking for a way to use up some zucchini…

Chocolate Zucchini Cookies

* 1/2 cup butter *1/2 cup white sugar *1/2 cup brown sugar *1 egg *1 teaspoon vanilla extract *2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour *1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder *1 teaspoon baking soda *2 cups grated zucchini

Mix butter, egg, vanilla & sugars – then the baking soda and cocoa then the zucchini and finally the flour. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto baking sheet the bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.

Optional additions – a scant cup of chocolate chips in the batter or swipe of cream cheese frosting on top. If a veggie hater asks what the green stuff in them is, tell them it’s apple.

             I hope this letter has found you and yours in good spirits and good health. Until I write again…


  1. You gotta love the CSA. We were blessed with a large assortment of some of our favorites. Melons, 4 different kinds. An eggplant based sauce is on the stove.... Our first real tomatoes, some really spicy peppers, onions, and cilantro...what to do. Purchase a lime and make another batch of Salsa to much on while watching the Olympics.

  2. Thanks for that recipe! Been trying to sneak some veggies onto my picky eater's plate!

  3. We're always getting so much zucchini from our CSA too. We do zucchini bread, but these cookies sound delicious.