When R, Heide, and I compiled the list of veggies we would address in 4 Ways to Yummy, I wasn’t too enthusiastic about zucchini. So I set out to ensure that this vegetable had any nutritional and culinary merit.
You see, I used to really like zucchini. My dad would slice it up raw and include it in salads. I had eaten it in the early 80s in ratatouille. Zucchini was pretty darn good, and I preferred it to cucumbers because it was not slimy when raw. (Now I love cucumbers.)
So, fast forward to the mid 1980s. I was a college student, and by the end of my sophomore year, I was dirt poor.
That summer, I moved from my dorm into an 80-year-old house because the rent would be half as much as the college boarding rate. Little did I know that to heat that house, with oil, some months we would pay the same amount as our rent.
Well, anyway, I had to live on the cheap, and my food budget tightened. It’s kind of sad when you’re a nutritional science major and your food choices become more limited. I’m thankful that I’m resourceful, though.
Zucchini had cost 49 cents a pound at the market in downtown Ithaca, so I took it upon myself to create a gazillion ways to eat zucchini. Unfortunately, that gazillion settled into a few, my favorite of which was to sauté it with onions, garlic, and tomatoes and serve it over spaghetti. Sometimes I made ratatouille. Cheese was not quite so cheap, so I used it sparingly. I ate zucchini several times a week during the next three summers.
By the time I graduated college, I did not like zucchini, Sam I am.
Zucchini crept back into my diet in a much less nutritious form when I moved to Boston. I would take the Red Line train to Downtown Crossing. On my way to the office, I would stop at a Warburton’s Bakery and buy myself a 20-ounce coffee (first time I ever encountered one) and a rectangular zucchini muffin. These were moist and sweet and spicy and nutty and fatty as all get out. I loved, loved, loved these muffins, but eventually I went cold turkey and beat my addiction.
I have never made a zucchini bread as flavorful and rich as these muffins, so I am embarking on a journey of zucchini bread baking until I find that perfect mouthful. However, nearly 30 years later, I’m not so sure I need enormous fat and sugar bombs in my life.
So, to justify my quest, I did a little research on what makes zucchini a valid vegetable to include in my diet. All these years, I had not realized that zucchini is an excellent source of Vitamin C and also a good source of potassium. Just remember that boiling any fruit or vegetable will reduce its water-soluble vitamins. It’s much better to bake, roast, steam, grill, grate, or eat zucchini raw.
R and Heide have done a great job of exploiting zucchini’s fine attributes. I am addicted to Heide’s zucchini chips covered with spiced panko and baked in the oven. R’s zucchini pasta does not deliver me back to 1985; I think that’s a good thing. I adore any sort of Asian pancake, so Heide’s are divine.
Me? I continue my quest for the perfect, moist, spicy zucchini bread.
Please tell us what you think about this month's recipe, my Zucchini Carrot Bread. I think it’s a fabulous way to use up and regift all the giant zucchinis gifted to you.