Thursday, May 26, 2011

Too much Zucchini?

My computer is in the emergency ward, and expected to stay there for at least a couple of days. As most of my 'stuff' is contained within its sad little shell, and it is too tedious to temporarily retrieve it all from cyberspace, my posts for the next few days will be cobbled together on my trusty iPad.

I am moving much closer to modern times for my story today. To 1983, to be exact, to an article by Craig Claiborne in the New York Times. I am amused by 'single ingredient' dinners - and have occasionally had my fun with them here on the blog. An all-peanut menu springs to mind, but you will have to find it for yourself, as it definitely too tedious to find it and link it under the present conditions. Claiborne featured an inventive home cook faced with a superfluity of zucchini who gave a dinner party in which each dish included the vegetable. The menu was: Zucchini blossoms stuffed with tuna, Pizza Pollo, Zucchini and Rice Casserole, Zucchini and Dill Salad, Zucchini Dessert Loaf with Lemon Sauce.

I was surprised to find that the first mention of 'zucchini' (spelled 'succini') mentioned in the Oxford English Dictionary was as late as 1929, in an American magazine. The explanation of the name is that it is Italian (no surprises there) and that it is the plural of zucchino (small) marrow, which is the diminutive of zucca gourd.

Recipes for all of the dishes were included in the article. Here is the recipe for the loaf.

Zucchini Dessert Loaf.
3 cups enriched wheat flour (or 2 cups unbleached and 1 cup wholewheat flour)
1 tab baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
salt, if desired
3 eggs
1 cup safflower, corn, or peanut oil
1 cup honey
2 cup grated zucchini
1 cup broken nut meats such as pecans or walnuts
Lemon dessert sauce.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Sift flour, baking powder,ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and salt into mixing bowl.
3. Beat eggs in another bowl, and add oil and honey; fold in zucchini.
4. Fold zucchini mixture into flour mixture and blend well. 
5. Lightly oil two loaf pans, and divide batter between them.
6. Place in oven and bake 1 hour. Let cool briefly. Unmould. Slice and serve with lemon sauce.

Quotation for the Day.
I don't want any vegetables, thank you. I paid for the cow to eat them for me.
Doug Coupland


Les said...

Zucchini is the vegetable equivalent of the rabbit.

Hope you get your computer up and running soon.

Peter Hertzmann said...

I'm not surprised about the late entry in the OED. A couple of years back when I surveyed vegetable availability in Paris in the 19th century, appeared that the courgette doesn't make an appearance until the early 20th century. I wondered since then when the Italians started eating this type of squash.

Pete said...

I was faced with a superfluity of zucchini one year and made many versions of the zucchini dessert loaf. In my desperation to achieve good results, after a fair amount of experimentation, I discovered that lightly salting the grated marrow and then squeezing much of the moisture out of it after a half-hour's rest very much improved the texture as well as the taste.

Keith said...

You can never have too much zuchini.