In the Cookie Jar · Summer Squash · Zucchini

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Zucchini?

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Come on, sing along! 

Okay, never mind.  I haven't had time to re-write all the lyrics.  Yet.

But anyway.

You know how zucchini has become the garden symbol of overabundance? 

We start out with a nice little squash or two a day, and eventually we are sneaking around in the middle of the night, placing unwanted green torpedo-sized produce on our neighbors' front steps. 

Well, we didn't want to go that route, so we've been working diligently to either eat it or preserve it in some way as the zucchini ripens.

Part of the problem here is that Alex isn't really fond of it.  I'm not even sure that Julia truly likes it – sometimes she enthuses over things Alex doesn't like, just to grab at that elusive favorite child status.  "Look, Daddy, I LOVE tripe!"  (Really.)

One of my favorite ways to cook and eat zucchini is to grill it, either on the charcoal grill outside, or on the griddle/grill pan inside.  (This works nicely with pattypan squash as well, which is the other summer squash we're growing this year.  It would probably work just as well with any other variety of summer squash.  And onions, too, but that's not the topic today.)

So all I do is slice the squash about 1/4" thick, thicker or thinner is fine if you prefer.  I toss the sliced squash with a mix of olive oil, salt and pepper, and then just place on a hot griddle or grill and cook as much or as little as you want.  I actually like them pretty browned; I just like the flavor.  But, of course, that's up to you.

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I place the cooked squash on layers of paper towels and let it cool. 
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And after that, the choice is yours:

Serve them alongside whatever you're having for dinner.

Add them to sandwiches.  (My favorite – turkey, grilled zucchini or pattypan, grilled onion, and goat cheese.)

Chop them up and add to salad, or to pasta, or to rice or other grain dishes.

OR – lay them out on parchment or plastic or foil and freeze them on a flat surface.  Once frozen, peel the zucchini off and place in large plastic freezer bags or plastic freezer containers.  We've done this with both zucchini and pattypan squash, and we'll have a great supply for the winter by the time this season's over. 

BUT WAIT!  THAT'S NOT ALL!

Another tactic we started using last summer was freezing grated raw zucchini.  I think I read about it somewhere, and the idea was to freeze it in pre-measured amounts for specific recipes, like zucchini bread, for example.

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Rather than looking up recipes, I've just been freezing it in two-cup amounts.  If I don't need it all for a recipe, I can use up the remainder pretty easily.

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We've also been adding it to spaghetti or other noodle dishes.  Bill made Pad Thai recently, using shredded zucchini in place of the bean sprouts, and we all (Alex included) really liked it that way.

I had about a cup of leftover shredded zucchini the other day, and I was going to cook french fries for the kids, so before the oil was hot enough for the fries, I tossed in the shredded zucchini and fried it crisp.  Then I added it to a pasta salad I was making (roasted or grilled vegetables from the garden, plus grilled Vidalia onions, olive oil, salt and pepper, and goat cheese), and it added a nice little crunch. 

And, the high point of all the zucchini, as far as my kids are concerned, were the cookies.

The kids were complaining that there weren't any GOOD snacks, and I realized I hadn't baked anything yummy in ages (too hot, too humid, and too much to do on the house), so I said I'd make them cookies the next morning, and that the smell would wake them up.

True to my word, I got up early the next morning and started mixing and blending.

But the thing I didn't bother mentioning the night before, was that one of the ingredients was going to be shredded zucchini.

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Mwahahahahah!

Anyway.  I remembered one of the recipes in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver.  You can find the original recipe here.  I made a couple of changes, just based on what I had or felt like using.

Here's my version.  Oh, and it made 3 and a half dozen, by the way. 

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a couple of sheet pans with parchment.  

Then get to work. 

Ingredients:

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/6 cup honey (we didn't have much left)

1 1/2 tablespoons vanila extract

    Combine those in a large bowl.

2 cups All-Purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

heaping 1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine these in another bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet and blend well.

1 cup shredded zucchini

9 oz combined semi sweet chocolate chips and white chocolate chips (about 2:1 ratio)

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Combine these and then add to the already-combined wet and dry ingredients.

Here's what you'll have: 

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Spoon the cookie dough onto your sheet pans and flatten them with the back of a spoon.  I like to run water over the back of the spoon first, and then after every 2-3 cookies or so, to prevent the spoon from sticking to the cookie dough.

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Bake about fifteen minutes, rotating the pans if you're cooking more than one pan's worth of cookies at a time.

And here's what mine looked like:

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How were they?  They were great.  Alex was up first, and he ate three, yes, for breakfast.  Hey – zucchini is healthy!  I didn't even tell him about the zucchini until I knew he liked them.  he noticed the flecks of green, asked about them, and I told him.  Didn't matter.  They were good, so they passed the test.

In fact, they were so good that later that night, before swim class, Alex asked if he and Julia could bring some of them to their swim teachers. 

I overheard them telling their instructors that there was zucchini in the cookies.  I think it kind of impressed them.

So, if you're looking for something to do with your zucchini, something you haven't already tried, maybe you should try these cookies.

I'd let you sample one, but ours are long gone.

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2 thoughts on “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Zucchini?

  1. My daughter walked in just as I was reading this. She doesn’t approve. Mr. Boom (my husband) volunteered the potato cannon as a good method for using up our zucchini.

    They just don’t get it…

    BTW, I’ll have dreams of Nazis with zucchinis chasing nuns tonight, I just know it!

  2. How do you solve a problem like Zucchini…Why it’s simple simple make some cookies with Mummy..Those looks so yummy those cookies made with troublemaker zucchini….. Haha .Okay so that isn’t the best but I tried.I have a recipe for a cookie similar called Monster Cookies…Glad it impressed the kidlets

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