Monday, September 15, 2008

So Much Zucchini...So Little Time

I am going to make this post short and sweet since a) I do not feel very inspired to blog and b) I am blogging about zucchini. What I lack in enthusiasm I make up in pictures! On to making baby food...

Recipe #1: Pureed Zucchini
Since Jack has started eating meat, I still like to keep pureed veggies on hand to get his meals the right consistency. You can take any veggie, steam it, puree it, and then pour it into ice cube trays to make up a quick healthy meal.

Steamed Veggies

In a large pot, bring an inch or two of water to a boil over high heat. If you're using a steaming rack or a bamboo steamer (works great!) make sure it's clean and have it ready.

If you don't have a steamer, use aluminum foil to make balls about the size of a baseball. Make enough to cover the bottom of the pot you're using and make sure the water level is well below the tops of the balls. You can use this as a bed for for the veggies.(This tip was off of e-how...I have never tried it but it sounds interesting)

When the water is boiling, trim and cut your vegetables It's best to do this as close to cooking as possible so they won't dehydrate or oxidize. Try to cut all the vegetables the same size so they'll cook evenly.

Place them in the steamer, on the steamer rack or on the bed of foil balls and cover.

Steam them only until they're done; most cut vegetables only need to steam for a minute or two. Thicker pieces might steam for two to three minutes. Potatoes take 15 to 30 minutes.

Scoop out vegetables with slotted a spoon and put into a blender or food processor.

Puree baby! No really, you need to puree them. If they are too thick then add some water. If too watery, I like to add a little rice cereal to help thicken it up.

Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze for a few hours. Then crack them out and label them in a Ziploc bag.

This is definitely my favorite step... re-heating the food. But not only do you re-heat it, but you can make up all kinds of fun combinations "Summer Medley" (green beans, squash, and zucchini with a side of sweet potatoes and peaches) Just pop it into the microwave and you have a gourmet meal for your little one!

Now for the fun part...recipe #2...chocolate zucchini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. But first, a little history on chocolate zucchini cake. The first time my mom made a chocolate zucchini cake, we (my two brothers and I), were absolutely mortified! What was mom thinking when she ruined this perfectly good chocolate cake with zucchini? You can't mix chocolate and zucchini?!

We were so very wrong. It was awesome.

This recipe makes a very moist chocolate cake with just a hint of cinnamon. It is not overly sweet so the cream cheese frosting is a nice touch. You could also serve it with a light dusting of powdered sugar. The zucchini inside the cake can be tampered with as well. If you are trying to disguise it (like my mom did) then rip it through the food processor. I wanted small zucchini strips in this cake so I used a large grater.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Yields 12 Texas size cupcakes + 3 regular size or a 9 x 13 in cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used 1 c. oil plus 1/2 c. applesauce)
3 cups grated zucchini
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray 12 Texas size baking cups and 3 regular size baking cups.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add the eggs and oil, mix well. Fold in the nuts and zucchini until they are evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely before frosting with your favorite frosting.

Warning: This cream cheese frosting is no joke. I changed up the original recipe quite a bit to get it really "cheesy" tasting. Hmm I don't know how many people would describe their frosting as cheesy tasting but I am going out on a limb and doing just that. It makes enough to cover all the cupcakes but if you are a frosting fiend, I would double the recipe.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

1 comment:

Tish said...

Jenny. Do you realize the pressure you are putting on other new Moms? I can hear all the little babies saying "but Jack eats delicious fruits & veggies. What is with this bland apple sauce and these yucky carrots? "
I tried your zucchini recipe and your are so right. The cake is definitely a keeper. On the other hand, I think your pictures would make dog droppings look good.