Now that your gardens, or your neighbors’ gardens, are shutting down, and you are drowning in zukers, whether your own or finding them on your doorstep, I thought I’d share two of my favorite recipes.

Best Zucchini Cake Ever.

Seriously.  Your friends can’t quit eating it, and will beg you for the recipe.  Make them pay; holdout for high trades.  Seriously.   ;o)

Ingredients:

Soak 1 ¼ cups raisins in hot water for 30-45 minutes before assembling cake.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½- 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. In a medium size bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, white sugar, and salt. Mix well.
  3. In another bowl beat eggs, vegetable oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla together. Pour into egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the shredded zucchini; add plump raisins.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 25 minutes. Allow cakes to cool in pans. Stack and frost into a 3 layer cake using Cream Cheese Frosting.
  5. To Make Frosting: Cream together the cream cheese, butter or margarine. Add the confectioner’s sugar, a little at a time. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and mix well. Spread on cool cake layers. Sprinkle with more nutmeg.  Then rub a little nutmeg behind your ears; you’ll love how you smell.  ;o)

If you don’t want to fool with layers, use a hard-anodized (preferably) 9 x 12” cake pan; leave out 1 cup of batter or it may make too tall a cake to cover easily when frosted.   ;o)

Grilled Zucchini

Wash and cut the ends off several large zukers; eggplant works well here, too.  Stand the zuke on one flat end, and with a sharp chef’s knife, slice ½” planks down the length.  Continue until you have sliced all the zukes; discard any remaining slice that’s too thin.

Arrange planks on a sheet pan than can handle broiling.  (I use a layer of foil, and spray the foil with some canola oil spray.  Brush planks with extra virgin olive oil (and oddly, the oil holds up, and tastes better than non-virgin oil).  Sprinkle with any spices you’d like: garlic salt, lemon pepper, ground celery seed, paprika, onion powder, Spike, garlic powder, or any Mexican spices like cumin if you’re having Mexican dinner.

In an oven preheated to broil, roast until brown (they will roast unevenly).  When almost tender, remove, and let cool.  Then cut into chunks, saving liquid from roasting.  Dress with a bit of vinegar or Tamari if it’s for an Oriental meal.

I sometimes cut mushrooms into quarters, chunk onions into ½ pieces, toss them with a bit of olive oil and spices, then broil them similarly, cool, and add to the salad.  It can be served warm or cold.  If you similarly broil some tomatoes, cut the stem end and squeeze the seeds out (the extra moisture gets in the way), quarter them, brush or toss with oil and broil.  The broiling concentrates the sugars in them and the veggies.