Zucchini!

Zucchini

As my dear sister has pointed out, zucchini is a vegetable best hidden inside of other things. It is fairly bland, and takes on the taste of things it’s cooked in, making it a good low-calorie filler in meals. On it’s own, it can be a “watery foul” mess.

So here are some different things I added zucchini to for a more well-rounded meal. One of the good things about zucchini is how versatile it can be – it works in everything, from appetizers to dessert. Here I used it as an addition to my favourite throw-together curry, as well as the base for a truly delicious lemon zucchini loaf – cream cheese icing and all!

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Zucchini Chickpea Curry

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp fresh garlic, minced

2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

1 small onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 can chickpeas

1/2 cup curry paste (I use Patel’s hot curry paste)

1 tsp sambal oelek (or more to taste)

3 zucchinis, sliced

Splash of lemon juice

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All great meals start with some highly flavourful aromatics. Take the garlic and the ginger and saute them up in olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Add the tomatoes, stirring until warm. Then add the chickpeas. Stir every once and awhile over the next few minutes, letting the chickpeas heat up and start to fry a little in the oil.

Stir in the curry paste and sambal oelek, then lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the zucchini and stir in, allowing them to warm without wilting too much. Add the splash of lemon juice and stir, then serve. Works really well with basmati rice or naan bread.

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Next we have the Lemon Zucchini Loaf, a recipe I found on The Kitchen Paper. It takes a pile of mushy zucchini, which some people might find rather unappealing:

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And turns it into something that even the pickiest eater is going to want to eat:

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Now this recipe is the first time I got to experiment with my vanilla bourbon powder. I still have yet to find vanilla extract, although I was speaking to another Canadian this past weekend and she swore to me she found some. I don’t believe her, but that’s neither here nor there. I needed to work with what I have, and what I had was this:

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I don’t know if any of you Euros or those who lived in Europe can fill me in on exactly how this works, but I just used it exactly as I would have used vanilla extract, with a 1:1 ratio. Right? Wrong? I have no idea. The cake had a really nice strong vanilla flavour, so I’m not sure if I used too much. But if I’m wrong I don’t want to be right, because it tasted really yummy.

Lemon Zucchini Loaf

Ingredients

2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp lemon zest

4 eggs

1/4 cup sour cream

juice of one lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

For icing:

2 oz cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 cups powdered sugar

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Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a large loaf pan, or two small loaf pans, and line with buttered parchment.

Cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated between each.

Add the sour cream, and mix until incorporated.

Add the lemon juice and vanilla.

Squeeze the excess liquid from the zucchini, then add it to the batter. Fold to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda before adding to the wet mixture. Mix to combine, taking care to not over-mix.

Bake for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

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Let cool 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges, and gently pulling out to cool on a rack.

When fully cooled, mix the cream cheese, lemon juice, and powdered sugar together to make a glaze. Pour or spread over the cake.

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