Hello, friends! I hope you have been making the most of the glorious warm weather we have had this summer! I know the last week or two have been on the wet side, but we did need the rain. I am enjoying every minute of the warmth. No air conditioning needed for this girl! We have enough “natural air conditioning” (aka winter) to do anything to usurp the heat. Just sit back, enjoy and read on!
One of my favorite parts of the hot weather has been its’ effect on local produce. The corn crop this year have been exceptional, and, as is typical, there has been a bumper crop of zucchini available! Chances are, when you go into the breakroom at work, you will find a basket of zucchini…those who grow it love to share! I love it when my husband brings a few home from work, kindly shared by his co-workers.
Zucchini is a wonderfully versatile vegetable. Whether simply tossing it in a saute pan with some salt and pepper, using it as an ingredient in a dish as yummy as ratatouille, or secretly adding it to chocolate cake batter, zucchini lends itself to dozens of different recipes, both savory and sweet. Because zucchini is plentiful right now, I like to prep some to freeze for use in the dead of winter. I will shred a several, and portion into 1 cup zipper bags for easy addition to bread or cake batter. I will also cut several into cubes and lightly saute them to remove some of the moisture they hold (I don’t want to fully cook them or they will turn to mush when reheated). Once they have cooled, I will again divide them into small zipper bags and freeze for later enjoyment.
Another plentiful vegetable we are enjoying right now is homegrown sweet corn. Whether you stop at a roadside stand or pick some up at your local market, this year’s crop is spectacular. Boasting large, juicy kernels, these cobs are ready for the microwave, pot of boiling water or the grill. I am all for easy when it comes to cooking corn, so my favorite way to cook it is in a cooler! Yes, I said cooler, as in Coleman or Yeti. Simply shuck to corn, put the ears in a clean, empty cooler, cover with boiling water and close the lid. Allow the corn to sit in the cooler for about an hour before carefully draining the water. This is a fool proof method, and works really well if you want to take corn to a picnic…simple fill the cooler before you leave the house and then ignore it until you are ready to eat. It won’t overcook because the hot water will gently cool as it sits, but it will keep the corn deliciously hot for serving. And let’s not forget to plan ahead for winter! Simply cut the kernels off the cob and freeze in those handy zipper bags. You will thank me in January when you are enjoying fresh corn with your winter meal!
Fall is fast approaching, so don’t let the wonderful summer produce pass you by! The next time you see a display of seasonal goodness, stock up!!
To read more of Vicki McGraw’s commentaries on good cooking, fine recipes and perfect party treats, visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on Join Me in the Kitchen’s own page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.
- 3 C flour
- 4 t baking powder
- 1 t salt
- ½ t baking soda
- 1 C shredded zucchini
- 2 T lemon zest
- 2 large eggs
- 1 C buttermilk
- 4 T vegetable oil
Whisk together dry ingredients. Add zucchini and lemon zest and toss to coat and separate. Mix wet ingredients together and add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Do not overmix; the batter should not be smooth.
Bake at 350° for 55–60 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely.