Garrison Keillor, of Prairie Home Companion fame, regularly includes homespun stories of Lake Wobegone on his weekly radio program. As summer wanes, so the yarn goes, gardens burst out of neatly contained plots to overtake back yards, giving rise to a curious phenomenon. Bags of zucchinis show up on porches, left surreptitiously in the middle of the night by desperate housewives, unwilling to let any produce go to ruin.

In case you come upon a surplus of zucchinis (I actually go looking for friends and neighbors who are in this quandary), here are two of my favorite recipes, both shared by good friends.

Vegetarian Chili

4 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c olive or canola oil
2 cans (28 oz each) Italian stewed tomatoes, chopped
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 c each minced cilantro and parsley (These are what make this exceptionally good)
2 T chili powder
1 t salt
1 t ground cumin

In Dutch oven, saute zucchini, onions, peppers and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 16 servings.

This may also be made in the crockpot. If so, I throw in everything raw and put on low for 8 hours.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cake

Cream well:
1/2 c butter
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c oil
2 eggs

Mix separately:
3 1/2 c flour
4 T cocoa
1/2 t b powder
1 t b soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves (I usually don't add these as I'm not a big cloves fan)

Add dry ingredients alternately with
1 t vanilla in
1/2 c buttermilk.

When mixed, add:
2 c zucchini
1/2 c walnuts

Pour in greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips (I use 1/2 cup)

Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

8/24/2012 02:53:10 am

I may remember on Monday to tell your readers how good that zucchini cake was! Looking forward to sharing the table with you.


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