My Garden

Zucchini blossom

Remember several months ago that I said my yard was mostly dead grass except for my lemon tree? Well, Roy has gotten the grass to be green again and planted an amazing garden. He's growing green beans, lettuce, spinach, arugula, swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, jalapenos, anaheim chiles, bell peppers, cucumbers, watermelon, zucchini, and yellow squash as well as a bunch of herbs including rosemary, basil, thyme, chives, parsley, cilantro, and mint. Needless to say we've been enjoying a lot of fresh veggies!

Cherry tomatoes, green beans, swiss chard

Watermelon, lettuce

Along with all these veggies comes some creative ways to use them. The zucchini have been especially abundant. I've been sauteing it, making zucchini pancakes, baking it into muffins and bread, and also making it in my favorite preparation: chocolate zucchini cake. 

If you are put off by the thought of putting zucchini in a chocolate cake, don't be. You don't taste it and it makes the cake moist. This is one of my favorite cakes. Here is the recipe, adapted from Saveur magazine:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

2 medium zucchini, trimmed and grated on the large holes of a box grater
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan, at room temperature
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1  teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Place the shredded zucchini in cheesecloth or kitchen towel, gather the corners, and then squeeze out as much water as possible. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 9 inch cake pan. Sift together cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt into bowl and set aside. 

Beat butter and granulated sugar on medium speed in a large bowl with hand or stand mixture until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add oil and beat until incorporated. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. On low speed beat in flour mixture and buttermilk and 3 alternating batches. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 70-80 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan on wire rack. Invert onto plate and sift confectioners' sugar over before serving.

Serves 6-8.

Note: The cake is best served on the day it is baked, but it can be stored in an air-tight container for three days. 

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