Saturday, August 9, 2008

So Much Zucchini from the Cheap Produce Place!

So, on my way back from the dentist (my mostly sugar free bentos have been paying off!), I stopped at the produce market. Usually, I try to hit the farmers' market, but I haven't had much luck finding one lately, so I took the lesser of two evils (the other evil being the supermarket).  Well, that was a great freakin' choice! I got a bag of four zucchini for .99, a pound of green beans and carrots, each for just .99. Not to mention the blueberries, green pepper, and organic black plums (YES!). 
Last night, one of those zucchini, the pepper, some green beans, and some carrots found their way into a delicious stir fry. I bought some tofu, but ended up 
using chicken because I wanted my family to actually eat it. Overall, I made a tasty meal with pretty minimal prep: mostly just lots of cutting (made quick by using a giant knife for the veggies and kitchen shears for the chicken). 

I called up my obligatory Asian college roommate (she was at an anime convention,
 no lie!) to make sure that I had all the right sauce ingredients; of course I didn't. So, one quick trip to the store later, I had the essentials: soy sauce, ginger root, and garlic. I used about two whole (enormous) cloves (not heads!) of finely minced garlic, along with about a teaspoonful of minced ginger. I put the ginger and garlic into a cereal bowl and covered them in about half a cup of soy sauce plus a good splash of white vinegar and a little shake of white sugar (great amounts, right?) and stirred 'em up before pouring half the concoction over the chicken in one bowl and the other half over the veggies in another. 

I let the mixtures marinade for about two hours while I got jiggy (yes!) with the next project: cake!
 Well, after the two hours, I stuck the chicken in a giant frying pan and, once it was more or less cooked, I poured in the veggies, plunked the lid on, and let them go for a bit while I played with the other project.

The other project: another two zucchini had an encounter with the grater and became a zucchini cake! A lot like carrot cake, but more green. 
I found the recipe here, but made a few variations. Well, really only two 
variations: instead of using a $300 stand mixer for four minutes of mixing, I used a $20 hand mixer (rhymes!) for about two minutes -- same fluffy, eggy result. I also didn't have a tube pan (wtf is that?! sounds like a 
toy!), so I used a bundt pan. So far, 
I think it's turned out well -- homemade cream cheese frosting and all. I used whipped Philadelphia cream cheese instead of regular... I don't know if it changed anything at all, but the frosting is sooo good! The lemon extract makes it taste lighter than most cream cheese frostings, but doesn't take away from the rich texture. Ultimately, the cake turned out a winner. Everyone in the family's been devouring it (even the diabetics... yikes!) and I've had entirely too much of it. 
One of the best things about this recipe is that, despite the layered flavors and divine taste,
 the ingredients are simple and even pretty healthy... I guess. 
The zucchini and walnuts help to balance out the sugar. Another great thing about this recipe is how easily it changes from a cake to a bread. Just omit one egg, up to one cup of the sugar, skip the frosting and, voila, bread!


Katie said...

I think a tube pan is just like a bundt pan, just without all the fluting. Like what you'd make an angelfood cake in. I agree though, it does sound drrrty.

Dani said...

Katie is correct---a tube pan is an angel food cake pan. The bottom/tube can be separated from the tall, circular side, which makes it easier to remove the cake from the pan. They're pretty useful for cooking, but I don't think they'd be much fun for sexing...