Sunday, August 18, 2013

Attack of the Giant Zucchini Monster.

There's a joke told in musician circles, about an accordion player who was driving back home from a gig, and had to stop off in a bad part of town. He'd put his ax in the back of the hatchback, and when he got back to the car, his worst fears were realized. The back window of the hatchback was broken, and when he looked inside, he realized that .... someone had put three more accordions into his car.

Just as unwanted and maligned as accordions - the joke works for bassoons, saxophones, and violas, too  - are zucchini squash, especially giant overgrown ones. Neighborhood vandals (you know who you are!) dropped one on our front porch the other night, so I decided to beat them at their own game.

Weighing in at 12.6 pounds, this is the biggest zucchini I've ever seen. The first thing I did to tackle it was grab my biggest knife and hack it in two.

As I'd expected, the center was hollow and fibrous, with large seeds. Just like a Halloween pumpkin, I scooped the junk out, cut off the hard green peel, and chunked down the meat into manageable pieces. I shredded these with the food processor, salted it lightly, and put it in a colander over a bowl to drain out the moisture.

I had feared that the meat would be bitter, but when I tasted it, I found that it was fine and sweet, although a little bland and unremarkable. The food processor made quick work of it, and within an hour I had three giant bowls of shredded zucchini draining.

It takes about two cups of shredded zucchini to make a loaf of zucchini bread.  I made three loaves.

I also made a lemon-zucchini bundt cake, which took three cups of shredded zucchini.

For something savory, I made Julia Child's zucchini au gratin - three cups of shredded squash sauted in butter with onions and garlic, folded into a smooth bechamel dusted with parmesan and baked in the oven.

I saved back some of the flesh to cut in slender batons, and made five jars of zucchini pickles.

That'll keep the Giant Zucchini Monster at bay for a little while..

Guess who got a loaf of zucchini bread and a jar of pickles on their doorstep?


Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

This post reminds me of Yosemite Sam's aversion to coconuts.

Janet said...

ahhh, a positive spin! I love it! Thank you for your kind words over on Mrs. G.'s :-) I'm looking on this lay off as a gift...

Trudy said... impressive. My giant zucchini go to is something called zucchini cobbler....take the zucchini, cook with lemon juice and sugar and it turns into apple flavor. You pour a dry cake mix over, drizzle a stick of melted butter and bake...yum.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Wow! The zucchini that keeps on giving.

smalltownme said...

Zucchini Pickles! Who knew!

Claudia from Idiot's Kitchen said...

That zucchini gratin looks fabulous as do those tomatoes lurking in the back of the photo. I just made zucchini fritters. Ridiculously good.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Oh, wow... zucchini au gratin sounds fabulous!
A twelve-pound zucchini is amazing, but without a food processor (something I do not own) it would be a daunting project indeed.

I've promised more zucchini bread to my husband if he does the grating for me. So far, that zucchini remains at rest in the fridge.

Sean said...

Next year if some kind, generous and dare-I-say handsome neighbor -- the PERFECT neighbor -- leaves another on your porch, try making those Greek zucchini fritters. They're out of this world. Have Christo over with his accordion to play some Greek music. (The monster, BTW, did not come from our garden. We got porched, too!)