Olivia Dish

Bigger than a Breadbox

In Cookbooks, Homemade on September 5, 2010 at 10:08 am

Taming the giant zucchini

My neighbor gave me a bag of fresh vegetables and at the same time, dumped a giant green log into my arms.

Great. An ancient zucchini. What to do with that.

I vaguely remembered my friend Whit DeSpoon talking about the giant zucchini of his childhood days in Italy: they’d keep one on the counter, cut off a bit of it and use it. Sort of sounded like the way we used a piece of cured meat in our eastern North Carolina kitchen growing up.

So I let the giant zucchini sit on the counter for a while. I eyed it. I tried to think of a reason to hack off a piece and add it to  a dish. Honestly, I didn’t want to risk ruining anything I was cooking.

I thought about tossing it into the garbage, but that made me feel guilty.

Plus this zucchini was so big, I thought it might climb out of my herby curby and let itself back into the kitchen with a “hiya, whoops, don’t think you meant to throw me out.”

This morning, I decided it was time to roll up my sleeves and have a go.

Greene on Greens

The vegetable tamer!

I pulled out my trusty copy of Greene on Greens and read the zucchini section. I love Bert Greene. He has a way of acquainting you with vegetables that takes away the dread (cripes, giant expiring zucchini) and replaces it with hope (oh, I guess I could try that).

I learned from Bert’s book that zucchini, while originating in North America, found its biggest fans in Italy, where yes, apparently a zucchini on every counter would be considered a reasonable campaign promise. (No indication, though, that Italians keep giant zucchini around as Mr. DeSpoon had described. Did I imagine that conversation?)

zucchini muffins

The batter turned out a tad too sweet...

My best bet for tackling the green monster appeared to be the zucchini muffins: “These are just superb!” the recipe introduction promised.

Well, love Bert though I do, these are just too sweet.  Otherwise, they are lovely, with a texture that strikes the right balance between moist and light  Here’s the original recipe.

zuchinni muffins

...but otherwise, baked up beautifully....

Maybe you like super-sweet muffins. If so, then don’t change a think. I think I’d cut the amount to one-third, maybe even one-quarter cup–and use brown sugar instead of the white stuff.

zucchini muffins

....inside and out!

I’d do it right now and get back to you, but I gave up on the rest of the zucchini and tossed it in my herby….sorry, must pause…there’s a knock at my door.


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