Zucchini plants are like cats: They both look harmless when small, so you think the more the merrier. One plant is always enough, but it is hard to plant just one seed in case it doesn’t come up. Then the sprouts are hard to thin.. what if something eats it? Then before you know it, there are five enormous plants growing giant green clubs in the dead of night, just after you’ve checked all the plants. Well, that’s my situation anyway. Too many cats; too many zucchinis. When there are enough all at one time, we’re taking them (the zucchinis, not the cats) to the Fallbrook Food Pantry along with pumpkins and tomatoes. Until then, we’re exploring new ways to eat them. And I refuse to sully cheesecake with zucchini! (yes, there is such a recipe!).
My son who is studying Culinary Arts at the University of Hawaii sent me a link to smittenkitchen.com with an exceptional zucchini pancake recipe… not sweet, very light and completely tasty. I’ll include my version. But first I want to explain my ‘discovery’, which everyone but me probably knows about anyway.
I had grated zucchini for bread and had some left over. It was dinnertime and I was alone, so I experimented. I heated a skillet with a little olive oil in it, threw in the grated, undrained zucchini, and stirred it around on medium-high heat for about five minutes. When it was beginning to wilt and brown a little on the bottom, I sprinkled sesame oil on it lightly, and then gave it a touch of Bragg’s Amino Acids, which I use for many things. A light soy sauce may substitute, but Bragg’s is high in nutrition, low in salt and a wonderful flavoring. Buy it online or in health food stores. The zucchini came out tasty and with a mouth-feel of wet wide noodles. It was fantastic. I’ve since made it for my daughter a couple of times, and each time we wanted more! Imagine that! On the plus side, it used up a medium zucchini.
Breakfast. Sigh. My favorite meal. Too often it consists of a bowl of healthy cereal, orange juice and my fistfull of vitamins and supplements. Once in awhile when I have a child or two at home I’ll make these very easy, extremely impressive and delicious pancakes. One pancake per person. Just with some egg, milk and flour in a buttered dish you make this glorious puffed pancake that is a delight to eat. I copied this recipe from my mother’s recipe files back in 1977, my second year of high school. Where she copied it from I don’t know, but I do know that puffed pancakes have been a restaurant sensation on and off for decades. They can also be made plain for dessert and served with fresh fruit or even ice cream and chocolate sauce. Instead of apples make them savory with the addition of mild vegetarian sausage (you don’t want strong flavors to overbalance the delicate pancake) or cooked mushrooms.
Two kinds of pancake
You can dress them up with powdered sugar at the last moment, or serve with syrup. It is important that you serve them right out of the oven so that your guests see them in all their risen glory, because the pancakes will deflate to some extent but still be gorgeous. If you pour a little syrup between the pancake and the hot dish it will sizzle and bubble very dramatically. Because the pancakes are served so hot, they take a little while to eat, which makes breakfast more of the leisurely time of enjoyment it should be. Make certain your guests know how hot the dishes are, and protect the place settings with potholders.
Apfelpfannkuchen, or Dutch Baby Pancakes with Apples
Author: Diane C. Kennedy
Recipe type: Breakfast
1-2 apples, peeled and diced (or 1 vegetarian sausage link per person such as Morningstar Farms, cooked and chopped)
Use the following chart (going across) to measure ingredients:
Pan Size Butter Eggs Milk Flour
2-3 quarts ¼ cup 3 ¾ cup ¾ cup
3-4 quarts ⅓ cup 4 1 cup 1 cup
4-4½ quarts ½ cup 5 1¼ cup 1¼ cup
4½ - 5 quarts ½ cup 6 1½ cup 1½ cup
Choose oven-proof bowls, preferably clear glass (for effect). I use one quart Pyrex bowls.
Divide butter between bowls and set bowls in cold oven.
Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Meanwhile, cook apples in a little butter or juice in a frying pan for a few minutes to soften.
In a blender or with a hand mixer, whirl eggs at high speed for one minute. Gradually pour in milk, then slowly add flour. Whirl for 30 seconds. You don't want to overmix because you don't want air in the batter.
With oven mits, remove hot dishes from oven; butter should be melted.
Pour batter carefully into melted butter in dishes, dividing the batter equally.
Divide apples (or veg sausage) evenly between bowls, if using. Dust with cinnamon, if desired.
Return to oven and bake until puffy and browned, 20-25 minutes.
Pancakes will be like a firm bread pudding at the bottom.
Serve immediately. (Pour syrup around the inside edge and listen to it sizzle! It impresses children and easily impressed minds like mine!) Nom!