Archives for posts with tag: zucchini
Peace sign with cookie border, containing salmon, zucchini and lentils.

Peace Sign. 6″ x 6″ Watercolor Pencil on Paper. Sharyn Dimmick.

Dear Friends,

Lauren and I promised we would announce the winners of The Lauren Project recipe contest in September. Without further ado, your winners are:

First Prize: To Babu Srinivasan for his salmon with turmeric

Second Prize: To Lynn for zucchini roasted with shallots.

Third Prize: To Suzanne for her lentil potage.

Honorable Mention to Will for his astounding cookies. Lauren will be sending him one of her chili pepper oven mitts.

At this writing, Babu has chosen the cookbook as his prize, Lynn has chosen a Paris CD and we have not heard from Suzanne yet.

Lauren says:

top three in order:
babu’s salmon
lynn’s zucchini
suzanne’s lentils
honorable mention:
will’s cookies
everything has been delicious, but these were not only delicious, they were deliciously easy to make and had only a few ingredients all of which i regularly have on hand. there are still a few i haven’t made yet mostly because i found them intimidating, but i plan to keep working through the list and get to the more complicated dishes when i have more time. thank you so much for doing this. i am so happy to have at least five dishes i will be adding to my regular food rotation

Sharyn says: Thank you to everyone who participated in the recipe contest. We appreciate everyone’s attempts to follow Lauren’s dietary guidelines. I know she has cooked several dishes from the recipes submitted and posted photos of them on Facebook. We are happy to be awarding the first prizes in the history of “The Kale Chronicles.”

Please remember that even if you did not win you will be eligible for free shipping of any Kale Chronicles’ painting should you choose to purchase one or more before midnight December 31st. In addition, if you purchase a painting before October 15th, I will take ten percent off the purchase price and if you purchase a painting before November 1st I will take five percent off the purchase price. These are the lowest prices ever offered for my paintings so take advantage of them while you can. You can also buy your own copy of my Paris CD, using this link: I appreciate each and every sale: they help me survive as an independent artist and also help fund new work (I have a second CD in progress).

To look at the winning recipes and other submissions, please visit The Lauren Project page. Please feel free to submit additional recipes for Lauren there any time: there is no deadline on generosity.

painting of zucchini-gingerbread muffin ingredients.

Zucchini-Gingerbread Muffins. 8″ x 8″ gouache and watercolor pencil. Sharyn Dimmick.

Sarah O. mentioned overgrown garden zucchini in her comment on Zucchini-Feta Pancakes and I thought, “It’s time to get out the other zucchini recipe,” useful for times when you are drowning in zucchini or your zucchini is not of the best or you have zucchini-haters in the household. The solution? Zucchini-Gingerbread Muffins, another example of camouflage cooking.

You’ve heard of zucchini bread, I’m sure. But what if we made it healthier? And what if we took occasion to use up the sour milk, buttermilk, blinky half and half, or old canned milk hanging out in the fridge? If you are shuddering, just stick with buttermilk or plain yogurt when you get to the recipe, but otherwise, stay with me and, as my friend Bob says, you may never pour sour milk down the sink again.

In the old days, when milk used to sour, when ice houses were common and farm wives could not afford to throw things away, they made use of what they had: if the milk went sour, you cooked with it. Good cooks knew that you could “sweeten” milk with soda and sour it with lemon juice or vinegar to adapt it to your recipe.

I developed this recipe to use sour(ed) dairy products and zucchini. The soda takes care of any off-flavors — I am not advocating that you drink soured milk, just that you cook with it — and the oven heat kills any organisms you might otherwise worry about. Gingerbread contains multiple assets in camouflage cooking: cloves, mustard, ginger, cinnamon, molasses and brown sugar. Chocolate is the other great camouflage flavor in desserts but we won’t go there today (unless you want to).

My jumping-off point was the Multigrain Muffins recipe in “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.” I have used Moosewood’s muffin recipe so many times that the spine of the paperback book is broken at that page and the page itself is spotted. Need I say more?

The first thing I do is check the end of the  recipe for suggested additions to see how much zucchini I can get away with using. Since it says 1 and 1/2 cups of apples or blueberries, I know I can use 1 and 1/2 cups of zucchini, plus a little more. I go to work with a grater.

Next, I look at the volume of liquids, Because I want to introduce molasses for a gingerbread flavor, I reduce the buttermilk  (or soured milk or soured cream or sour cream or yogurt) to 3/4 cup to allow for 1/4 cup molasses. Now I will follow the recipe pretty much, except for adding gingerbread spices: ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and dry mustard.

Zucchini-Gingerbread Muffins

Preheat oven to 400.

Grease a twelve cup (standard sized) muffin tin with corn oil, vegetable shortening or butter. Use plenty so the muffins won’t stick and your tin cleans easily.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:

1 cup unbleached flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp each baking soda and baking powder (You must use both).

2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp dry mustard, 1 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp ground cloves.

In a small mixing bowl, beat with the same whisk

1 egg


1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use corn oil)

3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk

1/4 cup molasses (or honey, if you like things lighter in flavor)

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

grated zucchini (you can get away with up to two cups — say two small or one large zucchini)

Whisk together and set aside.

Make a well in dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients and fold or stir just until blended. Transfer batter to muffin cups.

Bake at 400 for twenty minutes. Test centers with a toothpick or knife if you want — it should come out clean. Let cool on rack for a few minutes.

Food notes:

I like baked goods and desserts less sweet than many Americans. If you like things very sweet, you might want to increase the sugar, or eat the muffins slathered with honey or sweetened cream cheese: you’ll figure it out.

As long as you watch the liquid to dry ingredient ratio you can add other things you like: nuts, coconut, grated apple or carrot, chocolate chips, a teaspoon of espresso powder, lemon zest. If you invent a wonderful variation, frost the muffins with something unique or have a great serving suggestion, by all means write in and share it.

Cornmeal variation: One recent day I ran out of whole wheat pastry flour. I replaced it with another half cup unbleached flour and half a cup of yellow cornmeal. The result was delicious, maybe even better than the original recipe above — if you like cornmeal and molasses, be sure to try it.

Painting Note: For more information about “Zucchini-Gingerbread Muffins” or any other original painting, please contact me here.

When I saw the list of vegetables from Riverdog Farm today I knew what I would be cooking soon: it is what I cook when zucchini first swings into season, along with corn and the first tomatoes — pancakes made of grated zucchini and fresh corn, bound with egg and a little flour, seasoned with fresh herbs, fried in butter and olive oil and topped with halved cherry tomatoes and a spoonful of sour cream. Can you say summer? Even late summer, as it turns out., or early fall. The seasons are wacko in California this year, with long spring rains and chilly weather, so all of our crops are later than usual.

Painting of Zucchini-Feta Pancakes and ingredients.

Zucchini-Feta Pancakes with Fresh Corn. 8″ x 8″ gouache and watercolor pencil. Sharyn Dimmick.

I first saw a recipe like this in Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood cookbook. As a non-lover of zucchini, I immediately saw the camouflage possibilities (My other go-to zucchini recipe is gingerbread muffins with grated zucchini). The first time I made it, I made it by the book. The next time I added fresh corn kernels and began topping it with tomatoes and sour cream, I love feta cheese — it is one of the cheeses I prefer to keep on hand, along with Parmesan, extra sharp cheddar and Gorgonzola — if I could only have four cheeses, those would be the four.

Why don’t I like zucchini? Does anybody care? I find the skin is often bitter and the flesh either bitter or insipid. I’m always disappointed when some Chinese restaurant fills their kung pau chicken with zucchini. I grew up eating zucchini baked in tomato sauce and topped with cheese and didn’t like that much either, but I am happy to make these pancakes whenever zucchini appears in the veggie box.

Here goes:

Zucchini-Feta Pancakes with Fresh Corn and Cherry Tomatoes

Grate 4 cups of zucchini. Salt it lightly and leave to drain in a colander for fifteen minutes.

While zucchini drains, separate 4 eggs, yolks into large bowl, whites into a small one.

Beat the egg whites until opaque and fluffy.

Add to egg yolks:

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (You can buy a block and crumble it with a fork or your fingers)

1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour

chopped fresh herbs to taste — I like mint and dill. Basil is also good, or chives if you like an onion-y presence.

drained zucchini

kernels cut from 2 or 3 ears of fresh corn.

Fold in reserved egg whites.

Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Fry cakes in a mixture of butter and olive oil (I usually scoop 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter out with a measuring cup for each pancake).

Serve with halved fresh cherry tomatoes and a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt, or top with applesauce for a latke nouveau.

Notes: I often make just half a recipe, using two eggs and two cups of zucchini. And you don’t have to have zucchini — you can make this with crookneck squash, patty pan, or whatever summer squash comes your way, including mixtures of varieties.

If you don’t like feta, improvise with some soft cheese that you do like.

I haven’t tried this with grated winter squash or sweet potatoes yet, but it’s only a matter of time: you could even use summer and winter squash together as their seasons cross if you like both of them. And, of course, you can grate other things into them, but this is the way I like them.

Painting Note: I just updated the About page to include some notes on my painting media and process. If you are curious about the paintings, take a look. For information about “Zucchini-Feta Pancakes” or any other original painting please contact me here.