Getting our family of five ready for vacation isn’t a quick proposition. But every summer we pack up and head to the East Coast to visit both sets of grandparents, so I know the drill. Our “To Do” list includes the Obvious (clothes, car seats, sunscreen, etc.), the Essential (snacks and diapers for the plane) and the Extras (washing the floors, changing sheets, and all those other domestic chores I’d rather not have to do when I return).
This year, on top of everything, I have a full bag of veggies from my CSA and little more than 12 hours to process them before the flight. The task has already lost Obvious status. But I don’t want it to slip to Extras and waste this food. So here I am late at night, surrounded by so many pots and pans you’d think it was Thanksgiving. What am I doing with it all?
1. Beets — boiled, quartered and frozen, for my favorite Beets with Goat Cheese, Walnuts and Honey
2. Beet Greens — chopped, boiled and frozen, for a frittata in place of spinach
3. Potatoes — chopped, boiled and frozen, for soup
4. Green beans — parboiled and frozen, for stir-fries or wilted green beans
5. Onions — diced and frozen
6. Zucchini — bread and muffins, frozen for snacks or breakfasts on the go
7. Garlic and extra squash — given to the neighbor who always takes us to the airport (I’m waving the white flag!)
Other than Zucchini Bread, I’m mostly prepping ingredients so I can pull them out of the freezer this winter rather than buy them from the store. Why not just freeze the zucchini, too?
Simple. Last summer I grated fresh zucchini and froze it, expecting to make loaves of bread all winter long. Instead, we ate up the few loaves of zucchini bread I’d taken the time to bake and freeze, and watched the bags of frozen grated zucchini sit there as the months passed. Finally, I threw them out when the new CSA started this summer.
So tonight as I contemplated those four giant green zucchini, I knew I had 2 choices: 1) bake bread; or 2) give them away. Knowing how happy my kiddos will be to see homemade muffins in their lunch boxes next month, I mustered the energy and baked. And baked. And baked. With four large zucchini, I had enough to make and freeze 3 loaves and 24 muffins.
Make that 22. I couldn’t resist eating a couple as I waited for the beans, beets and potatoes to cool before bagging and freezing them.
Zucchini Bread with Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup olive oil (or 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup applesauce)
1 cup sugar
2 cups shredded raw zucchini
Several large handfuls of chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Whisk together the wheat and white flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large mixing bowl, gently beat the eggs, then stir in the milk, oil, sugar and zucchini. Add in the flour mixture and stir until combined, then stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into the pans and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
P.S. When I freeze a loaf, I let it cool completely then slice it, wrap it in aluminum foil, and place inside a large Ziploc bag in the freezer. That way I can pull out a few slices without having to thaw the entire loaf.