Thursday, August 12, 2010
Monster Zuchs put to Good Use
I have a theory. It goes something like this:
Chocolate makes everything better.
I've been looking forward to zucchini season for one main reason:
A word about Dana Matthews. She is a guru of sorts. She makes fruit leather, paints, raises chickens, cards and spins her own wool, then takes the yarn and weaves beautiful cloth on a loom. Everything she touches ends up being lovely and tasty and she pretty much reminds me of my mom, who has these same talents.
I got this from her daughter-in-law, who was kind enough to share with us when we came over for dinner one night. This shows that she is a better person than I am because I would never share. Except with Jon, but only because he makes me.
So, this cake. It is divine. Moist and chocolately and nutty. It is the perfect use of a green vegetable.
I'm a fan of Julia Child, and believe, as she did, that all good things start with butter.
One stick. I cube it up when I haven't left it out to soften. This increases the surface area exposed to the warm air and lets me get on with my life.
Add half a cup of oil 1 and 3/4 cup sugar. Beat it up. Show it who is boss. This is, in my humble opinion, one of the main problems people have when baking. They don't cream the fat and sugar enough. So, it shouldn't look like this:
It should look like this:
Add two eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla. This right here rocks my world. I abhor all things artificial, including grass, flowers, boobs, people...you name it.
And look at these little beauties:
From my very own backyard. They're even prettier inside:
Deep golden and well rounded. Well, hello there.
Next add two cups of shredded zucchini (almost an entire small one; I used one of the smaller ones from the first picture).
Next, dump in half a cup of walnuts, and half a cup of chocolate chips. I'll be honest. I added 3/4 of a cup of the chocolate chips. I'm rogue like that.
Chopping walnuts always makes me think of my maternal grandmother. She was a chocolatier the likes of which would put Willie Wonka to shame. This was always the job she gave to kids.
I hate chopping walnuts.
Now we turn our attention to dry ingredients. I dump them all in my strainer over a bowl and shake them through.
We've got 2 and 1/2 cups flour, tsp salt, tsp baking soda (I use a bit less here at 6K feet), and 1/4 cup cocoa. I added a bit more until I liked the color better.
I'm telling you, I'm a rebel.
Add this to the wet alternately with 1/2 cup of buttermilk. Since I don't keep buttermilk in my fridge because I'm not my grandfather, I make it using milk and vinegar. 1 tsp to a cup ratio is about right. Make sure to incorporate each addition completely before moving on.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9x13. I'll tell you a little secret about floured pans for chocolate cake...better yet, I'll show you:
Cocoa! That way you don't get the white crusties on the cake at the end.
Pop it in a 325 oven for about 55 minutes. While it is still hot, sprinkle it with more chocolate chips and walnuts (preferably toasted, but I didn't feel like taking the time to do that, so I didn't. I'm boss, remember?).
Eat, bless the heavens and the cocoa bean, repeat. I think I'm going to go and eat my vegetables.
I love this time of year.