Zee zaftig zucchini

I set out to make some zucchini recipes this weekend. The kind of recipes that you turn to when you have a garden full of submarine-sized squash. I, of course, do not have a garden, but, as is frequent when it comes to food, I was feeling nostalgic. In the good old days we used to pick zucchini at least twice a day, but they still grew to absurd sizes. Somewhere in one of my parents' photo albums, there's a shot of me hawking zucchini and cucumbers off a wooden bench in our front yard. Barefoot and squinting into the sun, with a zucchini in either hand, my 5-year-old back is arched to support the hefty zukes.

In one of my favorite parts of one of my favorite books, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver coins the term "zucchini wars" to describe the position in which the typical zucchini grower finds him or herself at the end of the summer. Here's an excerpt from an excerpt published in Yes! magazine:
Sometimes I just had to put down my knives and admire their extravagant success. Their hulking, elongated cleverness. Their heft. I tried balancing them on their heads, on their sides: right here in the kitchen we had the beginnings of our own vegetable Stonehenge. Okay, yes, I was losing it. I could not stay ahead of this race.
I made the Kingsolver family recipe for Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cookies. They took longer to cook than the recipe said; it probably didn't help that I kept opening the oven door impatiently while baking the second batch at 1:30 am last night. (There were kittens to be playing with upstairs!) I also forgot to flatten the dough with the first batch, but they seemed fine. Oh, I also didn't have any baking soda. Through my cursory research I think the baking soda would have improved the texture of the cookies, but considering they are cookies with vegetables in them, I think the texture is appropriate.

For my book club get-together tonight, I made a chocolate (and chocolate chip) zucchini cake. It's a recipe from my mom, probably from one of the millions of magazine clippings she's amassed over the years. It comes together in a jiffy and is deliciously moist and sweet. My book club friends each took home a big chunk. I might eat my piece for breakfast tomorrow!

*On shredding zucchini: We grated it by hand when I was a kid, but I'll take any excuse to use my Cuisinart food processor. I used the shredding blade and I'm convinced that it saved time and the skin on my knuckles.*

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour milk (add 1 tsp lemon...I used lime juice, because it was on hand)

Mix together dry ingredients then add gradually to wet:
2 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Add to batter:
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Pour in a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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