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CSA Week 12, a great concert, and Chocolate Zucchini Cake!

August 30, 2008

Well, we’re back, and boy am I glad we have a three-day weekend to extend our vacation a little longer! Thanks for all your comments while I was gone; I’ll be responding to them this weekend…I’m glad you enjoyed seeing some of the things in our garden! I have more pictures to share, I just have been woefully behind on getting through all my image editing this summer.

Our refrigerator is now packed to the gills with vegetables. We picked up our last share before heading off on vacation, and while we brought some of the share vegetables with us (along with all those tomatoes from our garden), the reality was we couldn’t bring them all…so, we still have many of them waiting for us to use, along with the new share we picked up this week:

  • watermelon!
  • tomatoes
  • pattypan squash
  • zucchini
  • green peppers
  • leeks
  • arugula!
  • baby salad greens
  • beets (to add to the entire time-zone in our refrigerator that is taken up by the beets from our garden and share)

And some additional vegetables I picked up at the farmer’s market this morning (gulp.) Hello, my name is Amy, and I am a summer produce addict! Incidentally, I was looking back through many of my recent posts — it really has been veggie central around here, hasn’t it? It’s gotten to the point where I actually have *dreams* about how I’m going to use the vegetables…one night while we were camping, I tossed and turned and drifted in and out of semi-consciousness puzzling through what I was going to make with some of the vegetables I knew were waiting back home for us. Yikes.

(click “more” to hear about the camping trip, and that cake recipe!)

Speaking of camping, we did have a great time…we were up in the lakes region of the Adirondacks, camping with B’s family. Much relaxation, some kayaking, campfires (with s’mores, of course; the one time of year that I actually eat marshmallows), walks through the woods, and lots of time to read. Autumn was setting in: it seemed like every other tree had tinges of red on the leaves, and one evening was so chilly I had to pile on several layers, ending with my fleece jacket, fleece pants, wool socks and wool winter hat. But, bundled up like that with the sparkling stars above you and a toasty, crackling campfire in front of you — it’s pretty cozy.

One of the highlights of the trip for me, though, was the fact that we got to see one of my favorite musical groups – The Wailin’ Jennys – in concert in Saranac Lake, the first night we were there. The concert was in the town hall, in a fairly small auditorium, so we got to sit right in the front row and be enveloped by their gorgeous harmonies and melodies…it was a truly magical night: the music was beautiful, the doors of the auditorium were left open so the cool mountain breeze wafted over the audience, crickets were chirping in the background, twilight fell and their soaring harmonies filled the air…my heart just felt like bursting throughout the whole night, it was so wonderful. They opened with the a capella song “Bright Morning Stars,” and after they finished, you could hear a pin drop: it was like everyone in audience was holding their breath with the beauty of the night and their voices.

I did get a video of one of their songs (admittedly, the audience singing during the chorus sounded better in person than it does on the video, but you still get the idea!) It was just an awesome concert: if they’re ever playing near you and you like folk/acoustic/bluegrass and beautiful harmonies, go see them — you won’t be sorry!

We did have some good meals when camping…a lot of things taste better when you’re filled with fresh air and eating them outside, don’t you think? We did some tin-foil dinners with sausages, peppers, onions and potatoes…grilled cheese sandwiches cooked in our skillet over the camp stove…eggs mixed with bacon, with more of those roasted potatoes…and for dessert, I brought up this chocolate zucchini cake to share.

The zucchini melts into the dark, dark chocolate cake and keeps it super moist — so moist, in fact, that we had a few pieces left when we came home (I guess I shouldn’t have told people it had zucchini in it — I think a few people thought it was weird) and it is STILL super moist and delicious. B and I have happily been eating a square of this every day for the past week…it is, I think, one of the very best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made!! If you have a stray zucchini laying around, this is a pretty delicious way to use it.🙂

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2005

View printable recipe

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini (about 2 1/2 medium)
1 11-ounce package (about 2 1/4 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips [I use Ghirardelli 60%]

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter and oil until they’re well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt (or buttermilk) in 3 additions each.

Mix in the grated zucchini, then the chocolate chips.

Bake for about 50 minutes, until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan, then cut into squares.

Serves about 12-15, depending on the size of the squares you cut. Keeps well in an airtight container for at least 1 week.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 30, 2008 12:39 pm

    Glad to hear that you had a lovely time. You’re right about food tasting better outdoors! The cake looks delicious and so moist.

  2. August 30, 2008 9:38 pm

    Yay! I have a few zucchinis in the fridge and now I know what to do with them! So glad you’re back, can’t wait to see what you come up with for all of those veggies waiting for you.🙂

  3. August 30, 2008 11:15 pm

    Totally going to be making this chocolate zucchini cake soon, it sounds perfect for this time of year. I am also a big fan of the Wailin’ Jennies, and I couldn’t think of a better venue that the ADKs!!

  4. August 31, 2008 1:21 pm

    Hahaha, I, too, am a summer produce addict🙂 Especially fruit–I eat waaay too much, but I love it!!!! Gorgeous picture, sounds like a great time!

  5. September 1, 2008 8:15 pm

    Sylvie – it was the moistest cake I’d ever made…soooo good!

    LyB – Yay is right! I hope you enjoyed!

    sue bette – aw, I should have known you’d be a fan — another interest in common!🙂 The ADKs were definitely a perfect venue for their performance.

    ttfn300 — I also eat sooo much summer fruit, but you have to before it’s gone, right??

  6. July 30, 2009 8:51 am

    somewhat weird question… do you think I could use zucchini slices that my roommate misguidedly put in the freezer (!!!), if I drained and grated them?

  7. ndoki permalink
    August 3, 2009 9:23 am

    love the Jennys

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