World War Zucchini?
Being a gardener, when I first read the title of the novel (and now also a movie), World War Z by Max Brooks, I thought, “Of course, ‘World War Zucchini!’”
I could see the scenario in my mind: gardeners burdened by tons of squash from their over-productive zucchini plants, rise-up in camouflage coveralls from the darkness, flinging ten pound green projectiles through car windows while screaming, “We must all eat zucchini, all the time!”
Baskets of small zucchini appear mysteriously on kitchen cupboards and tables. Bread throughout America suddenly has small, green flecks in each loaf. There’s a grocery store run on pop-tarts and almond milk – the last non-green food-like products available. Meat and potato eaters start locking and barricading their windows and doors.
Zucchini free zones are declared in all the major cities except Fargo, a haven for the zucchini crazed; every Fargo restaurant becomes a 24-hour zucchini hot-dish heaven. Zucchini beer is on-tap across the nation. The Budweiser Clydesdales are replaced with gene modified zucchini that sprout legs and flowing tails.
Okay, humor aside, August is the month for zucchini and even the most diligent vegetable eater can get her fill of summer squash. The recipe below, adapted from an old issue of Cooking Light, serves up zucchini in a truly disguised form: the muffins are light, delicious, and almost cake-like. If you add a lemon-sugar glaze, fit for dessert.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind (the rind from 1 lemon)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional, but the addition of the extract makes the muffins extra lemony)
- 1 cup grated/shredded zucchini or other summer squash
- ¾ cup skim milk
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- Cooking spray or butter
Directions: Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the center of the mixture. Combine lemon extract, zucchini, milk, oil, and egg and stir well. Add to flour mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are just moistened. Over stirring will result in “tough” muffins.
Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray or butter. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from muffin tin immediately and cool on a wire rack. These are best when eaten warm.
(These also make great mini-muffins, use about a tablespoon of batter for each and bake for only 10 minutes or so.)
Now, sally forth and slay those zucchini before they take over the world!
(Previously published in the August 2013 issue of The Regular Joe).