Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lulu's Watermelon Pickles

Here's the first of my Mum's recipes and I apologize that I cannot post a picture of these. We've no watermelon here right now. However, I think this is a timely recipe. A lot of you probably have watermelons available and perhaps even have been throwing away the rind! Imagine that! Here's the cure for your overflowing garbage can or compost pile! Lulu lived through the Great Depression and tried to never throw any usable food away.

When I want to make these, I store the rind in the fridge until I have enough to make this recipe.

Watermelon Pickles

- Peel and cut rind into 1" cubes until you have 10 C. of cubes.

- Soak the cubes overnight in 2 quarts of water into which you have dissolved 6 T. of salt

- In the morning, drain the rind cubes well.

- Add fresh water to the pot and cook cubes until tender.

- In another pot, heat to boiling:

4 C. Sugar

2 C. White Vinegar

- In a piece of cheesecloth or a cheesecloth bag put:

6 sticks cinnamon

2 T. Whole Allspice

2 T. Whole Cloves

- Put cooked rind cubes and spice packet into the syrup.

- Simmer 45 minutes until rind is transparent.

- Pack into hot jars and cover with syrup up to 1/8" of the top. Wipe any syrup from the edge of the jars. Seal at once.

Makes 3 quarts or 6-1/2 pints of pickles.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This cake is another way to downsize your zucchini blessings from your summer garden. I used to have another recipe for a chocolate zucchini cake, but I found this recipe in the St. Louis, Missouri newspaper a few years back when I was visiting my daughter. I tried it next time we had an abundance of zucchini and felt like throwing my old recipe out the window. I didn't do that because it had come from a friend and, in fact, I will add it at the end of this post so you can try it as well.

Note: You can make thiscake by hand beating, but a portable hand mixer makes it way easier!

Sift onto wax paper or into a bowl and set aside:
2+1/2 C. flour
1/4 C. Cocoa powder
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Baking Soda

In a larger bowl, cream till smooth:
1/2 C. (1 cube) margarine, softened
1+1/2 C. white sugar
1/2 C. Oil (I used Crisco oil)

Add in and beat till smooth:
2 Eggs
1 t. Vanilla
1/2 C. Sour Milk (put 1 t. white vinegar in 1/2 cup measure; add milk and let stand a bit)

Add in the dry ingredients you sifted before and then fold in:
2 C. Grated zucchini

You can bake this cake in a 9" x 13" baking pan OR a bundt cake pan. Whichever you choose, the baking temperature is 325 degrees and time is 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is barely pulled away from the pan along the edge.

If you choose a greased/sprayed 9" x 13" pan, pour in your batter and then sprinkle the top of the batter with 1/2 C. mini-chocolate chips. This is like a faux frosting and eliminates the need for frosting in most situations. If the reason you even EAT cake is the frosting, prepared cream cheese frosting can be added over the chips when the cake is cooled.

If you choose to use a sprayed and sugared bundt cake pan, do NOT do as I did and sprinkle the mini-chocolate chips on top after you pour the batter in the pan. (picture me slapping my forehead here) Put them in the bottom of the bundt pan after you spray and sugar it.

I had a major "duh moment" half way through baking when I realized the faux icing the mini-chips makes was going to be on the bottom of my cake when I put it on the serving plate. When your bundt cake comes out of the oven, cool and invert on a plate while slightly warm. If you didn't put the mini-chocolate chips in the bottom of the pan, and you want to dress it up, you can sprinkle the top with powdered sugar as I did OR drizzle with a bit of glaze. Using half of a can of prepared frosting carefully thinned a bit with some hot water or milk works well.

Here's a picture of my silly mistake. If I'd realized it in time, I could have just swirled the chips into the batter. In fact......there you have another option!

Here is my work-friend's recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake. Treat the order of mixing the same as in my recipe. It fills an angel food pan and is baked at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
Note: Her recipe calls for nuts, but I never put them in.

2+1/2 C. flour
1/2 C. Cocoa
2+1/2 t. Baking Powder
1+1/2 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Salt
1 t. Cinnamon
3/4 C. Margarine, softened
1+1/2 C. Sugar
3 eggs, added one at a time
2 C. Shredded Zucchini
2 t. Grated Orange Peel
2 t. Vanilla
1/2 C. Milk, added alternately with dry ingredients
Drizzle cooled cake with glaze make of:
3/4 C. sifted powdered sugar
1 T. milk or water
1 t. vanilla OR 1/2 t. grated orange peel
1 C. chopped nuts, added last

Cakes! Nummmmmmmmmmm

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini

If you scroll down to my previous post, you will see some round zucchini in the picture of the abundance of zucchini blessings from G's garden. Here finally are the directions and a "sort-of" recipe for preparing these great zucchini. If you don't grow them yourself, we have found that they are available at the local farmer's market events.
First you need to make a stuffing for them. I make this with whatever I have on hand. It never turns out the same twice! Basically this is what you need and what you do:

2 or 3 slices of onion, diced
1/2 t. minced garlic from jar (you could use fresh if you like)
1 to 2 cups cubed leftover meat (today I used leftover London Broil; last time it was chicken)

Spray a saute pan with pan spray and make turn around the pan with some olive oil. Saute the onion a bit, then add in the meat. Then add the following:

2 small (5 inch) zucchini quartered lengthwise & diced (I used 1 green and 1 yellow)

Stir till combined and add in:

1 -2 C. cooked rice or some stuffing cubes (you could even use pre-cooked pasta)

Today I used leftover Basmati rice. Then add:

1/2 C. store bought refrigerated garlic salsa. (here you could adlib with your own or even a small can of chopped tomatoes....or 1/2 of a larger can)

The salsa was my idea so that I wouldn't have to worry about flavour, but you may also want to add salt, pepper and herbs here to your taste. If you are using pasta, you could make the stuffing more flavourful with pasta sauce at this point. I've also made a cup or so of broth to use as the liquid ingredient. If you keep stock on hand like Rachael Ray, that's perfect.

Stir well and set aside. Your stuffing should be moist like turkey stuffing is at Thanksgiving. If it's too dry, add more moisture. If it's too sloppy add more rice, pasta or stuffing cubes.

Now wash your 8 balls and cut the stem off and a thin slice off the bottom so the halves will sit flat. Next you are going to cut your 8 balls in half as shown below:

When you've halved them you will see the seeds and where you should cut around the center with a small paring knife at an angle to hollow the center out. I usually cut around at an angle with the paring knife and then across the circle several times. Then I switch to digging the seeds out with the large end of a melon baller.
Here's what your halves should look like.

Now use a 1/2 cup measuring cup and fill the halves with your stuffing, pressing it firmly down and mounding it a little. Place the filled 8 balls in a deep casserole with a lid. Here's what today's looked like after stuffing. G let these 8 balls get larger than a softball so I had to squeeze their sides to make them fit in this casserole.
Cover and place in your microwave. Cook on high for 10 min. If you don't have a lid for your deep casserole or dish, you could use saran wrap, but I wouldn't recommend letting it touch your food. Important: If you don't cover these during cooking, they will cook unevenly. If your microwave doesn't have a turntable, turn your casserole after 5 minutes.Here you see what the stuffed 8 balls look like after they come out of the microwave. Placing a half slice of cheese on top when they are hot is optional but delicious! You are only limited in the number you can make by the size of your pan and the volume of the stuffing you make!

After Note: G didn't like this version as well as others I've made. He finally admitted he prefers me to use the stuffing cubes instead of the rice. He said there was too much rice, but I don't think he would have noticed that as much if the seasonings had been better. Sometimes you win; sometimes you don't!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tuscan Zucchini Salad

Here's how to deal with your zucchini blessings when your neighbors don't answer their doorbells anymore!


3 medium sized green zucchini, diced

3 medium sized yellow zucchini, diced

One 8 oz. ball fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed

1 basket or little net bag of small cherry tomatoes, halved

3 slices of a large red onion, diced

1 can medium or large sized pitted black olives, halved lengthwise

small amount of chopped basil (1T.)or 1 cube frozen chopped basil from Trader Joe's

Approximately 1/2 bottle of Safeway's O Brand Tuscan Italian salad dressing (or your own Italian dressing)

1) Begin by dicing the zucchini and when you have enough to cover the bottom of the bowl, drizzle a little of the salad dressing over and toss to marinate.

2) Keep dicing zucchini and add the rest of the ingredients, tossing and adding more dressing as you go.

3) Once you have everything all tossed together, make sure you have enough dressing included to coat all the ingredients but not too sloppy. I always refrigerate for an hour at least to let the flavours blend.


  • You could use processed mozzarella cheese but the fresh is better.
  • This recipe makes enough to fill the largest bowl (yellow) of my Pyrex mixing bowl set.
  • Yes, that IS a Princess House Crystal pedestal bowl; makes for pretty presentation, no?
  • You could use all green zucchini but the mixture makes for a colorful salad.
  • You can add some protein for a whole-meal salad. i.e. chicken chunks, turkey, even tuna!

Num Num!

Ok, just a teaser!

Just what would YOU do when your kitchen counter looks like this? We have become the proverbial neighborhood zucchini pushers. You know the joke about not leaving any of your car windows open while at church because you'll come out to find a seat-load of zucchini? Or did you hear the one about the neighbors who no longer answer their doorbells? Don't they know that we'll just leave the zucchini on their doorstep? The other day G tried to give a bag to his buddy who was picking him up to go to the flea market. Evidently his buddy has been harrassing HIS neighbors as well because of his garden blessings.

So, the first recipe I will post will be one of my own and in a small way how we are dealing with our zucchini blessings.

As far as this blog's design, I'm still hoping my brother can help me with some pictures, but at last report he tried to send them to me, but it didn't work and they were lost on his computer somewhere. Since he's quite far away from me and I can't really help him, I may have to go out to our storage unit and unearth my family archives box! Not looking forward to that one bit!

Num Num!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Coming Soon!

Watch this space for my new recipe blog. I will be sharing my own original recipes AND the recipes from my late Mum's handwritten recipe block. Some of them date back to 1925 when my parents got married and some of them are from my grandmother and aunt who worked in the food service business from about 1910 to the 1950's.