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Photos by Melissa Lile
Recipes from Jeanne Lesinski

Every summer somewhere the prolific zucchini squash becomes the butt of jokes. What to do with the surplus? Pre-empt it: Eat the blossoms breaded and fried, stomp on the vines, invite mildew or squash vine borers to put you out of your misery. Don't suffer another day of wondering what to do after you have stuffed your freezer with zucchini bread. Someone suggests sell it—and people at farmers markets certainly cater to the zucchini deprived—while another jokes: "Pay someone to take them off your hands."
 
Books of 365 zucchini recipes must exist somewhere, and websites featuring such recipes from A-Z certainly do. It's easily possible to plan a meal from appetizer to dessert using zucchini as a main ingredient.  Here are an appetizer and dessert. I'll leave the entree up to you. 

Zucchini-Tomato Soup

Boil together:

1 large or several small zucchini
4 cups of tomato juice
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. basil (or to taste)

When tender, whirl in a blender with 8 oz. of cream cheese. Return to kettle. Add 1 can of condensed mushroom soup diluted as directed and 1 can of beef consommé diluted with 1/2 can of water. Heat but DO NOT BOIL or the cream cheese will curdle.


Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. If using a dark pan, set oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour an 9 x 13 inch cake pan.

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 medium or light brown sugar
3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
t tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (do not use olive oil)
3 cups grated zucchini
powdered sugar (optional)

Mix together flour, sugars, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and oil. Mix until evenly blended. Fold in zucchini. Pour into pan. Sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips and nuts.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan. For a sweeter cake, dust top with powdered sugar.

The Midland Farmers Market can be found at the end of Ashman Street, near the Tridge in downtown Midland, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7a.m. until noon, until October 30. On Monday afternoons, 3:30p.m. to 6:30, the Market is located on Main St. between Rodd and Townsend, now through Sept. 27. For questions, call the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce: (989) 839-9901. Bon Appetit!

© Jeanne Lesinski, 2010