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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Simple, delicious ways to enjoy all that zucchini

Thursday, September 14, 2000

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

What can you do with zucchini?

Every year we struggle with the same question. Kitchen Mailbox has the answer: Make bread or muffins. These recipes aren't unique and they don't call for hard-to-find ingredients. They're just good, easy, basic recipes.

Here's what we liked about each recipe. The first one calls for crushed pineapple, which made the already moist bread/muffins even more moist. The addition of dark brown sugar in the second recipe gave the muffins added flavor. Brown sugar does tend to harden easily. If this happens, the "Joy of Cooking," by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker, advises sprinkling the brown sugar lightly with a few drops of water and heating in a low oven for a few minutes, though we haven't tried this method.

The final recipe is Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins, and that says it all.

A few final notes: Zucchini or pineapple haters needn't worry -- you can't taste either.

We didn't peel the zucchini -- tiny flecks of green throughout the bread and muffins added a touch of color.

Thelma Simon of Baldwin Borough requested a recipe for zucchini muffins and Heidi M. Souza of Moon responded with this recipe. "This is a tried and true recipe," she wrote. "I make the small loaves for Christmas gifts. This recipe freezes well for at least six months, wrapped in plastic and then freezer wrap."

Zucchini Pineapple Muffins or Bread

3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until well mixed. Stir in zucchini, pineapple with juice and dry ingredients. Fold in raisins and nuts. Pour into 9-by-5-inch loaf pans or lined muffin pan. Bake for 1 hour or until tester inserted comes out clean.

Note: This recipe makes 12 muffins or 2 loaves.

Here's a another recipe, from Carol Meador of Baldwin Borough.

Zucchini Muffins

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini, lightly pressed into cup
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely or finely chopped

In a bowl combine the zucchini, oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Stir only until blended. Spoon into 12 or 16 well-greased or lined muffin cups.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool for a minute. Remove from pan. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Ruth W. Fischer of Carnegie sent this recipe for us chocolate lovers:

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup semi-sweet miniature chocolate chips
1/4 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together in a bowl flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Combine oil, egg, milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Combine liquid and dry ingredients -- stir just until moistened. Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips and walnuts. Line muffin cups with paper liners, or generously grease the muffin cups and fill with batter. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tester inserted comes out clean. Makes 12 muffins.


Deborah Druga of Glassport lost her recipe for baklava. Deborah's recipe called for an orange juice syrup. If anyone has this recipe, please send it in.

Karen Schultz of Cheswick hopes someone will have the original recipe for the cheesecake sold at Rosenbloom's Bakery in Squirrel Hill.


A letter from a reader to a reader:

About a week ago, while I was visiting my daughter out of state, I prepared Bill Cardone's recipe Covered Risotto with Sausage, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Escarole. It was a winner!

I was unable to find escarole, so I substituted a 10-ounce bag of thawed spinach. I had many requests for the recipe. I wonder if Mr. Cardone has other winners in his recipe collection.

Irma Riehl, Allison Park

P.S. The green bean and garlic recipe, which appeared on the same page, was wonderful also.

Here's an ode to the much missed Amarraca by Jackie Rogers of Glenshaw:

Pining for Amarraca

I miss Amarraca so much

It really was unique

It wasn't hectic shopping there

It was a special treat

The smokehouse hams and Jaindl turkeys were holiday delights

And all the bakery goodies --

Well, I could go on all night.

So I have to stop my moping

And go to the Superstores

But I'd better get my track shoes on

Cause I'll walk a whole lot more!
Jackie Rogers

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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