If you have been to one of our markets, you have undoubtedly seen Chef Franco Zucchini. Chef Franco is an expert at working with seasonal produce to create wonderful dishes with an Italian flair. If you see him, please say hello. He is always happy to help answer questions on how to prepare different vegetables, to give advice on new ways to serve an old favorite, or to offer help in planning a menu. He also has a number of recipes for you to take home to prepare with the items we have in season.
Here are two of the recipes he has for produce available right now. (I chose recipes using namesake, of course!)
Zucchini alla Toscana
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 large vine tomatoes, cut in quarters
1 cup diced center of celery (about four stalks)
6 medium zucchini, julienne or thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into wedges
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place garlic in a large skillet with olive oil and lightly brown over medium heat. Place all other ingredients in pan and cook at medium heat for 8-10 minutes covered partially. Stir often. Season to taste and serve with extra virgin olive oil.
Zucchini Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup softened butter (unsalted)
1/2 cup oil (canola or safflower)
1 3/4 sups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups finely grated zucchini (grated with zucchini skin)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour (unbleached)
5 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
Place all dry ingredients, except for sugar, in a large bowl and mix. In a second bowl, beat eggs slightly, adding butter, oil, sugar, vanilla and buttermilk. Beat well for 2-3 minutes, or until batter is smooth. Stir in zucchini. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Pour batter into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan or into two 9″ round pans. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Bake at 350-degrees for 45-50 minutes.
As Chef Franco would say “Buon Appetito!”