Chocolate and Zucchini isn’t just a great BlogSeptember 12, 2009 at 6:33 am | Posted in Baseball, Cakes, Dessert, Vegetables | 76 Comments
Tags: Baseball, Broken Record, Chocolate, Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Derek Jeter, Lou Gehrig, NY Yankees, Zucchini
Last night I witnessed history. I knew it was coming, as did everyone who pays even the slightest attention to the Yankees and/or MLB, but it was still exciting to see it happen live, on a cold, rainy night against the Baltimore Orioles…specifically, a young rookie pitcher named Chris Tillman. Something tells me Tillman didn’t mind giving up that hit, as he is now firmly embedded in Yankee AND baseball history forever, no matter where his career ends up.
Photo courtesy NY Daily News
Derek Jeter broke a record that Lou Gehrig held for seven decades…surpassing Lou’s record of 2,721 hits and ending the night at 2,723 hits. Granted, he did it with A LOT more at bats than Lou, but it’s still an amazing feat, and one that will immortalize him (although his Yankee legend immortality is already sealed in gold) in baseball history and the HOF until someone surpasses him. But we’ll all be 6 feet under, beneath cars that fly and vacations on the moon, by the time that occurs!
Photo courtesy NY Times
It’s so amazing how far he’s come during his years in the Pinstriped ‘show’. A skinny, shy rookie shortstop back in 1995, who just so happened to get ‘lucky’ when Tony Fernandez, the starting Yankee SS that year, went on the DL, spurring the Yanks to call him up from the minors. He soon blossomed from a solid shortstop with great leadership skills and many intangibles (I think the word ‘intangibles’ and the name ‘Derek Jeter’ were interchangeable for quite a few years), to Captain and first ballot HOF’er!
Congrats, Captain Clutch – you have given me and millions of Yankee fans so many amazing moments to remember and cherish the past 14 years, and we’re looking forward to more – especially this coming post season. The Yanks are Juggernauts this season, and I’m actually shocked when they lose a game. I haven’t seen a Yankee team like this since ’04 (Uhh, up until Games 4,5, 6 & 7 of the ALCS – CRINGE.).
OK, could I end this post without something yummy? Hell no, so here’s something fudgy with an ingredient you’d never know was in it. Errr, why do I make statements like that when it’s in the title and there’s a big photo of it below? I suppose you could say I need to fill up space?
Because I’ve been out of the ‘loop’ for some time, I thought I would miss out on my usual August haul of zucchini that friends, neighbors, acquaintances etc..pawn off on as many people they can. Last week, I found a bag with two zukes, a cuke, and a yellow squash (photo above) in my fridge. I looked around for intruders, or burglars who trade off zucchini and vegetables for cash and jewelry, or maybe some neighborhood weirdo who breaks into people’s homes in a desperate attempt to rid him/herself of the bounty of zucchini that has taken over his/her garden.
Well, no scary intruders, no thieves, and no need to leave out a glass of milk and a plate of cookies, although the former would pair quite well with what I made.
The culprit was finally revealed later on that evening. My sister and her husband have suddenly developed bright green thumbs and turned out quite a vegetable garden this past summer.
Naturally, I’m always looking for new ways to use the annual bounty of zucchini, but I always end up making the usual suspects; zucchini bread, fried zucchini, and gazpacho. Yes, there are dozens and dozens of ways to incorporate zucchini into many recipes, but I just never bothered. The above are always quick and easy, and frankly, zucchini doesn’t really excite me (Okay, get your minds out of the gutter!).
During a late night of food blog surfing, I came across a hunk of fudgy goodness by Em at The Repressed Pastry Chef. She found this recipe at King Arthur, but changed the frosting to a simple, but perfect, chocolate ganache. Me likey, so me takey!
Let me tell you, this is one the moistest chocolate cakes I’ve ever had the pleasure of sinking my teeth into, and as usual, my taste testers agreed. I could see the counter top through my glass baking dish within a 24-hour period. Holy fudginess, Batman! Who would ever think zucchini is the key to the moist, fudgy texture? It’s completely invisible in every sense - you cannot see it, taste it, or feel it on your tongue. SO, the next time you’re stuck with a load of zucchini, get out the chocolate and bake this! You won’t be disappointed, not even a little bit!
Before I get to the recipe, THE GYM STORY. When I started my outpatient Physical Therapy 2 months ago at the cool gym I’ve mentioned in prior entries, it’s the Physical Therapy assistants who are in charge of leading you to the gym, setting you up with the machines and weights, etc, until you get used to your assigned routine. One day, after finishing all of my exercises in th PT room, the PT assistant started to walk with me into the gym, Up to this point, I had yet to walk without holding onto something, so she held out her hand for me to hold, rather than us walking back to retrieve my quad cane.
As we walked and talked (I felt like a Mommy walking with her little girl, since she’s like 5″2′, and I’m 5″7′), without realizing it, our arms and hands dropped and we were holding hands like a couple instead of my using her hand for support. I was floored, as it was THE moment I discovered I could finally ‘freakin’ walk, since we were just holding hands, without support, as we walked and talked.
The noisy gym goes eerily silent, the abundance of men slowing down on the treadmills, and steppers, the bell like clanking of weights hitting the floor…interrupting my moment of mobile euphoria. I looked up and noticed heads whipping around like meerkats sensing a meerkat meal in the planning….completely focused on us. I could almost hear the shwings.
They thought we were a couple.
We just blew it off, and I excitedly basked in my ability to walk without any aid at all. When I sat down on the seat of the leg press, there were big cheesy grins abound and a few attempts at small talk. As I type this, I’m realizing it’s not sounding as funny as it actually was, so I guess I’ll have to chalk it up to one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments. What is it with guys seeing two women making any kind of physical contact and construing it as sexual? Believe you, me, I think I’ve heard just about every answer to that question, but it still amuses me.
UPDATE: A pinner who made this, @CynthiaSawyer, substituted unsweetened apple sauce for the oil and said it was incredible and very moist, so if you want to cut more fat out, try it!
Note – According to some readers, this cake is amazing with Gluten Free flour too!
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
adapted from King Arthur Flour
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil (or unsweetened apple sauce)
1 2/3 cups (12 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (4 ounces) Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) AP Flour
3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounce) Dutch-process cocoa
2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional, but it enhances the flavor of the chocolate
2 1/2 to 3 cups shredded zucchini (about one 10-inch zucchini – 12 ounces)
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips
Chocolate Ganache Topping
6 oz heavy cream
9 oz chopped chocolate (semi-sweet or milk)
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly coat a 9″ x 13″ pan with baking spray
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until each is incorporated.
3. Stir in the sour cream or yogurt alternately with the flour, starting and ending with the flour. Stir in the cocoa and espresso powder, mixing until smooth. Finally, fold in the zucchini and 1 cup of chocolate chips.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 35 – 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack.
5. To prepare the frosting, heat the heavy cream in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips. Wait 3-5 minutes then stir to combine. It may take a few minutes of stirring for the ganache to come together… but it will. It will thicken as it cools… when warm (but not hot) pour over cake and smooth with offset spatula. Allow frosting to set for about 30 minutes before serving… or not.
Whoops, I almost forgot! As I mentioned in my last entry, I received two more awards. Well, I received another two this past week. Another Lovely Blog award from Singing Horse at The Peacable Kingdom and a Lemonade award from Sophie at Foodiefiles. Since I haven’t yet passed on the other Lovely Blog award from Anula at Anula’s Kitchen, and the Kreative Blogger Award from Laura at Tiramisu, I’ll take care of all of that now. Thank you all – it’s incredibly sweet and flattering.
I’m going to stick with 13 for now, and pass on another 13 in my next entry.
1. Jackie at Pham Fatale
2. Kitty at Fahrenheit 350
3. Vibi at La Casserole Carree
4. Sara and Nick at I’m a Food Blog
5. Alana at Eating from the Ground Up
6. Maris at In Good Taste
7. Ingrid (my girl) at 3B’s….Baseball, Baking & Books
8. Katrina at Baking and Boys!
9. Pru at The Fashionable Foodie
10. asti at Ice Tea: Sugar High
11. Inbal at The Cookie Fairy
12. Lori at Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness 13. Palidor at Crazy Asian Gal
On to the Kreative Blogger Award, plus ’7 Things About Me’ – Do you really want to know? (This is a requirement that comes with this award prior to passing it on) lol
7 ‘Boring’ things about me:
1. I’m super sensitive and cry easily – couldn’t hurt a fly, LITERALLY. I try and catch them in lieu of killing them! Don’t even get me started on the mice I’ve tried to nurse back to health after my cats have had their way with them and left them as a ‘gift’ for me.
2. Although I don’t cook it this way for others, I prefer my broccoli overcooked, like olive colored overcooked.
3. I love warm rainy days in the spring and summer. There’s a certain ambiance to them, not to mention the scent of flowers opening up for a drink.
4. Speaking of flower scents, the scent of lilacs intoxicate me.
5. I love classical music, symphonies, and ballet..and the music goes well with #3 above. On the flip side, I also love really hard, classic rock – harps to head banging.
6. A very cute lead singer of a well-known rock band came on to a me and a friend back in the mid 90′s. We passed. I sort of wish..oh, nevermind.
7. Using fake documents to get an authentic Massachusetts driver’s license in college, since our fake ID’s weren’t working, has come back to haunt me the past several years. My ‘fake’ birth date has inundated every agency, company known to man…and I’m STILL trying to fix the problem! Karma – but hey, I was a kid!
I’m passing this award to..
1. Audax Artifex aka my ‘Drano’ at Audax Artifex
2. Chrystal and Amir at The Duo Dishes
3. Elra at Elra’s baking
4. Elle at Feeding My Enthusiasms
5. Arlette at Phoenician Gourmet
6. Marika at Madcap Cupcake
7. Barbara at Barbara Bakes
Finally, the Lemonade award. I honestly don’t know what it means or stands for, but it’s pretty and quite charming, so I’ll be thinking of that as I pass it on to these eight bloggers..
1. Simone at Junglefrog Cooking
2. Y at Lemonpi
3. Shelly at Musings From a Fishbowl
4. Natasha at 5 Star Foodie
5. Natashya at Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
6. Olga at Mango & Tomato
7. Nikki at Art and Lemons
8. Dharm at Dad ~ Baker & Chef
All three awards were passed on to each person for various reasons, but if I try to explain them, it’ll turn this entry into a novel. You know me, I start writing, and I can’t stop! To everyone I passed these awards on to, please know I have great reasons to have done so, ones that would send your blog ego’s flying. Enjoy!