My Material Life

One Zucchini Cooked Three Ways

The Beast weighed in at 3-1/4 pounds.  It was a gift from our young friend, Gabriel, a very enthusiastic boy.  He wanted me to take a photo of anything I made with the zucchini and I assured him I would, but in my head I knew I could do better than that.  Why, we could have our own Zucchini Day!  He went home with a plan to make muffins with his mom after camp the following day and I selected three zucchini recipes I wanted to try the day after that (today).  Here are the fruits of our Zucchini Day labor.

Flora’s Famous Zucchini Cake

This is from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess.  Other pieces of this cake that I’ve seen online don’t seem quite as dense, but perhaps they weren’t made with squash with as much water content as mine.  I have to say I really don’t mind the density at all.  In fact, I think this cake has a very nice texture and it seems to improve in both texture and taste after it’s set for a while.  It’s got a store-bought lemon curd plus fresh lime juice filling.  The recipe also includes directions for making your own lime curd.  I thought about skipping the curd all together, but I’m glad I didn’t.  It works great with the cream cheese frosting.  Instead of sprinkling my cake with pistachios I used a little lime zest.  This cake has substance and style.  You’ll find the correct recipe here (scroll down beyond linguine recipe).

Chilled Zucchini Soup

This is a recipe I got (swiped?) from my mom’s collection a long time ago.  I think it’s from 1979, probably The LA Times. The clipping says it’s a chilled zucchini carrot soup, but the only carrot in it is the garnish. It might be more appropriately called chilled zucchini leek soup, but regardless, my mom made a note on the clipping that it was delicious and I agree with her.  Takes me right back to our Westlake kitchen and Southern California summers.  This soup is very tasty warm too.  Just give it plenty of time to chill if you want to serve it cold; you wouldn’t want to serve it at room temperature.  I used fresh thyme in my soup and skipped the MSG.  Now that’s something you don’t see called for in recipes any more.  Do note that the finished soup has the added tang of buttermilk (that’s why it tastes so good really cold).  If that kind of flavor (sour cream, unsweetened yogurt) doesn’t appeal to you, you could add regular milk or cream instead or just leave the dairy out all together.

Anna’s Fried Zucchini

This is a recipe from my Italian Godmother, Anna.  I’ve always remembered the fried zucchini she made for us during one visit to her Orange County home, so I asked her to send me her recipe a few years ago. Here is her response …

I was surprised to see that the zucchini was grated because it’s more like a zucchini pancake than fried zucchini, isn’t it?  I think I may have used too much egg in my batter, though my friend Camille thought that could work well for a brunch dish. I fried another batch a little longer with a little more salt and that reminded me of the flavor I was trying to recapture. Water content probably played a role too.  I’m definitely going to try this again.  Anyway, by this time I had used up all of that zucchini!

But Wait, There’s More

Here’s the recipe for Gabriel’s muffins.  They were certainly the most popular item among the kids at Zucchini Day (there were three, but one wasn’t having any of it).  And Gabriel’s mom swears by this shaved summer squash salad recipe from Bon Appetit.

And now the hour is late and Zucchini Day is drawing to a close.  But there is still time to raid the fridge (just like the domestic goddess herself) for one more sip of soup, one more piece of Flora’s delicious cake.  Farewell Zucchini Day – until next year!


  1. I remember putting zucchini in EVERYTHING one summer . . . I don’t think my sons trusted me for awhile after that! 🙂 But your recipes look delicious! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Kathie

    Hi Colleen,
    Both the zucchini and avacado soup recipes look delicious! I’m going to try both soon.I do remember Anna’s fried zucchini, but never had the recipe. Thanks for sharing!
    Mom always had fun experimenting with recipes, but I don’t remember these. I had probably already moved out by then. Doug and I DO have fond memories of her “care packages” (as she called them) of her freeze and save dinners when we were at Cal Poly. She would give us an ice chest full of food – very deliciousl and so helpful on a newlywed college budget!

  3. Anne Palmer Peterson

    Colleen, once again, you knock my socks off, with your ultra-cool and amazing-ness!!! Why are you not on TV? Perhaps because you are too cool for that even…you rock, and so lucky to call you neighbor & friend 🙂 xo

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