Dad: What is this?
Mom: It's sauteed zucchini.
Dad: It's I-tey food. I don't want no I-tey food.
Mom: It's not. I got it at the A&P. It's like... squash.
Dad: I know I-tey food when I hear it! It's all them "eenie" foods... zucchini... and linguine... and fettuccine. I want some American food, dammit! I want French fries!
Mom: [to the cat, who has jumped up onto the table] Oh, get off the table, Fellini!
Dad: Hey, that's *my* cat! His name's not Fellini, it's Jake! I won't have any "eenie" in this house!
[to the cat]
Dad: Your name's Jake, you hear?
Thank goodness times have changed since 1979! This cringe-worthy yet hilarious scene took place in the movie Breaking Away, an Academy Award-winning flick about the love of cycling, all things Italian, family bonds, and the coming of age for a group of 19 year-old boys in Illinois. Back then, zucchini was a weird Italian word. These days, it's part of a normal kitchen vernacular for most of us, along with words like "spiralizer", "jicama", and "kale guacamole".
Zucchini, like asparagus, is one of those garden crops that gets completely out of control, to the point where you feel like you need hand them to strangers as you pass them on the sidewalk, mumbling something desperate like "Here, please just take this, I can't eat anymore zucchini things."
The good news is that there are some really fantastic things to make with zucchini, and baked goods are at the top of the list. The high moisture content and creaminess of this squash lend a perfect chewy texture to things like breads, cakes, and cookies. I looked at a bunch of cookie recipes on the interwebs, and, when none of them felt exactly right, I made up my own. I mixed it all up old-school-wooden-spoon style, but you can use a mixer if that makes you happier. In honor of all things Italian, I put a little Frank Sinatra on while I stirred. And I threw in the tahini because most things in life are better with tahini, and it adds a gently savory twist to the flavor. Make a batch and let us know what you think!
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI-TAHINI COOKIES
Mix together until thoroughly blended:
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 2 T vegetable oil (I use sunflower)
- 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 1/8 cup natural, fine sugar (not confectioners, just not as coarse as turbinado)
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 3 T tahini
- 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour (I like Bob's Red Mill 1:1 blend)
- 1/8 cup cacao powder
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/4 t cinnamon
Add dry ingredients to wet and stir to combine. Then add, in this order:
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini, drained
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2-3/4 cup chocolate chips
Let batter sit for 10-15 minutes, and then drop onto parchment lined baking trays. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
Let cool on cookie sheets for 10-15 minutes, and then watch them disappear faster than you could ever have imagined. Come September, you'll be handing these out to strangers instead of the zucchinis. Better yet, set up a roadside stand and sell them for $3 each.
With love and eenies from us to you,
Sarah + The Osmia Crew.