Barbara Kingsolver would be proud

As the temperature hovered in the 60s yesterday, I couldn’t help but feel that autumn is quickly approaching. The cool weather inspired me to finally make some headway with food preservation for the winter. I’ve done a little bit of preserving thus far – mostly freezing blueberries and strawberries – but I haven’t been motivated to do much more than that. While I spent a lot of time last year canning, I haven’t been excited about doing any this year (perhaps because we still have lots of jam left) – yet.

This weekend, however, I tackled zucchini and yellow squash. While I’ve only grown one measly zucchini in my own garden so far this year (which I pureed with a can of black beans and made into Black Bean & Zucchini brownies*), I managed to score enough off of Freecycle to make me a happy camper. On Friday evening I picked up 17 lbs of zucchini and yellow squash from someone in a nearby town. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it all when I got it, but I knew I would figure something out. In the meantime, the kids played with it. :)
(Please excuse the quality of these pics. They were taken w/ my iPhone.)

On Sunday I got to work. I shredded and froze 16 cups of zucchini to use during the winter for baking or adding to soups.

I also used 3 additional cups to make a triple batch of Barbara Kingsolver’s Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies (from the awesome book Animal Vegetable Miracle).

Then I used one huge yellow squash to make Kingsolver’s Disappearing Zucchini Orzo for dinner (I added spinach to it to give it a little more color and tomatoes as a garnish).

After all of that, I still have two large yellow squash remaining! I may chop and freeze them and throw them into a casserole at a later date.

*Below is the recipe for Black Bean Zucchini Brownies. The other two recipes (cookies and orzo) can be found on the Animal Vegetable Miracle web site. I was very skeptical of the idea of beans in my brownies at first, but now that I’ve made them, I can’t imagine going back to the traditional way. They are sooooo good (and, as Jody will tell you I like to argue, healthier!) Yum!

Black Bean Zucchini Brownies
Ingredients:
1 box brownie mix (I prefer the kind that has chocolate chunks in it)
1 can black beans (do NOT drain)
1 small zucchini (Optional. You can make the brownies with just the beans and they will turn out just fine. If you want to add a little extra vegetable in though, add the zucchini.)

Puree entire can of black beans (including the liquid) in blender or food processor. Add the zucchini and puree until smooth. Add the beans and zucchini to the dry brownie mix. Mix well. Pour into greased pan and bake according to directions on the brownie box. You may have to bake a little longer than recommended on the box because there’s a fair amount of liquid added between the beans and zucchini. You could also add in some flour (maybe a 1/2 cup or so) to even it all out. When a toothpick or knife comes out of the brownies clean, they are done. Cool, cut and serve.

Jody, the kids, and I loved these brownies. And yes, I told them what was in them. Nobody cared. :)

Nearly 17 lbs of squash used or preserved in one way or another this weekend. I think Barbara Kingsolver would be proud.

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18 thoughts on “Barbara Kingsolver would be proud

  1. You rock! I love that book and I love those brownies – that’s a weight watchers recipe my mom used to make! I’ll try with zucchini this week.

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  3. That book changed my life. I now eat much closer to home. Good work on preserving the zuc’s you got. I am overrun in cuc’s. Want some?

  4. I never thought of going on freecycle to get veggies! What an amazing idea. I’m so checking that out tonite! (My squash plant totally tanked this year…)

  5. I had black bean brownies a few months ago and, while I was nervous to try it, I absolutely LOVED it and have been wanting to get the recipe. I wonder if this is it; I’ll certainly have to try it.

    I’ve found a wonderful recipe for zucchini bread online and should you ever get another windfall of zuc and want to try it, I could send you the link. :D

  6. Not only Barbara is proud of you, obviously we all are.
    Great idea to grate the zucchinis. We have an overflowing veggie garden at times and that is a wonderful idea.
    Canning is not my thing either, the lids always fail and I hate to see all my work going to waste, let alone the produce.

  7. Wowza! Someone gave me arecipe for black-bean chocolate cake the other day. It was pretty low in sugar, and between the bean and the whole grain flour and eggs, pretty nutritious! I am now officially inspired to try it. Thanks, Amy!

    I love the photos of the kids playing with the squash. That is truly recycling-from food to dinner in one quick evening :)

  8. Yes she would! We love grilled zucchini sticks in our house. I slice the really big ones lengthwise in “zucchini sheets”, brush with olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder, and a dash of red pepper.
    So easy and so delicious.

  9. Wow, I’ve never seen a recipe for zucchini like that. I will definitely be trying them out as I always have a “glut” of zucchini about this time of year. Thanks for that!!

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