Thursday, September 8, 2011

Beets and Zucchini - What to do I do with Them?

We have been having so much fun with the produce coming out of our garden, but at times it comes much faster then we can eat it.  

We have some pretty beets in the garden this year.  When sliced thinly with the mandolin slicer the Chioga beets look like peppermint candy, and the golden beets look like disks of sunshine beside them.  I am dehydrating them to put in soup, or to eat as little veggie chips in the winter.

 I keep this noisy dehydrator on the deck where it doesn't add heat to my kitchen.  My deck is almost like our summer kitchen, for that is where I do my canning also.

 If the zucchini is large, I grate it and make zucchini bread, or zucchini patties (recipe in my last post).  If they are smaller I cook them in stir fry, or I slice them and dehydrate them for use later in the winter.  I think these will be good layered in some tomato sauce in a casserole dish with onions for some zucchini "lasagne".

My mandolin slicer also makes little match-stick sizes.  So I made a couple jars of them too. 

What are you doing with beets and zucchini?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Zucchini Patties - Gluten-free, Vegan, for the Freezer

We have been having a great summer of camping, and cooking, and eating, and canning, and more.  We've made some great food, but I haven't taken the time to post about it.  Our garden is producing large quantities of food right now, and we are eating it as fast as we can, and preserving the rest.

Zucchini is a plant that some people have an easy time with, but up until this year the squash bugs have been killing my plants before we got more then a handful of baby squash.  So this year I decided to plant more squash then the squash bugs could kill. (I can't handle patrolling for the deadly killers and squashing them.)  And my strategy worked.  We have a giant row now of giant zucchini and yellow crookneck squash plants.  We also had some in another part of the garden, so many that we ourselves took out a few plants to make room for other vegetables.

We have made yummy stir fries with it.  I've cooked it with garden tomatoes and basil and onions.  I've made a zucchini casserole.  And I figured out how to make zucchini patties.  But I still had to start giving away the "dreaded" zucchini.  My friend took a large box of them off my hands, and then sent me a recipe of what she did with them.  She not only made zucchini patties, she made six batches of them, for her freezer.  Now this starts getting exciting to me.  I'd love to have a freezer shelf full of delicious gluten-free vegan patties.  The recipe she sent me wasn't gluten-free, but I've worked it over, and the results passed approval with every family member today, in sandwiches, with thick slices of garden tomato, sweet onion sliced thinly, vegenaise, ketchup, etc.  

Zucchini Patties - Gluten-free, Vegan
For the Freezer

1.  Get out your biggest bowl and start grating your zucchini and/or yellow crookneck squash to see how many batches you can make.  There is 9 cups of zucchini per batch.  Measure out how much you have.  I had enough for 5 batches.  I divided it between my two giant bowls that I use when canning fruit, so I would have room to add ingredients and mix.  Use an electric grater or food processor of some sort to get the job done quickly.  (You can also just make one batch at a time for immediate eating or for freezing, depending on your family size.)  The patties can be used in sandwiches, like a vegeburger.  Or they can be arranged in a baking dish, covered with gravy, and baked like a casserole.

One batch made averaged around 63 patties.  5 batches made 316 patties.


9 cups of zucchini and/or yellow crookneck quash, shredded in a food procesor
4 medium onions, or so, chopped in a food proceesor
4 cups of gluten free rolled oats
2 more cups of gluten free rolled oats, ground up in your blender, food processor or grinder until it is a flour consistency
2-3 cups of gluten free bread crumbs.  (I make bread crumbs with gluten-free Millet Bread, by Food for Life, from the freezer section at the store.  Thaw the bread in the oven or toaster, then use the S-blade in the food processor to break it up into tiny pieces. The Millet bread goes a long ways.  Two loaves was enough for 5 batches. Another kind of bread might work fine also.  You could also use more oats instead of the bread crumbs.)
4 Tbsp La Chikky Seasoning by the Vegetarian Express (or other chicken-style seasoning)
1 Tbsp salt (adjust this amount if you use a chicken-style seasoning with more or less salt, such as McKays, which has a large amount of salt.  Bills Best brand might need more salt.)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion power
1/4 cup of Nutritional yeast flakes
1 cup raw cashew pieces, chopped or ground small (use different nuts or seeds if you desire)
1 cup raw sunflower kernels, chopped or ground small (use different nuts or seeds if you desire)

Shred the zucchini and/or yellow crook/neck squash on medium shred.  Place in a very large bowl.  Chop or grind up the onions finely, and add to the zucchini.  Add all the other ingredients.  Mix thoroughly.  Use a wooden spoons or clean hands and keep working it until the whole mixture is quite wet and holds together well.  (It is ok to let the mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator to set up even more, and then bake the patties in the morning.)

Spray a baking sheet or two.  Use a 1/3 cup measuring cup as a scoop.  Place a wide canning ring on the the baking sheet.  Place 1/3 cup of the zucchini mixture in the ring, and flatted down into the ring with a spoon.  Move the ring and make another patty.  Repeat until the tray is full.

Bake at 400 degrees.  After the tray has been in the oven 20 minutes.  Remove and turn over each patty.  Then bake for another 20 minutes.  If you have enough baking sheets you can have them filled and ready when the first trays are finished.  This helps speed up the large batch baking process.

Place the baked patties on something to cool.  When cool place them in ziplock bags in appropriate numbers for your family.  Label the bags, and put them in the freezer to use through the winter months.

It took a little work last night and this morning, but it is going to be a real treat to have gluten-free convenience food in my freezer for months.  If I have enough time, I think I'll make some more before the garden stops making zucchini.