Monday, June 29, 2009

Zucchini Pineapple Cake

Sunday was the first CSA potluck of the year at the Sippel Family Farm. The potlucks are open to CSA members and their families. Members are supposed to bring a large enough dish along to feed everyone in their party (Grumble grumble vanload of rude people who don't) as well as table service for their party.

Typically the agenda is like this:

3 pm people start arriving
4 pm eat
5 pm farm tour
6 pm leave

The time's aren't set in stone or anything, but that's the general idea. Some months there will be something available for picking. Some members pick before the meal and others pick afterwards.

This month there were sugar snap peas. Peas are not my favorite veggie, but Joe likes them a lot. They're ok as a side dish, but a must in tuna casserole. Canned are gross. Fresh or frozen are fine. I don't care for the pods.

After we finished eating, Joe and I skipped out on the tour and headed off to the pea field with Samantha and reusable grocery bags in hand. I found a row and started picking away, not discriminating against any pod size. Joe carried Samantha until she whined and wanted down. Samantha happened to pick a good spot that wasn't picked-over yet. He also did not discriminate against small pods until he discovered that some pods were very full with large peas. I grew tired of stooping over the low-lying plants and headed over to see his bounty. He wasn't ready to stop, so I kept picking large pods as I headed back to the beginning of the row. We headed back to the house. We each had our bags half full of pea pods. That's a lot of peas.

We stood around talking and didn't leave the farm until 7. By 8, Samantha was in her jammies and we were out on the deck shelling peas. Around 9:30 it was too dark to see, so we came inside and put the girl to bed. Shelling was finished at 11. There were 4 Tupperware Thatsa Bowls of pods that hit the compost bin and just 5 lb 7 oz of peas for eating. Joe went to bed and I continued with blanching the peas for freezing. I was in the bed at midnight with 7 pint bags of peas in the freezer.

Thursday night I decided what to make for the potluck during a power outage. I try to take a dish using fresh produce and/or dessert. In our share that day we got lettuce, garlic scapes, yellow and green summer squash, beets and carrots. In my garden I also have new potatoes that I could use. I wasn't expecting the squash yet (it's nearly July but feels too early), so that was a pleasant surprise. I thought about it a while in the dark and remembered Pineapple Zucchini Cake. I dug out the recipe and was happy that I had all the ingredients on hand.

My mom has been making this recipe for as long as I can remember. This was our standard zucchini bread recipe for me growing up rather than the typical spiced version. I only remember Mom making one other zucchini bread recipe and it wasn't as good. It was a Weight Watcher recipe that made a single 8"x8" pan. The following recipe is far too point-y to be WW-friendly.

For the potluck I used my 9"x13"x1" pan plus a mini loaf pan. I took the 9x13 and stashed the loaf in the freezer. Good thing, too, because there were no leftovers to take home.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of all was when Joe tried it and liked it. He ate 3 pieces!

Zucchini Pineapple Cake

Makes: two 9x5 loaves OR two 8x8 pans OR one 9x13x2 pan OR one 9x13x1 pan plus one mini loaf OR 30 muffins

3 eggs
2 c sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c oil
2 c grated and drained zucchini, unpeeled (or yellow squash)
3 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 c raisins
1 c chopped nuts (my favorite is pecans, but I used almonds for the potluck and toasted them)
1 c crushed pineapple, drained (from a 20 oz can)

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour (or use non-stick spray) baking pans.

Beat eggs until fluffy. Add sugar, vanilla, oil and zucchini.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into wet mixture until just blended. Stir in raisins, nuts and pineapple.

Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake until nicely browned and toothpick in center comes out clean. For 9x5 loaves, 8x8 pans, 9x13x2 pan that's about an hour with pyrex dishes. Metal 9x13x1 pans and mini loaf pans take about 50 minutes. Muffins take about 35 minutes.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

If desired, loaves can be frozen. Wrap loaves in plastic wrap first before wrapping in foil. The acidity of the pineapple will eat through aluminum foil and that's not a good thing.

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