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Some Kinda Good with Rebekah Faulk - Zucchini galore
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Zucchini can be shredded and added to baked goods, like in Rebekah's Zucchini Walnut Muffins with Citrus Rosemary Glaze. - photo by REBEKAH FAULK/special

Zucchini Walnut Muffins with
Citrus Rosemary Glaze


    These sweet, nutty muffins make a delicious morning breakfast or afternoon snack with hot tea. The glaze is fragrant and simple to assemble.

• 1 cup zucchini, grated
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup walnuts, chopped

For the glaze
• 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
• Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 orange
• 2 teaspoons orange zest
• 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

    Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
    In a large bowl, whisk together the zucchini, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture just to combine. Divide the batter evenly into muffin cups and gently drop muffin pan on the counter to remove any air.
    Bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden brown, 35–40 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
    In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the glaze. Pop the muffins out of the pan and one by one, dip them into the glaze in a circular motion. Place dipped muffins on a wire rack to cool and set.

    I’ve often thought farmers and gardeners must be the most creative chefs. They constantly face the challenge of coming up with new ways to eat copious amounts of the season’s harvest. Take a walk at our local farmers market or in any grocery store’s produce department this time of year and you’ll find zucchini in abundance. A green summer squash with mild flavor, zucchini is in season from May to October in Georgia.
    The word zucchini comes from “zucca,” the Italian word for squash. I’d venture to say it may be one of the most versatile vegetables out there. Search the internet and you’ll find no shortage of recipes showcasing the ingredient, including every cooking technique from grilling, baking and sautéing to stuffing the popular squash. It’s used in soups and casseroles, even shredded and added to baked goods (like in the original recipe I’ll share today). Complimentary in sweet or savory dishes, zucchini is kin to cucumber and melon and can be eaten raw or cooked.
    For a quick weeknight side dish with grilled chicken, beef or fish, I enjoy slicing zucchini into small disks, then sautéing it in a skillet with a touch of good quality olive oil and fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, dried herbs work just as well. Be sure to crush or chop dried herbs before sprinkling them in the pan to ensure all the flavors release. Sautéed zucchini tastes earthy and juicy with a slight crunch.
    When researching the topic, I learned a few fun facts on wherefoodcomesfrom.com:
    — Zucchinis contain 95 percent water. One zucchini has just 25 calories.
    — The flower of the zucchini plant is also edible. Fried squash blossoms are considered a delicacy.
    — According to World’s Healthiest Foods Nutrition information, nutrients and vitamins found in zucchini can help prevent cancer and heart disease.
    — Bigger is not necessarily better. Small to medium-sized zucchinis are the most flavorful, and the darker the skin, the richer the nutrients.
    — Zucchini is fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium, rich in manganese and vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana.
    — Zucchinis were first brought to the United States in the 1920s by the Italians.
    — Zucchini bread is one of the most popular ways to use zucchini.
    — The town of Obetz, Ohio, has an annual Zucchini festival each year.
    At the Mainstreet Statesboro Farmers Market Saturday, I picked up a basket full of Screven County’s latest crop of zucchini. I’ve had some fun in my kitchen this week discovering fresh ways to prepare it, and I hope you’ve gained some inspiration to start experimenting yourself! With a need for a grab-and-go breakfast, my Zucchini Walnut Muffins with a Citrus Rosemary Glaze fit the bill. Special thanks to my friendly neighbor, Ms. June, who allows me to use her backyard rosemary plant at my leisure.

    Rebekah Faulk is a Georgia food writer and Statesboro-based TV personality. A Season 2 contestant on ABC's “The Taste,” she blogs at somekindagood.org, a Southern, coastal food blog highlighting East Coast restaurant reviews and Low Country-inspired recipes. Follow her on Twitter at @SKGFoodBlog or search Facebook for Some Kinda Good.

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