Friday, August 11, 2006

Too Much Brownie Face

If you were to look at my face around mid-week, you might find an expression that could make you rethink ever indulging in “too much” of anything ever again. It is the visage of surfeit, an after-the-act brought back to the ground, humbled countenance of overdoing. Maybe the caffeine made me do it. I was feeling wild and reckless as of last posting. Adrenaline coursing through my veins looking for some action and around Sunday, I found the perfect complimentary companion in the form of dark chocolate loveliness. I was warned of the true lethal nature of the seemingly harmless flourless chocolate torte. But I balked at all such admonitions. “Child’s play” I remarked to myself as I hastily ate one then two wedges of darkness. Both pieces were dressed up with a ruffle flourish of Redi-Whip which turned out to be an actual assistant in distributing semi sweet’s earthy flavor. I was silenced then euphoric. I mumbled something about writing poetry but my mind jammed up and sweet feelings took over rendering me quite useless. Throughout the night my mind returned to this cake. As is customary, I plan out options for my next meal. The sublime chocolate slice was part of the picture, but as the meal would be breakfast I decided it should be Part II of a two part act. Act I was a ham and tomato sandwich fully swabbed with mayonnaise. No secret sauce, just full on light as a whip mayo. Crunchy pickle and a scattering of chips enlivened and completed the whole plate for a very satisfying base and prelude for Part II- the main event, chocolate deliverance. The cake was portioned out into 4 parts to be consumed by myself and one other that day and the next. The slices were this side of modest, so I knew I would need to focus, all attention on the eating and little else. Once again I sank into a silent reverie enjoying bite after bite. Luckily I was with someone who more or less understood where I was coming from and the rest of the day quickly passed until dinner. While most nights I am typically hungry, that evening a meal was downright unnecessary. I ate anyways and age made me worse for the wear. The next day I began with a clean slate only to find myself allowing everything to revolve around this ultra rich focal point once again. As the hours wore on, I began to notice how chocolate wedge had shoe horned its way into my life, taking my heart and now my dinner hostage. I began to sag under the weight of too much cacao and cream, all reasonable thought of food blotted out. The singular ingredients in my refrigerator which needed attention in order to be shaped and redefined into an actual meal went unnoticed. My life eclipsed under the shadow of too much.

But the passage of time is an ever shifting continuum and to be sure soon enough the horn of plenty will deplete. This brings me to today and my crisper drawer full of zucchini, a small bumper crop of summer’s bounty and provocation for my next cooking showdown. Suddenly the gravity of too much chocolate is lifted by the humor of too much squash. I envision home gardeners anonymously abandoning bushels of the green stuff on sidewalk curbs, empty park benches, the steps of the YMCA. And I set to work with the appreciation that comes with the good fortune of abundance and just enough enthusiasm to use it all up. For this week we double the pleasure with chocolate zucchini cake.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake adapted from Bon Appétit
Serves 12

This is a moist, not too sweet, go-down-easy kind of cake. Even after a few days of intense chocolate eating, the cocoa in this is just right. Bon Appétit included about a cup of chocolate chips and walnuts which I omitted because my tank was on full. If I were to make this again soon I would definitely include them.

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/2cups grated unpeeled zucchini

Directions: Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat sugar, butter and oil in a large bowl until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in vanilla extract. Gently incorporate dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions each. Be sure to scrape the bowl from time to time. Lastly mix in grated zucchini, pour into pan and bake for about 50 minutes until done in center, cool then eat.

8 comments:

miragee said...

I wonder how it is to have zucchini in the chocolate cake. But the chocolate sure would be sweet and thick enough and the zucchini adds the crispy feel?

We bought some packs of chocolate during the trip. We first put a pack into the fridge. Everyone had a bite from time to time. I did it involuntarily to be honest. Soon the first pack was gone. It was the same thing with the second and the third packs. Chocolate really has a magic. I remember in a film a mid-age lady decided what she needs is chocolate instead of love!

Callipygia said...

oh no miragree, zucchini just adds moistness and a delicate flavor (quite subtle). As for the middle age lady I would recommend love and chocolate!

Ivonne said...

I just love your writing ... great cake!

Callipygia said...

Grazie Mille!

Tyler's Story said...

I will be trying this in a few weeks. :) Thanks for stopping by my blog :) I will be comming by more often for food ideas. :D

Anonymous said...

This sounds yummy. I'll have to try it. Where most gardeners have just too much zucchini, alas, I did not even get one....I think the groundhogs and rabbits got to the ripening harvest. Maybe next year...

Callipygia said...

tyler, let me know what you think.

anonymous, you just need to locate one of those abandoned bushels by the wayside...

jbird said...

No, you can NEVER have enough chocolate. :-) I have 2 cafeteria made brownies that I had to get after reading this blog...I was chocolateless and incapable of
responding without a mouthful of cocoa yumminess. You are a brave woman to undertake the flourless chocolate torte...even I need the safety of some eggs, butter and
flour to act as buffer against whole unadulterated cocoa. Choc on, dear!