I’ll bet you once had a childhood. And during that time you probably did some snacking. And I’d wager you likely have a few foods that you haven’t eaten in a good fifteen or twenty years, but if you saw them today, for a moment, you might forget all the nasty bits of growing up.
Maybe it’s those twin popsicles—the kind with the double sticks that came in a big translucent bag clearly boasting the flavors it held.
Or maybe your pick is a bit more unusual, like boxed pistachio pudding, in which case, you were probably a strange little child, and we would likely get along very nicely.
My sister was a pigs-in-a-blanket fiend. In her presence, party trays would leave the kitchen half demolished. While I, on the other hand, stalked the chips and dip bowl.
I would settle on a nearby couch and not leave until the French onion dip was taken down. Unless a little something my mother called “zucchini appetizers” was prepared.
These were admittedly an odd snack caught somewhere between a crustless quiche and a bouncy bread pudding, of a savory sort. I loved to eat them cold and to this day, they still taste a little like summer. If summer could be mixed with Bisquick®, and cubed.
You can probably see where this is going.
I was thumbing through my mother’s recipe book awhile back and came across these square zucchini snacks of hers. Though ten-year-old Emily was thrilled, the Bisquick presented a challenge. These days I’m a little morally squeamish towards premade pancake mix, so I had to indulge my very adult snobbery and find a proper substitute.
Luckily, the Internet is brimming with do-it-yourself Bisquick people. And after a few trials, I had pretty much replicated the appetizers. More or less. I decreased the garlic, because it gives thirty-year-old Emily dyspepsia. And added basil because I believe basil can be added to pretty much anything. And just did what I was told on the instructions:
Mix all ingredients. Spread in a greased casserole. Bake until slightly golden on top. Cut into bite-sized squares. Serve hot or cold.
I only ever remember ever eating them cold. And bite-sized by the handful.
Mom's Zucchini Appetizers
1 cup all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup olive oil
1 whole scallion, minced
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
½ cup grated pecorino cheese
3½ cups grated zucchini (about 3 small zucchini)
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
pinch of red pepper flakes
a few turns of fresh black pepper
Set the oven at 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then add in the remaining ingredients and stir to combine; mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.
Butter a casserole dish (I used a 10 x 7). Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake until the eggs have fully set and the top is golden brown, about 30-40 minutes (my oven takes a little longer, so I’d start checking around the 30 minute mark).
Makes about 12 bite-sized squares, or 6 as part of a meal
-The 1 cup of Bisquick® originally called for in this recipe roughly translates to 1 cup of flour plus 1½ tsp of baking powder, ¼ cup of oil, and ½ tsp salt.
-I used small zucchini the length of a pencil. It is said they have more flavor than the big guys.
-This also makes a very wonderful savory breakfast (particularly if you were a slightly odd child).
-Aside: I happened to look at the ingredients in the French onion dip: there’s MSG in there. Things make even more sense now.