Zucchini de la Torte and Do It Yourself Biscuit Mix

Some of us have had a hard frost and the summer squashes are all blackened, probably relegated to the compost pile. Some of us, like me, have had a zinger of cold, enough to knock the basil down and put an end to yellow squash. Somehow the zucchini are still going, though we picked all the sizeable ones before the cold, and so are still looking for a new and different way to fix it.

Along comes Penny Kneeland in Burlington with a recipe from her late Aunt Alma Bodenhamer. “Don’t have any idea where she got it,” wrote Penny, “She lived in San Antonio, but my family has enjoyed it for many years. It is good either hot out of the oven, or cooled and eaten tomorrow. Great in lunch boxes.”

The dish reminds Penny of quiche and I think it is susceptible to tweaking, enhancement, and all-purpose tinkering, even though you’ll like it just fine as it is. And it uses a pre-assembled biscuit mix which I almost never have on hand, being too cheap to let someone else put baking powder and shortening in my flour. Now I know perfectly well that there are ways that we can make our own biscuit mix. Somewhere in my grandma’s recipe collection I am pretty sure there are even instructions for how to make one, though I went to the everlasting web and averaged out three or four formulas to come up with the one that follows that you can use to concoct your own. I used it with satisfactory results in the zucchini recipe.

So herewith, Do It Yourself Quick Biscuit Mix: 6 cups flour, 3 tablespoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 cup (2 sticks) butter. Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor and whirl it around a few times to mix. Melt the butter and with the processor still running, dribble the melted butter in a thin stream into the dry ingredients until it is all added. Store and use in any recipe calling for biscuit mix. There.

Now, as for Zucchini de la Torte, I used mature zucchini which I quartered, removing the seeds, then chopping it up. Penny observed, “If squash is young and tender it doesn’t need to be peeled.”

Cheese, basil, parsley, and onion are all good and necessary. Penny said she thought garlic would be a good addition, “since you love garlic,” she wrote, which indeed I do, and indeed it is good. A little red bell pepper for color is helpful. Cheddar is fine, maybe used a tad more generously, and a flavored cheese like pepper jack, or dill or horseradish cheese would work very well.

Zucchini de la Torte
  • 4-6 cups diced zucchini, seeds removed
  • 1 to 1½ cups dry biscuit mix
  • 1 grated onion
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • Parsley to taste, chopped
  • 1 sprig basil, chopped
  • 4-5 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat the oven to 350.
  2. Grease a 9x15 inch baking dish.
  3. Mix together zucchini, biscuit mix, onion, olive oil, cheese, parsley and basil.
  4. Add the beaten eggs, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Spread into the baking dish and bake 45-50 minutes until lightly browned.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.