|This vegetable 'chowda' is full of zucchini|
It is the middle of August and I have a love/hate relationship with my garden right now. On the one hand, all the hard work is paying off and the garden is productive and thriving. On the other hand, the garden is productive and thriving, which means an endless stream of edibles piling up in the kitchen waiting to be cooked, processed and preserved! As they say, be careful what you wish for.
I double up on zucchini bread and muffin recipes. This year, I made a sweet zucchini muffin with nuts and golden raisins and a savory muffin made with plain yogurt and fresh mint, minus the sugar. These will be great with soups and stews.
Roasting zucchini is very easy and the result can be used in many dishes. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into one inch slithers and place on an olive oil greased baking sheet. Brush more oil on the squash, add salt and pepper and thyme and bake at 400 degrees F until the zucchini is turning brown. Once cool, the squash can be used in sandwiches, in lasagne, on pizza and in pasta salad with pesto.
Grated zucchini pairs wonderfully with eggs so I add shredded squash to fritattas and omelets. Another grated favorite is zucchini fritters, which are basically savory zucchini patties.
Another dish that freezes nicely is zucchini parmesan. Slice the squash lengthwise into thin slices, then cover in flour, dip in egg and bread crumbs and either fry or bake until crispy brown. To make the parmesan, add a thin layer of pasta sauce to a 9 X13 casserole dish . Add a layer of the breaded zucchini, top with a layer of ricotta cheese mixed with an egg, seasoning, parmesan cheese and mozzarella, just like you would a lasagna. Add another layer of zucchini, cover with pasta sauce and sprinkle with grated mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F for thirty minutes. Remove the foil and bake another ten minutes.
I use the classic Zuccanoes recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook. Zucchinis are cut in half lengthwise, hollowed out, then the zucchini middle is chopped and sauted with other veggies, mixed with cottage and cheddar cheeses, seasoned, stuffed back into the zucchini boats and baked until the filling is set.
Sauted or Steamed (12-14)
Going into the freezer are zucchini laden soups, stews and chillis. For supper I'm making lots of stir fries and steaming veggies covered with a flavorful peanut butter sauce made with onions, tomato juice, peanut butter, lemon juice and curry powder.
Vegetable and Bacon "Chowda" (15)
In Rhode Island, the use of the letter "R" is frowned upon. We love our clam soups or "chowdas", but one of my favorite adaptations is corn chowder. Here is my version of a vegetable chowder. You can adapt it to whatever veggies you have on hand and you can lighten up the soup by substituting some of the milk or cream with chicken broth.
4 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy, chopped. Save 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
3 Tbsp. salted butter
Handful of scallions, chopped, green and white parts separated.
3 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 medium potato, diced
1 1/2 cups of green beans, chopped
1 cup of fresh or frozen corn
2 large jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, chopped small
2 chicken stock cubes
4 cups of whole milk
1 cup of heavy cream
salt and lots of pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Take the milk and cream out of the fridge so they are room temperature when you need them.In a large soup pot, add the saved bacon fat and butter. Melt over medium heat. Add all the vegetables, except the basil and green scallions, and saute until the vegetables are soft, but still holding their shape. Add the bacon, stock cubes and seasoning and cook a few minutes more.
Pour in the milk and cream and reduce the heat to low. Heat the soup slowly until hot, not boiling, bubbling or steaming. Adjust the seasoning and add the fresh basil and scallions. Serve with tomatoes, chives and crackers.
Makes six to eight servings.
What are some of your favorite ways to use zucchini?
See you in the garden,
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