Friday, June 26, 2009
Summer Of Squash
Those of you who have successfully grown zucchini before will sympathize with this problem: here is our zucchini harvest for the week (minus those that have been eaten, which is a lot!). We are bringing in about 7-10 zucchini every other day! All from 1 (1!!!) plant. Well actually the little round ball zucchinis are from two other plants, obviously. I really shouldn't call it a problem, it's an enormous blessing! In an emergency we surely wouldn't starve, provided that the water keeps running during said emergency.
I was warned of such problems/blessings by many people, but I still went ahead and planted many zucchini and summer squash plants, 8 have survived. Only three are producing, the others are either in the baby stage or the teenager stage. My father in law asked why I planted so many and here is the answer: there are so many different kinds! Who could ever choose just one. Also, I don't mind giving away squash and I have come up with quite a few uses for it. That's what this post is about, how to use up all of that zucchini. If you are in doubt over any of these recipes my father in law, who HATES squash, has eaten and loved several of them. And he wouldn't lie to me:)
#1 Zucchini Bread. I'm not typing out a recipe for this, mostly because the recipe I use is a mediocre one. Pull out your betty crocker cook book and use that or if you've got a better recipe please share! Zucchini bread recipes also make zucchini muffins, which are easier for little hands to hold.
#2 Zucchini Scrambled Eggs or Omlette. Sautee shredded zukes in a little olive oil and stir in eggs, or if your making the omlette put sauteed zukes in middle of omlette and fold. Not the prettiest thing, but it's sure tasty!
#3 Shredded fresh for salad. Shred it and toss it into a salad. SO good!
#4 Shredded and sauteed with other veg as a side dish. If you don't have a mandolin slicer and grow a lot of zucchini, invest in the slicer. It is also known as a Chinese Mandolin, but everyone is using that name less and less in this politically correct day and age. Anyway, my mandolin slicer also comes with a julienne blade. If you don't have a mandolin you could julienne by hand. Julienne carrots, zucchini and yellow squash. Sautee the carrots in some butter or olive oil until they start to soften, add squashes, sautee until the green on the zucchini brightens. Season and enjoy.
#5 Barbara Kingsolver To The Rescue. In her WONDERFUL (if a little bit preachy) book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver lists a few recipes for using up a zucchini harvest. Recipes include, Zucchini Orzo (we eat this A LOT at our house this time of year), and Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies. You may be skeptical of the cookies but they're pretty good. You can check out these recipes at animalvegetablemiracle.com/recipes
#6 Gnocchi (or pasta) With Summer Vegetables. Also a good way to use up a tomato and garlic harvest. Quarter and slice two medium zucchini or summer squash. Sautee in olive oil with two cloves minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper, add two cups grape tomatoes sliced in half. Cook until it all makes a juicy sauce. Toss in 15-16 ounces cooked gnocchi or pasta of any shape. Stir in a quarter cup fresh basil, chopped, some parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon butter, and two tablespoons lemon juice.
#7 Add To Pizza. Using your new, handy mandolin slicer, thinly slice several zucchini. Briefly steam them and add them to your pizza like pepperoni. Even the FIL liked this one.
#8 Veggie Lover's Pasta Bake. EVERYONE loves this dish. Sautee two sliced zucchinis in olive oil, add a package of frozen spinach and sautee until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add a jar of marinara sauce, a jar of alfredo sauce and a cup of shredded mozarella (I usually leave out this addition of cheese). Stir in 16 ounces cooked penne. Pour it all into a 9 by 13 baking dish and sprinkle on more mozarella, bake until the cheese is melted and it's all good and bubbly. Seriously this is sooo good.
#9 Chicken Taco Filling. For the chicken portion of this throw 4 frozen chicken breasts, a package of taco seasoning and two cups water into the crockpot, let it simmer, shred it and let it simmer a little longer to soak up some juices. This is good as taco filling all by itself, but that doesn't use up zucchini, does it? Shout out to Siobhan for the crockpot chicken recipe:) THANKS! If you don't want to make the chicken filling yourself you can buy it at most big grocery stores next to the packaged pulled pork. In a pan sautee quartered and sliced zucchini and/or summer squash. Add a bag of frozen black bean, corn, onion, green pepper mixture (I forget what this is called). Cook until the black bean stuff is thawed. Stir in the chicken, heat it all up and serve in warmed flour tortillas, with sour cream and whatever other accoutrements you choose.
#10 Whatever. Zucchini has such a subtle flavor that it can be added to almost anything, soup, pasta, taco filling:) Once you start looking for places to use zucchini you'll find them. More veg never hurt anyone.
#11 Give It Away. It's good karma and the garden gods will surely bless you.