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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Holy Courgette! What do you do with all those zucchini and squash?

There's an old joke that says after August 4 you have to leave the doors on your car locked...lest you return and find a bag full of zucchini sitting on your seat.

I don't usually have such a problem. First, I only plant two hills of zucchini and two hills of summer squash. I also try to pick them when they are small...just a tad larger than the one in this picture. I also share with my neighbors.

This week, when I came home from a 5 day trip, I had them coming out the ears, even though the neighbors had picked....though truth be told, they raided my tomatoes more than the squash and I have but one small tomato and a hand full of cherry and yellow pear tomatoes now to show for it.

However, I don't have much trouble with what to do with mine either. For one thing, I will take and dice them up, and briefly microwave it to stop the enzymes from working to age it. Then, I spread them out on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. When they are frozen, I bag them. They are loose, then I can add them to any soup or whatever when I want to when they are out of season.

I also have a myriad of ways of fixing them which are very different. While I do pan fry them, I dredge them in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and powdered ranch salad dressing mix.

I also grill them--brush with olive oil, sprinkle with Goya Adobo (or other favorite salt or seasoning). When they are browned in spots, I take them off and we eat them. Any grilled pieces left over I cut up and put in freezer bags...once again to add to whatever I'm making when they are out of season.

One of my favorite quick methods is to use a can of diced tomatoes seasoned either Italian style or with Jalapeno peppers. I first saute onions and sometimes green pepper, then add the summer squash and/or zucchini and then dump the can of tomatoes on. My brother who hates zucchini (too many limp, mushy tasteless blobs when we were kids), loves it this way. If I am doing the Italian tomatoes, I use a little dill for seasoning. This is the way that Nick, the owner/cook at the Wethersfield Diner (Wethersefield, CT) makes it and I loved it and made it my own.

Tonight, I cut the zucchini lengthwise about 1/4" wide, put Kosher salt on it for a bit to draw out the water, then brushed with olive oil and sprinkled a little lemon pepper seasoning and a dash of Adobo (it's a Latin seasoning which is mostly salt and cumin), and grilled it. Then, just before serving, I sprinkled chunks of feta cheese over it. YUM!

I also use zucchini as a substitute for any recipe calling for eggplant. My husband doesn't like it, and my daughter says it gives her an upset stomach. I love oven roasted eggplant.... so, I take a couple of smallish sized zucchini, cut it in slices and put it to drain with about 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt...this takes about 1/2 - 1 hour, 2 pounds of Italian plum tomatoes (seeded and cut in halves or quarters), about 4 cloves of garlic, two onions and put it in a roasting pan. I drizzled it with olive oil...I try to use a light hand, about 1/4 of a cup, and mix it well. I also use salt and pepper and about 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Put in an oven preheated to 450 degrees and roast for about 30 - 40 minutes, stirring about every 20 minutes or so. Just before you take it out, put in some coarsely chopped fresh basil. Serve over penne pasta, or as is.

This too can be frozen. :)

Of course, I also make zucchini bread with, or without pineapple, and chocolate zucchini bread. With a cup of tea or coffee and a dollop of cream cheese, you can't beat it for breakfast! see, zucchini never ends up being put on someone's seat at my house!


Jessica said...

I LOVE zucchini. I just bought a bag full today at a local farm stand. If anyone wants to stash zucchini on my truck seat, email me and I will send you a photo of my truck and the places you will find it parked LOL I too freeze for later but I prefer shredding mine rather than dicing it. I will have to try it with the tomatoes and onion sauteed.

Michigoose said...

I shred too...on the big ones which have hidden themselves from view while picking. That, I use in zucchini pies (as in quiche) and breads, but the other way (diced) is what I like in spaghetti and other dishes.

Long live zucchini! Long live Summer Squash!

Anonymous said...

Someone gave me one that would best be used as a door stop.

Michigoose said...

Hmmm or maybe a baseball bat? These are the ones which the flesh only (not the seeds) are shredded for breads and muffins in my house....ick! I remember as a kid that they would be hollowed out and stuffed with stuff...but I just thought they were mega icky at that point!