Monday, March 23, 2009

The Infamous Zucchini

Spring is officially here! Have you planted your garden? I finally got most of my seeds planted. I'll try to get the rest of them planted this week. I've always been sort of an infracaninophile (a great word - look it up), so I feel like sticking up for the lowly zucchini. I'm sure you've heard the joke about locking your car door, not to prevent theft, but so people won't leave their extra zucchini in your car. I'll admit I got a little carried away planting it a few years ago - 2 dozen plants is too many! I was new to gardening and it never occured to me that just because they put 24 seeds in a package doesn't mean you have to plant all 24. You can save some for next year.

Another word to the wise: check carefully for zucchini under all leaves. Don't complain to me when you discover a green club in your garden. To the left is one that got away from me (next to my then 8-month-old Olivia). There are many jokes about zucchini, but there are just as many good uses for it. I dug out a couple of my favorite recipes in anticipation. These recipes call for other goodies you've probably got in your garden.

Garlic Zucchini Frittata
(from Taste of Home magazine, April/May 2003)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini, shredded
6 eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions

In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; saute for 1 minute. Add zucchini; cook for 3 minutes or until tender. In a bowl, beat eggs and mustard. Pour into skillet. Sprinkle with bacon, salt, and pepper. As eggs set, lift edges, letting uncooked portion flow underneath. Cook until eggs are nearly set, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Place skillet under the broiler, 6 inches from the heat, for 30-60 seconds or until the eggs are completely set. Sprinkle with cheese and green onions. Broil 30 seconds longer or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges. Yield: 4 servings

Zucchini Casserole
(My husband already had this recipe when we got married. I don't know its origin. The measurements aren't very precise, so you can adjust things to your taste.)
1 1/2 or 2 small zucchini, sliced or cubed
5 eggs
several slices chopped onion
2 tomatoes, diced (I usually use a can of Rotel)
salt to taste
paprika to taste

Butter a glass dish (about 1.5 quarts). Beat eggs in pan. Add remaining ingredients. Cover with foil. Place in a larger dish and add enough water to come about halfway up the side. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half.
Variations: You can add some precooked meat, if you like. We like grated cheese on top (add this when the casserole is done). Sometimes we sprinkle cheese crackers on the top (they give it a nice crunch).

Other Ideas
1. Substitute zucchini for cucumbers in your favorite Sweet Pickle Relish recipe. I didn't notice the difference.
2. Substitute zucchini for cucumbers in your favorite Bread and Butter Pickles recipe. I didn't notice the difference.
3. Add some zucchini to your spaghetti sauce.
4. Saute zucchini, yellow squash, and onion (all thinly sliced) in a little butter or olive oil. Try including garlic, too.

1 comment:

  1. That is a HUGE zucchini!! Awesome! There's this amazing raw hummus recipe using zucchini instead of chickpeas ~ that'd be way cool to make a ton of that to share with everyone! =D I'll have to post the recipe ~ it's delish!