Food

Slice of Life: Zucchini

August 25, 2014

zucchini feature slotWe must truly be living in an alternative universe this year because I planted (yes I know, I’ve been crowned the queen of all that dies in the garden 20 years running now) seeds for zucchini plants knowing they wouldn’t grow.

Somehow despite my neglect, lack of rain, then too much rain, bunnies and a very strange looking bug I’m convinced is a tarantula — THEY DID.

Now despite my best efforts to fail at urban farming I find myself with about 27 medium to ginormous zucchinis, four eggplants and objects that resemble tomatoes but are a bit too green, lumpy and buggy to actually be eaten, yet.

So the culinary dilemma facing me are these unexpected, yet very welcome, zucchinis that seem to be multiplying like Tribbles (Star Trek reference for those under 30). I called, emailed and begged fellow foodies to share something other than zucchini bread recipes and the following six recipes are some the best of the 35 that showed up in my email.

Because they are so plentiful right now and we’re all going to be looking for something special to serve at our yom tov tables in a few short weeks, I suggest you try them all and then pick the ones you like best to serve to your family and friends when services are over. All of them can be made ahead of time and reheated

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS (dairy)

Oil for frying
1 cup milk or non-dairy substitute (I’ve tried it with almond and rice milk)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups flour
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1-ounce package ranch-style powdered dip mix

4 cups shredded zucchini, drained very well in a colander, then place on paper towels.Fill a deep fryer or deep saucepan with oil to about 2 deep. While the oil is heating, in a bowl, combine the milk and egg in a bowl, whisk to combine. Add everything else the egg mixture except the zucchini and stir to combine. Gently fold in zucchini. Drop batter by heaping a tablespoonful at a time into hot oil. Fry until deep golden brown, turning once. Drain thoroughly on paper towels .Makes 2 to 3 dozen depending on the size.

Modified from my files, source unknown.

ZESTY ZUCCHINI OVEN FRIES (dairy)

3 nice-sized zucchini cut in half, then quarters, then eights.
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Non-stick spray

Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and set it aside. Cut the zucchini into 4-inch sticks. In a bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. In another bowl, combine the Parmesan cheese, oregano, basil and seasoned breadcrumbs. Dip the zucchini sticks in the egg mixture, and then roll them in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure they are totally coated and then place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Makes enough for 4 sides.

Submitted by Roger Nissensen Chicago, IL, source unknown.

CORN ZUCCHINI TOMATO BAKE (dairy or pareve)

Cooking spray
2 large zucchini, sliced into rounds
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 1/4 pounds sliced tomatoes
6 green onions, sliced thin, green and white parts
1/2 to 3/4 cup panko
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Layer the sliced zucchini, corn kernels, green onions and sliced tomatoes. Drizzle the olive oil over the top. In a bowl combine the panko and Parmesan and sprinkle the mixture on the top. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cover with foil, and bake for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Submitted by Candice Margolis Sweet, Baltimore, MD source unknown.

ZUCCHINI AND SPINACH STRATA (dairy)

1 (8-oz.) container of cream cheese
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt
5 medium zucchini thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 lb.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (10-oz.) package fresh spinach
2 teaspoon minced garlic
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 9×9 pan and set it aside. In a bowl combine the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, basil and salt. Mix to combine and set aside. In a skillet sauté the zucchini in hot oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the spinach and cook about 1 minute, gently tossing just until wilted. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Spoon one-third of the vegetables into the prepared baking dish. Top with 2 noodles and one-third of ricotta mixture. Repeat twice. Sprinkle the top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake, covered with lightly greased aluminum foil for 25 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and noodles are tender. Uncover and bake 5 to 10 minutes or until the top is golden. Let rest for 10 minutes before trying to cut it as it needs to firm up a bit. Serves 4 to 6

Submitted by Caren Sposepe modified from Southern Living.

LEMON AND POPPY ZUCCHINI MUFFINS (dairy or pareve)

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 tablespoons lemon zest, divided
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 12 muffin tin. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar until creamy, for at least 2 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended. In a bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beat just until blended. By hand, stir in the zucchini 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the poppy seeds. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 25 to 30 or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before removing to a cooling rack and cool. In a bowl combine the lemon juice, lemon zest and powdered sugar. Mix to combine. And drizzle over the top of the muffins. You may need to add more powdered sugar or lemon juice to get the consistency you want for the drizzle. Makes 12

Submitted by Roz Vinegrad NY, NY source unknown.

ZUCCHINI WITH PEPPERS AND COUSCOUS (pareve or meat)

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 large zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
1 can, sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan; add the couscous, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

In a skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion stirring occasionally, until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the zucchini and red pepper and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir occasionally, until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the water chestnuts, chili powder, cumin, and pepper and cook stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the zucchini mixture into couscous and then let cool to room temperature. Just before serving, stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Serves 4 to 6.

My files, modified from Gourmet September 2005.

© Eileen Goltz zucchini 2014a