Saturday, February 28, 2009
Zucchini Recipes and Ideas
There is nothing like growing your own food for inspiring creativity in using it! When you garden you don't have the luxury of buying only what you need for a recipe. Instead, you have to find recipes for the food you've grown! A lot of people resort to giving away their zucchini to anyone who will take one, because they have so many. Since I'm a more obsessive type, I've instead attempted to find a use for every zucchini we grow. Sometimes I have dreams about zucchini, and think I'll soon join the ranks of the givers of unwanted gifts, but in the meantime I've come across lots of ways to use zucchini. Here are a few that I recommend:
If you let your zucchini grow a bit big, this is a fantastic way to use them. Cut the zucchini in half and take the soft inner part where the seeds are. Blanch them in boiling water until softened and drain. Prepare savory rice to your taste - we like to include beans, cheese, onion, some of the zucchini cut from the middle, and herbs. Pine nuts, currants, capsicum and onion can also work. Place rice into zucchini shells, and top with cheese. Bake.
I have a couple that we like.
* Breadcrumb Zucchini with parmesan and parsley
* Tomato, Zucchini and Capsicum Gratin - oregano and feta gives this one a great flavour
Stir Fries and Curries
Young zucchini are great as part of a general vegetable stir fry, or you can use them in Thai Green Curry. Basically, you can chuck a zucchini in most of these types of dishes!
This is a new one for me this year, and it is fantastic! I was surprised at how good zucchini soup can taste. You can use big zucchini with success.
Another new one for me this year, I tried a zucchini pickle recipe. We will have to wait and see how it turns out, but I tried one someone else had made and it was great.
Egg based dishes
Zucchini can be added as one vegetable in a quiche, or better yet made into zucchini slice.
Muffins and cakes
Savoury muffins with zucchini can be tasty. I recently adapted one with delicious results (or we thought so, anyway). Here it is:
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 cup cheddar cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 and 1/4 cups buttermilk or milk (buttermilk gives a lovely tangy flavour - you could also use a combination of natural yoghurt and milk)
3 0z (90g) butter, melted
2 medium zucchini, grated
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Enough fresh tomato to garnish
Mix up the dry ingredients with the cheese and basil. Mix up the wet ingredients with the zucchini and add. Stir until just combined. Place in muffin cups and top with sesame seed and a small piece of fresh tomato.
Would you believe it, you can also put zucchini in sweet cakes and breads. Zucchini chocolate cake is lovely and moist, and you wouldn't know the zucchini was there!
Add a small zucchini as one of the vegetables on pizza.
Pop zucchini slices in toasties, dice tiny ones in salads . . . anything! One surprisingly simple and good recipe I came across recently uses zucchini, oil, tomatoes, garlic, olives and parsley to create a vegetable mix that can be eaten hot or cold. It tastes great plain or on toast. I am hoping to experiment with placing it on top of pasta or a grain.
After all this, it is still possible to be inundated with too many zucchinis! I suggest harvesting the flowers for garnishes on salads, or choppping them up as one ingredient in salads. After all, one of the keys to zucchini control is pick 'em young! Pick them in the early morning and keep them in the fridge until needed.
If you have a lot of yellow zucchini, or patty pan squash like those above, the perfect thing to do with them is make Tammy's Chicken Squash Bake. We love this! Since we don't have a functioning grill, we just bake it for the last part. I also just use ordinary cheddar cheese, and it is fine.
I am happy to provide any of the recipes for these ideas on request. If you have further ideas for using zucchini and squash, please let me know!