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Back to the Kitchen: Zucchini loopalooza

Posted By Karen Young On August 3, 2009 @ 1:09 am In Featured,Food,Recipes,spotlight | 1 Comment

gwen-upper110x1101BY GWEN KENNEALLY

I am part of a team of parents who have tended to the garden at my daughter’s school over the summer. I got this message from our master gardener:

“The garden looks beautiful.  Please be sure to look for any produce that is ready to harvest.  We need to pick the ripe fruit so that the plants will keep producing.  Lift the tomato plants and check the beans in the beds as well as on the tipi.   Please enjoy whatever you pick.”

What a difference a week makes. The plants were overflowing with beautiful vegetables! I filled my basket with summer squash, tomatoes, beans, snap peas and some of the biggest zucchini I have ever seen.  When I was a kid,  my dad would grow vegetables and we always had zucchini coming out of our ears! As I was picking I got to thinking I could make zucchini soup, zucchini bread, and zucchini lasagna! Thanks to the edible schoolyard I have turned into my mother! Zucchini Pie anyone?

xx

Curry Zucchini Soup

2 pounds zucchini, diced

6 green onions, sliced

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 ½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

In a large stockpot Sautee the zucchini and green onions for 5 minutes, Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for ½ hour. Puree in batches and return to the pan and heat through.

Stuffed Zucchini

4 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

1-tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

10 button mushrooms, finely chopped

Freshly ground pepper

2 cups spinach, coarsely chopped

9 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Using a tablespoon, scoop out zucchini centers to form “canoes,” leaving a 1/4-inch border. Roughly chop centers; set aside. Arrange zucchini, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet; bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chopped zucchini, mushrooms and garlic, and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Fold in feta, spinach and tomatoes. Turn hollowed-out zucchini cut sides up, fill with vegetable-feta mixture, and bake until top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Lift zucchini from baking sheet with a wide spatula, and serve.

Vegetable Kebabs

2 zucchini, cut into 2″ chunks

2 yellow squash, cut into 2″ chunks

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, cleaned

2 red and green bell peppers cut into 2″ chunks

2 medium red onions cut into wedges

2 ears sweet corn, cut into 2″ chunks

16 whole cherry tomatoes

8 ounces teriyaki sauce

Wash vegetables except mushrooms. Brush mushrooms clean. Cut vegetables to size according to recipe. Thread vegetables onto skewers. (If using wood skewers make sure you soak them) Place on grill over medium-hot heat.  Grill 20 minutes or until tender turning frequently.

Noni’s Zucchini Lasagna

3 pounds zucchini, scrubbed

5 cups tomato sauce

2-pounds ricotta cheese

4 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, basil and nutmeg

Salt & pepper to taste

1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1-pound mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated

Slice zucchini into long slices.  Cook in boiling water just until limp, about 5 minutes.  Drain on paper towels. Combine ricotta, eggs, parsley, seasoning and half of the Parmesan cheese in a bowl.  Set aside. In a 9×13 pan, spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce.   Arrange layer of zucchini over this. Spoon half of the reserved ricotta mixture on top of the zucchini.  Sprinkle with half the mozzarella cheese.  Arrange the rest of the zucchini over this, layer more tomato sauce and top with remaining ricotta mixture.  Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or until top is brown.  Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Grandma Kay’s Zucchini Bread

1-cup vegetable oil

1-cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1-tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

3 cups flour

1-teaspoon cinnamon

1teaspoon salt

1-teaspoon baking powder

1/2-teaspoon baking soda

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1-cup raisins or dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 325. Oil 2 5 x 9 loaf pans. In a large bowl, combine the oil and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after every addition. Stir in the vanilla and zucchini. In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and soda. Stir the dry ingredients into the oil and the egg mixture until just moistened. Fold in the raisins and walnuts. Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pans.

Bake for about one hour, until a knife in the center comes out clean.

Zucchini Pie

8 cups zucchini, sliced and cut in half

1-cup sugar

2/3 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1-tablespoon cinnamon

In a saucepan cook sliced zucchini, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon until zucchini is tender. About 10 minutes

CRUST:

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/2-teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups butter

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and butter until crumbly. Pat 1/2 crust mix into 9×13 pan. Bake 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Add 1/2-cup crust mix to hot cooked zucchini mix; cool.

Pour over baked crust. Add 1-teaspoon cinnamon to remaining crust mix. Spread over zucchini filling. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes; cool. Cut into squares.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. Check out her website and blog www.Backtothekitchen.net and www.gwenkenneally.blogspot.com. She wrote for the Sun Community Newspapers.

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