Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Attack of the endless zucchini

This stuff is taking over my garden and my kitchen and my thoughts and my LIFE!

What on earth am I to do with so much of this stuff?!? When I was younger you would not catch me looking cross eyed at the stuff. If my mom made it for dinner I thought it was a fate worse than death. I HATED IT! But she made me eat it anyway. Then a few years ago I started to tolerate it. Now I really enjoy it. I enjoy it enough to plant it in my garden. The first year I planted it I planted 2 plants and I was over run with the stuff. I could not give it away fast enough. I could not make enough zucchini bread. From then on I vowed I'd never plant more than one zucchini a year. Well, this year I had helpers helping me start my little seeds in our yogurt cups in the house about 2 weeks before we were planning to transplant them outside. Our cute little plants sprouted very nicely in their cups. When the time was right and they all had their second set of leaves we made the move to the great outdoors. They took off. The only problem is the cup we had marked as yellow squash turned out to be a zucchini plant. Plus the one marked zucchini turned out to be zucchini too. So now I have zucchini coming out my ears, but no yellow squash. *cry* I have 7 sitting on my counter ready to be eaten and more that will be ready to be picked tomorrow and the next day and the next day and on and on. So I have been racking my brain with creative ways to eat the stuff. Here are a few of my ideas.

* Grate it with a cheese grater into your favorite spaghetti sauce just before you start to heat it up. the kids will never know it's there!

* Grate it into taco filling. We had this tonight with chicken tacos. It worked really well. Beef ones would work too. I sauteed garlic and onions then added the diced chicken. As the chicken was browning I grated the zucchini right into the pan. By the time the chicken was done so was the zucchini. I added 1/2 a taco seasoning packet. I rolled the filling up in tortillas with cheese, lettuce, sour cream and diced tomatoes (also from the garden). It was out of this world, crazy good.

* Top homemade pizza with thinly sliced zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and olives for a healthy veggie pizza. Or add pepperoni too if you like!

* Slice into 1/4 inch circles and saute in a little olive oil with onions and garlic. When it is nearly done throw in a freshly diced tomato. Cook just until the tomato is warmed, not too long or the tomato will get mushy and gross. Season with salt and pepper. Top with Parmesan cheese for a yummy side dish. Don't over cook the zucchini or it will get really slimy.

* Zucchini boats. Cut a few in half length wise and scoop out the innards. Mash the innards (is that a word) in a bowl with a clove of fresh crushed garlic and salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs (I make my own bread crumbs from the heals of our bread loaves. I put them in the blender until they are crumbs). Scoop this mixture back into the hollowed out zucchinis (like deviled eggs). Bake at 350 until tender. Or you can through them on the grill to cook with your burgers for a great BBQ side.

* Slice thinly and add them to your omelet with other fresh veggies and cheese.

* The classic zucchini bread, of course.

* Grate one up into most any baked item. Brownies, corn bread, just try what you like. If the kids ask what the funny green things are lie, lie like there is no tomorrow. Tell them you have no clue how those mysterious green bits got in there. Assure them it still tastes good. And it will. You can not even taste them, unless you go over board, of course.

* Add to soups like beef stew, chicken noodle. But who really eats soup in this heat? Not me!

* Who can forget fried zucchini?

* Dice and freeze for later use.

* If all else fails give them away.

* If you neighbors will not take them any more take them to church with you and sneak them into the cars whose windows are down. Tie a cute note to it and pretend it came from someone else.

What do you do with your zucchini? What is your favorite way to eat it? Do you eat it? Or do you gag at the mere thought of the stuff. Help me come up with other awesome ways to eat this overly excited vegetable.


Sharida said...

Don't forget Zucchini Brownies!! YUM!! I absolutely love grilling the stuff. Just cut it in half, brush both sides with a little olive oil and sprinkle with dill seasoning or a favorite seasoning and enjoy! So GOOD!! Our garden has pretty much failed this year (all except 1 little zucchini plant, lol) so we'd be more than willing to take some off your hands! And anything else from your garden you may get overwhelmed with.

Anonymous said...

my dad would make zucchini chocolate chip cookies. Have fun!!

Caden said...

I love to dip the slices in egg and them fry them!! You can also make kind of an egg casserole, put a lot of slices in a 13x9 pan and cover with beaten eggs, salt, pepper, garlic and bake 375-ish for 'awhile' .. really good, my kids even like it. We'll take some off your hands too if you need!

Just one tall girl named Laurel said...

LOL! This post cracked me up. Ian loves zucchini and you know what?It's a rare commodity in Japan. The whole time we lived there he whined about not having it. Now that we're here we get it all the time. We use it in pretty much every way you mentioned (haven't thought about grating it into other baked goods, though-- good idea.) We also use it in quiche with broccoli, onions, red peppers and whatever else I need to use up in the veggie drawer. Also, it's good raw with salads, or grated/mashed with corn and potatoes then battered and fried into a mixed-veggie hash brown, or mashed up in artichoke/spinach dip, too.

Mrs. Organic said...

Great ideas! My favorite is a zucchini tomato stir-fry served with spaghetti noodles, but pizza with pesto sauce, onion, zucchini and tomato slices is divine.

As soon as I figure out the chocolate cake, I'll post it. We ended up with two plants as well, so I have lots to practice with.