Sunday, September 6, 2009

10 Things to Do with Zucchini

My mother has a cookbook that warns that, around this time of year, it's best to keep your car's windows rolled up and doors locked, in case some "friend" unloads a bag of zucchini in your front seat while you're in the post office.

In gardening parts of the country, it's zucchini-overload season. Being an upstanding urban locavore, I feel compelled to pretend that I, too, am overloaded with zucchini. It is, after all, plentiful, cheap and grown within 500 miles. What should I do with it? How can I possibly use up all this local produce?

Grilling and sauteing are the obvious choices, but here are some other ideas:

1. Make a gratin. I like to layer zucchini with skinny eggplants and plum tomatoes. Unlike this Fine Cooking recipe for summer vegetable gratin, I add bread crumbs. My kids don't eat this. Neither does my husband, since he doesn't like eggplant. But I love it.

2. I love this breakfast: Grate a zucchini and scramble with an egg or two. Cook slowly in olive oil. I like to top with strips of nori and a dash of gomasio (sesame seeds, seaweed and sea salt).

3. Make Zucchini-Carrot Cupcakes. I used to start off my cooking classes with this recipe. Kids were all -- eeeuw, zucchini cupcakes?! But they loved them. It was always the most requested recipe at the end of the class. (But don't use confectioners sugar in the cream cheese frosting! Maple syrup is so much better.)

4. Stock up for the winter: grate or chop a whole mess of zucchini and place in big freezer bags. Lay flat and use a chopstick to score into a tic-tac-toe pattern. This way you can break off a square of zucchini, instead of taking a hatchet to a big frozen hunk.

5. Use in soup. Adding chopped zucchini to a summer minestrone soup (or any soup) at the last minute makes the soup bright and fresh. (Fresh tomatoes, green beans, or a splash of lemon juice or vinegar do this too.)

6. Chocolate and Zucchini Cake, courtesy of where else?, the Chocolate and Zucchini blog.

7. Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza. This looks delicious. If your kids aren't likely to eat it, you could do a regular pizza for them at the same time.

8. Zucchini-cabbage saute. Slice into half moons and saute in olive oil with sliced cabbage -- slowly -- until soft. One of my mother's usual one-stewpot recipes, but this one is strangely, alchemically delicious. Under poached eggs, over rice, or just plain.

9. Sneak into spaghetti sauce. I usually am opposed to the sneaky-deceptive method, but this is the original move, the method the whole empire was based on. You don't even have to sneak it. You can just say that's how you make spaghetti sauce-- with grated zucchini. Which magically disappears.

10. Zucchini pancakes!


Cay said...

Wait, where's the zucchini in Martha's zucchini carrot cupcakes? Or do you just add some grated zucchini? I was just thinking about combining those very things in some quick bread/cupcakes... so let me in on the secret: do you just add a big zucchini, grated, into martha's lovely carrot cupcakes?

By the way, if we hadn't already had Cyclones tickets and plans to meet friends, we would have totally been at the Queens County Farm tonight! That looked amazing. THey better do it again next year, i'll be waiting with tent in hand.

Jamie said...

Sauteed witlh other veggies and the red coconut curry sauce you taught us to make!! Yum.

Martha said...

There's also zucchini carpaccio for a very delicious, fresh salad. You can find it on epicurious:

Booker said...

Aw geez. Somewhere -- on the computer upstairs? on the computer that crashed six months ago? -- I have the recipe for zucchini carrot cupcakes. Yeah, I think just add some grated zucchini, until the day I get upstairs and can find that damn recipe. Sorry about that!