Simply in Season

News and reflections on all that's good about local food
from the co-author of Simply in Season,
a World Community Cookbook in the spirit of More-with-Less

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


There are zucchini and then there are bazucchini. Or should that be, bazookini?

No matter how you spell it, the idea behind this word coined by my friend Jean is that sometimes those enormous zukes hiding under the leaves transcend their zucchini identity and become something else altogether. I returned from my recent travels to find not one, not two, but three of these two-foot-long giants hanging out in our raised bed.

If you don’t want to use your bazucchini for weightlifting or self-defense, my approach is to cut out the spongy, seedy inner part and then use my food processor to coarsely shred the solid flesh. (Leave the skin on. A mix of yellow and green is especially pretty.) One serious zuke can yield about 20 cups of the stuff, and it’ll hold about a week in the refrigerator. These are my favorite ways to use it up:

1. Zucchini bread (the More-with-Less recipe on page 82 is one of the few versions I’ve seen that isn’t too sweet. I do like to substitute applesauce for half of the oil, and the addition of a teaspoon of coconut flavoring makes a nice change) or zucchini muffins, as a variation of SIS Berry Muffins, page 85

2. SIS Zucchini Yeast Rolls, page 87

3. SIS Zucchini Garden Chowder, page 93

4. Corn-Squash Bake from More-with-Less, page 234 (I freeze grated summer squash to use in this recipe during the winter. There’s no need to cook it then; just be sure to pour off the thawed liquid before adding it, to avoid having a soupy casserole.)

5. Zucchini-crusted pizza such as this one or this one made with rice

6. SIS Summer Squash Bake, page 136

7. SIS Crustless Zucchini Tomato Quiche, page 137

8. Variation of SIS Fruit or Vegetable Oven Pancake, page 62

9. SIS Zucchini Cookies, page 160

10. SIS Zucchini Brownies, page 161, or the zucchini variation of Secret Chocolate Cake, page 273

A non-SIS recipe that I like for using a lot of zucchini is this super-easy and adaptable crustless quiche:

Zucchini Quiche

3-4 cups coarsely grated raw summer squash
1 cup grated cheese (swiss, mozzarella or cheddar)
1/4 finely chopped onion (optional)
1/4 cup flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper and other seasonings to taste
Extra goodies (see below)

Mix together all ingredients and pour into a greased pie pan. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese or paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until set and starting to brown. Serves 3-4.

Adjust the extra goodies to your own taste. Some that I like:
-- Strips of roasted red peppers, crumbled feta cheese, and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
-- Marinated artichoke hearts with sauteed sliced mushrooms
-- A big dollop of pesto
-- Peppers, cumin, oregano, cilantro, jack cheese

If bazucchini aren’t green enough for you, check out the recent Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article on many ways to creatively use all those wonderful fresh greens like chard, collards, and kale.

Postings on this blog will likely continue to be a bit erratic this summer, as I'm adjusting to a new job and new schedule. Cheers to all -- Cathleen


At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Tana said...

I was running around a cherry orchard a couple of weeks ago with two little boys, one from Costa Rica, just learning English. He calls them "bikinis." (Well, he does live on a beach there, so probably hears that word a lot from his American daddy.)

: D

My favorite use is in fritters with feta cheese. (From Smith & Hawken Gardeners' Community Cookbook, p. 10.)

Greek-Style Zucchini Pancake Appetizers
(also called "Zucchini-Feta Fritters")

3 c. grated zucchini: skins and all
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 c. crumbled feta cheese
Butter, for frying
Garnishes (yogurt, sour cream, etc.)

1. Toss zucchini with the salt and let stand in a colander for 1 hour at room temperature to sweat out the moisture.

2. When ready to cook, squeeze the zucchini with your hands to get rid of excess moisture without wringing it dry. Place in a medium bowl, add the eggs, flour and feta; mix well.

3. Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy sauté pan or griddle, enough to coat the bottom generously. Fry the zucchini mixture in small pancake-size amounts over medium low heat until dark golden on both sides, about 5 minutes altogether.* Transfer to paper towels amd continue with another batch until all the pancakes are fried.

4. Arrange the pancakes on a serving platter and garnish as desired.

*I find it takes longer than this to brown them, especially as getting the moisture out is the most challenging bit.


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