23 Aug 2010

Zucchini Onslaught

Posted by annmcolford

One more way to use up zucchini

The volume of the weekly CSA box is reaching its seasonal peak, bringing me several pounds of fresh, local, organically grown vegetables every Saturday. Last Sunday, I spent the cooler hours of the day in the kitchen chopping, stirring, sautéing and baking, in order to turn the bags of veggies into ready-to-eat meals. The weather got much warmer again for a few days, so I wanted to be prepared for the too-hot-to-cook blues. And I even had enough to stick a couple of meals in the freezer.

I consider a packed freezer to be akin to a savings account: It represents an accumulation of time and money (in the form of food) that I’ve set aside for later consumption when I’m short of one or both of those resources.

First, I set some beets to boil. I love roasting beets, but I didn’t want to keep the oven on for that long, so I cooked them on the stovetop. After snipping off the root tips and the tops, I just plopped them (whole, not peeled) into boiling salted water and let them simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes. I had two golden beets and two red ones, and I cooked them separately to maintain their vibrant colors. On Monday, I slipped the skins off, sliced them up, and dressed them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, plus some chopped fresh basil and a little bit of sweet onion.

After taking a few minutes to sauté some chard and onions to go with my morning egg, I moved on to red lentils and zucchini, one of my favorite dishes. Like so many of the recipes from the Extending the Table cookbook, it combines an inexpensive source of protein with seasonal vegetables to create a satisfying and nutritious meal. As a bonus, it gives me an outlet for the growing inventory of zucchini.

Next, I made a casserole with a couple of zapalito squashes — another recipe from Extending the Table. Zapalitos are relatively small (4 to 5 inches) round deep-green summer squashes. On the outside they look like plump, squat zucchinis, but the flesh inside is a creamy yellow or pale orange. It turned out a bit more watery than I recall from previous efforts, so I’ll see about adjusting the quantities next time. I froze about half of the casserole and split up the rest into multiple side-dish servings during the week.

My final dish was a Mexican-influenced cabbage slaw—kind of the love child of salsa and cole slaw. I had half a head of green cabbage, half a jalapeño, plenty of sweet onion (a giant Notta Walla: a sweet onion similar to the famous Walla Walla sweets; but not), and a single red tomato. Working from a recipe for cabbage salsa, I adjusted the proportions to what I had on hand. It must have worked, because it was a big hit at a casual dinner later in the evening with friends Linda G, Ann W and Cate. Linda grilled up a flank steak and made some black beans and rice; Cate and Ann brought the chips and salsa; and we had a feast, accompanied by hand-mixed margaritas.

Next up: Debating local

Leave a Reply


  • Pages

  • Archives