|7/30/2021 10:47:00 AM|
Don't let your zucchinis get too big!
by JEFF NORTONZucchini has become one of my favorite vegetables. Not only is it hardy and fairly easy to grow, it’s so versatile and delicious in so many different recipes.
I didn’t grow up with zucchini and didn’t think it’d be something I’d like (you can tell by my size I didn’t grow up liking many vegetables!)
The first time I had zucchini outside of zucchini bread was at Benihana’s over the flat top grill. The chef always makes the little appetizers for you, and zucchini is included in that and I had to try it and I was so surprised by how much flavor and texture that the vegetable contains when cooked.
It was then that I realized it was a great, healthy side to go with meats for dinner, but could also be made into sweet desserts and healthy appetizers. The options are endless, but here’s a few of my favorites!
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BAKED PARMESAN ZUCCHINI
4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
The great thing about this recipe is you should have a majority of the seasonings in your pantry already and it’s so versatile. You can use it as an appetizer or side for a meaty meal, you can eat it as a snack in the middle of the day, or you can substitute it for breadsticks if you’re having pasta and want something lighter than bread.
If you have a Parmesan lover in the household, you’ve GOT to try this one out.
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This recipe does take a little time and isn’t necessarily great right not in this hot weather, but it’s so good on a fall night. Despite using zucchini, it’s not terrible healthy, as it uses a lot of butter, cheese, sour cream and corn flakes, but the worst stuff is for you, the better it tastes!
1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter
4 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (about 2 1/2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. sour cream
4 large eggs
8 oz. shredded Cheddar (about two cups)
1/2 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 c. cornflakes
1/2 tsp. hot sauce
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put a large colander inside a large bowl.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add one-third of the zucchini to the skillet, arrange in a single later and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the zucchini begins to soften and is golden brown in spots, about five minutes. Transfer to the prepared colander. Repeat to cook remaining zucchini in two more batches, using two tablespoons of butter and sprinkling with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper for each batch. Transfer each batch to the colander.
Add one tablespoon of butter to the same skillet along with the bell pepper and onion and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables are soft, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about one1 minute. Let cool for five minutes, then fold into the zucchini. Transfer the mixture to a two-quart casserole dish.
Whisk together the sour cream, eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. Fold in the Cheddar, parsley and Italian seasoning. Pour over the zucchini mixture, making sure that some of the egg mixture sinks down to the bottom.
Microwave the remaining one tablespoon butter in a medium bowl until melted. Fold in the cornflakes and hot sauce. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake until the eggs are set and the cornflakes are deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Makes six to eight servings.
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This recipe does have a lot of ingredients, but don’t be intimidated by it. Once you have the ingredients together, it’s not too hard and the end result is a beautiful, delectable cake. It resembles carrot cake in taste and texture, but a nice fresh twist of the zucchini instead.
Butter, for greasing the pan
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 c. finely chopped pecans
1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3 tsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. milk, plus more if needed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 c. grated unpeeled zucchini (about 4 zucchini; use the small holes on a grater and pat dry with a paper towel)
One 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp. salted butter, softened
2 c. powdered sugar, more or less as needed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 splashes milk, if needed
1/2 c. chopped pecans, for garnish
For the cake: preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-13-inch pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, pecans, coconut, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, vanilla and eggs and stir in the grated zucchini. Fold this into the dry ingredients. The batter will be stiff and dry but keep folding it and it will all come together. If it still seems too dry, just add a little more milk.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs and the cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla just until smooth. Add the milk if necessary.
Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled cake. Garnish with chopped pecans.
TFD: We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course it’s our garden that is really nurturing us.