Sunday, August 15, 2010


(or, when life hands you zucchini latkes gone horribly wrong, you make zucchini-ade.)

Finding new and delicious things to do with zucchini has been my mission this summer, a mission made possible by a freakishly productive zucchini plant in the otherwise anemic garden.

On Thursday night I made up a zucchini latke recipe that failed horribly, resulting in massive piles of egg and matzo meal-soaked zucchini strands coating my non-stick griddle. Dejected I scraped the mess up, dumped it into a 1 quart clean wonton soup container, stuffed it into the fridge, and forgot about it.

On Saturday morning I picked two more gigantic zucchini from the garden (along with 3 cups of grape tomatoes, two cucumbers, one "nice first try" head of cauliflower, and one red pepper) and set them all in the dish drainer as I contemplated their fateful trip into my stomach.

This is where the deliciousness comes in.

I find a recipe in my risotto cookbook for zucchini stuffed with risotto topped with handmade tomato sauce. Interesting. So I start. First, I blanch the largest zucchini and set it aside. Then, I get distracted by efforts to make a raspberry/peach pie with handmade whole wheat crust. I get the pie into the oven after struggling with the recipe-free crust and remember I now have to make tomato sauce followed by risotto followed by a period of baking in the oven. Ugh.

I persevere. I chop the grape tomatoes (a fine substitution for the required plum tomatoes). While chopping I'm crisping 1/4 pound of pancetta I bought earlier in the day. I pull the pancetta out of the cast iron dutch oven given to me by Sitboaf and prepare to drop in the tomatoes when I remember I love the smell of onions cooking in pork fat. So I quickly mince 1/8th of an onion and toss it in the pan. Then I remember I harvested a bulb of garlic from the garden this morning and I quickly tear it apart, peeling the tiny tiny cloves. While I'm deconstructing the garlic the onions become soft. Good timing! I press the garlic into the pan of aromatic onion, I scrape the chopped tomatoes from the cutting board into the pan, and enjoy the smell of the sizzle. I'm psyched I'm almost done with this recipe, because I've been cooking for nearly two hours.

Then I remember I still have to make the rice. Ugh. That will add 30 more minutes to this cooking trip. I don't want to cook for another 30 minutes.

And this is where the inspiration hit.

I thought to myself, "I don't need to make rice. I have that shredded zucchini in the fridge." So I pull it out to bring it to room temperature (which is hot, because the oven has been on for two hours. I hollow out the blanched zucchini while the tomatoes continue to soften. When the tomatoes are nearly deconstructed I dumped in the zucchini formerly known as latkes, mix it together and taste. Oh, so delicious! It was hard not to gobble the entire pan.

Restraining myself, because I know I'll be pissed if I eat all of the stuffing without ever putting it into the zucchini, I toss the tasting spoon into the dishwasher, and pull out a new spoon. I then stuff the four hollowed zucchini, cover them with Parmesan cheese, and toss them in the oven for 20 minutes.

That will be dinner for the next two nights at The Tiny Bungalow. Psych!

No comments: