Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Every Day Delights: (Over) Abundance

Zucchini is a prolific garden vegetable.  Every time you turn around more squash have formed on the vine.  If you fail to inspect the plants for even a single day, you may end up with a mammoth zucchini the size of your thigh.  They are certainly sneaky things, and thus they require a certain amount of stealth on our part as well.

Barbara Kingsolver wrote of zucchini season:
       "Sometimes I just had to put down my knives and admire
     their extravagant success. Their hulking, elongated
     cleverness. Their heft. I tried balancing them on their
     heads, on their sides: right here in the kitchen we had the
     beginnings of our own vegetable Stonehenge. Okay, yes, I was
     losing it. I could not stay ahead of this race. If
     they got a little moldy, then I could compost them. And the
     really overgrown ones we were cracking open for the
     chickens to eat – that isn’t waste, that’s eggs and meat….
        Could they design an automobile engine that runs on
        It didn’t help that other people were trying to give them
     to us. One day we came home from some errands to
     find a grocery sack of them hanging on our mailbox. The
     perpetrator, or course, was nowhere in sight.
        ‘Wow,’ we all said – ‘what a good idea!
        Garrison Keillor says July is the only time of year when
     country people lock our cars in the church parking lot,
     so people won’t put squash on the front seat. I used to
     think that was a joke.…”

    -Barbara Kingsolver, excerpt from 'Zucchini Larceny,' Animal,
    Vegetable, Miracle

Assuming Garrison Keillor is correct, and we all have a little too much of a late summer harvest, it is time to get creative with this ingredient.  
Grilled zucchini is definitely my favorite, but I have had some other more surprising dishes as well: Zucchini skin salad with lemon zest, Disappearing Zucchini Orzo (Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle), Zucchini Brownies (Edible Berkshires), Pizzas with zucchini, corn, feta, lime and cilantro.  The list goes on and on.  Some recipes showcase the zucchini's flavors, and others use it more for its texture and moisture.

Last weekend I got inventive in the kitchen.

Clockwise from top: A tiny fraction of the harvest, zucchini soup, zucchini bread, zucchini pickles (delicious atop a hamburger).

This weekend I'll probably do a little offloading, so keep your doors locked....

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