I was starting to think we weren't going to get anything out of the garden this year. Things have ripened up very, very late due to the weird weather. But the veggies are starting to roll in now, and as always, we have more summer squash than we could ever possibly use or eat. This year, I have been determined that none of it is going to end up on the compost pile simply because we can't keep up.
We all know about zucchini muffins and zucchini cake with chocolate and spices and all sorts of other creative things (if you don't know about them, click here, and it will become all too familiar in no time). And the first zucchini recipe I ever tried was the popular southern technique of dipping slices in egg and then bread crumbs or cornmeal and frying them. This is tasty on its own or in a sandwich, and is a great alternative to meat if you're into that.
One of the issues I have with most zucchini recipes, though, is that they call for a mere 1 cup of zucchini, or maybe two zucchinis, sliced. What am I? Some kind of lightweight?! At this very moment, I have a minimum of six full-sized summer squash on my kitchen counter, and another six ready to come in from the garden tomorrow. I need recipes that push the envelope! Recipes that call for the absolute maximum zucchini coverage per square inch! Recipes so crazy in their overuse of this vegetable that they could only have originated in an insane asylum!
I have found two recipes that fit the bill.
First up is a recipe I learned from an old friend, and it's not even really a "recipe" because anyone who knows how to make lasagna can do this. I call it "Zucchini Bake", but it's actually just lasagna with slices of summer squash instead of pasta (you may note that I use the terms zucchini and summer squash interchangeably, and this is because I use them in recipes interchangeably.). You make it exactly as you would your favourite lasagna, except you need a less wet sauce (I use a big can of tomato paste with herbs etc added instead of regular sauce) because the zucchini will let a fair bit of water out. I also overlap the zucchini so that I don't get to the end of a plate of it and find myself with a load of leftover sauce. You can go as crazy on the squash here as you like. This dish intrigues me because I have not been able to stomach lasagna since I was pregnant with Rosemary's Baby, and yet I can eat plate after plate of this stuff. In any case, it's a swell way to use up all kinds of extra things from the garden including tomatoes, basil and spinach, as well as a tonne of your summer squash.
The other recipe I love comes from a cookbook given to the Captain by his late grandmother, who was lovely, and as grandmotherly as they come, except that, ironically, she didn't do much cooking. One time we went for lunch and she served us Eggo waffles with syrup. Adorable! She was an active member of her local curling club, so in 1992 when they put out a fundraiser cookbook filled with recipes submitted by members (these kinds of cookbooks are my favourite, by the way. You know every recipe was made in a real kitchen, by a real person, and served to a real family, most likely full of real picky eaters!), she bought one for each of her grandkids. In the interests of ethics, I should mention that the original recipe came from The Guelph Curling Club Collection of Favourite Recipes book from 1992, and was submitted by a woman named Carol McKinnell. I had to adapt things a bit to fit what I had on hand, so this is not the original recipe, but it's close enough to still be delicious.
Zucchini Squares (originally called Zucchini Bites, but I cut mine way too big to get away with calling them "Bites"!)
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs, beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients and spread into two greased 8" pans. Bake 25 to 30 mins and cut into squares. The bonus? They freeze well too! Woo hoo! The originator of this dish was one smart cookie!
These are a little like a cheesy, herby, not-so-puffy yorkshire pudding with a bit of added crunch. They're great with soup, or on the side of anything really.
So, do any of you out there have any great zucchini recipes you want to share with me? If the enormous plants out there are any indication, I have a feeling I'll be needing them.