Seasonal Fare: Zucchini

I love this time of year because not only are berries and peaches in abundance, but zucchini is finally starting to pop up at the farmer’s market too.  I love zucchini because it’s such an easy veggie to incorporate into recipes, and it’s pretty much the most delicious thing ever, especially when you’ve been eating leafy greens like kale and chard for what seems like an eternity.

We’ve gotten so much squash and zucchini in our CSA bag the past few weeks that it’s been fun to get creative and figure out ways to use it.  I have zucchini muffins in the oven right now but one of my favorite ways to eat zucchini is in “chip” form.  It’s basically like a healthy mozzarella stick where you use zucchini (or squash) instead of a chunk of cheese.  Plus, you don’t have to worry about choking on a huge string of cheese, which I seem to do everytime I eat a mozerella stick (which is really only about once a year, I promise).

You can cut the zucchini into “sticks” to mirror the shape of mozzarella sticks, but I just stick with slicing them into coins since it’s a lot quicker and I can let my handy-dandy food processor do all of the work for me.  Also, I make my own whole-wheat breadcrumbs by grinding up slices of bread in the food processor and then toasting them in the oven on 300 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.  If you ever have bread that’s a little too stale to make a sandwich, making breadcrumbs is always a good way to use it instead of tossing it in the trash.  I store my breadcrumbs in the freezer, so I always have them on hand and they last for a while.

Zucchini Chips

Ingredients:

2 zucchini

1-1.5 cups whole wheat breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1 egg

Salt and pepper

Tomato sauce for dipping (I use the organic brand from Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees

2. Slice zucchini into 1/4-inch coins

2. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper

3. Mix the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl

4. Make an assembly line starting with the zucchini, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture, and ending with a baking sheet

5. Use one hand to dip the zucchini into the egg mixture and then place on the breadcrumbs.  Use your other hand to coat the zucchini with the breadcrumbs and place on the baking sheet, leaving a little room between each chip

6. Once all of your zucchini slices are coated, bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  If you want, sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese and serve with tomato sauce


Zucchini are known to grow really quickly (I wouldn’t know because everything I try to grow seems to die), so if you find yourself with a boatload of zucchini, here are some of my other favorite squash recipes that you may want to try.

Zucchini Boats (stuffed with tomato, onion, sour cream, cayenne pepper, and parmesan)

Sauteed Zucchini (with shallots, garlic, and almonds)

Summer Veggie Bake (onion, zucchini, squash, potato, tomato, and parmesan baked to a golden-brown goodness)

Here’s a little peek of the whole-wheat zucchini muffins that are just coming out of my oven.  The entire house smells like cinnamon, but I’m going to try to hold off until after dinner to dig in to these little treats.  I’ll share the recipe soon!

What about you, what’s your favorite way to use zucchini?

Also, if you want to find out more about what other bloggers are whipping up with local veggies, check out this post at In Her Chucks and get inspired to take on some local cooking adventures of your own 🙂

Zucchini, Red Pepper, and Corn Succotash

I feel like I haven’t shared a recipe in a while, and the truth is, it’s because we’ve been cooking so much with our CSA that we’ve basically thrown meal planning out the window and just cook whatever we get in our bag for the week.  It’s nice to open the fridge and look at all the yummy and fresh ingredients that we have on hand and just pick out what we are in the mood for and create something delicious.

If you told me a few years back that I’d be cooking dinner without following a recipe, I would have never believed you.  I never really cooked until I moved into my own apartment during sophomore year of college, and I literally ate “Shake ‘n Bake” chicken/pork chop, garlic cheese noodles out of a bag, and one of those frozen yeast rolls for just about every meal.  Since then, not only have I given up meat, but I also eat about a million different vegetables/other foods that I would previously turn my nose up at without even trying first (I was pretty much a 5-year-old trapped in a 20-year-olds body).

There’s this place down the street from our current house called Crepe Cellar that Steve and I love to go to. We normally take any visitor’s that we have from out-of-town there just because the food is so good for brunch and dinner, and it satisfies both omnivores and herbivores alike.  My favorite thing to get is their side dish of zucchini succotash, which is a mixture of zucchini, red peppers, corn, spices, and a ton of butter.  My least favorite thing about it is that they give you a bowl about the size of a muffin, charge you five dollars, and three bites later (aka: 30 seconds) I’m left staring at an empty bowl wishing I had more of the buttery veggie goodness.

When I saw that red peppers were popping up at the farmer’s market (yay, late spring/summer!), I knew that I had to pair one with the zucchini and fresh corn we were getting from our CSA farmer to create that delicious dish.  It was super easy to throw together and Steve cooked up some whole wheat spiral noodles and mixed it with some pesto I’d made earlier in the week and tomatoes.  We did a great job of mmmmm’ing our way through dinner that night and probably used significantly less butter than the original dish.  It was so good that I neglected to take many pictures, sorry 😦

So – here’s the recipe:

Zucchini, Red Pepper, and Corn Succotash

Ingredients:

1-2 zucchini (I actually used yellow squash because we had already eaten our zucchini)

2 ears of fresh corn (you could also use frozen kernels)

1 red pepper

Butter for cooking

Directions:

1. Slice the zucchini/squash into ½-inch coins, then slice each coin into fourths

2. Remove corn kernels from the cob

3. Slice red pepper into bite sized pieces

4. Melt a bit of butter in a skillet and add the zucchini and red pepper.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes.

5. Add a little more butter and throw in the corn kernels.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté for 3 more minutes.

6. Throw in a bowl and enjoy!