August 10, 2006

Zucchinis Are Attacking My Garden

Anyone who has ever grown zucchini will know that once they get started, there’s no stopping them. They will grow a foot overnight. Where just yesterday you had 1 zucchini, today there will be 5. People will start avoiding you so that you can’t pawn off your extra zucchini on them. It gets to the point where you have to start leaving them anonymously on neighbour’s doorsteps just to get rid of them. That being said, there is a lot that you can do with zucchini and in the winter I resent having to pay for them at the grocery store when just months earlier I could have built a house out of zucchini.

When your neighbours figure out who’s responsible for the zucchinis and start throwing them back at your house there’s nothing you can do but head into the kitchen are start figuring out some new ways to use this abundant vegetable. Should you ever find yourself in this position, here are some suggestions that I’ve attempted in the past week, or will be attempting in the coming weeks:

--> Chop it up and add zucchini to stir frys.
--> Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and stuff it with whatever you’d like. Rice, other veggies and cheese works well. Bake it in the oven or grill it.
--> Make a zucchini “lasagna”, replacing the noodles with strips of zucchini.
--> Grill slices of zucchini with other vegetables, and layer them onto a baguette with hummus for a different take on a sandwich.
--> Make chocolate and zucchini cakes or muffins, (one batter can be turned into pretty much any shape you want). Yes, this actually works quite well and for anyone who is unsure of this I’m fairly certain I could feed you a chocolate chip zucchini muffin without telling you what was in it and you’d be none the wiser. You can’t actually taste the zucchini as a vegetable, but it adds moisture. If it works for carrot cake, it can work for zucchini.
--> Instead of scalloped potatoes, make scalloped zucchini. It’s the same concept as the lasagna, just replace the potato with zucchini, or use both in the same dish. Any kind of zucchini ‘au gratin’ works well.
--> Make a zucchini quiche, using zucchini as the crust. Grilling it first is advisable.
--> Add zucchini to omelets.
--> Mashed zucchini instead of mashed potatoes, add some pepper, garlic, scallions and butter.
--> Deep fried zucchini. You can eat zucchini flower blossoms as well, deep frying them or stuffing them, all on their own they make nice garnish.
--> Make savoury zucchini pancakes with fresh herbs and sour cream.

Like I said, you’ve got to start being creative and you’ve got to start disguising the zucchini or you may experience a revolt among those who are repeatedly being served zucchini dishes. The chocolate zucchini cake is definitely a good choice here, you can add nuts and chocolate chips too. If you make mass quantities of these and distribute them to your neighbours, (without telling them the mystery ingredient) you may win back some of them, who, just days earlier, were hurling zucchinis at your house and muttering threats. Good luck.

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