It has been a while and we are having some serious abundance issues in Ontario. It is August and for the next few months our stores, farm stands and farmers markets are over flowing with delights.
Let’s talk about a few different things and how we can best manage them so there isn’t any waste.
Ode to the joy of zucchini. Now, I am a zucchini fan, just give it to me crispy brown sautéed in olive oil and some sea salt and cracked black pepper. But even I can’t eat my way through so let’s figure this out.
My friend and healthy guru, Marla Hertzman of Love Thy Carrot fame would definitely spiralize it or maybe dehydrate it. I like the idea of zucchini as noodles.
We will keep them raw and make a crazy wonderful fresh tomato sauce using many of our cherry tomato bounty.
Slice 2 cups of cherry tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds. I like a rainbow cause it is pretty but any will do. In a frying pan add a glug of good olive oil and warm until your hand can’t hover past the count of 3. Toss in the cherry tomatoes and soften, add a smashed clove of garlic and a bit of chilies, sea salt and cracked black pepper. Let simmer until tomatoes release their juices and start to create their own sauce.
Add either spiralized or julienned zucchini ribbons to pan and cook until zucchini is slightly softened about 5 minutes. Use about 8 cups to feed 4 people. Add a good handful of Parmigan, toss and serve.
A big tomato and radish salad full of fresh torn basil would be perfect alongside.
Shred and freeze zucchini in airtight freezer bags. This will come in handy for soups and Bolognese Sauce.
It will also be great for fried zucchini pancakes.
Defrost and squeeze all excess moisture out. Place in a bowl with a cracked egg, julienned fresh mint, flour to bind, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. This is one of those recipes you need to eye. The batter should be quite thick, as you don’t want the pancakes to fall apart.
Heat veg, sunflower or canola oil in a deep frying pan about ¾ of an inch deep. Heat until bubbles form on the stick part of a wooden spoon or toothpick. Add small spoonfuls of the mixture flattening it out to make 2 bite pancakes. Fry until golden on each side and place on a paper towel lined baking sheet to remove excess oil.
These are delicious with drinks before dinner as is or top with smoked salmon bits mixed with sour cream and chives.
Of course no chat about excess would be complete without a Joanna Pickle.
Slice into ½ inch rounds or chunks washed zucchini and onions. Place them in a colander with a good spoon of sea salt and let drain for a few hours.
In a pot mix together 1 cup of cider vinegar, 2 cups of water and ½ cup of sugar. Bring to a boil.
Now this is a measurement more than a recipe. The idea is that for every 500 ml jar you will pack 250 ml of veg and the same of syrup.
Rinse and drain veg, there will be enough salt that they do not need more. Pack very tightly into sterilized jars. I do mine in the dishwasher, lids too. Pour over each jar the boiling syrup to the fill line and seal.
I some times at fresh herbs, garlic, chili’s and such for flavor but do what you feel works best for you, experiment a bit.
Process jars by placing them in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from pot and cool. If lids pop and the “bellybutton” sinks down then all is well. If this does not happen open the lid and see if something like and herb or chili is in the way. Remove and place in now boiling water and simmer for 10 min.
Okay a few quick other zucchini ideas, feel free to try all of these with most squash, broccoli and cauliflower.
A wicked pasta sauce can be made super easily. In a pot put ¼ cup of good olive oil, add to it4 medium size chopped up zucchini, it doesn’t matter how you chop it. Cook the zucchini over medium heat and when it is quite soft add smashed garlic, chilies a ¼ cup of water and a teaspoon of anchovy paste or 2 filets. Cook this mixture covered. Keep an eye on it and if need be add a bit more olive oil and water to keep a saucy consistency. Now sea salt and pepper to taste. This sauce takes about a half hour until all the veg virtually disintegrates.
Fill a large pot with cold water and a good amount of sea salt, bring to the boil and add 500 ml of short pasta, any type you like. I am a farfalle or bow tie girl. Cook until al dente. Remove pasta from water with a slotted spoon and put directly into sauce, add a big squeeze of lemon and a healthy handful of Parmigan. I like this pasta with a sharp arugula salad and a baguette.
Zucchini makes great sweet bread, stuff it with ricotta and fried diced red peppers and bake, grate it and mix in mint, garlic and sour cream for a funky tzakiki and make a mean relish.
Grate 4 medium zucchini and 1 small onion, sprinkle with sea salt and let sit in a colander for 2 hours. Rinse, squeeze dry and add to a pot.
Add to the pot 1 cup of cider vinegar and 1 cup of white sugar. Begin to cook on a medium heat. Now let’s add the fun. 1 tbls of fresh chopped garlic, 1 tsp dried chili, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ a tsp of allspice and 1 tsp ground ginger.
Bring to a boil and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Place into sterilized jars and process as above. I oftern use 250 ml jars for jammie, chutney, relish products.
…..so many ways to play with my bestie.
Thanks for reading and as always please ask me questions, let me know your thoughts and happy cooking.