Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fall Gourd Overload

Recently, the chapter advisor for my sorority brought her fall garden surplus over to our house. Yes of course, we were thrilled. And yet, the days went on and the supply did not seem to dwindle. The cucumbers were gobbled up in a flash, better than any store bought, water-logged equivalent we had ever tried. The tomatoes went a little slower. Succulent and sweet, they could be used in any salad. And then there were the zucchinis. While absolutely delicious, they required a little more thinking and prep time. As usual, I put my creative cap on and got to work thinking about how to use them. It was much easier than expected. The starchy, rather bland nature of zucchini lends itself well to many flavors and preparations. The quickest and most obvious preparation is in a sauté or stir fry. I've been on an asian kick lately, so I put them in with some onions, broccoli and chicken seasoned with some soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and peanut butter and it worked quite well. However, you could just as easily sauté them in some olive oil and garlic and toss with spaghetti.
Another wonderful preparation that takes a bit more time is roasting them. Heat an oven to 350 degrees. Slice the zucchini up into discs, but if it is on the larger side, slice down the middle and then into half discs. Toss with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and spread evenly in a roasting pan or even a cookie sheet would work. Bake until brown and caramelized, about 20-30 minutes. This is great eaten plain, thrown in a salad or tossed with quinoa.