Archive for the ‘Zucchini’ Category

Zucchini Relish

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

When I was growing up, my mom made zucchini relish every year, so now I make zucchini relish every year.   One batch is enough to get me through a whole year of tartar sauce, chicken and tuna salad, and hot dogs.  Yes, I know hot dogs are not one of the best things I could be eating, but I love hot dogs and have to have them every once in a while.  I’m a relish, mustard, and onions kind of a gal. Anyway, I made a batch of zucchini relish this weekend, but it barely put a dent in my zucchini supply.

This is a forgiving recipe, and measurements don’t have to be exact. I use honey, but you could use sugar if you want. I tend to like more of vinegary tang than sweetness in my relish, so my recipe uses quite a bit less sweetener than most recipes. Also, most recipes call for celery seed, but we all know how I feel about celery (it’s an evil, vile vegetable and my husband is allergic).  My standard substitution for all things celery is fennel.  If you like a little spice you could add some jalapeno to the recipe.  My husband is a big baby when it comes to spicy foods, so I’m close friends with the many bottles of hot sauce that inhabit my kitchen.  One of these days I’ll get around to giving you my recipe for homemade tequila hot sauce.

Zucchini Relish
1 monster zucchini (about 3 pounds, or 8 cups)
4 large onions (about 1 pound)
2 large red and/or green peppers
4 tablespoons kosher salt
2 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups honey
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 heaping teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 heaping teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 heaping teaspoon salt

Shred or finely chop zucchini, onion, and peppers.  A food processor makes quick work of it.  Sprinkle the 4 tablespoons of salt over the chopped veggies, mix it in well, and set it aside for a couple of hours.  I’ve seen some recipes that call for letting it sit overnight, but I’ve found a couple of hours does an adequate job of drawing out the excess water in the vegetables.

 I went outside and planted a row of snow peas for the fall garden while I was waiting. Then I got my canning gear out, and got my jars washed and ready to receive the relish.

Next, rinse the vegetables well in a fine mesh colander with cold water.  Squeeze excess water from the veggies and place them in a non-reactive pot.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Continue to simmer for about half an hour, until the relish begins to look a little translucent.   Ladle the relish into jars, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  Yields about 9 half pints.

Pasta with Summer Vegetables Pesto and Feta

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

One of the things I love about eating in the summer is the ability to throw together quick, healthy dishes using fresh, local ingredients. I’m especially fond of one skillet meals which take only minutes to prepare, leaving more time to go outside and play in my gardens.  We’ll call this particular recipe a variation on a theme, and I’ll show you how you can change it up, depending on the ingredients you have on hand.

The dish revolves around whole wheat pasta, seasonal vegetables, and some type of protein.  By changing the veggies and protein, the dish can be completely transformed. The version I give below is rather Italian.  Early this fall I might go with squash, arugula, sage, and goat cheese. Another fall combo is carrots, Brussels sprouts, pancetta or bacon, and pecorino cheese. In the spring you could go with fettuccine, asparagus, parsley, and Gorgonzola. I’ve even been known to use eggs as my protein, but cheese is my favorite. Some of the fresh cheese I make includes chèvre, mozzarella, and queso blanco.  We’ll talk about cheese at some later date! If you would like something a little heartier, you can use leftover chicken, shrimp, or red meat as your protein. Just remember, the point of this recipe is to be quick, so use leftovers!

Pasta with Summer Vegetables Pesto and Feta
1/2 an onion, roughly chopped or sliced
2 to 4 baby zucchini, halved and sliced lengthwise
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
8 ounces organic whole wheat pasta, cooked and drained
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons pesto
4 ounces feta, cut into cubes
Olive oil for cooking

Once you have your ingredients chopped, sliced, and cubed, assemble them next to your skillet. Cooking will go really fast.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in your skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and cook for about 30 seconds. Next add zucchini and garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add pasta and half the tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, or until everything is heated through.  Finally, add pesto, feta, and the last half of the tomatoes.  Stir everything together to thoroughly mix and then pull it off the heat.

Zucchini Blog Party

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

In light of my current zucchini “problem”, I asked some of my blogging friends if they would participate in a zucchini blog party.  I thought it might be nice to give our readers a selection of recipes for using up some of their surplus zuchs. My entry for our little veggie party is my recent post for Zucchini Fritters.

For your zucchini eating pleasure, I’d like to introduce you to the following bloggers and their recipes.

Tina Sams, editor of The Essential Herbal magazine offers not one, but two zucchini bread recipes.  You can’t go wrong with chocolate!

Zucchini and Orzo Salad with Basil is offered up by Maryanne, owner of Torchsong Studio.  Maryanne makes gorgeous handmade lampwork glass beads and jewelry.

Next, we have Patricia Morello’s Stuffed Zucchini.  Looking at her recipe, I’m wondering if I could get my guys interested by adding a little Italian sausage to the stuffing mix. Patricia owns an operates Patricia Rose.

Karen Creel brings us her Zucchini Pizza recipe. I’ve been meaning to get around to trying pizza on the grill. I could use this recipe and kill two birds with one stone. Karen offers herbal bath and body products at Garden

Cindy Jones of Sagescript Institute & Colorado Aromatics gives us her recipe for Calabacitas.  I have to admit I’d never heard of Calabacitas and had to look it up. I absolutely adore Southwestern food, so I’m positive I’ll enjoy this one.

Last, but not least, we have Beth Byrn’s Yummy Zucchini Brownies.  Again I pose, can you ever go wrong with chocolate? Beth owns a bath and body buisness, Soap And Garden.

Zucchini Fritters

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Have you ever seen the rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors?  I suspect that Audrey II (a plant that thrives on human blood and has aspirations to take over the world) may have been a zucchini plant. Every morning when I run out to my garden to pull a few weeds before work, I’m always amazed at the zucchini’s ability to grow overnight. I always try to pick them while they’re small, but every now and again one will escape my attention and grow into a baseball bat.  I’ve got a friend who says during zucchini season the people in her town have to lock their cars when they visit people, or a few zucchini will be slipped into their car while they aren’t looking.

Every year, as my zucchini start setting fruit, I go on the hunt for new ways to use it. I sauté it with other veggies, pasta, and feta for quick meals and use it raw with vinaigrette in salads. Ever since I was a kid, my mom has always made a “pickle” relish using the prolific veggie. I recently made zucchini fritters based on my recipe for potato latkes. Because zucchini doesn’t contain the starch found in potatoes, I did bump up the amount of flour. I really liked these, but my guys are veggie challenged and weren’t big fans.  I probably won’t make them as much as I would like to.

Zucchini Fritters (makes 8 to 10 fritters)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 medium zucchini, about 2 pounds, shredded
1/2 small onion, shredded
2 tablespoons yogurt, buttermilk, or sour milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
Olive oil

1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

2. Place grated zucchini on a piece of cheesecloth or a dish towel and twist to wring out as much excess liquid as possible.  I use a dish towel and place the zucchini in a long strip (lengthwise) down the middle of the towel. Next, I fold the sides of the towel over the zucchini, grasp the ends of the towel, and begin twisting.

3. Place zucchini in a bowl with the shredded onion.

4. Combine  yogurt or buttermilk and egg to the zucchini mixture.

**Chemistry Alert** Using baking powder and some type of acidic milk will provide a little leavening in the fritters.

5. Stir flour mixture into the zucchini.

6. Heat olive oil in a skillet.  A note on olive oil … don’t use your good extra virgin or virgin grade olive oil for cooking. Instead, use the pure grade olive oil which is more refined, and has a higher smoke point.

7. Using about 1/4 cup of the mixture, form zucchini patties in the skillet.  Cook fritters for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until firm. Turn again, cooking about 30 seconds more on each side until golden.

8. Remove from skillet to a paper towel lined plate.  Season with salt and pepper and serve with yogurt dill sauce or Tzatziki, a traditional Greek cucumber-yogurt condiment.  I’ll try to remember to post a Tzatziki recipe in the next couple of weeks.

Yogurt Dill Sauce
Thin some Greek style yogurt down with a little milk, or use plain yogurt. Mix in some snipped dill and season to taste with salt and pepper.