South Jersey is already right in the middle of its harvest season, arguably, the best season to be a South Jerseyian. We started with asparagus in April and will end with peppers and pumpkins by November. In between, June to September, comes the other fruits and veggies vying for the title of “most delicious”.
Some of that harvest gets out of hand in backyard gardens, over-running a family’s capacity to eat them up or can them up. I’m talking about you, zucchini.
This green, unassuming, prolific squash has lots of nutrients and little of calories. Because it is somewhat on the mild side, tastewise, it is a versatile enhancer and filler for zillions of other dishes.
Okay, zillion is hyperbole. But I know for a fact there are more than 100 tasty recipes for which the oft-overlooked zucchini is the perfect ingredient. There’s a book which proves exactly that.
Titled 101 Ways to Use Zucchini, a Very Versatile Vegetable, the self-published cookbook was written by Mary Sorbello, founder of Sorbello Girls Farm Market in Mullica Hill. Born on a farm, she has made use of the products of the land in artistic ways (see the feature story about Mary Sorbello in this edition of the New Town Press). In fact, the debonair dancing zucchini she drew for the book cover caught the eye of a Channel 6 reporter some years ago. Sorbello was interviewed on air for a short session about her book and its home-spun ‘toon illustrations.
In addition to art projects Sorbello may well have answered the classic gardener’s question: “Whatever will I do with all this zucchini?” Here are four recipes adapted from the book that prove the zucchini’s flexible nature.
The first is a fast, super-easy side dish or breakfast/brunch entrée. Sorbello called it “simply delicious”, and it’s fast and easy to make.
An FYI: Zucchini generally does not require peeling unless the skin is toughened or the recipe calls for it.
‘My’ meaning the book’s author
2 medium zucchini
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbls Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying
Wash the fresh zucchini and cut off the ends. Cut it into thin slices and saute until the slices are tender. Drain the excess oil and add all the rest of the ingredients. Mix. Cook over medium heat until the eggs are done, about two to three minutes. Makes two servings.
Tasty and satisfying
2 C washed and coarsely chopped zucchini
1/2 C chopped onion
2 Tbls butter or margarine
1 (6 3/4 oz) can of chunk chicken, drained OR 1C leftover chicken, diced
1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
2 C cooked rice (any kind)
1 1/2 C shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Saute the zucchini and onion in the butter and remove from heat when softened. Mix with chicken soup and the rice. Stir in one cup of the cheese. Spoon mix into a buttered 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake, covered, for about a half hour, removing cover the last 5 to 10 minutes to brown the cheese. Serves 6.
LEMONY ZUCCHINI CAKE
Another favorite of the author’s
3/4 C sugar
1 1/4 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp powdered lemon peel OR 1 1/4 tsp grated peel
1/2 C milk
1/2 C honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C finely chopped zucchini
Preheat oven to 350. Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except the zucchini. Beat well, about 5 minutes. Then stir in the zucchini.
Bake in a greased, floured 9×9-inch pan for about 35 minutes. Check for doneness with a cake tester.
Set on a wire rack to cool.
When cool, frost with lemon-cream cheese frosting. To make, mix 3 oz. softened cream cheese with 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon, 1 3/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar and enough milk to gain spreading consistency.
Zucchini gives the shake extra thickness
1/2 C sliced zucchini, peeled if skin is tough
2 Tbls honey
2 tsp chocolate flavoring extract, or unsweetened chocolate syrup to taste
2 Tbls cold water
3/4 C dry powdered milk (can use skim)
6 or so ice cubes, crushed
Place all ingredients in a blender except the ice. Blend well. Add crushed ice a little at a time until the shake is thick. Makes 2 shakes.
By Jean Redstone