Invasion of zucchini


net_efekt, Wikimedia Commons

Zucchini plants have a reputation for almost endless production this time of year. Luckily, it is a very versatile veggie.

 

I know there are a lot of jokes about the over-abundance of zucchini planted in home gardens, but I feel like I have missed out.


I have never had too much zucchini, probably because for whatever reasons, my plants never produced a lot. This happened to me in every place I lived, even in different states.


My parents and grandparents could grow them like crazy, so it wasn’t as if I grew up not knowing what makes for a successful harvest. I have even tried growing zucchini in large containers on my deck, to save the roots from gophers. The whole thing makes me feel like I have had the door to an exclusive club locked when they saw me coming. Good thing there is always a good supply of zucchini at stores and farmers markets, for people like me.


Here are some of my favorite recipes that I hope will make someone smile the next time they harvest their zucchini plants. Eat well, my kitchen pals.


Zucchini patties


4 cups coarsely grated zucchini


2 large eggs, slightly beaten


1 small onion, finely chopped (can use equivalent amount of green onion, if desired)


1/2 cup flour


2 to 3 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced or pressed (or 1/2 teaspoon granulated or powdered garlic)


1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or your own favorite)


1 teaspoon seasoned salt


1 teaspoon (or to taste), freshly course-ground black pepper


Olive oil for frying (or use canola or your favorite oil)


1. Hand squeeze out as much of the moisture in the zucchini as possible, as this is a very important step.


2. In a large bowl mix zucchini and remaining ingredients except for the oil.


3. Heat oil in skillet to medium-high. Drop zucchini mixture by heaping tablespoons into hot oil and cook, turning once, until golden brown. Drain before serving. Makes about 4 servings.


Zucchini casserole


1 cup baking mix (such as Bisquick)


1/2 cup chopped onion


1/2 grated Parmesan cheese


1/2 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup canola oil


4 eggs


3 cups thinly sliced zucchini


1. Preheat oven to 350. In large bowl, mix all ingredients together.


2. Pour mixture into greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until it tests done. Makes 8 servings.


Cat’s smoked salmon, zucchini and corn casserole


I used to use a kind of smoked salmon Costco sold under its Kirkland brand. It wasn’t a dry, chewy type of product, but rather soft. I am not sure if they still sell it.


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


6 cups frozen corn


2 small zucchini, diced


1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced


1/2 medium onion, diced


1/2 cup butter


2 tablespoons sugar


2 tablespoons flour


1/2 cup milk


2 eggs, well beaten


1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder


1/2 teaspoon salt


1/2 pound smoked salmon, in bite-sized pieces


1. In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the corn, zucchini, bell pepper and onion in the olive oil, just until vegetables begin to brown and are tender.


2. In large saucepan mix butter and sugar. Heat until melted. Stir in the flour. Remove from heat and slowly stir in milk, eggs, baking powder and salt. Fold in vegetables. Carefully add smoked salmon pieces, blending well.


3. Pour into greased casserole dish (about 7-by-11 inches). Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and mixture is set.


Garlic lovers veggie stir-fry


1 1/2 pounds fresh zucchini, yellow squash, and/or eggplant, cut into same size pieces (use any combination of these vegetables)


2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil (or possibly a little more if you don’t have a non-stick pan)


2 tablespoons finely minced garlic (or less)


1 onion, sliced top to bottom in strips about 1/2-inch wide


1/4 teaspoon salt


3 tablespoons oyster sauce


1. Cut vegetables into pieces that are the same size and same shape, cutting away the inner seeds (if large) from squash and larger eggplants before you cut them into short strips about 1/2-inch wide.


2. Heat wok or frying pan for 1 to 2 minutes, until it is too hot to hold your hand over it. (You should be able to almost see the heat shimmering up from the wok.) Add the oil and heat about 30 seconds, then add minced garlic and sliced onion and cook 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Be very careful to avoid burning the garlic.


3. Add the rest of the vegetables all at once, add salt, and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds, or until vegetables are barely starting to soften. Add oyster sauce, stirring gently so all the vegetables are coated with sauce. Cook about 2 minutes more, stirring a few times. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.

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