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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A glut of zucchini


  Cousa ready to be stuffed 
  Originally uploaded by Foodmomiac.

Here is a question from Jill Asher of the SV Moms Blog::

I just wanted send you a quick note that I love your food blog – and would love to hear about any great recipes that include tomatoes, basil, rosemary, zucchini or cucumber?  I am growing all of this in my garden, and not sure what to do with everything…. I also am growing mint, parsley, cilantro and sage.  It looks really beautiful, but I'm not a great cook. All the veggies should be in season shortly and ready to pick.

Jill

Hi Jill!

These are some of my favorite ingredients, and I think they are probably growing in abundance in the gardens of many of my readers!! I don't have a garden this year, but these ingredients are plentiful at my local produce market.

So... what to do. I will try to address these ingredients (with specific recipes) quite a bit over the next few weeks, but here are some more generic ideas:

  • Snip off branches of the rosemary and sage, tie them together with butcher's twine, and use them to brush marinade onto your food as it grills.
  • Use the herbs to stuff pork tenderloin. This is one of my favorite herb recipes. I slice the tenderloin vertically MOST of the way through (but not all of the way). I then fill the pocket with a bunch of freshly cut herbs, close the tenderloin and tie it with butcher's twine. Rub the tenderloin with salt and pepper and cook on the grill over indirect heat until the pork reaches a temperature of about 155 degrees. This will probably take about 30-40 minutes.
  • Use the cucumbers to make Cucumber Lemon Water
  • Make an antipasto platter with sliced tomato, basil leaves, sliced FRESH mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil. I also like to add a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. My dad adds a dash of balsamic vinegar. Play around with this. Use small mozzarella balls instead of slices. Add some sliced salami and roasted red peppers. Toss in some olives and/or capers. This is a terrific light dinner for a hot summer night.
  • Use your very best tomatoes to make a raw tomato sauce for pasta. There are a ton of recipes for this online, including this one which would be ideal for you because it also includes a bunch of mixed herbs. I also like the versions that are in the Marcella Cucina cookbook.
  • Make raita. Here is a GREAT recipe from my friend MizDucky (scroll down a bit) and it includes both your cucumbers and your mint. I love raita mixed with curry or as a dip for pita chips.
  • My favorite zucchini recipe is pictured above. I half the zucchini and scoop out the seeds. I then create a mixture of feta cheese, herbs (I love thyme in this, but you can get really creative. Mint would be fabulous.), extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic and freshly ground black pepper. I stuff the zucchini with the mixture and cook them on the grill over indirect heat until the cheese gets a little brown and melty and the zucchini soften up. It usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

As I said, I'll have plenty more recipes for you as the summer progresses, but I hope this is enough to get you started!!

Keep those questions coming guys.

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