I’ve marked my calendar and have my reusable shopping bags ready for the opening of my town’s farmer’s market in a week and a half. Yes, I’m counting down the days! After the harsh, but not too harsh winter and the chilly spring, the farmer’s market is a welcome and familiar sign of summer – like an old friend I’ve been longing to see and catch-up with. Also, one of the new vendors has homemade, flavored iced teas, so I will be there when they open at Noon. I better bring my large travel mug as well.
Later in the summer, while I sip my iced tea and shop at the market, I will be sure to put zucchini in my bag. It is one of my favorite summer vegetables, even though botanically speaking, it is actually a fruit. The dishes that can be made with zucchini, from breakfast to dessert, are as abundant as the vegetable when it’s ready to harvest and seems to multiply at an exponential rate. If you cannot wait for local zucchini, use green squash which is usually available year-round in the grocery store.
I am posting my favorite zucchini recipe below compliments of my Mom (aka Grandma Rita). I did alter the recipe a bit, primarily reducing the oil, because the original recipe was too greasy (Ma agreed). This zucchini “pie” has no crust and is baked in a square pan, but just work with me and let’s call it a pie. Zucchini is a good source of folate, potassium, vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Choose zucchini that is 8 inches or less in length for the best flavor. Zucchini pie can be served warm as a side dish or main course, but is also delicious when enjoyed cold for breakfast. If doubling the recipe, use a 9 x 13 pan.
What is your favorite summer recipe? Do you enjoy visiting your local farmer’s market? Let me know in the comments below and, of course, let me know if you try this recipe. I hope you enjoy it – straight from Grandma’s kitchen.
2 ½ cups zucchini, shredded (2 – 3 med.) *see below
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
1 ½ cups (4 oz.) cheddar cheese, shredded
1 ¼ Cup Bisquick
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ t salt
1/8 t pepper
½ t basil
½ t oregano
1/8 t garlic powder
1 – 2 T parmesan cheese, optional (for sprinkling)
Preheat oven to 350◦ F. Spray 8 x 8 x 2” pan with non-stick spray.
*Scrub and pat dry zucchini. Cut each zucchini in half and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Shred the zucchini using the large holes of a cheese grater or food processor.
Place shredded zucchini in a large bowl and gently press with two or three paper towels to remove some of the moisture.
In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil and remaining ingredients. Pour egg mixture into the bowl of zucchini and mix until zucchini is evenly coated.
Pour into greased pan and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Bake 35 – 45 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers.
If you are up to your ears in vegetables from your garden, this ratatouille should do the trick. It’s a hearty vegetable stew, also known as ratatouille, that is delicious by itself or served over whole grain pasta, cous cous, quinoa or rice. I’ve even spooned it on slices of toasted French bread and used it as a pizza topping. Feel free to adjust the recipe to include your favorite vegetables, but don’t forget the chick peas (garbanzo beans) – I love those little guys, don’t you?
CROCK POT RATATOUILLE – EGGPLANT STEW
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
3 small Italian eggplants, peeled and chopped
1/8 tspn. pepper
3/4 tspn. salt
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 medium zucchini, seeded and chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tspn. thyme flakes
1 1/2 tspn. basil flakes
Heat oil on med. heat and saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Add eggplant and season with salt and pepper, cooking 5 more minutes. Turn heat to low and cover, cooking an additional 5 – 8 minutes or until eggplant are tender. Transfer to slow cooker and add peppers, zucchini and chick peas (garbanzo beans).
In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, basil and thyme and mix well. Pour into crock pot and stir all ingredients together. Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours and high for 4 – 5 hours.
Is it correct to call something a “pie” if it is crustless and baked in a square pan? Well, that’s what we have always called this wonderful recipe that I have enjoyed since I was a kid. Back then, my eighty-five year-old grandfather lived with us and tended a large garden in our backyard. He took such good care of the garden, there was never a weed to be found. Sometimes he would yell at us in Italian if we had to run in and retrieve a ball. I remember him stringing-up his old pair of long underwear to scare away the birds, but that only lasted a day until my mom made him take it down. She must have had this recipe memorized during July and August when the zucchini harvest was in full swing!
Enjoy this time-tested recipe by clicking on the “Recipe Rescue” page (**Note: this recipe has been removed at this time to make room for another recipe rescue**). The oil in the recipe has been cut in half from the original – it simply was not necessary to have so much oil. Although I cut the fat by reducing the oil, I increased the amount of cheese from the original recipe. To lighten things up, use less cheese or 50% low-fat cheeses. Or, try just 1/4 cup of grated parmesan – the strong flavor goes a long way. And hey, there’s no crust, so that saves a ton of fat right there. This zucchini pie can be enjoyed as a side dish or a light lunch or dinner. I have been known to eat it cold for breakfast as well – enjoy!