2012-08-23 / Entertainment

Fresh Zucchini Recipes

August is the prime season for the prolific zucchini. It only takes a few days for a zucchini flower to become a nice tender squash 7 inches long – and only a few more days before it becomes a baseball bat if not harvested! Zucchini, both green and golden varieties, as well as other summer squashes like yellow straightneck, yellow crookneck and pattypan, are now readily available at roadside farm markets, community farmers’ markets and supermarkets.

Markets are also well supplied during August with a whole array of other nutritious vegetables fresh from the farm – sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupes, watermelon, beans, cabbage, potatoes, cucumbers, beets, and eggplant besides summer squashes. That is why the governor and the Vegetable Marketing and Research Program have proclaimed August as Pennsylvania Produce Month.

Zucchini and other types of summer squash are members of the Cucurbitaceae family along with melons and cucumbers. They are distinguished from their cousins known as winter squash – butternut, acorn, hubbard, buttercup and Turk’s turban – because they are harvested at a immature stage when the skin is still soft and edible. Squash are native to America and were introduced to European colonists by native Americans.

Zucchini are mostly water and include few calories and only minimal amounts of vitamins. However, according to the Wellness Encylclopedia of Food and Nutrition, they do provide small amounts of vitamin C and folacin. In combinations with other vegetables, they help you to include the recommended 2-2-1/2 cups of different vegetables in your diet each day. Zucchini sticks or slices can be enjoyed raw with dip or added to tossed salads. Sautéing or stir-frying zucchini alone or with other mild-flavored summer vegetables can be a quick and easy way to add them to your menu. They also are a tasty addition to tomato sauces or pasta dishes.

The following recipes from the 2012 “Simply Delicious, Simply Nutritious” Pennsylvania Vegetable Recipe Contest offer several tasty dishes using the prolific zucchini. Additional zucchini recipes are available at www.paveggies.org.

Zucchini and

Chickpea Salad

Serves 9 to 10

19- ounce can of chickpeas, drained

1 small red onion, chopped

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced

2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste

1/4 cup olive oil, extra virgin preferred

1/ 4 teaspoon dried oregano salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic, minced

1 medium tomato, diced
10 kalamata olives,
halved and pitted
3 ounces feta cheese,
crumbled (peppercorn feta
preferred)
Combine all ingredients
except feta cheese; let stand
at least 30 minutes for flavors to blend. Just before
serving, add cheese and stir
to blend. Best served at
room temperature
First-Place Prize – Summer
Squash Zucchini category.
Submitted By Frances Dietz,
York
Zucchini Chocolate Cake
Serves 10 to 12
2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking
soda
1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon instant coffee
powder
2-1/2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and sugar one
bundt pan. In a large mixing
bowl combine all dry ingredients including cocoa and
mix well with a whisk. In a
separate bowl combine oil,
eggs, buttermilk ( when
measuring buttermilk, be
sure to shake the container
first as it tends to separate),
zest, and coffee and beat
well. Add wet ingredients to
dry ingredients, mixing with
spatula until completely
blended (Do not use an electric mixer). Add zucchini
(the amount of zucchini
doesn’t have to be exact – I
usually pack it gently a little
when measuring), mixing
thoroughly, then pour into
prepared bundt pan and
bake about 30 minutes or
until top of cake is firm when
you press on it or a toothpick inserted comes out
clean. Allow cake to cool in
pan at least 30 minutes – this
makes the cake come out
easily.
Submitted by Nora Porter,
Chambersburg
Zucchini Pie
Serves 6
3 cups grated zucchini
1/ 4 cup fresh chives,
chopped
1 cup whole wheat pastry
flour
1 cup grated provolone
cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup extra virgin olive
oil
4 tablespoons grated
fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped
fresh basil
1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced for individual servings
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the ingredients (except tomatoes)
in a large bowl, reserving 1

tablespoon of the Parmesan
cheese. Coat a 10-inch pie
plate with cooking spray.
Spoon the zucchini mixture
into the prepared pie plate,
and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Remove from the oven, and
sprinkle with the reserved
parmesan. Cool 10 minutes
before slicing. Serve each
piece with tomato slices.
Submitted by Shelly S. Teska, Youngsville
Vegan Zucchini and
Cashew Nut Casserole
Serves 8 to 12
2 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups bread crumbs
3 cups oats
2 cups ground raw
cashew nuts
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups onions, diced fine
1 cup fresh parsley, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
Mix all ingredients and
pour into a sprayed 9x13”
pan and bake at 350° for 45-
50 minutes.
Submitted by Elen Wennell,
Mechanicsburg

Quick buying tips

Zucchini should be relatively small – ideally 6 to 7 inches or shorter – especially for eating raw, sautéing or stir-frying.

Pick zucchini that are firm and fairly heavy for their size with a glossy skin.

Avoid zucchini with dull, nicked or pitted skin.

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