The great zucchini

Cooking with Cathie

Cathie CampbellAugust 16, 2012 

I guess it wouldn't be right if I let summer go by without mentioning the great and abundant zucchini and ways to cook this vegetable. So, let us join hands and go exploring in Zuke Land. It's as much fun as a Southern California theme park and resort ... right? Okay, I stretched the truth a bit, but you really can have some fun turning this green squash into delicious meals.

My favorite two ways are to slice the zukes into slabs, dip them in batter and then fry them up. But you will need some zucchini that are larger than the little teeny ones you find in most stores. If you have leftovers from a dinner meal, the fried slabs are even better the next day (no need to heat them up) placed on top of a slice of artisan French bread and eaten like an open-faced sandwich. The second favorite of mine is to parboil whole zucchini, cut them in half (lengthwise) and scoop out the middle, where the seeds are. Then I mix the scooped-out portion with bread crumbs, an egg, and a ground meat mixture (can be beef, turkey or a meat-loaf blend) and my favorite seasonings, then stuff the zucchini. Pour a little tomato sauce over the top, and a bit of Parmesan cheese and pop them into the oven until the meat is done and the zucchini is tender. I was raised on both of these methods of zuke cookery, so perhaps that's why they are such favorites.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden -- one that wasn't raided and cleaned out by local wildlife -- here are some recipes you might enjoy.

Quick tip: For new cooks, keep in mind that when a recipe says it makes 8 servings, it does not usually mean that it will easily feed 8 people. Most "servings" are counted as 1/2 cup of food, and that's a pretty scant amount, depending on what else is being served along with it. There are times, however, when "servings" will fill someone up. Like if you are allowing one Cornish game hen (or even a half) per person or half a cantaloupe or a whole fish fillet, steak, etc.

Hope you're all enjoying your summer so far.

Zucchini cobbler.

It is fun to refrain from telling people that this recipe does not have apples in it, until after they've tasted it.

  • 8 cups zucchini, prepared (see note)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 can (10 ounces) crushed pineapple (do not drain)
  • 1 box yellow or white Jiffy Cake Mix
  • 1/2 to 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
  1. Note: Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds and cut into 1/2 -inch slices. Cook in boiling water until tender; drain, then cool in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain zucchini slices once more.
  2. Preheat oven to 350. In mixing bowl, place zucchini, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, cream of tartar and lemon juice, stir well. Then add pineapple and juice; mix well, but do not over beat.
  3. Pour mixture into a greased 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Evenly spread the dry cake mix over the top, then drizzle melted butter over the cake mix. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top, if desired.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until cake tests done.

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.

Zucchini pancakes

  • 2 cups finely shredded unpeeled zucchini (two 8-inch zucchini required)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  1. In a large bowl, mix eggs and zucchini; add flour, sugar, salt and olive oil and blend well. Then add baking powder and mix well.
  2. Preheat griddle or skillet to a medium-high heat. Add some oil to pan in between every batch of pancakes. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter onto hot griddle for each pancake. Cook until bubbles on the top of the pancake almost stop, about 1 1/2 minutes; turn pancake over and continue to cook for another 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until pancakes are done.
  3. When done, add some melted butter to tops of pancakes and place in a preheated 250-degree oven to keep warm until the remainder are cooked, or serve immediately. Makes about 16 pancakes.

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