Tag Archives: zucchini

A Sunday Twofer: Zucchini-Tomato Salad and Pesto

9 Aug

zucchini tomato pesto salad

A friend had given us a giant zucchini, one that will probably feed us for at least three meals, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. She had also given us some lovely tomatoes. And I had half an onion in the fridge. So I was really happy to see a recipe in the paper just a day or so ago for a zucchini, tomato and basil salad.

Problem was I had no fresh basil. Another friend had given us a big bag of basil a few weeks earlier, and I had already turned it into pesto! No worries; I decided to make the salad using pesto and a little red wine vinegar instead of the basil and vinaigrette. It worked great!

I also discovered I had already run the tomato, zucchini and basil salad recipe, or one very much like it, in 2013, the year I started this blog.

I figured if I’m now going to give you the variation using pesto, I should give you the pesto recipe as well, because it’s so easy. So the basil recipe follows the salad recipe. I usually make half a batch, using two cups of basil, and then freeze the pesto in small amounts (enough to make a nice pasta sauce for two to four people). Freeze it in an ice cube tray, if you have one, then save the frozen cubes in a plastic freezer bag.

Of course you can use store-bought pesto if you don’t want to make your own.

In 2013 I also wrote about what to do with too much basil. It was one of my earliest pieces for this blog. You can find it here.

Zucchini and Tomato Salad with Pesto

Ingredients:

2 – 3 small zucchini or an equivalent amount from a large zucchini, sliced or diced
3 plum tomatoes or an equivalent amount of cherry/grape tomatoes, chopped
½ small onion, sliced thin
1 Tbs. fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley
2 Tbs. pesto, homemade or jarred
1 Tbs. red wine vinegar

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and allow to sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.

Serves 4

Basic Pesto

Ingredients:

4 cups packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
¾ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
6 cloves garlic, or more to taste
¼ cup olive oil
Warm water as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine all the ingredients and pulse until smooth but not a paste. Adjust seasonings and pulse again to mix. Add a little bit of warm water if it seems too thick.

If you don’t want to serve it all at once, freeze it in small quantities (an ice cube tray is a great way to do this).

Serve either warm or at room temperature. You might want to thin the pesto with a little milk or cream before using it as a sauce.

Makes 2 cups (enough to serve 8 or more as a pasta sauce)

Vegetarian chili

5 May

chili vegetarian

Here is a very good social isolation recipe, because it takes a long time to measure out the long list of ingredients and it makes a large amount, so you’ll have enough for several meals. It lasts a long time in the fridge, and it freezes well. So make sure you have everything on hand and start measuring! Once you’ve done that, the cooking is a snap.

You can control the heat mainly by the amount of cayenne pepper; the other spices add more flavor than heat.

The original recipe called for less zucchini and a small eggplant, but we didn’t really like the eggplant in it so we used more zuke. I also don’t care for green pepper so I use two red, yellow or orange peppers.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
¼ to ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbs. dried cumin
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 green bell pepper, julienned
4 small zucchini or yellow squash, or some of each (about 1 lb.), cut in 1-inch cubes
4 plum tomatoes, peeled (soak in boiling water for 1 minute; peels slip right off)
1 (14-oz.) can crushed or diced tomatoes
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or ½ tsp. dried)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
2 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Grated rind of half an orange or lemon
2 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. ketchup
⅓ cup oil
3 cans beans (any combination of kidney beans, cannelini beans, black beans, pinto beans, Great Northern beans, black-eyed peas), drained
¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 Tbs. dried)
Optional toppings: chopped red onion, sour cream, shredded Cheddar or Mexican Blend cheese

Directions:

Combine the salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika, mustard, cayenne, and cumin in a small bowl. Combine the thyme, rosemary, basil, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, rind, honey and ketchup in another bowl.

Heat the oil and fry the first group of spices for a few minutes. Add the onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper and cook for about 5 minutes until the vegetables are soft. Add the second group of seasonings, the zucchini, and the tomatoes and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the beans and parsley and cook for another 10 minutes or until the zucchini is soft.

Serve over brown rice to make a complete meal.

Top, if desired, with chopped red onion, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Serves at least 8

Oven “fried” zucchini

5 Mar

zucchini oven friedHere’s a nice way to make zucchini that even vegetable haters will love! You’ll want to slice the zucchini about a quarter-inch thick. That sounds really specific, but it doesn’t have to be. I was trying to figure out how to say “not too thin, not too thick” so I looked on a ruler and a quarter-inch seems about right. The point is, you want the slices to not fall apart when they’re baked, but you don’t want them to be so thick that they won’t cook all the way through quickly.

For the breadcrumbs, a mixture of panko and regular breadcrumbs is good. If you don’t have seasoned breadcrumbs, just add some parsley, a grind of black pepper, a sprinkle of garlic powder, a pinch of paprika, and a pinch of any other herbs you like.

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini, sliced diagonally
1 egg, beaten
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
non-stick cooking spray or olive oil in a spritzer

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray it with non-stick spray or oil. Place the breadcrumbs on a plate.

Dip each zucchini slice in the egg, drain off excess, and then roll the slice in the breadcrumbs and place it on the baking sheet.

When all the slices are on the sheet, spray the tops lightly with oil.

Bake for about 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Baking times may vary, depending on your oven. Both sides should be golden brown.

 

Sephardic Zucchini and Chickpea Stew

31 Dec

Sephardic Zucchini & Chickpea StewThis recipe is adapted from one created by the wonderful Annabel Cohen, who made it for a cooking demonstration I attended. I halved her recipe, but it still makes a large amount. It can be your main dish or a nice side dish, especially if your table includes a vegetarian guest. It’s good served with rice or a similar starch that can soak up the juices.

The spices give it this dish an exotic, Middle Eastern flavor. The photo is by my friend Mandy Garver, who got the recipe from me and now makes it often, especially since two of her kids are vegetarians.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ cup chopped celery
3 cups (2 cans) cooked chick peas, drained
2 cups zucchini, or summer squash, or a mixture, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup fresh chopped parsley or ⅓ cup dried parsley
1 large can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
½ cup sliced or slivered almonds
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
Grated peel of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon wedges for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté onions, garlic and celery until the vegetables are soft. Place the cooked vegetables in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Toss well to combine. (Actually, to save time and reduce the number of dirty dishes, I usually mix everything in the casserole or baking pan I’m going to cook it in.) Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish or casserole. Bake, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. (Or cook in a slow cooker for 6 hours or more.)

Serves 6 to 10

Zucchini Cake

12 Feb

zucchini cake from FlickrI’m posting this recipe today in honor of the birthday of  Lois Armstrong, one of my oldest and best friends, who introduced me to this lovely cake. Unlike most zucchini cakes and breads, it does not have cinnamon or other spices. The pineapple, vanilla, nuts and raisins give it a nice flavor, and the zucchini adds pretty green specks. If you don’t tell the kids that it has zucchini in it, they’ll love it!

I confess the photo is not an actual zucchini cake baked by me. With only two of us at home, we don’t make too many desserts of this type except for company dinners or potlucks. And we usually make this cake in the summer, when we have a glut of home-grown zucchini. So I grabbed this shot off the Web (photo attribution at the end). You’ll just have to trust me when I say this recipe makes a pretty and delicious cake! And happy birthday, Lois!

Ingredients:

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
½ cup chopped nuts
½ cup raisins (preferably golden)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/betsyweber/3679874866/”>betsyweber</a&gt; via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;