Posts Tagged ‘zucchini’

In the Bag: Baked Ratatouille

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve shared what we’ve been getting in our CSA bag, from Potomac Vegetable Farms. Of course tomatoes were the star over the past month or so, along with lots of beans, onions and garlic. Oddly, we went for three weeks without a zucchini, only to get two small ones last week. And of course now that my own, once-prolific basil succumbed in our last crushing heat wave, we aren’t getting it from the CSA either. As summer winds down, we continue to get peppers and squash (though summer squash is giving way to butternut), and eggplant.

Now I find eggplant quite lovely to look out, but they’ve been piling up in my fridge as I lacked the motivation to make something with them. I finally decided to try a ratatouille and searched the food blogs for inspiration. I came across this one from Smitten Kitchen, inspired by the movie. Well, duh. If a rat could make something delicious out of it, surely I could. Unfortunately the movie endorsement didn’t hold much sway with the boy, who declared that “only rats eat ratatouille!” I happened to find it quite delicious, with the addition of some cherry tomatoes from our garden and freshly-grated parmesan cheese. And aside from slicing the vegetables (which you can do earlier in the day, if you have time), it’s relatively fast as you simply arrange the sliced squash, peppers and eggplant in the baking dish, season, and toss in the oven. Make a side salad while it cooks and voila, a simple meatless supper to savor the waning days of summer. Enjoy!

Recipe: Baked Ratatouille
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano (unless you have fresh on hand)
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more to oil baking dish)

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush shallow baking dish with olive oil. Thinly slice the zucchini, eggplant and pepper. In the baking dish, spread tomato sauce on the bottom. Add garlic, and a pinch of salt. Over the sauce, arrange alternating slices of zucchini, pepper and eggplant in rows across the dish. Season with another pinch of salt and pepper.

Sprinkle oregano over vegetables, then tuck cherry tomato halves in between the rows. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Cover with a piece of parchment paper, trimmed to fit inside the pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until vegetables are tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from oven and sprinkle parmesan cheese over top. Serve warm or cold. Makes 4 servings.


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Quinoa-Stuffed Zucchini Boats (for Meatless Monday)

Friday, August 6th, 2010

If you garden or belong to a CSA, you’re likely searching for new ways to use up all that zucchini and summer squash right about now. These meatless stuffed zucchini, or “zucchini boats,” are a simple and tasty recipe that’s fast enough for a weeknight supper.

I use quinoa, a quick-cooking grain similar to cous cous, because of its high protein content. This recipe also includes some chopped mushrooms for added texture, in place of the meat. It’s also a good way to use up any stray half onions or peppers you may have in the fridge — I like to use red onion and pepper to make it more colorful, but you can use whatever you have on hand and of course mix up the vegetables according to your family’s tastes. If you have a child who objects to certain colors or vegetables, you can set aside some of the quinoa for his or her squash.

And, this recipe is great to make with older kids, ages 4 and up, who might enjoy hollowing out and filling the zucchini boats.

Recipe: Quinoa-Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium-sized zucchini
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby bella (or button) mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
  • fresh parsley
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions: Rinse and drain the quinoa. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, or until broth is fully absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scrape out the soft centers, leaving a hollow boat-shaped shell.

In a mixing bowl, gently toss the quinoa with the the chopped pepper, onion and mushrooms. Season with parsley, salt and pepper. Drizzle oil and vinegar over and stir to combine.

Arrange zucchini in a shallow baking dish. Scoop quinoa filling into the zucchini. Sprinkle mozzarella on top. Pour water into the pan to cover the bottom by 1/4 inch (this helps keep the zucchini moist while cooking). Bake for 35 minutes, until zucchini is tender when pricked with a fork. Turn on the broiler for about 2 minutes, just to brown the cheese. Serve 1 half as a side dish or 2 halves for a main course. Enjoy!

The FoodieTots family participates in Meatless Mondays, cutting out meat one day a week for our health and for the environment. (When we do eat meat, we choose local and grassfed whenever possible.) Visit the Meatless Monday pledge page to learn more, and sign up for weekly tips and recipes you can use to go meatless, too! And click here for more of our favorite family- friendly Meatless Monday recipes.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

This past weekend was the fall open house and potluck at our CSA farm, Potomac Vegetable Farms. We stopped by Crooked Run Orchard for apple and pumpkin* picking first. It was such a gorgeous, warm fall day to be out in the orchards. When we arrived at PVF, we had missed the hayride but set to work breaking apart garlic cloves to be planted for next spring. The potluck was full of wonderful, nutritious food and the kids had quite a spectacular hay-fight in the wagon.

For the potluck, I brought mini muffins because they’re easy finger foods, always popular, and guarantee there will be something the toddler will eat. I had been meaning to try a chocolate zucchini bread recipe, and came across this one. I modified it slightly to incorporate my local, organic buckwheat flour. (Adding fiber to compensate for the sugar!)

Recipe: Whole-Grain Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from The Barefoot Kitchen Witch

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c unbleached flour
  • 1 c buckwheat flour (or whole wheat)
  • 1/2 c turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 c oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 oz grated unsweetened fair-trade chocolate
  • 1 c shredded zucchini

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly oil muffin tin. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then gradually pour dry into wet and stir until smooth. Pour into muffin tin and bake for 12-15 minutes for mini muffins (18-22 for regular size muffins). Makes 36 mini muffins. Enjoy!

*Crooked Run uses integrated pest management (IPM) techniques which means their apples are minimally-sprayed, better than conventional but not organic. Their non-tree crops are “eco-ganic.

Pacific NW Snapshots: Barking Dog Farms

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

On last year’s trip to the Oregon coast, my mom and I visited the Lincoln City Farmers Market and came across the largest zucchini I’d ever seen. This year, we headed to the source, Barking Dog Farms, just south of Lincoln City at the base of the Siletz River. This was perhaps the greenest, lushest little farm I’ve ever seen, clearly benefiting from the cool, damp climate. The toddlers snacked on watermelon and picked dandelions while the rest of us checked out the offerings.

My sister-in-law chatted with the owner about their heirloom seed supplier as we drooled over the beautiful tomatoes, zucchini, and cut-to-order herbs and greens. I brought back a large, freshly harvested leek, garlic chives, romanesco zucchini, black russian tomato, pluots and some local goatzarella cheese from Fraga Farm. The leek and chives were used in my oven-roasted salmon, and I made a roasted zucchini, tomato and goatzarella salad to serve on the side. Just two of those hearty zucchini fed the entire family of 10!

Hitting the road soon? Check out Culinate’s “Local 50: Good things to eat in every state.”

Zucchini Tagliatelle Alfredo

Friday, June 27th, 2008

This was another improvisational pasta night dish, as my original plans to use the last of my fresh ricotta were thwarted by the cheese having spoiled (so tragic). Fortunately, I still had some cream from last week’s shortcake, so this evolved into a springy green alfredo sauce. I thought it was yummy, but the husband felt it would be better if I had used bacon instead of zucchini …. you could certainly add meat to this recipe if you’re so inclined. I bet some Italian sausage would be good.

Recipe: Zucchini Alfredo Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. shredded zucchini, strained/squeezed of excess liquid
  • 1 white onion (fresh CSA spring onion)
  • 1/3 c fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 c cream
  • 1/4 c grated parmiaggiano

Instructions:

Melt butter and olive oil in saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until onion begins to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in zucchini and cook 2 minutes more. Add pinch of salt and pepper and cream and cook about 5 minutes, until cream begins to bubble. Stir in parsley and cheese and remove from heat. Toss with cooked pasta (used tagliatelle here) and enjoy!

Submitted for next week’s Presto Pasta Night, hosted by Once Upon a Feast. Check out this week’s round-up at Chew on That.