Tag Archive for Zucchini

Summer Squash and Zucchini

It’s Summer! Summer goes hand in hand with many great fruits and vegetables but two of the most prolific summer veggies are squash and zucchini. These are great but often times are cooked in water or until mushy and then the flavor is just gone.

The best way to really bring out the truly delicious flavors of summer squash and zucchini is to roast / grill / lightly sauté them. Regardless of the cooking method, the preparation is the same.

Level of difficulty – Easy; Servings 4-6; Cook time 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

3 summer squash, sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4″ thick rounds
1 onion, sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper
other spices if you want (oregano, chili powder, celery seed, coriander)

Preparing Summer Squash and Zucchini:

Wash the squash and zucchini. Slice off the ends and discard. Slice the onion, squash and zucchini.

Saute:

Place all ingredients in a medium-high sauté pan and sauté for about 10 minutes. Don’t turn too often so you get some brown spots on the squash. Color is flavor!!
saute summer squash and zuchhini

Roast:

Toss the vegetables in the olive oil and spices. Add to baking tray and place in 450 degree oven turning once. They will take about 10 minutes.

Grill:

Same as roasting but just place on a high heat grill, turn once and they will probably take closer to 7 minutes. Cut the vegetables a little thicker so they hold up on the grill well. Some people like to use a grill pan on their grill so they don’t lose them through the regular grates.

Zucchini Crisps with Basil Dipping Sauce

Zucchini Crisps with Basil Dipping Sauce

I had a very large zucchini in my refrigerator that I had bought from my local grocery store. I was looking for a new way to cook it and remembered that I had recently seen something about “zucchini crisps”. Evidently, zucchini crisps are the new potato chip! They are healthy, kid friendly and easy to make. You can serve them as a side dish or an appetizer.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10min; Cook Time – 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Zucchini Crisps:

1-2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 in. rounds

1/4 c. milk

1/4 c. panko bread crumbs

1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 c. shredded parmesan cheese

Basil Dipping Sauce:

1/4 c. plain greek yogurt

1/4 c. chopped fresh basil

1 T. horseradish sauce

3 tsp. Dijon mustard

4 garlic cloves, crushed

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Wire rack

Preparing Zucchini Crisps with Basil Dipping Sauce:

Preheat oven to 425 Degrees. Spray a wire rack with non-stick cooking spray and place the rack onto a baking sheet. Combine the grated parmesan, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, garlic salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Place the milk in a separate bowl. Dip the zucchini rounds in the milk. Dredge the rounds in the breadcrumb mixture. Place on wire rack. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until crisp.

Zucchini Crisps

While the zucchini is baking, make the Basil Dipping Sauce. Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix well. Put in the refrigerator to chill (can be made ahead of time).

When the zucchini crisps are done, transfer to platter. Scoop the dipping sauce into serving bowl. Serve immediately!

Zucchini Crisps with Basil Dipping Sauce

Variations:

Try a different dipping sauce if you like, maybe even a marinara!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awesome Appetizer Idea – Zucchini Flatbread with Boursin Cheese

zucchini and onion flatbread

I made this zucchini flatbread with Boursin cheese for a party a couple of years ago and it was loved by all. It’s something about the cheese that makes this addicting. I found it in Bon Apetite magazine. If you are a moderately skilled home cook, you should get a subscription to Bon Apetite! It also makes a great gift for the cook in your life.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 20 min; Cook Time -25 min

Ingredients:

1 portion of pizza dough (fresh in the bakery section of your grocery store or in the refrigerated section)

1 package of boursin cheese (recipe called for Alouette which is also great, I just prefer Boursin)

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese  – really need to use a microplane for this so that it is nice and fluffy.

3T chopped fresh parsley

1 small red onion – emphasis on the small, I’ll explain why below

1 zucchini/squash – sliced in rings very thinly

Olive oil

Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Microplane

Pizza cutter

How to make the zucchini flatbread:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Dust your counter top with some flour. Roll out dough until relatively thin and big. Try to roll into a rectangular shape. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s supposed to be a bit rustic.

NOTE: For these pictures, our power went out (while I had guests over, ughh!) Check out our post on improvisation in a situation like this. Anyway, the pictures are dark and I had to roll more circular because I had to cook it on the grill and my pizza stone is round)

boursin vs alouette

Told you it was dark – the lights went out!

Once rolled out, spread half of the Boursin on half of the dough. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the parmesan on the same half of the dough. Sprinkle some of the parsley.

Now for the fun part, fold over the dough onto the half with the cheese. Be gentle. You don’t need to seal the edges and don’t push down on it. You’ll want it to be a bit on the fluffy side when it cooks.

cheesy flatbread appetizer

zucchini flatbread

You’ll need to transfer the dough at this point to your baking sheet. If you want, you could have rolled the dough out on the parchment paper, but that annoys me because it slides all around. So, I do it directly on a floured counter top. Anyway, to move it, use your rolling pin and gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin, move to the baking sheet and unroll back onto the sheet.

awesome appetizer idea

 

ideas with zucchini

boursin cheese recipe

Since I had to place this on a pizza stone instead of a baking sheet, it was a little big. I just cut the corner off and baked it separately.

Top with Boursin and Parmesan again.

appetizer with boursin cheese

For the onion, you want a small onion because you are going to try and have perfectly round slivers of onion that you will overlap to create a nice row of onion on the flatbread. The problem is that most grocery stores just have the giant red onions. So, if you find a small onion, remove about 1/2 inch of the outer rings of the onion and slice super thin. If you cannot find a small onion, then we’ll continue with the “rustic” look by making small slivers of onion that we will still put in a row just not perfect rings.

Arrange a row of the zucchini along one side of the dough, overlapping slightly. Then make a second row of the onion. Back to the zucchini and repeat with the onion, etc until the dough is covered.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

zucchini and alouette flatbread

Notice, I did not find a small red onion so I have less than perfect rings but doesn’t it look ‘rustic’?!

 

flatbread appetizer recipe

Cooking on the grill due to our power outage

Bake for about 25 minutes until edges are a golden brown. Sprinkle with a bit more parsley, cut into squares and serve.

flatbread hors d'ouevre idea

Yay! Power came back on so I ended up finishing in the oven as the grill was taking too long.

Variations:

Change the toppings to whatever you like. The zucchini is great because it is colorful and very mild in flavor. If you don’t like zucchini, I’d be shocked if you did not like it on this. However, I’ve also added tomatoes, just seed them a bit so that they don’t make the bread soggy.

Zucchini with Feta Cheese and Tomatoes

zucchini recipe

These are a bit unique and a great way to bring flavor to a vegetable that has minimal flavor on its own.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 20 min; Cook Time – 12 min

Ingredients:

2 medium sized zucchini
1/3 lb block of feta cheese
Pint of grape tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Mandolin or a really good knife and knife skills to slice the zucchini ultra thin
Toothpicks

Preparing Zucchini with Feta Cheese and Tomatoes:

Slice the zucchini lengthwise and ultra thin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Zucchini and feta
One at a time, place some feta cheese in the middle. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Repeat for all zucchini strips. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a bit more olive oil. Add tomatoes.

easy zucchini preparation

Bake in oven at 450 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.

zucchini recipe

Variations:

Try different cheeses, top with marinara sauce instead of the tomatoes

Meal Ideas:

Shown here with marinated flank steak and corn on the cob


Sauted Zucchini Ribbons

Sauted zucchini ribbons

I’m pretty much the only one in my family who will eat zucchini. My kids don’t like it because it’s a green vegetable that is not broccoli or green beans. My husband doesn’t care for it too much because it can get mushy. However, peeling the zucchini into thin strips and then quickly sautéing them make them edible and enjoyable for everyone! It doesn’t take long and looks very impressive on a plate.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 5 minutes

Ingredients:

3 zucchini
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Vegetable Peeler

Preparation of Sauted Zucchini Ribbons:

Wash zucchini and cut off the ends. With a vegetable peeler, peel the zucchini as if you were peeling a carrot. Peel strips all the way to the center of the zucchini. Heat olive oil and garlic in medium sauté pan over medium heat. Saute for about 5 minutes until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sauted zucchini ribbons

Meal Ideas:

Make some pork kabobs to serve over brown rice. Add the zucchini ribbons to the plate for a vegetable and a bit of color!

Pork with brown rice and zucchini

Perfectly Roasted Zucchini

Roasted Zucchini

Originally part of our Valentine’s luncheon for 70 people, roasted zucchini is (1)simple (2)fresh (3)inexpensive and (4)delicious! I love a side dish like this when cooking for a crowd for all of these reasons and because of the process to prepare it. I can get it completely prepared other than the last-minute cooking. Then, after the meat is done and is ready for its mandatory rest period, the veggie can cook and be perfect!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – this depends on number of servings. Plan a minute per serving. Cook Time – 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Zucchini – This depends on the size of the zucchini and the number of servings. For 70 servings, I planned on 3 servings per zucchini and purchased 23 zucchini.
Spices – enough to sprinkle over all the sliced zucchini. The spices I used for this meal were:

    Salt
    Pepper
    Paprika
    Garlic Powder
    Oregano
    Olive Oil

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

If doing for 70, you need large baking sheets and a lot of oven space!

Preparing Perfectly Roasted Zucchini:

Wash zucchini and slice off ends. Make an extremely thin slice to remove the skin on two opposite long sides. This will allow each slice to lay flat on the baking sheet and remove some of the bitterness of the skin. Don’t peel the entire zucchini as you need the skin to hold it together.

Slice thin slices of the zucchini. Depending on the size of the zucchini, you should be able to get 4-5 thin, long slices. Then cut these slices in half.Place on the baking sheets, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and spices and toss to coat. Make sure zucchini is in a single layer on the baking sheet.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 450 degrees. When at temperature and ready to go, place baking sheets in oven. The zucchini should be done in 10 minutes or less.

Important Tips:

Slice layers in equal widths for even cooking. About 1/4 inch is good.

Variations:

Change the spices. Zucchini doesn’t have a ton of flavor and will take on what is provided. Try adding parmesan cheese and a bit of diced tomato for an Italian flair. Try curry powder for an Indian flair. Try soy sauce and a dash (and I mean a dash!) of sesame oil for an Asian flair. Maybe a bit of sriracha too!

Meal Ideas:

Great side for just about any meal

This was the vegetable for the 2013 Valentine’s Luncheon at my church. If you missed the 3 part series on preparing for this event, click on the link above.


Special Occasion Luncheon for 70 People (pt 3 of 3)

What a day! I’d love to say everything went off without a hitch, but that would not be 100% accurate….However, it was pretty darn close. Thanks so much to Denise for being with me step for step. It actually worked out so well that we had several moments of twiddling our thumbs in the kitchen.

I arrived at the church at 8:30 after dropping the kids at school. After unloading everything from the car, it was time to get organized. I turned on the ovens to preheat, started simmering the Red-Eye Glaze again (after simmering for 4 hrs the night before, it still was not reduced enough to a glaze yet). I then started with the white bean ragout. The largest pot I had at home did not have enough room for the beans too, so I transferred about 3/4 of the ragout to a new pot, turned on the heat and started opening can after can after can of cannellini beans. After opening 20 cans of beans manually and rinsing them, I was happy when Denise arrived. With the beans added and the pot warming up, they were done other than final tasting and tweaking for best flavors. But that will come later.

Next was the vinaigrette to both marinate the vegetables on the salad and for the dressing. Denise chopped up the artichokes, hearts of palm and roasted red peppers. I made the vinaigrette with red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano and olive oil. Done and in the fridge!

We moved on to the bread. We wanted something with some crunch and to help sop up the yummy ragout, so we decided on crostinis. I had bought some good crusty bread from the Costco bakery, we sliced thin rounds, brushed moderately with olive oil, dusted with garlic powder, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and popped them in the oven. We made 3 1/2 large trays (well, technically 4 but I burned some and had to toss them out). We made these early as the zucchini was going to take the oven space for the last-minute preparation.
Luncheon for 70

Next up, the pork tenderloins. I brought my All-Clad Double Burner Griddle (gotta get one if you don’t have one. Perfect for pancakes, quesidillas, grilled sandwiches, etc).
We used this to quickly sear the meat on all sides to provide color, texture and flavor to the meat. Doing this for 20 individual loins took about 30-40 minutes. Denise chopped the parsley for the garnish, washed and trimmed the zucchini, and topped the loins with their first coating of the glaze. Did I mention that it was fantastic to have Denise with me this year!!
Luncheon for 70

Quick check of the clock and we are ahead of schedule! So, on to the zucchini. A lot of people don’t like zucchini and I really have no idea why. When you ask them, they generally say it is mushy, has no flavor, or it is watery. Once again, this is in the preparation. Yes, zucchini (like most vegetables) is probably 90% water. So, why would you boil it in water and expect it to taste like something other than water? For this preparation, we opted on roasting (best way to bring out a veggies true flavors). We sliced them thin lengthwise, coated them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and oregano. Then laid them out on three large sheet trays ready to pop in the oven 10 minutes prior to service.
Roasted Zucchini

Time to look at the list again and the clock. It’s only about 10:30! Bread-done;Salad-prep’d;zucchini-prep’d; beans-simmering;pork-prep’d. Wow! Way ahead of schedule. We took a breath, I showed Denise how pretty the Fellowship Hall was decorated, talked through the service aspect and returned to the kitchen.

Meat in the oven at 11:00, glazed 2 times while cooking and again when we took them out. They completed in about 30 minutes which gave us 30 minutes to let them rest before cutting them, always key with any meat!!
Pork Tenderloins

We decided to go ahead and toss the salad, plate it and let the servers put them on the tables for all the guests for when they sat down.
Salad

Once that was done, it was time to cut the pork and get ready for the craziness of plating about 65 plates as quickly and cleanly as possible. We recruited a couple of volunteers for the service line and we were off. Time to eat and take a breath!! Everything was really well received and very much appreciated. We received so many wonderful comments about the meal but my personal favorite was the deep and sincere gratitude for the love that was put into each dish.

Thanks to Bruce Dick for most of these great pictures.
Missed part 1 or part 2? Click on the links.