Friday, July 30, 2010

Zillions of zucchinis (with recipes)

First off I want to apologize to any readers I may have for my long absence. Things were topsy-turvy for a while, but I'm finally writing a blog post again.

Now that it's midsummer I'm starting to harvest vegetables, including up till now onions, garlic, and herbs, but above all right now: zucchinis. I tried to solve the space problem by raising my own from seeds which promised "climbing zucchinis", i.e. that could be fastened to poles like tomatoes. Well, they did produce a longish main stem which I tied to poles, but also produced huge lateral branches that take up just as much room as conventional zucchinis. The two plants I have seem to bear twice as much fruit as normal zucchinis! Here are some impressions of how they're now dominating my hedged-in potager (click to enlarge):

Since I harvest up to four zucchinis a day, I've been experimenting with recipes and have come up with a few the family likes. Here are two of our favorites:

Zucchini-vegetable cream soup

Ingredients for four generous servings: 3 medium zucchinis, 1 potato, 1 medium onion, 1 clove garlic, 3 tomatoes, 2 small or 1 large carrot, 50 ml whipping cream, vegetable broth (granules or cubes), hand blender for pureeing.

Peel and chop the potato, carrots, onion, and garlic; chop the zucchini and tomatoes, about like this.

Sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes in a small amount of butter, then add and briefly sauté the zucchini, carrots and potato.

Add the tomatoes and broth to almost cover the vegetables. I use vegetable stock, but you could also use beef or chicken bouillon. Simmer until tender and puree coarsely. Stir in the whipping cream and season to taste. IMPORTANT: This soup needs lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Serve with freshly chopped herbs, a drizzle of cream and a dusting of freshly ground black pepper. I use a mixture of chopped chives, garlic chives, oregano and rocket.

Zucchinis gratinée

Ingredients for four servings: 4 zucchinis cut in half lengthwise, 2 tomatoes, about 100 g of gouda or parmesan, some day-old baguette, olive oil, salt, freshly ground black pepper. Butter to grease the baking dish.

Grease a baking dish, place the zucchinis in it and drizzle with olive oil. Salt and pepper generously.

Grate the cheese and baguette and mix together (the baguette has to be very dry). Sprinkle mixture over the zucchinis. Slice the tomatoes and distribute on top. Generously salt and pepper the tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.

Bake for about half an hour in medium oven or until the zucchinis are tender and the topping is slightly browned.
Serve with pasta or rice and tomato sauce.

Guten appetit!