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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Got ZUCCHINI?


Although I do not have any home grown zucchini of my own (my Italian farm boy isn't growing it this year.....)....'tis the ZUCCHINI season.  So,  I am patiently waiting for all of my zucchini farmer friends to call me up and say "NEED ANY ZUCCHINI?" 
To which I will respond...."As a matter of fact, I do need me some ZUCCHINI.....hand it over!"
In preparation of that momentous phone call, I spent some of my 1960's, 1970's and 1980's TV-watching time (while staying with my father) pouring through online sources such as Pinterest for new recipes and going through some of my trusty menu diaries seeking some zucchini recipes I would like to repeat.
As much as I love finding new recipes--I have to admit that I love, love, love my recipe and menu diaries.  They are in date order so I can never really look up recipes by any specific ingredient.  Therefore, I am always forced into going page-by-page looking at each entry and looking at my little scibbled notes---about the occasion, about the guests, about the menu, the table settings, any other tidbits of interest and there's always little sprinklings of comments about who loved what, what I might change next time I make it....and on and on and on.  Some of them make me laugh...other times I find I am *THIS* close to tears.  And, other times, I realize I may have had just a little too much wine or one too many cocktails when I was writing the notes....God knows *whatthehell* I was talking about!
So, as you can see....these diaries are like storybooks .....I  can get so lost in them......
What a e perfect way to get through those long hours of Barney Fife's and Aunt Bee's  ditzy yet well-intentioned antics and the random violence in Police Chief Bill Gillespie's Mississippi town!!!
Although I must admit, some of the recipes had my cravings in overdrive--it took everything I had not to run to the store and get all the ingredients and begin a zucchinithon!   But, when you are large and in charge of a rambuctious 94 year old.....you can't go too far....
So, I had to settle for just savouring them as I sat there.....saving my calories for when my father demanded his ice cream.....I couldn't let the man eat ice cream alone....
 Anyway.....there were 2 specific recipes that I could just taste as I sat there!  
 Given that I made both of these recipes before--thus being able to vouch for their wonderfulness--I wanted to share them with you to help you as you plan on how you will use all of your zucchini this zucchini season......  

 SCALLOPED ZUCCHINI
According to my diary ramblings, I served this easy,  delicious dish in August  2010 with grilled lemon garlic chicken, grilled corn-on-the cob with basil butter and peach cobbler. And...my notes indicated that we drank lots of mojitos! (no wonder I don't remember much about this evening!) We were hosting a small gathering as a farewell to our next door neighbors who were moving back to West Lafayette, IN.   Evidently, we could not eat on the deck due to a severe storm that came rolling in.  But, everyone raved about the scalloped zucchini!  And, my notes also indicated that I wore a new maxi dress that everyone referred to as a "hostess gown."   (yes, those are the kind of notes I write down after a few libations.....)



  1. 3 large zucchini
  2. 3 Tbsp. butter
  3. 3 Tbsp. flour
  4. 1 1/2 cups milk
  5. 2 cups shredded Italian Blend Cheese, divided
  6. salt
  7. pepper
  8. garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking or casserole dish with non stick cooking spray.
  3. Slice your zucchini into 1/4 inch slices
  4. Layer the bottom of the casserole dish with half of the sliced zucchini.
  5. Season the layer of zucchini with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  6. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter on low, then add the flour.
  7. Whisk together until incorporated and golden brown.
  8. Slowly add the milk and continue whisking until smooth and thickened.
  9. When it’s smooth, add 1 cup of the cheese and stir until completely melted.
  10. Remove from the heat.
  11. Pour half of the cheese sauce across the first layer of zucchini.
  12. Place the remaining zucchini on top of the sauce and make your second layer.
  13. Season that layer well with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  14. Cover with remaining sauce and top with the other 1 cup of shredded cheese.
  15. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes.
  16. Place the zucchini under the broiler for a few minutes, but watch closely being careful to not let it burn.
  17. Remove from the oven and serve warm (NOT HOT!)

SEARED SCALLOPS WITH ZUCCHINI AND GOAT CHEESE
This was a "show-off dinner" that we were hosting August 2012 for some visiting  associates (who are known foodies!) of my husband's.  THIS RECIPE I DO REMEMBER.....because I actually made it twice.  The first time was the test run because I get a little skitchy when I cook scallops (worried they will get tough!). Since I turned the first cooking of this recipe into a party by inviting my  2 spirited girlfriends over to taste test, I was super duper careful. It turned out impeccable!   I will never forget how we just sat there eating and moaning with delight.  For the actual dinner with my guests, we started out with  a little Apertivo before dinner with some classic Italian cocktails, cheeses and nibbles.  Thankfully, the scallops with zucchini turned out just as amazing as the first time.  Although....I should tell you that there was no moaning!   I served this with the Proud Italian Cook's Caprese Style Portobellas on top of Spring Mix drizzled with a balsamic reduction and risotto with marscapone and basil.  To end it sweetly, we served Lemoncello on ice, iced capaccinos and a gorgeous tray of cannoli and tiramsu petites, rum balls and cheesecake balls rolled in pastachios and chocolate from this tantalizing den of sin.  The notes that I scrawled--- "an elegant summer dinner that should score me some jewelry..."
  • 2 dozen sea scallops
  • Oil suitable for high heat cooking (I used coconut oil)
  • 2-3  zucchini, sliced thinly into ribbons
  • 2 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • good splash of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup light stock (I used seafood stock)
  • Juice from 1lemon
  • 2-4 ounce logs of soft, fresh goat cheese
  • lots of basil leaves, julienned
  • Coarse salt (sea salt or kosher salt) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pat the sea scallops dry with paper towels.  Lightly season with salt and pepper, and set the scallops aside.
In a saute pan, heat  butter with a splash of olive oil over medium heat.  Cook the shallots for about a minute – but not long enough to brown.  Add the stock to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Toss in the zucchini ribbons and cook for a few minutes, continuing to toss the zucchini,  until it is just tender and the liquid in the pan has reduced a little.  Stir in 1/2 of the goat cheese with the lemon juice, until the goat cheese has melted and the liquid in the pan is sauce-like.  Stir in some of the basil, saving some for the final garnish.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat, but keep warm.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until VERY hot (cast iron is good, but any heavy-bottomed skillet will work).  Add a very thin layer high-heat oil) to the pan, swirl to coat, and immediately add scallops, flat side down.  Do not crowd the pan – you may need to cook the scallops in two batches, depending on how big your skillet is.  DO NOT move the scallops – sear them for 2 minutes, then turn and sear for about a minute (maybe 1 1/2 minutes) on the other side.  It is important not to overcook the scallops or they will be rubbery and tough.  They should be nicely seared on the outside, but should still be a little translucent-looking in the middle as you look at them from the side.  They will feel a little springy to the touch – not stiff.  When they are done, remove them from the pan and keep warm while you finish cooking them all.
To serve, place a mound of zucchini noodles on a plate, and place the scallops around it.  Add a dollup of the remaining goat cheese to the top, and garnish with the rest of the julienned basil.  Enjoy!


GET YOUR ZUCCHINI ON!!!

1 comment:

FitBy40 said...

I'm wishing I planted zucchini this year. I didn't but have been buying it like mad from the grocery store.
Great recipes!