Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Giant Zucchini

     Well Company, we all know that I can't make pancakes.  And many of you know that I am afraid to cook with eggplant.  But one thing that I like and I can cook well with is zucchini.  When I was a kid and I lived at home with my parents, so you know that it's WAY back in the day, my mom and dad always had a garden in the backyard.  They put the same things in every year: peas, green beans, carrots, tomatoes, kohlrabi, the asparagus re-seeded itself year after year, radishes went at the end of the flower garden on the side of the house, outside the fence.  That's how it went.  Well one year Mom decided that she was going to plant zucchini.  And bless her heart for it, because she makes an amazing zucchini bread.  But she wasn't too terribly familiar with the growing aspects of the zucchini plant.  So she was blissfully unaware that one really only needs a hill or two to load a family of four with more than enough zucchini as she planted roughly ten.  Yeah, that's five times too much AT BEST!  So needless to say that we had way more zucchini than we could ever or would ever care to eat.  
     But I will give credit to my mom.  She went out and got about as creative as one can with zucchini.  Breads, muffins, just about anything baked.  Plus fried zucchini with bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Yum.  Have that and a little sweet corn and that is summer dinner at its finest.  So I have a special love of zucchini and I have come to add it in lots of dishes that one wouldn't add them in.  I love it in cacciatore.  Love it in spaghetti or baked ziti.  It's good in salads and stir fry and a million other things.  But even I am going to be stretching things because today I received two of the largest zucchini that I have ever seen in my life.
     Seriously, I don't even know how to begin dealing with these things.  I had to wedge these two things into my half-day pack backpack because I couldn't fit them any other way.  I tried to put them in the exposed flap on the back of my backpack that I use to hold my sweatshirts, tents, etc. and they wouldn't even fit in there.  Seriously, as I walked home the stitches on my backpack were straining with all their might trying to contain these things.  I went into the post office and they issued my zucchini their own ZIP Code.  It's nuts. 
     I don't even know how to store these things.  I have never really had to store them before because usually I receive a zucchini and I use it up making one thing.  But these things...I don't know.  They are gigantic.  I have a recipe for a dish that will use up one zucchini, but that will last me as leftovers for like three months.  I was thinking about making it for the kids at Camp Ramah but I think that they're gone and I am not sure it's kosher anyway.  But that still leaves me with the other one.  What am I to do with it?  I can't eat that much fried zucchini.  I can't afford to make that much cacciatore.  What the hell am I supposed to do?  I don't like salad that much either, and if I ate that much I would become a rabbit anyway.  And nobody wants that.  So what the hell am I to do.
     So here is the deal.  I am asking you, Company, for any ideas or recipes as to what I can do with an eleventy billion pound zucchini.  Seriously, this thing is longer than my forearm and weighs about as much as David Nathaniel's youngest daughter.  So help me make it into something tasty.  I might even share.  But if you give me bad ideas, maybe I won't.


Melissa said...

Dave, You should just shred it all up & freeze it in 2 cup portions. That way you can take it out to make zucchini bread in the dead of winter! Enjoy!

bankingplanes said...

You should make Zucchini Gratin. It gets "kinda fancy" but no big deal, who doesn't like to pretend they are a fabulous french chef once in a while???? Oh, and did I mention its delish?

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping
1 pound yellow onions, cut in 1/2 and sliced (3 large)
2 pounds zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick (4 zucchini)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup hot milk
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch) saute pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8 by 10-inch baking dish.

Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned.

Big Dave said...

Oh my God does that sound amazing! Thanks to both of you for the suggestions. I always thought about freezing but I didn't want soggy zucchini. I suppose that in bread it wouldn't matter anyway. Thanks again!