Monday, August 10, 2015

Gad= Zukes

Zucchini is in abundance right now,thanks to it being a garden favorite. By now almost everyone in the States has gotten a few from their gardens, or from a relative, friend or neighbor. This popular veggie should be cooked before it's stockpiled in fridges and pantries. There's a few tasty dishes that can be made, using the goodness of the season.

Zucchini or courgettes are summer squash and have to be treated like any squash. Before you do anything with them, scrub them to get rid of any residual dirt or pesticides. They can be frozen however most chefs recommend blanching the veggie first. Blanching is a easy process that is just a quick cook in hot water for only one minute. Doing such deactivates the enzymes that would otherwise cause the squash to become mushy or discolored. Do NOT add salt to the water too because it will soften the cell walls and again cause mushiness. Afterwards ,plunge the pieces in an ice water bath . One shocked or bathed arrange the piece son a baking sheet and pat dry with  paper towel to reduce ice crystals. They can be kept up to three months in the freezer. As for the fresh ones ,tightly wrap them in Saran wrap and store in the fridge. What is great about zucchini is that you can make them any way. Cut, dice , even turn into veggie spaghetti. They are one of the easiest vegetables to work with.

What are some good zucchini recipes? One of the simplest is slicing the zucchini into "coins" and then sautéing them in a mix of olive oil and butter (or margarine). Add  1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic along with salt and pepper for taste. This is a great side to any meat ,especially chicken or London Broil. You can add tomatoes and onions for a spin on ratatouille. This alone with French bread is an excellent meal , quick to make and satisfying to eat.If you're looking for trendy and healthy then make zucchini chips. These are baked coins with the addition of olive oil . Unlike kale ,that only takes a few minutes to crisp up, zucchini chips do take two hours in a 225 degree Farenheit. For a heartier dish, then make zucchini lasagna where sliced zucchini subs in for the lasagna noodles.The veggie can also be used in sweet recipes too. There's nothing like  zucchini bread.This spicy treat only takes two cups of grated zucchini. It's a great way of getting the kids to eat their veggies and it can even be turned into a muffin recipe.

Enjoy zucchini season. Make it as a delicious side or main dish. Have it as a fun snack or sweet dessert. Any way is a good way because it is a home chef's dream, tasty , healthy and versatile to use.

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