Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bumper Crop Cooking

My mom was my inspiration to dig up new new-to-me recipes for zucchini. One day she told me that she froze SEVENTEEN loaves of zucchini bread! This was all in an attempt to use the zucchini from her garden and anything she inherited from friends. These 17 loaves were in addition to the loaves they ate fresh from the oven and the other recipes that used up zucchini in some fashion.

I started to think…there has to be another way. And so began my search for new recipes that breathe life back into those summer staples. You know how the story goes: you grow zucchini and have to use it up, then a friend leaves a bag of it on your porch, a co-worker brings some in to share, and on and on. I hope these recipes will give you a little inspiration the next time you find your countertops piled high with fresh summer zucchini, corn, tomatoes, or cantaloupe.

The recipes included below are:
  • Roasted Tomato Zucchini Boats
  • Grilled Zucchini with Lemon Vinaigrette
  • Baked Zucchini Sticks
  • Carrot Zucchini Muffins
  • Tomatoes Stuffed with Prosciutto and Mozzarella
  • Tomato and Corn Risotto
  • Honey Lime Cantaloupe
  • 20 Ideas for Corn and Cantaloupe
 Roasted Tomato Zucchini Boats


 2 zucchini

 3 cloves garlic, minced

 ¼ c olive oil, plus more for drizzling

 2 t kosher salt

 1 t fresh cracked black pepper

 2 large tomatoes or 4 Roma tomatoes

 ¼ c bread crumbs

 ½ c Mozzarella, shredded or cubed

 ¼ c Parmesan cheese



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings to taste.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Trim a thin piece off each bottom to help the zucchini sit in the baking dish. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds in the center of the zucchini. Place zucchini in a 9x13 baking dish. Brush the surface with the mixture of olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Slice the tomatoes into ¼ inch slices. Place the tomatoes along the center of each zucchini. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the tomatoes and zucchini.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and sprinkle with mozzarella. Return the dish to the oven and place under the broiler until the cheese begins to brown.

Remove from the oven and drizzle with a little olive oil and add a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese.

Grilled Zucchini with Lemon Vinaigrette


 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise

 1 t olive oil

 Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

 1 T pine nuts, toasted

 1 T feta cheese, crumbled

 1 T basil, chopped

Lemon Vinaigrette:

 1 T olive oil

 ½ T Dijon mustard

 ½ lemon, zest and juice

 Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste


 Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust the seasonings to taste and set aside.

Toss the zucchini with the olive oil and season with the salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini until grill marks appear, approximately 2 minutes. Flip the wedges and grill and additional 2 minutes.

Cut each spear in half to create shorter pieces for serving. Transfer to a serving dish.

Toss gently with the vinaigrette, pine nuts, feta, and basil.


Baked Zucchini Sticks


 2 large zucchini

 2 eggs

 1/2 cup bread crumbs

 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

 ¼ t garlic powder

 1 t dried basil

 1 t dried parsley

 ½ t dried oregano

 Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste

 Non-stick cooking spray



 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Trim the ends of the zucchini and then cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half into quarters for a total of 8 spears; cut the spears in half to make them shorter.

In a large shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and seasonings; mix thoroughly. In another large shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Dip the spears into egg then bread crumb mixture, making sure to coat evenly.

Place on baking sheet and spray the top of each spear with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes then turn the oven to broil and cook, watching carefully, until they become golden brown (approximately 1 minute). Serve with marinara sauce or Ranch dressing.

Carrot Zucchini Muffins


 Cooking spray (optional)

 ½ cup all-purpose flour

 ½ cup whole-wheat flour

 2 tablespoons wheat germ

 ½ cup old-fashioned oats

 ¼ cup ground flax seeds

 1 teaspoon baking soda

 1 teaspoon baking powder

 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 ¼ t salt

 1 large egg

 ¼ cup packed light brown sugar

 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 2/3 cup milk or buttermilk

 ½ cup grated carrots

 ½ cup grated zucchini

 3/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries


 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 24-cup mini muffin pan with paper liners or mist with cooking spray.

Whisk the flours, wheat germ, oatmeal, flax seeds, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Beat the egg and brown sugar in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the olive oil, vanilla, milk, vegetables and fruit and mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir just until blended.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling each cup about three-quarters of the way. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack.

Tomatoes Stuffed with Prosciutto and Mozzarella


12 Roma tomatoes; halved, seeded, and cored

¼ c olive oil

½ c bread crumbs

 1 garlic clove, minced

 3 oz prosciutto, sliced medium

 ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded or small dice

 Salt and pepper, to taste


 Preheat oven to 350. Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the bread crumbs and sauté until golden and crisp. The mixture should resemble wet sand; adjust the oil and bread crumbs accordingly to achieve this texture.

Transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl and add the garlic, prosciutto, mozzarella, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Place 1 T of filling in each tomato half. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Serve as an appetizer or side dish.

Tomato and Corn Risotto


4 T olive oil, divided

1 T butter

1 ½ c Arborio rice (risotto)

1large shallot, sliced thin

 4 c vegetable broth

 2 ears of corn on the cob, husked & kernels removed

 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

 1 t dried basil

 Salt and pepper

 ¼ c parmesan cheese, grated

 Fresh basil or parsley to garnish



 Heat a large skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the butter and 2 T olive oil. When the butter has melted, add the shallot and cook until tender but not brown. Mix in the rice and stir for 30 seconds. Add one cup of broth and stir.

Over the next 20 minutes, continue to add ½ to 1 cup of broth and stir; allow the rice to absorb the liquid each time before adding more. Reduce heat if the rice begins to stick.

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine the tomatoes, 2 T olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Reserve the tomato mixture.

When there is about 10 minutes and 1 cup of liquid remaining, add the corn kernels to the pan and stir. When the final liquid is almost completely absorbed, turn off the heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese and tomato mixture. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley if desired.

Serves 4-6


Honey Lime Cantaloupe


 1 cantaloupe seeded, peeled, and cut into bite-size pieces

 ¼ c honey

 1 lime, zested and juiced

 Fresh mint to garnish



 In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, lime juice, and lime zest. Pour over the melon and toss gently. Serve immediately or allow to chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour to all the flavors to blend.

20 Ideas for Corn and Cantaloupe:


 1. Grill it with the husk off

 2. Add some to your salsa

 3. Sprinkle over your salad

 4. Mix into cornbread batter

 5. Sauté with sliced zucchini, olive oil, salt & pepper

 6. Make homemade creamed corn

 7. Toss with cherry tomatoes, basil, orzo, and red wine vinaigrette for a cool salad

 8. Slather with garlic butter and parmesan cheese

 9. Make a salad with black beans, sweet peppers, and avocados

 10. Freeze ears or kernels…enjoy in the middle of winter!



 1. Scoop balls, drizzle with honey, lime juice & zest

 2. Cut into chunks and wrap with prosciutto

 3. Make a salsa for fish: dice melon, red onion, cilantro; mix with lime juice and salt

 4. Grill it, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and serve with pork

 5. Serve with blueberries, granola, and yogurt for breakfast

 6. Puree with honey, lemon, ginger, and milk or yogurt for a cold summer soup

 7. Puree with gingerroot to make a salad dressing

 8. Serve with blueberries, vanilla ice cream, and balsamic glaze for dessert

 9. Freeze chunks and add them to a strawberry smoothie

 10. Make a granita by blending with brown sugar, freezing, and crushing

Originally published July 29, 2010

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