05 September 2010

Good Food Gatherings starring ZUCCHINI (Menus #15 - #17)

Maybe we’re the last to know, but zucchini is one vegetable that gets around!  From savory to sweet – from brunch to dinner – we’ve decided to focus an entire Good Food Gathering feature – including 3 new GoodFood Menus (#15 - #17) - on this veggie that has a pizzazz of its own.

Think we’ve wandered a little too far off into the vegetable patch with our enthusiasm?

Perhaps ;-) but we’re not alone!  Even the Cooking Channel has offered up 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Make with Zucchini.

Don't know about Good Food Gatherings?  This is entertaining at it's most basic - providing #goodfood, offering something to wet the whistle, but most importantly, allowing the time to share laughs, ideas, stories and life with those who have joined at our table. For this type of entertaining, we look for those recipes that emphasize fresh, seasonal ingredients - straightforward preparation - and interesting flavor combinations from different cuisines.  Take a peek at prior posts listing Menus #1-#14 for past examples.

So for your late summer good food gatherings, considered these three menus starring the zucchini, including recipe RAVEs from foodie #blogswelove -  bitchin’ camero, Cookin’ Canuck, Dragon’s Kitchen, Food and Style, fork spoon knife, in erika’s kitchen, In Jennie’s Kitchen, Laura’s Best Recipes, Sweetsonian, and Tangled Noodle.

GoodFood Menu #15
Starter: Pan-Fried Zucchini Flowers   (Food and Style)
Main: Zucchini Frittata (@ChefChiarello, Food Network)
Side: Grilled Zucchini (The Savvy Host, recipe below)

Grilled Zucchini
Serves 6-8
8 medium zucchini (about 2 ½ - 3 pounds)
Kosher Salt
4 cloves garlic cut in half
Ground pepper
2 lemons – peel zest and save lemons for juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation: Wash and pat dry zucchini.  Trim top and bottom ends.  Slice each zucchini lengthwise into 4-5 plank slices approximately ¼ inch thick.  Prep a baking sheet by arranging 1 layer of paper towel to cover sheet.  Lay zucchini end to end across entire baking sheet.  This will be the first of several layers of zucchini.  Sprinkle salt across the top of each zucchini slice.  Turn each slice over.  Rub 2nd side with open end of garlic clove half.  Sprinkle with salt.  Cover with another layer of paper towel and repeat until all zucchini has been seasoned. Let zucchini “sweat” for at least 30 minutes.

Grill over medium-heat until zucchini has slight “char” or “grill” marks (6-8 minutes each side).  When cooked, add to a serving dish.  Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.  Add lemon zest and lemon juice.  Add cracked pepper to taste.  Toss and serve warm.  Can also be served room temperature.

~ We’ve also included prosciutto or Spanish chorizo in the frittata – add 1 cup finely chopped of either just before cooking.
~ Toss the warm zucchini with any type of pesto you may have on hand as an alternative to the lemon accents.
~ Zucchini blossoms can also be stuffed with a variety of cheese mixtures – goat, ricotta & parmigiano, or a small cube of mozzarella work well.  Add a teaspoon of a favorite fresh herb as well to the cheese.  Take a look at this recipe RAVE from Laura's Best Recipes for another take on Fried Squash Blossoms.

GoodFood Menu #16 – possible BRUNCH
Starter: Grilled Zucchini Rolls with Ricotta and Mint Pesto  (In Erika’s Kitchen)
Main:  Zucchini Blossom & Mozzarella Baked Eggs (Bitchin’ Camero)
Side: Golden Summer Squash & Corn Soup  (Eating Well)

~ This menu is GREAT served family style - all at once at the table.  It also makes an excellent brunch.
~ Consider lining the baked egg cup with prosciutto or Canadian Bacon, and then cooking.
~ Like the idea of serving the soup in hollowed out squash shells. 
~ A lighter taste for the soup? Add shredded parmigiano instead of the feta. 

GoodFood Menu #17
Starter: Zucchini Latkes with Yogurt-Curry Sauce  (Cookin Canuck)
Main: Pizza Bianca  (Sweetsonian)
Side: Santa Fe Posole  (Tangled Noodle)

~ This is another set of recipes that we encourage you to mix up a bit.
~ The latkes can also be served with homemade Tzatiki (recipe below) or a simple aioli (garlic mayonnaise).
~ Adding chopped oven-roasted or sun-dried tomatoes to the Pizza Bianca is sheer heaven.
~ We’ve also added chicken to the Posole – prior to adding the diced zucchini to the onion and garlic, add 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts diced to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes over medium heat.  Continue with recipe by adding the zucchini.


Yields about 3 cups
2 cups greek yogurt
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
3 TB extra virgin olive oil (good quality, you will taste the difference)
1 TB red-wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1-2 TB chopped fresh dill

Preparation:  Line a colander or strainer with 2 layers of paper towel.  Spoon yogurt into paper towel and allow to drain for at least 1 hour.   Peel, seed and chop finely the cucumbers. Line another colander or strainer with 2 layers of paper towel.  Toss the chopped cucumbers with a sprinkling of salt and add to the 2nd colander.  Let rest for 30 minutes. 

In a food processor, combine olive oil, vinegar, whole garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse until well pureed. If you are not using a food processor, mince the garlic first, and then combine in a mixing bowl.  Gently squeeze the paper towel around the yogurt to drain any final liquid.  Add the drained yogurt (it will be very thick and dense) to the oil and garlic mixture.  Mix well.  Add ½ of the cucumbers and pulse until combined.  Remove mixture to a mixing bowl and add the remaining cucumbers and fresh dill.  If you are not using a food processor, simply add all the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Mix until well combined.  Chill for at least one hour.  Garnish with cucumber slices or fresh dill sprig.


yes, Zucchini plays a role in the sweeter side of good food!  Here are a delicious sampling of some sweet cakes that feature the versatile veggie.

Zucchini Coffee Cake (In Jennie’s Kitchen)
Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Dragon’s Kitchen)

Happy Entertaining!

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