Zillions of Zucchini – Part 1.

This is our first year having a garden, and I am loving it! So far my green thumb is proving to be strong in regards to growing squash and zucchini, and my husband’s colored-blindness (we’ll just blame it on that for now) has proved to be no bueno for my corn and green beans. I’m hoping for a late summer, early fall harvest on those.

So what does one do with an abundance of zucchini? Especially when your husband doesn’t like it, and your three year old thinks she doesn’t either. Well, I’ve tried a number of different preparations and have not had success converting the two, but I HAVE found some delicious ways to use it. Six ways actually, that are share worthy. We’ll just start with three basic ways today, and next week I’ll share my final three (two of which are sweet treats). By then I’m sure I’ll have 15 more pounds of zucchini, and another handful of ways to prepare it.
It should be noted that the following recipes are based on the eating habits of two adults and two young kiddos (unless said otherwise) and usually results in some leftovers, please adjust as needed. Despite me saying my husband doesn’t eat it, I still make more than enough for him. And I must confess I often force Little A to eat hers as well. 

So here’s [half] the line up:
1. Sauté it
I love to slice up some zucchini, yellow squash, and mushrooms sauté them up real quick for an added vegetable to any meal. I especially love them with some grilled chicken thighs. Nothing says “summer” like some fresh garden vegetables and grilled meat. Mmmm! Here’s how I do it and what you’ll need:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium zucchini sliced
1 medium squash sliced
6 or more whole mushrooms cleaned and slice, or pre sliced fresh mushrooms
Any seasonings you prefer -my go to is Lawry’s Season Salt or McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Fiesta Citrus. You really could do anything that you like.

Warm up the oil in a skillet on medium high heat then add your zucchini and squash. Sprinkle them with your preferred seasoning to taste. I prefer to cook my zucchini and squash until they start to turn translucent on the sides before I add my mushrooms, but you can add them right away if you prefer. Cook the vegetables until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Then enjoy!

Extras: Red bell pepper, minced garlic, some fresh parmesan cheese on top would all be delicious add in or alternatives. Get creative!

2. Roast it
Roasting zucchini is one of my favorite ways to eat it; it’s almost as delicious as frying it. Almost. Here’s what I do:
**Note: one medium-large zucchini easily feeds two adults**
1 zucchini
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. oregano
2 Tbsp. – 1/4c. parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
Cut your zucchini in half widthwise, then quarter your halves. You’ll have 8 wedges. Set them on the cookie sheet.
In a small bowl combine oil, garlic, and oregano. Brush the mixture on the zucchini, then sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste along with parmesan cheese. I like as much cheese on my zucchini as I can get. I set the wedges fairly close together to keep the cheese from falling off, or very strategically pile the cheese on top. More is better!
Pop those babies in the oven for 12-15 min and when they are finished set them on the top rack and broil them until golden if necessary.

3. Fry it
Who doesn’t love fried zucchini, let alone fried anything?! I found a fabulous fried zucchini recipe from Kevin at agardenforthehouse.com. He calls them Angelic Zucchini Fritters, and I’m inclined to agree. They are truly heaven in your mouth, and days later my thighs remind me of how delicious they were. This recipe has been adapted to meet the amount of servings that fit my family as well as the ingredients that I used, the original can be found here.
Here’s my take:
2 medium zucchini
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried chives
1 egg
1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
salt and pepper

First cut the ends off the zucchini and shred it over a medium to large bowl. I unfortunately don’t have a food processor that shreds food, so I did it the old fashioned way. When finished sprinkle 1 tsp. of salt on the shreds, mix it in a bit, and let it sit for 10 minutes.

While you’re waiting check out Kevin’s way of freezing zucchini one shredded pound at a time. I’ve used this to literally process a zillion pounds of zucchini  this summer (ok fine, not a zillion but at least 20 pounds -might as well be a zillion ;)). And there’s more where that came from…like another zillion pounds. Sheesh!

three zucchini recipes, zucchini preparation
Here’s proof of my zillion pounds of zucchini [and squash].

After you’ve let your zucchini sit it’s time to drain it. I’ve tried this two ways: I dumped it all in a strainer and smashed the excess liquid out (I don’t recommend, it was kind of a very stupid idea). Then there’s the way suggested, grab a clean towel and lay a handful of zucchini in the center (all of my zucchini fit in the towel at once) proceed to wring the liquid out. You can do this over the bowl the zucchini was just in, a clean bowl -if you want to save the liquid, or the sink. Put your squeezed zucchini in a clean medium bowl (or dump out the juice and put it back in the bowl -I’m all about cutting down dishes to wash).
Now you’re ready to start assembling the fritters. Season your zucchini with some salt, pepper, and chives. Add the egg and mix ‘er up.
*At this point, if your hands aren’t already dirty (I won’t judge if they are) go ahead and pour some oil in a cast-iron skillet, regular skillet, frying pan, whatever will help you fry pan and start heating it up at medium-high heat. I poured maybe 1/4-1/2 inch worth of oil in my pan.
Whisk, as in use your finger and give it a stir, together the flour and baking powder in the small, clean bowl you probably ate cereal in yesterday. Dump that in the zucchini and give it a mix. Go ahead use those hands!
When your oil is heated pick up a “cherry-tomato sized clump” as Kevin suggests and plop it in the oil. Put as many dollops as you can in your pan without having them touch each other.
Let them fry until the bottoms turn that delicious fried brown, and then flip them over.
When they’re done set them on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.
I dipped these “angelic” fritters in some sour cream and enjoyed every last bite. I imagine ranch dressing may also suffice.

I hope you enjoy these tasty original recipes. I’ll be back next week to share a few more.

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