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But, wait, there’s more zucchini – here are three recipes

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 8, 2021

By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

Last week, we welcomed a new addition to our family. Zebadiah Zucchini weighed in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce. It was a natural delivery, but my husband may have strained his back wrestling the squash from its leafy lair.

Zeb quickly became part of the family. Literally. I transformed him into tasty zucchini bites, delicious creamy zucchini with linguine and several loaves of chocolate chip-orange zucchini bread.

While this summer’s record temps roasted many of our beautiful flowers, our vegetable garden weathered the heat, especially the zucchini. I’m thinking only an August blizzard could kill this hearty plant.

Later in the week as Derek grated yet another batch of squash, he said, “I think next year, we should only plant one zucchini.” I started to object, but then I opened the freezer to stash the four loaves of pumpkin zucchini bread I’d baked that afternoon.

I squeezed them in atop two containers of chocolate chip zucchini cookies and a couple of containers of zucchini muffins. The just-baked bread also shared space with three loaves of lemon zucchini bread and three loaves of chocolate zucchini bread.

And that was just in our large freezer. Our smaller one was already crammed with zucchini baked goods. In addition to desserts, I’d cooked the green giants in chowders and chilies. I’d sautéed them with onions and garlic. I’d baked them in casseroles. Derek had grilled them.

Our sons stopped bothering to ask, “Is there zucchini in this?” Because, at some point, it became a given. I’d taken zucchini to Maryhill Winery in Kendall Yards when I met a friend for dinner. I’d toted a bag of it with me when I met a friend for lunch at Thai Bamboo.

Only really good friends agree to hang out with me in August due to my propensity to gift zucchini. Recently, the mailman saw me toting one as he pulled up to our mailbox. “Nope,” he said. “No, thanks.”

I looked at the mixing bowl Derek had already filled and thought of the even bigger bowl in the refrigerator overflowing with grated squash. And then I said the three little words my husband loves to hear. “OK, you’re right.”

Next year, my zucchini column might be a bit shorter because I assume our one-plant crop will be smaller. For now, here are the recipes prompted by Zebadiah’s generous girth. Please note: You don’t have to serve these dishes all at one meal. Our sons strongly discourage it.

Zucchini Bites

4 small, unpeeled zucchini, thinly sliced (3 cups)

1 cup Bisquick

1 medium onion, finely chopped (½ cup)

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

½ cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon seasoned salt

½ teaspoon marjoram or oregano

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

4 eggs, slightly beaten

Heat an oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch pan. Stir all the ingredients until blended. Spread in a pan.

Bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into 2-inch squares; cut diagonally in half into triangles. (I just left them in squares. We’re not fancy enough for triangle appetizers.)

Yield: 4 dozen appetizers

Creamy Zucchini With Linguine

½ cup olive oil

2 large zucchinis, diced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 (12-ounce) package linguine pasta (I prefer whole grain pasta)

1 cup whole milk (I used 2% with no problem)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and garlic to the hot oil and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Cook, turning occasionally, until the zucchini is well browned on all sides, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Stir milk into the zucchini and simmer until reduced by about half, about 10 minutes. Add the pasta to the skillet and stir well. Sprinkle parsley and ¼ cup Parmesan over the top and toss. Garnish with remaining parmesan.

Yield: 6 servings

Chocolate Chip-Orange Zucchini Bread

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 cup chocolate chips (mini or regular)

1 tablespoon grated orange rind

3 cups sifted flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat the eggs until light and fluffy; add the sugar and continue beating until well blended. Stir in the oil, vanilla, zucchini, nuts, chocolate chips and orange rind.

Sift dry the ingredients together and stir into the egg mixture.

Turn into two greased (I use parchment paper, too) 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.

Bake 60 minutes at 350 degrees or until bread tests done.

Yield: 2 loaves

Cindy Hval can be reached at dchval@juno.com.

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