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Versatile Zucchini

I’ve been a lifelong lover of zucchini, even though I never seem to be able to spell its name correctly on first attempt. My husband, on the other hand, has never cared much for zucchini. During one of our first trips to a farm stand, I squealed with excitement to find yellow and green zucchini for 25 cents each! No less than 12 zucchini were quickly stacked in my bag before my husband intervened and asked what in the world we were going to do with all the zucchini.  I replied that we would eat it, of course! I envisioned the myriad of ways it could grace our table at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and determined to win him over to team zucchini. I’m happy to report that midway through our dozen zucchini, I succeeded. Now my husband is just as much of a zucchini fan as I am, and maybe even more so because he always spells its name right.

Our garden this year had 4 varieties of zucchini plants and, though I worried we may have planted too much, we’ve eaten it all as quickly as it’s grown. I think the reason behind that is its versatility. Zucchini doesn’t have a pronounced inherent flavor which makes it a wonderful carrier of whatever spices and herbs accompany it. It can just as easily be served sweet or savory. Zucchini also has a soft, but solid texture that’s easy on kids and limitless in the kitchen. It can be sliced and served raw as a crudité, sliced and sautéed with a little garlic and olive oil, marinated and grilled, grated and put in baked goods and omelets, stir-fried, or cubed and added to any soup, especially tomato-based soups. Plus, it cooks quickly, enabling you to add it to a dish or serve as a fully cooked side in less than 15 minutes. Zucchini has a long, productive growing season and I’ve even read that it can be cultivated year-round on the west side of our state. Even though it’s the beginning of October, my garden is still producing zucchini and I’m putting them in chili and stir-fry this week. Here are some of the delicious ways I’ve served and eaten zucchini this year.

For Breakfast:  Zucchini Muffins with Apricot Ricotta Filling

For Lunch: Cold Sesame Tofu Noodles with Stir-Fry Vegetables

For Dinner: Grilled Lemon Chicken and Zucchini

Dining Al Fresco: Ginger Salmon with Stir-Fry Vegetables

For Dessert: Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Browned Butter Frosting