Sunday, May 2, 2010
Happy May . . . my daughter learned the months of the year so I could explain when August is (the month of baby girl #2's expected arrival). Yesterday morning, she kept saying, "It's May now? Now it's May, mom?" 15 more weeks to go!
On to the food . . . I read in Russ Parson's book "How to Pick a Peach" that more than 6 million tons of summer squash are grown every year and that zucchini has only really been in the US since World War I. I know a few friends with gardens who tell me that they aren't hard to grow and usually bountiful. I'm not a gardener but this year (maybe it's that nesting thing?) I find myself wishing I had room to have a vegetable garden. Maybe next year in our new house!
I buy zucchini often and grate it or thinly slice it and add it to pasta sauce, lasagna, muffins, even cupcakes. When I serve it by itself, it's usually the boring way: steamed with a little salt and pepper. But, here are two delicious, easy ways that I've learned to prepare zucchini where it's the star of the show, not just those little green flecks in another recipe.
Braised Zucchini (quoted directly from How to Pick a Peach, p164).
Cut it up and cook it with a little olive oil, about 2 tablespoons water and some garlic in a covered skillet over medium-high heat. When the squash begins to become tender, remove the lid and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring constantly, until the squash begins to glaze.
Lemon-Ricotta Zucchini with Pine Nuts (4 servings)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 lb zucchini, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 oz ricotta cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the zucchini with olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast until crisp tender and slightly brown, about 10-12 minutes.
Sprinkle with nuts and scatter dollops of ricotta cheese on top and serve.