Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What to Do With Oversize Zucchini? Make Zucchini Boats

Summer squash (i.e. zucchini) are most tender when they are about five or six inches long, depending on the variety. However, on occasion, some don't get picked when they should and grow as big as tennis ball cans. Their meat gets a little tough, but throwing them out would be sacrilegious, so knowing ways to use them is a plus.

Those with gardens know what I am talking about, but those without can sometimes find oversized summer squash at farmers' markets for deeply discounted prices. For example, there's one organic farm that sells smaller zucchini for $4 per pound but sells gargantuan ones (one to two pounds) for just $1 per piece.

This summer, using oversized squash from my garden, I've made zucchini relish (recipe tomorrow), zucchini pickles and zucchini boats.

Zucchini boat? That may not be the technical term, and it's actually more like a zucchini canoe stuffed with whatever you want to stuff it with. To make it, cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the insides, leaving about a half inch-thick canoe. Cook the canoes in an oven (I usually use a toaster oven) until they just start to soften. If they are too soft they won't keep their shape when filled.

The filling is your choice. The last time I made these, my filling consisted of the zucchini meat, onion, yellow pepper, tomato, beet greens, the stalks from the beet greens and garlic, all sautéed together and further seasoned with minced basil, ground cumin, ground coriander, ground turmeric, unrefined sea salt and fresh ground pepper. I combined this mixture with quinoa and filled the hollow zucchini.

I had leftovers and when I heated for a second meal, I grated some cheddar cheese on top, which melted nicely during warming (photo, above).

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