10 Things You Didn't Know You Could Make With Zucchini

By: Michelle Buffardi

We're teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we'll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you're harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

Yessir, it's Summer Fest, and it's zucchini season. Thanks to my CSA share, my mother's garden and weekly trips to the farmer's market, I've found myself with 7 pieces of zucchini each week. Each week! An insane amount for just one person, and what am I even supposed to do with it all? Check out my top-ten must-try ideas if you're faced with tons and tons of zukes, too. And if you're still stumped, check out my Summer Fest friends' posts for even more inspiration.

10. Make zucchini bread. Ok, maybe you did know this one. I mean come on, everyone knows this one. But did you know about curried zucchini bread? Perhaps not. It's slightly spicy, thanks to curry powder and candied ginger, incredibly moist and savory-sweet, and it freezes well. Try it.

9. Pickle it. A la San Francisco's Zuni Cafe. Tart, crisp, piquant and great on sandwiches, salads or popped into your mouth with your fingers. If you're looking to preserve more than just zucchini, use Jaime Oliver's Amazing Pickled and Marinated Vegetables recipe for herb+veggie combos using fennel, mushrooms, eggplant or peppers in addition to zukes.

8. Pretend it's pasta. Raw zucchini pasta: Great for raw foodists, vegetarians, Meatless Monday champions, dieters or anyone whose neighbor just dropped off a 10-pound basket of zucchini.

7. Hide it. No, not in the sock drawer, silly, but in your favorite comfort food. Or your kids' (friends', spouses,' etc) favorite comfort food. They'll be eating vegetables and you'll be using up your zukes. Sneak zucchini into mac and cheese, lasagna, zucchini chili, or substitute zucchini for eggplant and make zucchini Parmesan.

6. Fry it. Fine, you knew this one too. But don't just toss it into a skillet with some oil, try Emeril's zucchini fritters, dunk slices into an herb batter before they hit the oil, use Panko for an extra-crunchy layer  or deep-fry the flowers.

5. Choc-lify it. Zucchini brownies, chocolate chip zucchini bread, zucchini-chocolate chip cookies, these extremely lovely chocolate zucchini cupcakes with marscarpone frosting, chocolate zucchini cake . . . by transforming your zucchini into dessert, you knock out two important food groups at once: vegetables and chocolate.

4. Drink it. Zucchini-tini? Zucchini smoothie? Well, I guess, but does nothing for me after hearing about zucchini cookies and cake. How about a zucchini spear in a bloody Mary or a slice garnishing a Hendricks and soda instead?

3. Eat it raw. Shred it into Coleslaw, potato or pasta salad, tabbouleh or a garden salad, make Zucchini Carpaccio, Bobby Flay's raw zuke salad over on FoodNetwork.com, serve it Greek-style or gussy it up with truffle oil and pecorino.

2. Stuff it. Provencal-style, Italian-style, Mediterranean-style, filled with beef, chock-full of lamb, or just vegetables, stuff yourself with this delicious . . . stuff.

1. Grill it. I know! Another totally obvious one. But let's talk about all the ways you can grill it, and you'll forget you ever brushed your limp slices with Italian dressing and threw them on the barbie. How about Grilled Zucchini Roll-ups, Grilled Zucchini Pizza, Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Salad, zucchini kebabs, grilled zucchini fries, grilled zucchini crostini (because it's delicious and fun to say), grilled zucchini, tomato and mozzarella sandwich . . . drooling yet?

What did I miss? Betcha' can't think of ten more! No cheating, but you can check out the Summer Fest bloggers' posts for ideas on zukes, and cukes, too. Follow and retweet as you will please, #summerfood.

More Cukes and Zukes with Family and Friends:
Marinated Summer Squash Salad

Join the conversation on twitter at #summerfood.
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