Written by Chef Alan Zox, Ph.D, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
Zucchinis are easy and fun to grow. In fact, our family was always offering these vegetables to friends and neighbors. But it wasn’t always easy to give them away in late August since everyone had a surplus of the ever-present summer squash available to them. And this is why cookbooks like the 50-year-old Italian cookbook, The Silver Spoon, recently translated into English in the United States, includes 37 zucchini recipes and six for zucchini flowers.
I have always been attracted to zucchinis in part because of their plentifulness, but also because of the almost magical way in which they can grow. It seemed they could double in size overnight. And while I never grew a zucchini three meters long, they say it is possible and likely if the conditions are just right. I remember dreaming as a child that our crop was going to grow up to our home and invade us. My mother told me if this happened we would just make more soup for family, friends and neighbors. My scary dreams disappeared.
This year, the local farmer’s markets are again filled with zucchini. I love to stuff them, bake them, fry them, steam them and roast them. Here are a few of my favorite zucchini recipes which will give you many cooking options to consider for your garden of plenty.
Baking zucchini bread has always been a popular and delicious way to prepare and to eat zucchini. The recipes are fairly uniform and predictable. However a recent issue of the magazine Cook’s Illustrated suggests an easier way to “lighten the loaf” by doubling the usual amount of squash, and wringing it in a towel which extracts over a cup of green liquid. This recipe also achieves a wonderful flavor by switching from granulated sugar to brown sugar, adding nutmeg and vanilla and increasing the typical amount of cinnamon.
1. Zucchini Bread Recipe
325F oven; Grease 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan
(Adapted from the August 2014 Issue of Cook’s Illustrated)
• 1 1/2 pounds zucchini
• 1 1/2 pound brown sugar
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 large eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 tbsp cinnamon
• 1 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
• 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
• 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
Place zucchini in center of dish towel and squeeze ends tightly. Discard 1/2 to 2/3 cup liquid. Whisk together the brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Fold in zucchini.
Whisk together the flours— all purpose and wheat flours, the cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda and nutmeg in large bowl. Fold in zucchini mixture until just incorporated. Fold in walnuts.
Pour butter into prepared pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake until top bounces back when gently pressed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with few moist crumbs attached— 65 to 75 minutes. Let bread cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove bread from pan and let cool completely on rack. Serve and enjoy.
2. Parmesan Zucchini Crisps
• Preheat oven to 425 F
• 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
• ¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
• 1/8 tsp black pepper
• ¼ tsp garlic powder
• 3 egg whites
• 3 cups zucchini rounds, sliced about 1/2 inch thick — about 3 medium-size zucchini
1. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and place a wire baking rack on top. Lightly coat the racks with cooking spray.
2. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs, pepper and garlic powder in a shallow dish and mix together.
3. In a small bowl, beat the three egg whites. Dip each zucchini round in the egg whites to coat both sides and then press each side of the round into the bread crumb/Parmesan mixture. Place the coated round on the wire rack on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining zucchini rounds.
4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the Parmesan and bread crumb coating is browned and crisp. Serve immediately.
3. Zucchini Mexican Soup
• 1 1/2 tsp butter
• 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
• 2 cups unpeeled, medium diced zucchini
•1 1/2 cups corn kernels
• 2 Tbsp minced jalapeno or other green chilies
• 2 cups vegetable broth
• 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
• 1 cup coconut milk
• 2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, diced
• Salt to taste,
• Minced fresh parsley
1. In a medium-size soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute until it begins to soften.
2 Add the vegetable broth and heat.
3. Add the zucchini, corn, jalapeno, broth, and pepper to the broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.
4. Stir in coconut milk. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Salt to taste
5. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and a pinch of nutmeg. Mangia!
4. Poached Vegetables With Caper Mayonnaise
(Adapted from the Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook Plenty)
Poaching protein or vegetables is an easy, delicious way of cooking. It can be as flavorful as you wish— as spicy or bland as you prefer. This recipe is halfway between the two— a little spicy but not too mild. Remarkably, the caper mayonnaise has no more than 1/2 tsp salt while the poaching liquid has only 1 tsp salt. I mention this now because most of us are watching our sodium intake and this dish qualifies as a healthy snack.
a) Caper Mayonnaise
• 1/2 garlic clove, crushed
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
• 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard;
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
• Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 tbsp capers, drained well and finely chopped
To make the mayonnaise, place the garlic, egg yolk, vinegar, mustard, salt, chile flakes and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor. Start blending and then very slowly drizzle in the oil until you get a thick mayonnaise. Fold in the capers, and lemon zest and set aside.
b) Preparing Vegetables
• 1 bunch baby carrots, peeled but not cut
• 4 baby fennel or regular size cut in 1/2-inch slices from top to bottom of fennel
• 12 spears asparagus, 6-7 inches long. Don’t need to be cut
• 8 slices of zucchini, 6 inches long and 2 inches wide
• 10 slices of leeks, 6 inches long and 2 inches wide
• 2 tbsp. chopped dill to serve
c) Vegetable Procedure
Wash the vegetables but don’t trim them too much so some of the stalks and leaves remain. Try to cut similarly sized pieces.
d) Poaching “Liquor” Ingredients
• 2 1/2 cups white wine
• 1 cup olive oil
• 2/3 cup lemon juice
• 2 bay leaves
• 1/2 onion
• 2 celery stalks
• 1 tsp salt
e) Poaching Procedure
• Place the wine in a wide pan (12-14 inches) and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add all the other poaching liquor ingredients and bring to a simmer. Start the poaching by adding the vegetables to the simmering pot one at a time waiting a minute between each one. All should be cooked but crunchy at the end. Using tongs remove the vegetables from the poaching liquor and place in deep plates. Add some liquor to the serving bowl and spoon each portion with a dollop of Caper mayonnaise; sprinkle with dill. Enjoy.
Thursday, 30 October 2014 00:00
In a little-known chapter of New York City’s history, the name of police officer Phillip Cardillo is spoken in hushed, revered whispers. Though he was tragically killed in the line of duty back in 1972, the burning embers of his memory are still fanned by a passionate few who wish to finally obtain for the fallen hero the elusive recognition that he truly deserves.
At their Oct. 8 meeting in Mineola, the Nassau County-based Association of Retired Police Officers (ARPO) held a heartfelt ceremony, as both Cardillo as well as the driven NYPD detective who has fought for justice in his name for the past four decades, were honored as the true heroes that they are.
Saturday, 25 October 2014 00:00
Despite the national media attention about Ebola in recent weeks, there is one virus that is actually affecting Long Islanders, Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), with one of the first cases identified in North Hempstead on Sept. 18 and a recent case on Oct. 15 in Suffolk County, which school officials called for the closing of school, as a health precaution.
Dr. Charles Schleien, chairman of the department of pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said that although the enterovirus is still active, cases are dwindling on Long Island. According to Schleien, approximately 500 cases have been reported this season of enterovirus, at Cohen’s Children Medical Center, with two to six patients being admitted per day.
Thursday, 30 October 2014 10:01
A number of awards were given to runners in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich area at the Oct. 18 Oyster Bay Town Supervisor’s 5 Kilometer Run, including 23-year-old Justin Nakrin of Oyster Bay, who finished in 12th place overall and second in the 20-24 age group, and 43-year-old Daniel Valderrama of Oyster Bay, who scored in 17th place overall and second in the 40-44 age group. Maggie Reid of Locust Valley earned first place honors in the 15-19 age group.
The indomitable 81-year-old Nina Jennings of Mill Neck was the oldest woman to finish the run, taking first place honors in the women’s 80-84 age group in 35 minutes, 11 seconds, a pace of 11:19 per mile. She was the fastest of all of the five finishers—male or female—who were 80 years old or more.
Thursday, 23 October 2014 09:08
The autumn varsity sports season is well on its way in Oyster Bay. Many young athletes have distinguished themselves. Several fine young athletes excelled right out of the gate and were chosen by the Oyster Bay Hight School coaches as Athletes of the Month for October 2014.
Cross Country Coach Kevin Cotter has athletes who consistently qualify for the states. Picking one to honor is a difficult task. Within this impressive group of talented athletes, one stands out: junior Alex Tosi, who recently broke the 17 minute barrier for a 5K course at Bethpage State park with a time of 16:52. This feat has not been accomplished since 2008.