It’s that time of year isn’t it? With just the little rain that we have gotten recently, home gardens and local farms have taken off and plants are bulging with the weight of their bounties. Farmers’ markets at this time of year are simply brimming with local foods. Friends and neighbors are throwing an abundance of dinner parties to use up all that they have — or stealthily leaving bags of cucumbers, squash and other goodies on front doorsteps. I had planted a little late this year and don’t have cucumbers yet. A neighbor offered me some (which I thought meant 2), and appeared moments later with a bag of 6 (!!) enormous cucumbers.
Sometimes, all of nature’s sweet excess can start to feel like somewhat of a burden. How to use all that food!? How to to use it, as importantly, in new and exciting ways?
In my own home, it’s been all about the squash and zucchini this week. To assist me in my quest to continue inventing new ways to use these overabundant summer staples, I purchased a mandoline and a “vegetti” spiralizer (approx. $10 each for simple, baseline tools).
- 1 lb squash or zucchini, spiralized and chopped or shredded in a food processorÂ
- 1 egg
- 1/2 a lg onion, diced
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- other spices as desired
create a hash from the squash using either a food processor or spiralizer. Spread out on a pan to salt and then dry with towels, at least 10 minutes. The more dry you can get the squash the better. Combine with onions and then with other ingredients and spoon out like pancake batter into a frying pan with your choice of oil. Let brown before flipping. Fritters will be very fragile- flip and remove from pan carefully. Makes 5-6 tennis-ball sized fritters.
- zucchini — Â spiralize until you feel you have enough for your serving size, similar to pasta
Spiralize a zucchini or squash– tools differ, I have a vegetti, which works adequately enough but requires smaller size squash. Continue until you have equivalent to the amount of pasta needed for your serving size. “Zoodles” can be boiled for 2-3m, sauteed for 6-8m or baked at 375 for 10-15m.
I baked my zoodles– my recommendation is that it is a huge benefit to have them as dry as possible before baking. I greased the cookie sheet I laid them out on, but did not toss them in oil prior to baking. Once they have firmed up and browned a little in the oven, remove and toss in a bowl with olive oil. You can serve like this, adding salt, pepper or other spices as needed. I added some pesto to mine and spaghetti sauce would also work well.
- 1-2 zucchini, sliced thinly (1/4 in)
- bread crumbs
- garlic powder
- grated parmesan cheese
- cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt and pepper
My absolute favorite! Preheat oven to 425 and slice zucchini with a knife or mandoline. Toss in a bowl with your choice of oil, salt and pepper to coat. Mix other ingredients in a small dish – I eyeball proportions. Then press zucchini chips in the dry ingredients until coated. Place in rows on a greased pan. Bake 10 minutes, flip chips, bake another 10 minutes. Cook time can vary, less cook time will make a softer chip, longer cook times will create a crispier chip. One medium sized zucchini is usually enough for one full sheet pan of chips.
Good luck on your quest to use up all the squash, zucchini, cucumbers and other riches of the garden or local farm. When they seem to literally be coming out of your ears, remember how very lucky we are to live in abundance, then gift some of it on your unsuspecting neighbors!