Friday, August 13, 2010

Zucchini 3 Ways

    Zucchini is in abundance at the farmer's market right now, and if you are lucky enough to have your own garden, you may be overflowing with summer squash right now.  Looking for some different ways to use up your abundance?  Read on for three different recipes where zucchini is the star.  That's right, folks--one post with three recipes!  Each recipe is tasty and showcases zucchini's versatility, so even if you don't have your own garden, it's worth buying some extra to give the recipes a try.  

Zucchini and Gruyere Grilled Quesadillas 

2 zucchini squash, sliced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil+more for brushing tortillas
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 whole grain tortillas*
dijon mustard
1/2-1 cup shredded gruyere cheese**

*I used these whole grain tortillas from Trader Joe's

**TJ's has great prices on blocks of gruyere cheese.  Much cheaper than I've seen anywhere else!

Slice your zucchini into medium sized coins.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the zucchini and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Stir the zucchini around to coat it with the oil, salt, and pepper.  

Saute the zucchini until it is tender and starting to brown, 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat. 

Brush one side of a tortilla with olive oil and place it on a plate.  Add about a teaspoon or so of dijon mustard to the other side and spread it around. 
Cover the tortilla with a layer of zucchini coins, then a layer of the gruyere cheese.  Put another tortilla on the top and brush the top with olive oil.  Continue the process with the rest of the tortillas, stacking them on top of each other on the plate.  
Carefully transfer each quesadilla to the grill (medium heat).  Grill for 3-4 minutes, until the tortillas starts to brown, and then use a large spatula to carefully flip each quesadilla.  Grill for an additional 3-4 minutes.  Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges and serve.  Serves 4.  
Serving size:  4 wedges.  

These were very tasty and the leftovers were actually great for lunch the next day.  

Zucchini Gratin
2 zucchini squash
1 yellow squash
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Slice your squash into 1/4-inch thick coins.  Place on a baking sheet or wire racks and lightly salt.  Allow to sit for 30 minutes.  Don't skip this step.  This will prevent your gratin from being soggy.

Thoroughly rinse and dry the squash.  Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the zucchini until it starts to brown, 8-10 minutes.  In a small casserole bowl (sprayed with oil), cover the bottom with a layer of squash.  (It's okay if the squash overlaps some.)

Top with a layer of breadcrumbs, cheese, and basil.     
Continue layering the squash, breadcrumbs, cheese and basil.  Top with a little extra cheese.  Cover with oil and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.  Makes 4 simply delicious servings.  

Yum!  We accidently ate all 4 servings.  (In case you don't know--there are only 2 1/2 of us.  1 woman+1 man+1 toddler)  

Summer Vegetable and Quinoa Skillet

1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 3/4 cups vegetable stock
olive oil
1 zucchini squash, sliced and then quartered
1 yellow squash, sliced and then quartered
1 cup cooked corn (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
juice of one small lemon
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
lemon zest

Heat a few swirls of olive oil in a large skillet.  Add your squash to the skillet and saute until it starts to get tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the quinoa and stir.  Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower the heat to medium low and cover.  Allow to simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. 

~This is a good time to cook your corn if it isn't already (I used the microwave because I only had frozen corn available), toast your almonds (just use a small pan and dry toast them over medium heat), and prepare your parsley and basil. ~

Once the quinoa is ready, remove the cover and stir in the lemon juice, parsley, basil, and almonds.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.  Top each serving with a some lemon zest.  I'm not sure how many servings this makes--we ate about 1/2 of it and the left overs are still in the fridge.  Tim really liked this dish and made sure to tell me he wanted me to make it again. I have a tendency to make something he likes and then forget about it and never make it again.  What can I say?  I like trying new things. :-)  

I served this dish with roasted cauliflower.  Who knew cauliflower could be so good?  
Sure, zucchini is available all year round. But why not take advantage of the time when it is its freshest and most abundant?

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