Saturday, August 30, 2014

SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT ZUCCHINI

Let me start this off with an admission:  "I have not been a big fan of zucchini".  That is, until we
got a copy of Susie Middleton's great cook book  "Fast, Fresh & Green".  She advised in one
of her recipes that one cut around the center and discard it.  This was an AHA moment for me.
What have I always hated about most zucchini recipes?  Why, of course, it's the watery
consistency of most recipes we have tried over the years.

Ladies and gentleman, this is a game changer.  In my humble opinion, zucchini is best when
prepared in this manner.  One of my favorite
side dishes these days is a saute of zucchini and onions in extra virgin olive oil over medium
high heat.  The vegetable is firm and crispy with lots of flavor when cooked this way.

I also feel that zucchini is best when picked at about eight inches long.  The flesh is nice and
thick but the center isn't bloated with water and seeds.    I am also
partial to yellow zucchini.  My favorite variety is "Golden Glory"".  It is easy to locate the
fruit on the vine because of the contrast in color.  In addition the vine itself is compact and features
beautiful oak shaped variegated foliage.
The ideal picking size

One issue I have always had with zucchini was that it was a favorite target of  the dreaded
and hated Squash Vine Borer.  This year I treated my two plants with Rotenone-Pyrethrins,
spraying three times over a three week period in July when the females are looking for
places to lay their eggs.  This strategy was successful.  I am happy to report that my two
plants are still producing.  They look tired but both have small fruit and new blossoms: Not
bad for plants that have been in the ground since late May.
Golden Glory Zucchini foliage in late August

My final thought is that I am sick of stories about people leaving baseball bat sized zucchini
on their neighbors back door step or leaving them in unlocked vehicles.  People, get control
of your zucchini patch.  Only grow what you can eat.  Pick early and often.  Enough said.

ZUCCHINI, ONIONS AND BROCCOLI WITH PORK TENDERLOIN, NOODLES AND
MANGO, GINGER & HABANERO SAUCE

Now that I have had my rant, let me share a recipe that I came up with recently.  It all started
with my discovery of "Mango, Ginger and Habanero  Sauce".  We had leftover pork
tenderloin in the refrigerator along with some cooked spaghetti noodles.

I started by cutting a zucchini in half lengthwise and scooping out the center with a spoon.
I then cut the flesh into 1/2" x 1 1/2" pieces.  I then cut up a large onion into pieces
approximately the same size as the zucchini.  My late summer broccoli was ready so
I picked a head and trimmed off florets about the same size as my other ingredients.
Zucchini hollowed out

I sauteed the vegetables in extra virgin olive oil at medium high heat for approximately ten minutes.
I cut up the pork tenderloin into pieces, and added it to the mix.  I then added about 5 or
six ounces of the Mango, Ginger Habanero sauce to the pan.  Once that heated up I added the
precooked noodles.  This dish made my picky wife very happy.  Give it a try.  Let me know
what you think.
The finished dish
All the best,
Greg

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