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Fun Zucchini Meals
Using All That Food You've Grown
Zucchini, or courgette, is one of the vegetables I've had great success with growing, unlike pumpkin, but that's another story. (I'll be using the names zucchini, or courgette interchangeably in this article).
Last year we had a really good crop, and some were given away, as we couldn't use them all. Here are a few of the ways we used the rest.
Courgettes In The Kitchen
Although I'm not the world's greatest cook, I've discovered that courgettes make a great thickening agent for stews and casseroles. They also make great soup. If you're not worried about the calories, add a little cream to the soup - it will really make a difference.
Courgettes contain high levels of Vitamins C and A, plus they are fibre, which we all need. You can eat them cooked or raw. Personally, I don't even remove the skin, just give it a good wash. Although I'm not a fan, they can also be pickled.
These vegetables are fairly easy to grow, but they do like a sunny area, and they will spread out as much as you let them. You can train them up stakes or trellises to save space.
They are very easy to grow from seed, and you can start them inside or in a greenhouse to get an early start to the growing season. They like a lot of compost, and in the right conditions, will start to bear fruit in about 2 months.
Zucchini, or courgettes, don't like frost, so when the colder weather comes, your plants will usually die down. Dig them into the ground as green mulch, or add them to the compost bin. As a fleshy plant, they don't take long to rot down, and recycling is always good.
This is my very favourite way to use zucchini, but be warned, it's full of calories. Every so often, I make this as a lunch, to treat myself to something yummy.
Slice the vegetable fairly thinly.
Heat some butter in a frying pan. When it's simmering, add some fresh or dried garlic to taste, then the courgette. Sprinkle with salt and your choice of seasoning if you like. Cook until it is brown on both sides, then remove from the pan and put aside.
Place one or two slices of bread in the garlic butter and brown on both sides, letting it soak up all the flavour of the garlic.
Put on your place, add the zucchini, and enjoy! Serve with a side salad for a larger meal.
This is so quick and easy, I wish I dare eat it more often......... :-)
A Rich And Yummy Snack
Even more ideas for cooking this vegetable.
Tasty Salad With Bulgur
This isn't actually my own recipe, but is something we had recently when dining out. It is served as a side salad, but could be used as a main. It's quite a refreshing dish.
The quantities aren't really important, just use them to suit your own taste.
Chop a small courgette into slices, then half them.
Put your bulgur into a bowl and mix in several small fresh mint leaves.
Add the sliced courgette.
This is nicer if left to stand for a while in the fridge, so that the flavour of the mint leaves can permeate through the rest of the salad.
If you chose, you may also drizzle a little olive oil and/or lemon juice over the salad when serving.
It's a very nice salad for a hot day, and suits either vegetarian or meat dishes.
Note: Bulgur is wheat which has been boiled and then dried out. It's often used in Middle Eastern and Indian food.
Burghul is often mixed up with bulgur, but is just uncooked cracked wheat.
Photo Credit Part Two : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgur
Have you ever grown your own vegetables?
Fetta Cheese Adds Flavour
One hot day, having a beautifully fresh zucchini, fresh off the vine, and not much of an idea what to do with it, I came up with this.
Checking through the fridge, there was an unopened packed of Spanish Fetta cheese, which has a beautiful flavour - this looked promising, but there wasn't much else to be found, as the shopping hadn't been done.
The vegetable was chopped into half slices, as in the photo, and put aside in a bowl. The fetta cheese was cubed and added to the courgette.
After sprinkling a little fresh parsley to taste, with a light drizzle of olive oil and vinegar, there was a beautiful little snack. It only takes a couple of minutes to prepare too. You can use mint, or any herb you like, instead of parsley. Mild capsicum is good.
Serve with cherry tomatoes, and cracker biscuits. A glass of white wine doesn't go astray either. :-)
I have to admit that I don't use a recipe for pickling vegetables, I just throw in what I feel like at the time, and hope for the best. Mostly things turn out just fine.
When I grew some cauliflower, there was just too much to eat, so a lot was frozen, and some was pickled with the zucchini and some small onions. Sorry, but I didn't take any photos, not thinking I'd ever need one.
All I did was wash the vegetables, chop them into suitable sizes, and put them into jars. I added a little crushed garlic, well, ok a lot of garlic, because I like it, and a teaspoon of sugar to each jar. The jars were then filled with vinegar, and stored in a dark cupboard to ferment for a few weeks, before eating. This batch tasted fine!
For pickling, I prefer to use brown vinegar, as it's stronger, but white would be fine too. I also like to add some small brown onions to the mix. Some people like to put a little olive oil in the pickle also, for added smoothness.
Pickles go very well with cheese sandwiches - a nice lunch for a hot day.
Courgette Is Versatile
Omelette With Courgette
A very quick and easy meal is a courgette omelette.
Heat your oil or butter, then add thinly sliced courgette, a little garlic and salt and some onion if you wish. Cook until slightly brown, or to your taste.
Make your omelette, add the courgette mix, and there you are, a simple and fast snack.
Serve with salad, and it will make a quick meal. A little soy sauce on the omelette is great too. For a larger sized meal, add some fried cauliflower to the mix.