Monday, October 1, 2012

Harvest Bounties; Or, What To Do With All This Darn Zucchini!

Isn't autumn lovely?

Of course, it's sad to see summer fading, with all of it's sunny day glories. Summer means lake trips, barbecues, and warm days laying out with a cool drink. I can't help it though. As the nights get cooler and the days get shorter, as the leaves on the tree began changing into their more festive attire, and we begin bringing in the bounties from our gardens, the scents, flavors, and colors of fall bring to mind warmth, light, and happiness. 

Of course, there's always the question, just what to do with all that bountiful bounty!!

Today I faced three of my biggest harvests this year, squash, zucchini, and blackberries. The zucchini and squash came from home, and the blackberries were wild-harvested well away from pollutants from the road. Now, I love squash, and find it to be extremely versatile, especially considering that it's one of the Bug's favorites. Soup, pies, sauteed, pureed, for breakfast, dinner, dessert, whatever you can imagine! This year, however, I had just as much zucchini! Even after trading/gifting half of it I was worried I had too much. I definitely try to live by waste not, want not.

Luckily, I found out that zucchini is just as versatile! I've discovered an amazing zucchini secret... If you skin, seed, and chop zucchini, then simmer it in lemon juice, it makes a passable apple cobbler imitation! Here's what I came up with.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook and stir 8 cups zucchini and 3/4 cup lemon juice until zucchini is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg and cook one minute more. Remove from heat and set aside. Use as the filling for your favorite cobbler recipe! Here's one I like: 

Combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Mash in 6 TBSP butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in 1/4 cup water until just combined. D
rop spoonfuls of topping over filling. Sprinkle entire cobbler with a mixture of 1 TBSP brown sugar, 1TBSP white sugar, and 1 TBSP cinnamon. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

Another amazing way to eat zucchini is to skin, de-seed, and grate it. Mix in egg and flour for binder, and onions, garlic, cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. I pat them into patties, top them with panko/bread crumbs, and then lightly fry them or bake them in a pan lightly treated with olive oil. 

Tomorrow I"ll tackle all the blackberries!! Raw blackberry cobbler? I think so!!

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