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Grazing with Gary

Zuke rush

By: Gary Gilligan
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Well, with this heat, the gardens are in full bloom. Time for the zucchini rush to take over the world. Everyone will be offering zucchini from their gardens and what will we do with them? Here are a few ideas. Happy cooking!

 

Summer Vegetarian Paella

By Erin Alderson

A seasonal, vegetarian riff on the classic, this paella is a beautiful main course that’s the perfect weekend or date-night dinner.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

  • 1/2 cup short-grain brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (pimentón)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas (drained/rinsed if using canned)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 medium summer squash, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • Parsley, for serving
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the rice. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking, In a 8-inch cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Stir in diced onion and minced garlic, cooking for 4-5 minutes. Next, add 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric; cook for one minute.
  3. Next, add the roughly diced tomato, chickpeas, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Give a good stir and cook until tomatoes start to boil, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cooked rice and ½ cup of the hot rice water. Finish with the vegetable broth then layer the zucchini/squash on top. Continue to cook until the rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed; 30 or so minutes. The goal is to leave it cooking for 5 or so minutes longer so the rice on the bottom is crisp. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley and lemon juice.

Tips and tricks: This recipe is specific to using short-grain brown rice. I’ve found this type of rice doesn’t cook well in tomatoes, hence the pre-cooking. If you decide to use a different variety of rice (like the rice traditionally used in paella), don’t pre-cook.


Fresh Zucchini Muffins

These tender, sweet muffins are the perfect way to use up all that summer zucchini.

Makes about 12 muffins

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups grated zucchini (about 2 small to medium-size zuccs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Cinnamon and sugar for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In medium bowl, combine grated zucchini, eggs, vanilla, and oil. Stir well to combine, then gently stir into flour mixture. Be careful not to overwork this — it will lead to dense muffins.
  3. Fill lined muffin tins about 3/4 of the way up with the batter and then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on each. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.


Marinated Zucchini Salad

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3 zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 yellow squash (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  1. Combine vinegar, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until sugar dissolves. Trim ends of zucchini and squash; cut into thin ribbons with harp-shaped peeler. Add to vinegar mixture. Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Bring a small pan of water to a boil; add garlic. Remove with a slotted spoon after 1 minute. Rinse under cold water; set aside. Add basil to boiling water; immediately remove and rinse under cold water. Reserve 1 tablespoon of cooking liquid. Transfer garlic and basil to a food processor, and add lemon juice, olive oil, reserved water, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Process until smooth.
  3. Drain squash, and divide among four plates. Top with cubed mozzarella, and drizzle with basil oil.