Friday, July 31, 2009

Unloved zucchini

There is something so forlorn about the abandoned zucchini that turn up in break rooms of office buildings this time of year. Plucked from their lush, happy garden and plunked unceremoniously on a cold composite table, under harsh fluorescent light and away from natural sun. Left there unregarded to rot or be thrown away by the cleaning people, if no one wants them. Because already no one wanted them. A loved would be sitting in a beautiful basket in the kitchen or, better yet, taken straight from plant to cutting board. Not these ones.

Fortunately there are those who open their hearts and their kitchens to the unloved zucchini, taking it on as their own. What kind of cold hearted person could see a veg in need and walk away?

Darling Husband brought home one such veg this week. "Just one?" you ask. YES. It was a monster of a zucchini, stretching from my elbow to finger tips and so wide around that I couldn't wrap both hands around and touch. We could've hollowed it out and rented it to college students to live in.

Instead we decided to fry it and make napoleons. I made essentially a hot crab dip, with farmer cheese, canned crab (not the fake flake, my friends!) and artichoke. Actually, I started with a quick, blonde roux and added milk for a bechamel, augmented with the cheese, crab and artchoke. It was pretty great, but the texture of the crab was completely lost.

Darling Husband cut thin slices of the behemoth squash and dredged in corn meal before frying. We layered a slice, a dollop, a slice, a dollop and a slice and called it dinner. A very, very rich dinner that was amazing, but actually a bit much for me. It would do better on a smaller scale and as an appetizer, I think. That being said, it tasted awesome and looked beautiful.

We had other ideas for the big zucchini, including stuffing it with a sausage and couscous mixture, making a monster curry, grilling planks with steak seasoning (for vegan steak, of course), zucchini parmasean. The good thing is we can still do all of those things because we still have most of a giant zucchini waiting for us. "Use me," it calls to us. Creepy, no? Maybe we should hollow it out and rent it to college students. I hear affordable housing can be hard to find.

On an unrelated note, my father today was telling me of his grandfather making what he called schmear casse, essentially homemade cottage cheese. I, not knowing this, had just been researching making my own ricotta. It's a coincidence that doesn't mean much, but I like saying schmear casse. I googled it and found a thread where a group was expounding on the virtues of scrapple, and one of them suggested apple butter und schmear casse as manna. The reply was, "gee, you really are from PA Dutch country!".


  1. We just got our first zucchini out of our garden and althought it doesn't sound as large as yours we love it ... enjoyed your blog - thanks for sharing your veggie tales!

  2. The zucchini in our garden just won't grow, so I envy you. We have dozens of flowers, but I guess they're not being polinated because we get no fruit. Fortunatly, we're able to rely on the kindness of strangers. :o) Thanks for the comment!

  3. So, sweetie... At what point do we give up on any actual zucchini appearing on our plant and say 'bugger it' and make fried squash blossoms?