Tidbits for Aug. 26

Posted Aug. 25, 2009, at 6:25 p.m.

Our call last week for zucchini recipes was answered by many people who wanted to share the ways in which they spice up this ubiquitous backyard vegetable.

Janet Murphy of Orono sent us her recipe for Zucchini Relish, which calls for 12 cups of zucchini, 4 cups of onion and 1 cup each of a red, yellow and green pepper, all ground and mixed with 5 tablespoons of salt. After letting all the veggies stand overnight, mix them with cold water and drain. In a large kettle, mix 2½ cups vinegar, 6 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon dry mustard, ¾ teaspoon nutmeg, ¾ tablespoon cornstarch, ¾ teaspoon turmeric, 1½ teaspoon celery seed and ½ teaspoon black pepper and cook until it starts to thicken; add the veggies and cook all together for 30 minutes. Put im-mediately into hot sterilized jars, and serve all season. “Once you try this,” says Murphy, “you’ll never use green-dyed relish again.”

Wally Alexander of Winslow e-mailed his recipe for Zucchini Battori, a dish he says he has been making for years. It calls for 2-3 small zucchinis, 1 large onion and 2 cups of mushrooms, all thinly sliced. Saute the onions and mushrooms in a pan with a little olive oil, and in a small bowl mix 2 beaten eggs with 1 cup of ricotta cheese. Spread half of the onions and mushrooms in the bottom of a 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole, top with half of the zucchini, and sprinkle that “liberally,” as Alexander says, with garlic powder, parmesan cheese and thyme. Layer the ricotta and egg on top of that, and then add a half-cup of jack cheese. Cover with remaining zucchini, top with the rest of the onions and mushrooms, and sprinkle on top of that another ½ cup of grated jack. Top with more garlic, thyme and parmesan, and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Alexander says it’s just as good made with low-fat cheese.

Finally, Mary Lou Weaver of Winter Harbor makes Creamy Zucchini Soup that she says is perfect for those early fall nights. In a heavy soup kettle, Weaver first melts 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. To that she adds 1 chopped medium onion, 6-8 chopped scallions, 1 chopped clove of garlic, 2 chopped celery stalks and 2 or 3 zucchinis, chopped, along with sea salt, curry powder, black pepper, thyme, marjoram and nutmeg. She lets the veggies and seasonings mix and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regu-larly, and then add 6 cups water and 2 tablespoons white miso or vegetable bouillon. Bring all that to a boil, and then simmer it on medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove cover and cool, and then puree in blender or food processor until smooth. Despite its creamy texture, it’s very low in calories, and Weaver says that the peels should remain on the zucchini to give the soup a pleasant green hue. She suggests serving it with sour cream and scallions, and said it also freezes very well.

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