When the heat wave finally broke this week, I found myself dying to cook again. After days of it being too damn hot to cook – and too hot to eat anything that had been cooked, when salad and corn on the cob were the extent of my culinary ambitions, food appealed again.
This is good, because the list of things you can do with raw zucchini is somewhat limited and we had reached the “For the love of god, someone, please cook something with these damned zucchini” stage. So we did. And with the tomatoes, the blueberries, the eggplant, the kale, etc….
Zucchini make wonderful dried zucchini chips – just slice thin, dehydrate and then toss with a spice mixture of choice. We grilled some, and sauteed some with tomatoes and zaatar spice mix. I sliced some up for bread-and-butter zucchini pickles. We also made chocolate-cherry-zucchini bread, which is not exactly healthy, but is fabulous.
3 cups grated zucchini
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup cocoa
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cherries (or any other dried fruit you’ve got lying around)
Mix the dry stuff together and the wet stuff together. Combine. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 375 until a tester comes out dry, about 35 minutes.
For dinner on those really hot days, we drown in tomatoes and corn, and have a favorite dinner we call “corn and salsa” – it isn’t really a salsa, more like a salad, but that’s its name. The corn is just briefly boiled – a minute or more, and needs no adornment. The salsa is made with lots of ripe tomatoes, black beans and sweet onions. Then add a lot of lemon juice (lime is fine too), salt and a bit of sugar to balance the acidity, and some canned chipotles in adobo or dried chipotle powder, also to taste. Serve with a giant salad and eat by the bowlful. My kids can eat their weight in this meal! It is really nice with cilantro as well, but Eric doesn’t like the stuff, so I forget to add it for my own.
Once it cools off more, we’ll probably eat another favorite tomato dish more often – it is particularly wonderful with the late, slightly watery tomatoes you get after summer’s peak. We had it for the first time the other night, though, and ti was great. Please try not to hold against it the fact that we have given this the rather unappetizing name “tomato goop” at our house. Feel free to give it a better name, like “tomatoes a la goop” if that will please you more .
This consists of a whole bunch of sliced tomatoes in a pan, layered with basil and garlic. Then add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, any spices you like, bread crumbs, and if you want, cheese. I like goat cheese crumbled on top, or parmesan sprinkled over the breadcrumbs, but do as you like. Bake at 400 until juicy and golden and serve over homemade bread.
We harvested the apricots on our trees this year – not enough to bother preserving, the kids (and the adults) ate a ton of them fresh, and then they were made into blueberry-apricot-almond crisp. A layer of sliced apricots, a quart of blueberries, a little lemon and sweetener if you like, and a streusel of brown sugar, rolled oats, almonds, a bit of flour, a little oil and almond extract. How bad could that be?
That’s the great glory of this time of year – the food is so lush it doesn’t need much – but gilding the lily has its pleasures.
So what are you eating right now?