Chef Robert’s Kitchen — July


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Hi, Fellow Foodies—–

What’s firm and long…and green?  Zucchini!  July’s featured garden product is the wonderfully abundant zucchini.  Every garden has them, and if yours doesn’t, I’m sure you can find a neighbor whose does.

Bags of zucchini show up at most people’s work places, occasionally on your doorstep, and at roadside stands, labeled “free to a good home.”

My Uncle Wilbur used to say that the government wasted a lot of time and money sending wheat to poor countries.  It needed to be ground up, then mixed with many other ingredients such as eggs, salt, sugar, yeast, etc., before you have something you can eat.  Who eats plain wheat? Mix it with water and you get—paste. But with a zucchini, you can eat it baked, stewed, fried, sautéed, pickled, with sauce, with meat, with cheese, in a dessert, or just plain raw and cut up in a salad.  If a person were really hungry, he could just cut it up and eat it without the benefit of other ingredients, although not so tasty.  And the seeds are easily saved and replanted, and the plant is pretty easy to grow.

I grow both green and yellow zucchini squash. Gardeners argue which is best– some say the yellow are milder and have thinner skins, some say the green are easier to grow.  I just think the mix of colors in a recipe is more attractive.

I wanted to give you a recipe this month for a hearty vegetable sauté with shrimp, but I’ve lost out to my dear Suzy.  She has a dessert using zucchini that people swear is apple pie.  She got it years ago from her co-worker Denise who made it to get her family to eat zucchini.  Suzy takes this to picnics and dares friends and relatives to name the mystery ingredient.

(If you’re interested in the sauté, leave a message on the blog and I’ll post it.)

Zucchini “Apple” Pie

Not a low-cal recipe!

Crust Mixture:

4 c. flour            ½ t. salt

2 c. sugar         3 sticks butter

Soften butter to room temperature. In mixer bowl, combine butter with dry ingredients until crumb-like.  Set aside half of the mixture.  Pat other half into bottom on ungreased 9”x13” pan.  Bake @ 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.

“Apple Pie” layer

Zucchini to equal 8 c.

1 c. sugar      2/3 c. lemon juice      1 t. cinnamon

Peel and slice zucchini into apple-sized pieces, remove large seeds.  Cut and slice enough to yield 8 c.  Combine lemon with zucchini in sauce pan and cook on medium heat until zucchini is tender.  Add sugar and cinnamon, simmer another minute, then add1/2 c. of the reserved crumb mixture.  It will thicken and resemble apple pie filling.

Spread zucchini mixture on the baked crust; sprinkle with the rest of the reserved crumb mix.   Bake @ 375 degrees for 30 min.

Cool and serve.  Good with ice cream, like just about everything else in the universe!

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