Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Amazing Vanishing Zucchini

You know how brochures for investment funds always have this little warning, "Past performance is not a guarantee of future results"? Well, the same seems to apply to vegetables. If we grew a good crop of something last year, it doesn't necessarily mean we'll get any at all this year—and conversely, crops that usually peter out by early August will sometimes continue producing clear up to Labor Day weekend and show no signs of stopping. Such is the case with our zucchini plants, which we successfully rescued from squash vine borers a couple of months ago (my little foil collars didn't succeed in keeping the grubs out, but we managed to catch them early and perform some successful surgery to remove them). Normally, by this time of year, our zucchini plants have succumbed to bugs or disease or some other malady, but this year they've just kept producing and producing, leaving us struggling to stay afloat in a sea of zucchini.

So, aside from trying to pick them before they get too big, our main strategy has been to develop lots of variations on the Disappearing Zucchini trick. After the relative success of our Zucchini Waffles earlier this month, we decided to try another variation on Mark Bittman's Vegetable Pancake recipe. This time we used mushrooms as well as zucchini, and since we're still getting loads of Sun Gold tomatoes, we also whipped up a simple salsa to go with this. We figured these sweet little cherry tomatoes would give us the balance between sweet and tart flavors that seemed to provide the best complement to the mild flavor of the cakes. The result was good enough that I decided it was worth sharing with you here on the blog, so here we go. (Note that all measurements for veggies are approximate; if you have more or less to work with, the recipe should be able to adjust to accommodate them.)
ZUCCHINI-MUSHROOM CAKES WITH SUN GOLD SALSA 
For pancakes:
1 egg
1 cup flour
About 2 cups grated zucchini
1 small medium onion, finely chopepd
About 4 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped
3/4 tsp. to 1 tsp. salt
Beat the egg in a large bowl, then stir in all the remaining ingredients. Drop large spoonfuls onto a hot griddle and fry in as little oil as possible. 
For salsa:
About 1 1/2 cups Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1-2 scallions, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, diced
Combine everything in a medium bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes. You may want to drain off some of the liquid before serving.
If our zucchini plants continue to produce at this rate, I'm sure we'll be developing still more of these Vanishing Zucchini recipes, so watch this space for more.

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