Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Book Review and Zucchini recipes

Several months ago I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I think I've probably posted about it before, but my Mister has also read it recently, so we've been talking a lot more about being self sufficient and commenting on what we'd give up if we were to live that way. (We both recognize that we couldn't do it where we live now, and we'd have to move to the country somewhere.) For example, as I bite into a twix bar, my Mister says, "you couldn't eat those anymore", or as he mixes up a glass of gatorade after a run, I say, "that would have to be one of our exceptions to the "no food we don't grow ourselves or buy from a local source". It's a fun game, really. 

It's a fascinating book, and I really recommend it especially if you have any interest in gardening or self-sufficiency. It really makes you think about where your food comes from. It will also make you want to make your own cheese and grow asparagus.

One other thing it has made me think a lot about is eating foods during their season. Right now is the season for zucchini and tomatoes, so we've been eating those things a lot. Here are a few "recipes" we've been using a lot. I don't want to let anything go to waste, and these dishes are easy (I love one-pot meals) and different enough that I'm not gagging thinking about eating zucchini again tonight. Feel free to post your own zucchini recipes as well.

Summer Stew refers to anything thrown together with ingredients right out of the garden.  (2013 update: I'm going back through old posts to add pictures, so as I remake these meals, I'll add photos)

Moroccan Summer Stew
Saute olive oil, garlic and onions in a pan.  Add chopped potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini.  Add enough water to steam the potatoes and cover (you may want to let the potatoes steam for a bit before you add the zucchini and tomatoes so they aren't total mush).  Add a can of garbanzo beans, and several good shakes of cumin (add enough that you can smell it) and some salt and pepper to taste.  If it's too dry, add a little more water so that there's enough "sauce" to moisten the couscous you serve it over.  (I recommend couscous, but quinoa is good too, rice might be okay.)

Italian Summer Stew

Saute olive oil, garlic and onions in a pan (do you sense a theme yet?).  Add sliced zucchini, and tomatoes.  Add water if there isn't enough from the tomatoes to make it saucy.  Add oregano or basil (fresh basil from the garden is wonderful), and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and simmer until zucchini are softened.  Add a couple of handfuls of pine nuts and two or three splashes of balsamic vinegar.  Serve over pasta.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Un-Stuffed Zucchini
(you can also stuff them, in which case you cut a huge zucchini in half, scrape out seeds, fill with the following mixture, top with cheese, and bake in oven for however long it takes for the zucchini to cook all the way- I'm helpful, I know- my mom can comment and tell everyone how long this takes- but my experience is that the kids eat the stuffing part and leave the zucchini part, so I've started making my stuffed zucchini un-stuffed)

Cook however much ground burger you want.  I think I usually use 1/2 pound, but it really doesn't matter.  Add garlic, and onions.  I like to add a little beef bouillon too. Saute, then add chopped zucchini, tomatoes and a cup or two of rice (depending on how many people you are feeding and how big your pan is).  Add enough water to cook the rice.  Cover, and cook on low for 20 minutes or so (until the water is gone and the rice is cooked).  Salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with cheese (I like mozzarella), and serve.

Grilled Flatbread Pizza with zucchini: Recipe here.
Ratatouille: Recipe here.
Pizza: topping idea here.


George said...

On the topic of self sufficiency the Boy Scouts and I are giving serious thought to the Cooking Merit Badge in September. We are going to costruct an adobe wood fired bread and pizza oven. It will be fashioned after the manner of the ancestors of the high plains of Peru and the land of many waters in Cenral America.

As soon as we get good, we will invite the ladies over for some totally gringo pizza. We may need the ladies to help with the bread and pizza dough recipes however.

David said...

If you are interested in self-sufficiency you should check out the book "Backyard Homestead" - you might be surprised at how close you could come even where you live now. They have some interesting information on how much you can produce on 1/4 or even 1/10 acre.

Alice said...

David- I'll look into that book. I know we could do quite a bit where we are (and we do), but we'd need lots of animals, which we can't have here.