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Stuffed Zucchini



Most people try to pick their zucchini when they are small, for maximum tenderness and flavor. However, these sneaky vegetables tend to hide out underneath the foliage, and when you finally do discover them, they're the size of a large baby. You might be tempted to just foist these off on a neighbor, but you really should think about keeping them -- after all, they
are the perfect size for stuffing!

Don't think that you need an oversize zucchini to make this recipe, though. You can just as easily use a medium-size zucchini, as long as it's large enough to hold the stuffing when the seeds and pulp have been scooped out.

Stuffed Zucchini with Tuna and Mushrooms

2 medium zucchini
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
5 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can tuna in olive oil
2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Dash worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper, hot pepper flakes
1/6 cup panko (or another kind of breadcrumb)
1/6 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the zucchini, and split in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp, leaving the shells about 1/2 inch thick.

Steam the zucchini for 8 - 12 minutes, until almost tender. If the zucchini is extra large, you can do this in the oven over hot water, or throw them in the microwave if they'll fit.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan, and throw in the onions and mushrooms. Saute until soft, then add the tuna, worcestershire sauce, and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot pepper flakes. Pile into the zucchini shells.

Mix the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs together, and sprinkle the mixture over the stuffed zucchini. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Place zucchini in a foil-lined baking pan, and bake for 20 - 30 minutes until toasty brown on top.

Serves 2.
Original recipe from Simply Recipes.



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Corn and Zucchini Fritters



Martha Stewart is kind of awesome. She's a smart cookie (let's ignore the whole imclone business), knows what she wants, and makes adorable baby bird cupcakes.

Also wonderful? The recipe compilations that her magazine releases annually. So far, my favorite has been the 2005 Edition; I found this recipe in it last year, and have been waiting for summer to arrive so that I can make it again.

Corn and Zucchini Fritters

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp melted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 8 oz)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 or 4 ears)
vegetable oil for frying

Garnish:
peeled and sliced avocado
cilantro
lime wedges
bacon, cooked until crisp

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, 2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter, eggs, and milk; add to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Add zucchini and corn, stir until well blended.

Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium heat until hot.

Drop 2 tbsp of batter into the skillet for each fritter, pressing gently with a spatula to flatten. Cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer onto paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper while still hot.

Serve with lime juice, crispy bacon, avocado slices and cilantro on top.

Makes 2 dozen fritters.

Martha Stewart Living, 2005

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Moussaka



One of our favorite restaurants is the Happy Greek in Columbus -- just ask any of our relatives who happened to visit us when we lived in the city. Their avgolemono soup (a lemony broth-based rice soup) is always amazing, as are their gyros. But our most-loved dish was their moussaka. Now that we live in Cleveland, we've been forced to get creative, and find our own recipe!

Moussaka is fairly similar to the Italian lasagna, only with vegetables replacing the lasagna noodles. There are countless variations on this dish, but we picked one that makes the most of a rampant summer vegetable -- zucchini. Moussaka is also usually topped with a creamy bechamel sauce that browns nicely in the oven. In this recipe, a lower-fat version of this sauce is used.

I have to confess that I don't really care for Parmesan cheese. I find the acidic taste it develops when it's aged too much (or has been sitting in the refrigerator too long) a little disgusting. Instead, we like to use Grana Padano cheese, which is prepared very similarly to Parmigiano Reggiano. We buy it at Whole Foods, but have found it at larger grocery stores before.

White Sauce:

2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup milk
dash of ground nutmeg
2 tbsp grated grana padano cheese
1 egg yolk

Whisk flour in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Slowly add the milk, whisking all the while, until the mixture is smooth. Add the nutmeg. Continue whisking the mixture until it thickens and comes to a boil (this will take about ten minutes). Take the pot off the heat, and add the nutmeg, cheese and the egg yolk. Set aside.


Moussaka:

olive oil
1 large eggplant, trimmed, peeled and sliced lengthwise (1/2" thick)
2 medium zucchini, trimmed and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds
1 large russet or red potato, peeled and sliced into 1/4" thick rounds

1 tsp olive oil
1 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 to 3/4 lb ground beef or lamb
1 14 oz can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup plain dry white breadcrumbs
1 egg white
dash ground cinnamon
White Sauce
grated Grana Padano cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet or two small ones with parchment paper, brush with olive oil. Lay out eggplant, potato and zucchini slices on the baking sheets, allowing them to overlap slightly. Brush vegetables generously with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees F.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onions and garlic, and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and brown, breaking up the beef with the back of a wooden spoon. When the meat is completely brown, add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Add half the breadcrumbs, the cinnamon, and the egg white.

In a glass 8" x 8" x 2" dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs over the base of the pan. Arrange the potato slices in a layer over the bottom of the pan, overlapping if necessary. Spoon half of the tomato sauce over the potatoes. Arrange the eggplant in a layer on top of the tomato sauce, and spoon the remaining sauce over the eggplant. Finish off with a layer of zucchini. Pour the white sauce over the whole dish, and sprinkle with cheese.

Put the moussaka in the oven and bake for about half an hour, until the top is nicely browned. Let sit for 15 minutes after leaving the oven, then slice and serve.

Serves 3 or 4.

Bon App├ętit, February 1998

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