It's getting to be the time of year when my blog is filled with favorite recipes for locally and home grown produce. So if it seems like I'm posting a lot about food, it's just because I'm in the kitchen a lot during these months!
This past weekend, Daryl went to visit some friends. I'm insanely jealous of their garden. They have the kind of garden that I dream of putting within mine and Daryl's white picket fence someday (when we get that ever elusive white picket fence, that is!) They sent Daryl back to me carrying delicious homemade pickles, onions, and these gigantic beasts:
Yes, those my friends, are real zucchini. Just to give a comparison of the size, I placed my chef's knife next to the larger one.
I personally love zucchini. Our friends could not have picked a better veggie to send home with Daryl. Back in my days of vegetarianism, it was as much a main staple in my diet as black beans and tofu. Stir fry, grilled, baked in bread... YUM! But with a zucchini this marvelous, and this huge, I wanted to make a main dish that the rest of the family (who are for the most part, carnivorous) would enjoy.
I turned to my old standby, Allrecipes.com and found a recipe for Baked Zucchini. But this was a recipe for those puny zucchini that you find in the grocery store, not this massively nutritious beauty that my friends summoned from the garden gods. A side dish at best. It needed some changes to make it a satisfying main course. This is what I came up with. But I have to be honest and tell you that I did not measure a dang thing. I just kept adding and mixing until it looked and tasted good! (if you spy a measuring cup on the counter in any pictures, be assured it is only there for posterity) So the measurements are estimated, and some might be a little vague. For this reason I didn't really put this into "recipe format."
I set the oven to preheat at 350 degrees F and put a large pot of salted water on to boil. I cut the zucchini into 1/2 inch slices
Then I cut two tomatoes that came from my garden box, into 1/4 inch slices. You can cut them thinner if you'd like less tomato, but I wouldn't go any thicker or the stacks might not bake through and the cheese will burn.
I cut the corn off of three cobs. These were previously cooked, leftover from a prior dinner.
In a bowl, I mixed 1 and 1/2 packages of cream cheese, a scoop of sour cream, and a scoop of plain yogurt. I would say "a scoop" is about 1/4-1/2 cup. I added the corn, chives and basil from our garden box, salt, and pepper. If I had dill, I would have used that instead of chives (I grew dill this year, and I picked it and dried it, and now it has disappeared. Same thing happened last year. I think someone keeps throwing it out on accident, as I'm the only one who uses dill around here) I mixed everything together until it looked like this:
When the water came to a boil, I placed the zucchini slices into the pot, covered, and boiled for 5 minutes.
When I took them out of the pot, I wish that I had placed them on a plate with a paper towel to remove excess water before placing them on the baking sheet. If I had, the zucchini probably would have stayed more firm through the baking process. I removed the zucchini from the water and placed them on a baking sheet, and brushed olive oil on the tops. I then spooned a generous amount of the cream cheese mixture on top of each slice.
Next, I put the tomato slices on, but I left two without tomatoes because Daryl's brother does not like them.
Then, to appease the meat eaters, I put deli slices on top of the tomatoes. I happened to have honey ham and bourbon chicken, so I made half of them with each.
Finally, I topped everything with co-jack cheese and placed them in the oven for twenty minutes at 350 F. After the twenty minutes, I decided they needed a little longer, and let them cook for an additional seven minutes, for a total cook time of 27 minutes.
When the cheese started to look a little brown and slightly crunchy (but still gooey- not burnt.. you know the way I mean!) I knew they were done.
I removed them from the oven and let the baking sheet stand on cooling racks for five minutes before servingAnd the results:
Even the pickiest veggie eaters in the family came back for seconds! I served them with banana-blueberry-nut quick bread (recipe to come soon) and black-berry applesauce.