zucchini chips

lovely zucchini chips

I really like Zucchini. My husband really doesn’t. As such, when the ubiquitous veggie is in abundance during the summer, I have to think of creative ways to use up the Zuchs I get in my local box. If the veggies is totally transformed or hidden, I can ‘get away’ with serving it at our family table. Otherwise, I have to fly solo on my summer squash gastronomical adventures.

Just when I was about to start searching online for new Zucchini ideas, I came across this fabulous recipe for Zucchini chips. As the author points out, you can mix up the ingredients for flavoring your chips however you like them, and the following is my incarnation of this great idea for using Zucchini.

If you don’t have a food dehydrator and have fifty bucks to invest in a culinary tool that will quickly pay for itself in its ability to preserve and create great food, go buy one today. You can also dry foods on very low temperature in your oven, but in the middle of the summer who wants their oven on, sometimes with the door open, for 12 hours at a time? Not me! So… food dehydrator it is.

The key to making good chips is to get them THIN. A mandolin works best to get the slices both thin and uniform, but if you have a very sharp knife and lots of patience you can do without a mandolin.

Zucchini Chips
2 large zucchini
3 tsp olive oil
2tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
black pepper

lovely zucchini chips

1. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice your zucchini into very thin slices and place them in a large bowl.

lovely zucchini chips

2. Mix the oil, vinegar, and all the seasonings but the pepper in a small dish and mix well.

lovely zucchini chips

3. Using a spatula to get all the marinade out of the bowl, distribute the mix over the zucchini. Using clean hands, toss the zucchini in the marinade until the slices are evenly coated. Take your time doing this as its important to flavor all of your zucchini.

lovely zucchini chips

4. Turn on your dehydrator and allow it to warm up for five minutes (or follow your particular brand’s operating instructions).

lovely zucchini chips

5. As the dryer is warming, place your slices on your food trays in a single layer, not overlapping, and sprinkle with fresh-ground black pepper.

lovely zucchini chips

6. Stack your trays on your dehydrator and allow to dry until completely crisp and crunchy. My chips took about 6 hours for the lower racks and 7 for the upper racks.

7. Allow the chips to cool a bit, very carefully remove them from the rack and store, when completely cooled, in an airtight glass container.

lovely zucchini chips

This is a great recipe to do with kids. While the adult will need to do the slicing, eager little hands can be helpful in tossing the zucchini and layering them on the dryer trays. These chips make a delicious, healthy alternative to potato chips and they are my 14 month old’s new favorite snack. Enjoy!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

early summer saute

lovely saute

What’s great about the growing season kicking into gear is that you get to just open up your fridge and pick from a great green bounty, chop stuff up, and saute it in a pan with a bit of fat, a bit of acid, and a bit of seasoning, and you’ve got a fabulous dish. If you want to make it a meal, just add a bit of protein into the mix. The following is one such dish I whipped up this week from goodies in my local box, and you could easily make this a one-pot meal by adding cooked chicken or cannalleni beans.

Early Summer Saute
serves two as a side dish

lovely saute

1 tblspn butter or olive oil
1 tsp diced garlic
3 green onions
4 asparagus spears
4 mushrooms
1 zucchini
1 tsp dried basil (or fresh basil would be even better!)
juice of ¼ of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese (optional)

lovely saute

1. Dice your green onion, white and green parts included. In a large saucepan, saute your garlic and green onion your butter on medium low heat until the white part of the onion starts to get a little glassy.

lovely saute

2. While your onions are sauteing, slice your other veggies into nice bite-size pieces (see above photo).

lovely saute

3. Add your the asparagus, mushrooms, and zucchini to the pan. Sprinkle your basil evenly over your veggies and stir. Saute on medium heat for five minutes.

4. Add lemon juice and continue cooking until the veggies are tender-crisp, no more than 10 minutes all together.

lovely saute

Salt and pepper to taste to finish this easy early summer side dish, and if you have some real Parmesan cheese to shave on top, even better! Bon Appetit!

-Nicole Marsh-Mueller loves to cook locally and organically for her family and blogs at The Armchair Housewife

photo credit: Nicole Marsh-Mueller

fritters for little critters


I was flipping through the gastroporn that is the LCBO’s Food & Drink the other day (the Autumn issue is always particularly fantasy-inducing) and came upon a little canape appetizer — zucchini fritters topped with roasted tomatoes. Cute. Fiddly, but cute.

Why, I wondered, couldn’t I ixnay the roasted tomato fussiness and simply make the fritters on their own? My zucchini needs using and, I figured, they’d be an excellent baby dinner.

Following the recipe yesterday, I came to the realization that you can call these whatever you want, but they’re just pancakes with zucchini in them.

They were met with enthusiasm. Irv ate two or three. (I melted a little sliced swiss cheese on top after I flipped them just to seal the deal). The rest went into the freezer. I’ll pop them in the toaster oven here and there for quick meals for him.

I figure this recipe is quite adaptable depending on what your baby may or may not eat. You could probably use an extra yolk or two and omit the egg whites if you haven’t gone down that road yet. You could substitute whatever kind of flour you prefer. And I used just a wee bit of oil — we weren’t going for crispiness like you would be if you were serving these as a party appetizer.

Zucchini Fritters

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 eggs
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, parsley and/or sage)
vegetable oil

1. Combine flour, soda, salt and pepper in a large bowl. In another bowl, using a fork, whisk together eggs and yogurt. Stir in zucchini and herbs. Pour over flour mixture and combine with a fork just until evenly moistened.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour a thin layer of oil and swirl to coat pan. Drop a heaping tbsp of batter for each fritter into pan, being careful not to crowd the pan, and flatten slightly (an important step — I found they would puff up and not cook in the middle if I didn’t do this). Cook for about 3 minutes or until dry around the edges and bottoms are browned. Flip over and cook for about 3 minutes more or until browned and cooked through. Repeat with remaing batter, adding more oil and adjusting the heat as necessary between batches.

fritters
fritters success

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.

oatmeal zucchini loaf


Zucchini gets tiresome if you grow it. Thankfully, I don’t. However in addition to the zook from my local bag this week, I have a giant one on my counter that also needs using. That one I have yet to deal with, but in the meantime, I’ve used my zucchini, which grated to about 2-1/2 cups, to make muffins.

zucchini

I like having muffins in the freezer. Mini ones are good for the mini member of the family and regular sized ones are good for the regular sized members. Quick breakfasts, good for work lunches.

The recipe I used is from Good Food For All: Seasonal Recipes From a Community Garden. It’s by the folks at The Stop, a cool spot in Toronto that you can read more about at thestop.org. I’ll print the recipe as it’s published, but I took a lot of liberties (which I’ve noted). This recipe’s for a loaf, but I just used a muffin tin instead and baked them for about 15 minutes. Happily, this made a dozen standard muffins plus a dozen minis.

Oatmeal Zucchini Loaf

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick rolled oats (I used whole oat flakes)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1-1/3 cups brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup maple syrup instead and they taste plenty sweet)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used pearsauce)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1 cup chopped pecans (I had no nuts in the house so I used sunflower seeds)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I used raisins)
turbinado sugar for sprinkling (makes for a crunchy sweet top — I didn’t bother)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with baking spray (or oil or butter) and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, salt and baking soda; set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs for 2 minutes or until foamy. Add brown sugar, applesauce, butter and vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in zucchini, nuts and dried fruit. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

3. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.

muffins

– Dinah Murdoch lives, eats and writes in Kitchener.