Sunday, July 13, 2008
Week of Ten Thousand Zucchini
So one of the reasons we haven't had an update in a while is because we're in the middle of Lee County, Virginia, abandoned with no WIFI and no high-speed internet access. Does anybody remember dial-up? As Celine Dion might say, it's all coming back to me now.
But another reason is that we've been overwhelmed with thousands of pounds of zucchini, buried with no hope of escape. On Thursday, the last day of school, and on Friday and Saturday of the week of a thousand dinners, Sarah and I spent our time when not dining out, filming "Satan Hates You" or attending deadly-dull Broadway plays (Sunday In The Park With George? I'd rather spend Saturday in a jail cell with Biff) packing up all our worldly possessions in boxes and moving them into storage. What fun!
But we eventually made it to Virginia and found, to our great delight, that our garden was a success. A success, that is, in terms of sprawling overgrown loads of inedible tasteless vegetables. Initially, we tried to keep up with them and actually eat what we harvested.
In the photo up top, you can see that we had grilled zucchini-and-squash kabobs. No secrets to that one, except we added a little sugar to the surfaces to aid in browning. More successful were the pink instant pickles we made by taking two of our large cucumbers, slicing them super-thin, chopping up an onion and and two of the small beets from the garden. Also, in the top center of the photo, you can see a bowl of green beans that represents the meager harvest from our half-runner crop.
Sarah and Gabe took turns stuffing the noxious weeds, first Sarah with her Lebanese stuffed squash with ground beef and rice, then Gabe with his Queen Noor's Nile River Boats stuffed with chicken and couscous. After the zucchini bread and zucchini fritters, we figured out the two secrets to zucchini gardening.
Secret #1: get them before the blossoms turn into zucchini. Sarah's stuffed zucchini flowers were the hit of the week. We harvested the blossoms, took out the stamen, stuffed them with ricotta cheese mixed with herbs, rolled them in egg and corn meal, then fried them in oil. Delicious, and even small zucchini attached to the blossoms can be julienned and treated similarly.
Secret #2: find a sucker to pass them off on. When Sarah and I were eating at the (one) local restaurant, we conned the proprietress into taking a good portion of the harvest off our hands.
My parents alerted me to the fact that there are strict laws regarding transporting more than 8 ounces of zucchini for passing-off purposes, but we skirted the law by obtaining consent from the victim beforehand.