Thursday, September 05, 2013

Mommy's Stuffed Zucchini


It is absolutely impossible for me to see zucchini and not be transported back to my childhood. Growing up, we usually had a veggie garden in the backyard, and my grandparents also had a huge veggie garden at there house. One thing that happened every year, was the ritual season of Too Much Zucchini. 

The whole thing was sort of a mystery to me. Why was there so much zucchini? Why were people planting zucchini if they only ended up being burdened by so much zucchini? Was zucchini a force for good or evil? Inevitably, my mom would put a basket out on our front lawn, fill it with zucchinis, and put up a "free" sign. By the end of the day, they were usually gone. I was fascinated by the whole affair... some people would walk right by (no interest in zucchini!), and others would happily take one or two.

Every year, as you may have experienced yourself, life would get in the way... and suddenly there would be a few huge zucchinis floating around the kitchen. My grandparents would try to give us zucchini, we would try to give them zucchini, it was a mess! I remember that the giant zucchinis in particular always brought out a lot of humor and excitement, and so some how they felt very special and magical to me. 

It turns out that we weren't the only family to suffer from the annual zucchini problem. So, my mom and some of her co-workers at Planned Parenthood, got to work making a little cookzine called "The Zucchini Cookbook." Yes, my mom is so cool that she was making zines before zines were zines. They published this little book in 1974... just as a local fundraising project. Before long, their story got picked up by the New York Times (!!), and in the end they sold over 25,000 copies. !!!!


One of the many family favorites to originate from this tiny tome was Stuffed Zucchini, and it is a particularly useful idea if you have a ginormous zucchini on hand. This was something we ate quite often in the summertime. This year, for the first time in my adult life, I actually grew zucchini. And then, sure enough, I got busy, and before long I had a giant zucchini! Luckily, I had a lifetime of preparation for this event, and I knew just what to make:

Stuffed Zucchini
- a rough outline, not really a recipe

The Zucchini Cookbook suggested parboiling my zucchini for 7-10 minutes to soften it, but I did not have a pot big enough for my giant zucchini. So, I poured boiling water over it and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Not sure if this helped.

I cut the zuke in half lengthwise, scooped and discarded the seeds (the seeds are too woody when your zuke gets this big), and then also scooped out (and saved) a bunch of the flesh.

Then I sauteed some onion, garlic and Italian spices (basil/oregano/thyme/red pepper flakes/salt/black pepper). Then I chopped up and added in the extra zucchini bits. I mixed all that together with some slow-roasted tomatoes and tofu ricotta, and then filled my two zucchinis. On top, I added bread crumbs (mixed with a teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of salt). I baked it for about 45 minutes at 350, but I imagine it's quite variable. The main thing is to make sure your zucchini shell is tender and cooked through. 

It was really delicious!

zucchini boat

ps. I actually have one more GIANT zucchini that is so huge I feel threatened by it. I think a small tribe of people could sail across the Pacific in it. Perhaps I will make some zucchini bread with it (another family favorite).

40 comments:

  1. The zucchini cookbook sounds fantastic! I definitely need a copy. We've been over-run by courgettes this summer but they're finally coming to an end. I do have a couple of marrows (what we call oversized courgettes here) left to eat though so I'm going to follow your recipe with them :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it would be fun to do an updated all-vegan version of the Zucchini Cookbook!

      Delete
    2. Just wanted to come back and say that I followed your "outline" for stuffed zucchini yesterday and it turned out beautifully. I had slow-roasted a load of tomatoes earlier in the week and had some leftover tofu ricotta sitting in the fridge so it was extra easy to put together.
      Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  2. I can't help but be a little jealous of people who grew up with gardens and too many zucchinis. In our little city side yard, my mother grew tomatoes, but the rest of our veggies came from cans or freezer boxes. (I mean string beans and peas, since those are the only veggies I remember aside from salad and potatoes.) I learned about vegetables after I left home, and I sure made a lot of zucchini boats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yeah, we had so many fresh veggies growing up, and I think i was really lucky for it. It's amazing that you came to be a vegan!!

      Delete
  3. Haha what a funny story. I went to a friend's house the other day and noticed a courgette/zucchini growing to monstrous proportion and it freaked me out a little -- the leaves of the plant were almost as tall as me! I think I will send him this recipe. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow!! It sounds like a jungle of zucchini!!

      Delete
  4. LOVE this post - and the timing couldn't be better!! I actually have 2 GIANT zucchinis sitting on my countertop and have been wondering what to do with them...stuffing them it is!! YAHOO!! LOVE your site too!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. perrrrfect! Try it and let me know what you think. Thanks for the nice comments too! :)

      Delete
  5. I grew a mountain of zukes about 4 years ago and swore I would never plant them again. It's taken all this time for me to even start buying and cooking them! I planted a handful of seeds in my garden the other day and every single one has sprouted - those suckers must be the easiest things to grow. If my garden gets overrun with them again I'm going to put a basket out on the front lawn too, that's such a great idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha ha, I totally know what you mean. That happened to me with artichokes. I grew SO MANY one year, and I don't think I've bought an artichoke since then!

      Delete
  6. I love this post so much! I never had the zucchini problem but I want it so I can make your boats! And an actual boat :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. an actual boat made of zucchini! would it sink?

      Delete
  7. Your mom sounds like such an interesting person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Mollyjade, she really is. She is so smart and interesting and passionate and involved in the world. She's really cool and I love her so much!

      Delete
  8. My what a big zuke she's carrying.
    I call my mommy, mommy also and although she never made a zine or those gorgeous stuffed zucchinis you have today she did make a cool zucchini carrot dish. thank you for posting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. <3 Three cheers for Mommies!! I also call my dad Daddy. :)

      Delete
  9. oh amey! this was an awesome read.i'm so glad you finally had a chance to put all that stored knowledge to practice.

    xo
    kittee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes. everything happens for a reason. :)

      Delete
  10. Please notice Amey's very accurate depiction of her typical attire at the time this refers to (early 80s?) Terry cloth stretchy hot pants, striped knee socks, and roller skates. It was quite the personal style statement. :) xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hee hee, it's true! My mom is spilling the beans on me!

      Delete
  11. Yummy! I love stuffed food :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. me too! somehow it seems more fun and special!

      Delete
  12. Yes, you are asking all the right questions! My neughbour always gives us tons of huge zucchini and every time I ask myself why she plants them when they take over her garden! Well, now we know that some people get famous when they plant too many zucchini:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! People are gluttons for zucchini punishment!

      Delete
  13. Anonymous7:20 AM

    I've been looking for a good zucchini bread recipe and would be most open to you sharing yours!

    Tam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tam, GREAT IDEA! I will, I promise! Keep reading, and I"ll get to it. :) Thanks!

      Delete
  14. I like your blog and I've been enjoying reading your noshtalgia stories, especially this story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Tofuhead

      Delete
  15. Yay for using up a giant zucchini!! This is such a creative idea -- I've never stuffed a zuke before. I can't stand to sauté the garden zucchinis anymore and I am done consuming zucchini bread (I never thought this day would come), so I'm looking forward to trying something new!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha ha, your comment made me laugh. I totally understand the "I can't stand to saute the garden zucchinis anymore" sentiment. All TOO WEll!! I hope the stuffed zucchini is a hit for you!

      Delete
  16. I can totally relate to the zucchini dilemma, sounds like my childhood :). I now plant only one that serves me (and friends) well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes. I'm with you, Rita. One is enough.

      Delete
  17. I think science will never truly be able to answer whether zucchini is a force for good or evil...

    Look at the cover on that zine! Beautiful! Almost as pretty as those stuffed zucchini, which remind me of viking longships, launching for some distant shore, probably to relieve a zucchini drought in some faroff land...

    Yesterday I was trying to find that bourbon ball recipe you made a while back. All my holiday 'zines from you are together except one, and I think that must be the one that it's in. Tore the kitchen apart looking for it, but it's nowhere to be found. It's maddening! But I had my own noshtalgia looking through the ones I could find and thinking of you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh! I'll look and see which book that was in, and if I still have any extra copies, I'll get you another one! Funny, I was just thinking about those bourbon balls the other day too. They are so damned good.

      Delete
  18. My mom's boyfriend is an electrician and does the electric for his family for free. so to repay him they always give my mom zucchinis. usually they bake zucchini bread and my mom gives it to me, but sometimes they would bring her giant zucchinis from their backyard and my mom would bread and fry them and add a little lemon juice. ok so its not healthy, but zucchinis remind me of my mom too :) i really want to try making stuffed zucchinis!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. awesome zucchini story!!! I love the idea of payments of zucchinis! ha ha. The breaded and fried zukes really sound good, and I am also a fan of zucchini bread. I haven't made any yet this year, but I think it will be happening soon!

      Delete
  19. Angel Legume7:22 PM

    Amey, your MoFo them fills me with so much joy every time you post! I love all your illustrations and getting to hear nice memories attached to food and people you love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Angel, Thank you so much!! :) <3

      Delete
  20. This zucchini looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments, they really make my day! I'm sorry I turned off the anonymous comment option - I was getting so many spams!