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Too much zucchini!

July 8th, 2012

It happens every summer. All of a sudden, there’s too much zucchini. Some years, I grow zucchini and end up with too much, but this year, I got too much from my CSA. I didn’t mind, because I have a fantastic recipe for zucchini quiche — and it freezes very well.

Zucchini quiche“>

It’s more important to slice the zucchini thinly than uniformly. I aim for slices about 1/8 inch thick, but I don’t sweat it too much if some are thicker. Measure the zucchini carefully — you want a scant 4 cups, or else you will overflow your pastry crust. I use store-bought, frozen deep dish crusts. In this recipe, dried spices are better than fresh because of the long, wet cooking time.

To freeze, you will need to double the recipe. Prepare the zucchini, onion, eggs, cheese and seasonings as indicated. Let the filling cool before putting it in the crust. Carefully spread the mustard on the pastry shell — use extra if you need to. The mustard creates a moisture barrier between the shell and the filling, which is particularly important for a frozen quiche. Wrap the quiche with two layers of plastic wrap and one of aluminum foil. To bake, take the quiche out of the freezer in the morning, let it thaw while you’re at work, then bake in the oven for about 10 extra minutes.

Zucchini Quiche
1 quiche

4 scant cups thinly sliced zucchini or summer squash
2-1/2 cups chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried basil and oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1 pastry shell (9 inches)

In a large skillet, sauté the zucchini and onion in butter until tender, drain very well.  I got out the colander for this job.   In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, salt, garlic powder, basil, oregano and pepper. Stir in cheese and zucchini mixture. Spread mustard over pastry shell; add filling.

Bake, uncovered, at 400F for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean and crust is golden brown (cover loosely with foil after 25 minutes if needed to prevent over browning). Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

Options: You can add other veggies, but don’t use more than 4 cups of veggies total. Sauté the veggies until they are soft. Other veggies to try: mushrooms, carrots, green tomatoes (completely seeded), sturdy greens (like collards or kale), leeks, garlic scapes, kohlrabi, or broccoli stems. You can also use other cheeses. Firm cheeses like cheddar or parmesan work fine. Soft cheeses like feta make a mess.

MeFi Chicken

July 6th, 2012

I often browse Ask MetaFilter while I eat lunch — I particularly like the cooking questions. I found this recipe as a response to one of those questions. I haven’t been able to find the thread again, so I apologize to the cook who posted it.

You can’t really call this a recipe. It’s more like a method. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want, and you can fuss over it as much or as little as you like. I think this dish requires potatoes, onions and chicken (I use skinless, boneless chicken thighs, you may prefer breasts). Everything else is optional. I’ve made it twice. The first time, I added cooked and crumbled bacon, garlic, and cherry tomatoes. Tonight I just added mushrooms. Both times it was delicious.

MeFi Chicken

Required Ingredients
Chicken (however many pieces you need to serve your crowd — I use 4-6 ounces per serving, which is on the modest side)
Potatoes, scrubbed and sliced (however many you need to make a nice bed 1/2-inch deep under your chicken)
Chopped onions (about 1/2 as many, by volume, as potatoes)

Optional items
Cherry tomatoes
Chopped herbs
Garlic scapes

Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the chicken in a lightly oiled baking pan on top of the sliced potatoes, chopped onions and whatever other optional items you want. Chop everything so it’s bite-sized. Nestle the veggies around the chicken, not too crowded. Salt and pepper the whole thing (if you use bacon, omit the salt). Add other seasonings if you want (I like a mix of smoked paprika and ancho chili powder).

You can just cook it as is for 60 minutes. If you have the energy to pay attention, I like to cook it for 30 minutes, flip and cook for 15 minutes (take this opportunity to stir the veggies), then flip again and finish under the broiler for the last 15 minutes.

You could use any kind of long-cooking veg in this. I won’t hesitate to try it with leeks, parsnips, or chunks of peeled winter squash.