Food on Friday: The great zucchini heist

By Julia Westhoff

Food_on_FridayCrime has risen in Prairie Village – I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Just this morning our friends opened their front door to find that an unknown culprit had littered their porch with 12 massive zucchinis. I occasionally fall victim to this prank myself, although I can’t say I mind – I’m actually a pretty big fan of the stuff. A green vegetable that is equally tasty tossed with pasta or baked in quick bread? Sold.

I have three favorite ways to use zucchini, so I thought I’d go ahead and share them all. On the savory side, I love it as a bright, lemony salad, as well as a great way to soak up red curry sauce. And of course, I love it in quick bread. Henceforth, the recipes (after the jump).

Zucchini Salad
INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds medium zucchini
Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS
Whisk oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl to blend. Set dressing aside.
Using vegetable peeler or a mandolin, slice zucchini into thin ribbons. Place ribbons in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using vegetable peeler, shave Parmesan over salad.

Thai Red Curry (from epicurean.com)
INGREDIENTS:
1 can coconut milk – (14-ounce)
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup basil leaves – coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound chicken breast – cut in 1″ cubes
1/2 medium bell pepper – julienned
1 medium carrot – shredded
1 medium zucchini – shredded

DIRECTIONS:
In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk and red curry paste. Bring to a low boil and let simmer for five minutes. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice. Stir, let simmer for 5 more minutes. Add basil leaves; remove from heat.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Season chicken cubes with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add chicken. Cook until no longer pink in the middle (about 7 minutes). Add bell pepper, carrot, and zucchini. Saute until the vegetables wilt. Add curry sauce to chicken mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes over low heat. Serve over rice.

Zucchini Bread
INGREDIENTS:
3 cups all-purpose flour, or a combination of all-purpose and wheat
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 unsalted butter (room temperature). Vegetable oil also works.
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini

DIRECTIONS:
Grease two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
Beat eggs, butter, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.