May 25, 2013
Written by Robin Glowa
Tuesday, 03 August 2010 08:42
Zucchini has often gotten a bad rap. The story goes that farmers, overwhelmed by yet another wildly successful zucchini season, ponder and plot how to rid themselves of their excess squash.
Come early August, unsuspecting neighbors for miles around awake to find a basket on the doorstep.
The mystery basket does not contain a swaddled baby, but a momentous mound of smooth green fruits, some nearly as hefty as a child-sized baseball bat.
“Attack of the Killer Zucchini,” now playing in neighborhoods all over. They grow so rapidly, from pleasantly petite to several feet in length, with stupendous girth, in a matter of hours, that they can instill unexpected terror in the garden.
But I kind of like zucchini, especially the freshly picked variety. The small size squash add delightful flavor to salads, summer rolls or serving a crudité with dip. The big boys can be grated and turned into wonderfully moist breads, cakes and muffins, as well as savory soups. Medium, mid-size are perfect for slicing into rounds and layering with fresh tomato slices, basil and a bit of mozzarella for a light and luscious summer parmigiana.
Zucchini has been popular in Italy for hundreds of years, but only since the 1950s has America come to embrace this healthy fruit.
Full of Vitamin C and lutein, zucchini helps protect the eyes. The Vitamin C content may also help minimize bruising and relieve asthma symptoms. The skin of zucchini is rich in beta carotene, which acts an anti-oxidant and helps protect cells. Low in calories and high in water content, zucchini are an excellent food choice for those on a weight reduction plan.
If you are blessed with an abundance of zucchini, appreciate the opportunity to incorporate these tasty, fresh, natural fruits into your delicious life!
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 medium celery stalks, washed, trimmed and chopped (use the leaves too)
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 extra huge or two medium size zucchini, washed and chopped
3 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock (preferably homemade)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin slivers
In a stock pot, melt butter with olive oil over medium/low heat. Sauté celery, onion and garlic with thyme leaves and bay leaf until softened. Turn heat up slightly and add zucchini.
Cook until zucchini gets just a bit browned. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.
Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.
In a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until very smooth.
Return soup to the stock pot and re-heat gently.
When ready to serve, ladle into soup dishes and garnish with fresh basil slivers. You could further gild the lily by adding a swirl of sour cream, a few crisp croutons and a few cubes of raw zucchini and a bit of cayenne pepper.
Robin Glowa, HHC, AADP, is a food and wellness enthusiast who earned her certification in holistic health counseling from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University Teachers College.
She specializes in teaching healthy cooking classes for children and adults, as well as cooking presentations and wellness workshops for many local organizations.
For more information go to theconsciouscook.net, call 203-393-1037, or visit http://confessionsofaconsciouscook.blogspot.com.
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