(Rachel – The Vegan-Eatin’ Daughter)
I have this dramatic little plant on my kitchen table. When she get’s a little parched (it’s most definitely a she), she goes from her perky upright position to draping her long thin limbs all the way over the side of the pot as if she’s fainted. I give her a little sip of water and within minutes the color returns to her cheeks, she brushes the dirt off her skirt, and gets back to work brightening up my kitchen.
As much as I would love to have a green thumb and to have the time, desire, and talent to have a garden, I’m just not there yet. My plants have to literally bend over backwards to get me to notice them. Every attempt at an herb garden has been a miserable failure. One day, when I grow up, I hope I find my inner plant whisperer. Until then, I’ll stick to dramatic plants that practically scream for my attention.
On the bright side, Jared’s Uncle Philip, we just call him Uncle, has an organic garden. Once or twice a year, when his harvest overfloweth, he spreads around the veggie love. This week, he sent us squash, zucchini, cucumbers, a big bag full of beautiful cherry tomatoes, okra, and green beans. Fresh, local, organic, free veggies make my heart go pitter patter!
Some of the zucchini and squash had grown a little too much. When it comes to produce, bigger is usually not better. I hate to waste any vegetable, so I decided to use the zucchini as a pretty vessel for a cherry tomato stuffing.
The zucchini was still a little bit bitter and took longer to bake than a smaller variety, but the stuffing of sweet cherry tomatoes and garlicky croutons was insanely delicious. Smaller zucchini would be perfect and tender enough that you could eat the whole thing, skin and all. If you’re looking for a way to make use of any summer squash that got a little too much time on the vine, though, this is a clever way to use them up.
I have more veggies from Uncle’s garden coming tomorrow and I’ve hardly made a dent in the first round. What’s your favorite way to use up garden veggies?
Rachel’s Stuffed Garden Zucchini with Spinach & Walnut Pesto
2 large zucchini or 4 normal sized zucchini, cut in half lengthwise & seeds scooped out
extra virgin olive oil
course ground pepper
2 slices of whole grain bread, cut into small cubes
1 t. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 small onion, diced
1 leek, dark green section removed, chopped into thin half moons & rinsed well
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 c. spinach
1 T. walnuts
1 clove of garlic
1 t. extra virgin olive oil
3-4 t. water
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Place zucchini cut side up in a baking dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and course ground black pepper. Bake until fork tender. 20-35 minutes depending on the size of the zucchini.
Toss bread cubes with olive oil and garlic powder. Pour onto a baking sheet and bake in the same oven as zucchini until crispy, about 10 minutes.
In a skillet, heat a little olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and leeks and saute until transclucent, add garlic and tomatoes, continue sauteing for about five more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in spinach.
When the zucchini are fork tender, remove from the oven, stuff generously with the filling and put back in the oven for 15 more minutes.
Blend all of the pesto ingredients together, starting with 3 t. of water and adding more until the pesto is thin enough to drizzle easily.
Serve the stuffed squash on a big family platter, drizzled with pesto on top. Can be served as a main meatless dish or as a side.
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The Title: Stuffed Garden Zucchini with Spinach & Walnut Pesto
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