Todays Vintage Kitsch'n recipe hails from BC's Cooking Calendar from the September chapter and was prepared with one of the many zucchini from my CSA. Corn is not quite in season yet. (I should be picking up my first ears tomorrow) However there was so much sweet corn last year that I still have some lurking in the freezer.
After heating up the oven to 350 degrees I prepped the zucchini. (Because there is nothing like making lunch in the oven on an afternoon when it is 95 degrees outside.) According to the recipe, one should boil the zucchini whole for 5-7 minutes before cutting in half and scraping out the center. Hmmm... this seems like I will end up with a mushy, overcooked, nutrient-drained zucchini, and no one likes that. So I just cut the squash in half and scraped out the centers with a sharp spoon, leaving a 1/2" rim because I like squash, and reserved the scrapings for the filling.
I did not use either fresh or canned corn, but frozen. I thawed the corn in hot water and drained it well in a colander and then squeezed the kernels between paper towels. While the corn was draining I chopped the zucchini filling, along with a small onion, and the chives.
At this point I added an extra step. In avoidance of mush, I pan browned the corn in my cast iron skillet. With only a thin layer of grapeseed oil on the bottom, I kept the pan as dry as possible to dry out the corn and increase the flavor. I cooked the corn on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until corn was brown and starting to blacken, giving the pan a shake and a stir two or three times during the process.
After the corn was finished I added it to the stuffing mixture and added my seasonings. Instead of seasoned salt (which usually has MSG) I combined sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and celery salt and added it to the mixture. It looked and smelled quite tasty, a good sign.
Next I added the stuffing to the zucchini shells. Thanks for the help, Cinderella bowl!
The full shells rest comfortably in my Spring Blossom divided casserole dish.
Next step: cheese. Mmmm...cheese.
And then I baked the dish for 30 minutes. I added an extra 10 minutes on to the time, because my oven takes a little longer and the zucchini shell was not quite done after 30 minutes.
This was a very successful vintage recipe. It's yummy, inexpensive, and relatively healthy. It would be even more healthy if you remove the cheese, which I don't think would reduce the flavor.
Summer squashes are kind of tricky, they can go from done to mushy real quick. Which is the usual complaint when people tell me they don't like summer squash, that it's mushy. Well, no you shouldn't like it, mushy squash is disgusting. Another complaint I hear is that it's so bland, again this is usually due to overcooking. So in addition to seasoning salt, here are a couple of my favorite ways to season summer squash:
- Salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Always go light on the salt, because of the amount of water in a summer squash, over salting will up the mush factor considerably.
- Salt, pepper, and savory.
- Salt, pepper, olive oil, and fresh garlic.
Any of these combinations can be grilled, baked, or sauteed with either green zucchini or yellow crookneck.
Next week's CSA box will begin the corn onslaught. Last year I had so much corn that in addition to freezing the corn I canned some corn relish and gave it away for Christmas. If this year is the same, I will definitely be canning some more. I'll be getting pickling cukes this week as well, perhaps I will have to expand my canning recipes!
In an attempt to emulate the fantastically bad cookbook photos of yesteryear, I will be taking my Vintage Kistch'n photos with my iPhone's Hipstamatic App from now on. I will post details on the App's settings at the end of each post.
Film: Ina's 1969
Lens: Libatique 73