At 16, I became a vegetarian.
You might wonder if I first did research on the topic … or saw a movie about reasons why I should become one. The answer would be that I did none of those … at 16, I was finding myself, just like every other teenager. I had slowly drifted into a circle of friends who wore tie dyes, saw live shows and enjoyed just hanging out. The natural next step for me was to stop eating meat because at 16, I was more of a follower than a leader. Hippies didn’t eat meat, they didn’t even wear leather (unless you have the belief that the chemicals made in rubber and plastic are worse on the environment than a cow hide that was already available because of the mass demand for beef) and they LOVED patchouli oil. (Please note, patchouli makes me sick - YUCK) So, for a year I became a junk-food vegetarian. Looking back, I think the highlight of that year was all the cinnamon twists I had for lunch from Taco Bell.
My brother, who was in college at the time, had stopped eating “red” meat. So, when he came home from college on holiday’s, my poor mother was at a loss as to what to prepare for dinner. In the midwest, during the 80′s and 90′s as you might assume, most meals relied heavily on meats or casseroles with meats.
For instance, my mom always made the best lasagna. I know that is pretty big statement, but it’s true. For a few years she even tried making turkey lasagna for my brother, and then when he finally gave up all meat, she knew that it was time to find another alternative. I have no doubt that it took many attempts … my mom is a perfectionist and an amazing cook. How could she make a hearty lasagna without meat? She succeeded by using zucchini! I wish I could blog about her “zucchini lasagna recipe … really I do. But honestly, at 36, I have made it at least 36 times and I am still no where close to getting it right. Maybe she can guest blog for me one day! (Mother??)
So, let’s circle back around to what this blog is about … Zucchini. I have always liked zucchini. Besides making the lasagna, my mom would make bread’s with it, too. Honestly, I don’t think it tastes like much, so you can create whatever flavor you like based on the additional ingredients you cook with it.
I normally just slice it, then sauté on medium heat with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. This week I had been on http://www.pinterest.com and had seen a version where you scoop out the zucchini pulp and then make a filling combining cheese and herbs. I decided to make my own variation of that recipe.
I have heard that a smaller zucchini is sweeter. I think that is true, if you are buying the really small ones that are about the same width as a baby carrot. You can find them in bags in the produce section or at some fine dining restaurants. Otherwise, I think that they all taste about the same.
Today, I had two medium size zucchini that I halved, and then scooped out the inside pulp with a spoon. I left about 1/2 inch of pulp on either side of the inside of the zucchini for support so my filling wouldn’t just ooze out.
In my new favorite Pampered Chef glass bowls (they have measurements on the sides and lids!), I added 1/3 cup of cream cheese, 1/3 c of grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 of a small diced onion, 2 T of corn (left over from the previous night) and salt and pepper to taste. I used a fork to combine.
Then filled the zucchini with the cheese and veggie filling. (you could add any diced veggies or cheeses to this, maybe next time I’ll try spinach)
I baked them at 350 for about 15 minutes. I think they would also be great on the grill!
We ate these so quickly that I almost didn’t have a picture of a baked one!
Next time from a presentation stand point, I will cut the ends on the bias (diagonal) and maybe add a small amount of Panko to the tops.
Judy Jackson, I remember how often you graciously made me zucchini when I was staying with you in St. Louis. I bet you would like this recipe too! ***Blog Followers, if you are looking for an experienced travel agent, check out Unique Discoveries by Judy Jackson. She has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years.
BAKE ON … and then BURN IT OFF!!