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Friday, September 18, 2009

captain caveman zucchini, day 1

we spent last week with rob's family in southern washington. everyone was there under very sad circumstances, and for some of us a daily (or two or three times daily) trip to the garden was like therapy. his mom has corn, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, and zucchini growing, all of which were ready for harvest. we had many a garden meal that week.

knowing zucchini's reputation as a speedy producer, a couple of us decided to measure one and see if it could impress us with it's ability to double in size every five minutes. it was less than 6 inches long when we started. the day after we measured was anti-climactic. however, 6 days later the squash had grown to 15 inches and weighed 3 pounds. monstrous!

the afternoon we left i went down to the garden one last time to pick a few vegetables for us to bring home. i know, zucchini is best enjoyed as young little courgettes, but this squash was symbolic of the week, and i refused to see it end up as compost. so i carried it up the hill like a club, and joked that it would need to be buckled in it's own seat for the drive home.

i decided to let herbs drive the menu, and day 1 was cilantro. bon appetit (via provided a zucchini, potato and cilantro soup which i served with a corn and zucchini quesadilla with green zebra salsa.

zucchini, potato, and cilantro soup
bon appetit, may 2007

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) chopped jalapeño chile with seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) fennel seeds
  • 1 (7- to 8-ounce) Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 16 to 18 ounces zucchini (about 4 medium), trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) fresh lime juice

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chile and fennel seeds; stir 30 seconds. Add next 3 ingredients; sauté 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Purée soup in batches in blender, adding cilantro and 1 teaspoon lime juice to first batch. Return puree to same pan. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired. Rewarm, if necessary, and serve.

the soup was delicious! i left out the fennel seeds, but otherwise made as written. i'm often inclined to make a cream-of-seasonal-vegetable soup, but the potatoes in this one replaced the cream beautifully. it was creamy and thick and yummy, with cilantro to brighten it up. it definitely needs homemade chicken or vegetable stock, however. the boxed/canned stuff would have completely masked the flavors.

for the quesadilla, i cut the kernels off of an ear of corn and pan sauteed them with zucchini cut into matchsticks. i cooked them 5 minutes or so, just enough that they were still fresh but no longer raw, and used them as filling with monterey jack.

the show stopper was the green zebra salsa, however. just my usual formula of sweet onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, and salt, but with a green zebra tomato. green zebras are tart, almost citrusy, and the combination was really out of this world.

thus was consumed about a quarter of the captain caveman zucchini. stay tuned...


  1. Looks delicious!!

    The other thing my Mom used to do with the Caveman zucchinis is to stuff them (doesn't work well for standard size zuc's).

    I don't have measurements or anything, but preheat the oven to 250 and cut the zuc in half lengthwise. Keeping the two halfs together, place them in the oven.

    While the Zuc's are warming up some, saute 1-2 onions (depending on just how big that Zuc is) in some butter till they're golden.

    Once the Zuc has softened a bit, take it out of the oven and boat out both halfs. (turn oven up to 350) Take the meat of the zuc and add it to the the onions. Once it's all cooked down add in some seasoned bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese.

    Stuff both zucchini boats with mixture, cover with slices of mozzarella cheese and bake at 350 till boats are soft and cheese is slightly browned.

    Not a terribly healthy dish....but it's delicious. I have friends who hate zucchini but love this dish.


  2. great idea, cathie! i have a recipe for stuffed zuc that i want to try, but had it in my head that i need to use the small ones. i'm letting that idea go right out the window, and stuffing the monster! thanks! :)

  3. good food! definitely some traditional cuisine worth eating for the sheer memories it will evoke!