In the garden..with zucchini

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zucchinibakeMy childhood home was graced with a large pond in the back yard.  Geese would peck about the grass, scattering back to the pond when the golden retriever we called Honey ran outside.  We heard frogs and crickets at night.  Tall pines lined each side as a natural fence. There was a wood pile to the right that my dad prepared for the fireplace in winter.  Though most of the year was lovely, the summers were unbearable for bugs that bite.  Despite that, my dad dug out a plot by the back porch lined with wooden planks to plant the annual vegetable garden.  We planted tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans, basil, and zucchini.  He put stakes in rows to tie the plants to and give the beans something to wind up.  I loved to see the curly tendrils of the beans reaching for a new support.  The small green tomato buds seemed to appear overnight….and there is nothing like a fresh tomato salad in summer.

Dad loved to bread and fry the zucchini flowers.  This is a special season Italian treat.  They can be stuffed with cheese and spices, battered and breaded with our without egg, or fried as is.  I still remember the subtle and delicate flavor and even now yearn for the taste that brings me to summer and home.

Now I am reminded to get some zucchini seeds before the time comes to plant.  While I have no flowers available, I can still work with the vegetable itself.

Preheat the oven to 375º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.   Wash and slice 2-3 zucchini into pieces 2-3 inches long and 1/4″ thick.  Whip an egg in a bowl with a pinch of black pepper.  In a shallow bowl mix 1 cup bread crumbs, 1/3 cup almond meal, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan cheese), 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp salt.

Depending on the quantity of zucchini, you may have to make more breading as you go….feel free to experiment with spices to make it your own and give it a twist.

Dip the zucchini slices in egg, then coat with the bread crumb mixture.  Arrange the breaded zucchini on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy on the outside.  The zucchini inside will be soft and melt in your mouth.  Serve with a garlic aioli sauce, drizzled with a fine olive oil, or eat as is.


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