Thursday, September 1, 2011

Attack of the Killer Zucchini

No, don't be alarmed. I meant that in a good way. You see, we planted a lot of squash in our new garden this year, and they surged from the earth in a profusion I never imagined possible, becoming a dense jungle of giant bobbing leaves like bright green elephant ears.

I should have known--my wife has the greenest thumb on the planet. Every single seed she planted grew into a prolific squash producer. It's almost terrifying the way they keep coming--we have to eat fast to keep up with them! Fortunately, we adore zucchini (and all squashes) so this is no hardship--although eating them nearly every day does tend to crowd out some culinary diversity.

Summer also brings succulent sweet corn--although we aren't growing any, so I have to buy it at our local Natural Grocers. One dish we haven't tired of, zucchini with corn, has played many times so far without a complaint. Sometimes the blossoms aren't quite fresh and lustrous enough to add, but this doesn't stop me. The fresh basil alone brings all the elements together and renders this signature summer dish utterly irresistible.

Often we make a meal of only this and a salad--just last night, in fact. Other times, maybe I'll add an element of American-style eating, for the hell of it--like something smothered in barbecue sauce. I was surprised by my wife's enthusiastic response to the chipotle-grilled tempeh I made recently (she really doesn't go for tempeh). The sauce I just jammed together at the last minute, combining some unsweetened organic ketchup, fresh lime juice, a little palm sugar, and a gob of chipotle chile puree (recipe in the "Jump Starts" section of Speed Vegan). I cut the tempeh cake into four slices, steamed them for about five minutes to open them up a bit, then immersed them in the sauce. After they had soaked up a little of the sauce, all it took was a few minutes on the grill to mark them and give them a pleasant charred-smoky flavor. This combo didn't even need much of a salad to make a complete meal.


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