Friday, July 30, 2010

Zucchini! Nature’s Own Xerox Machine! by Mom (Marty Miles)

Here's a special guest blog post, by Suzi's Mom, Marty Miles. Marty lives in Northern NY, on the Canadian border half the year, and the other half of the year just outside of Ashland, VA, near Richmond.

Dear Suzi,
Back in my other life, between raising a family and retiring, I listened to a lot of folk music. One of my favorite records was Middle Age Middle Class Mama Songs by Mary Lu Walker. One of my favorite songs on this record was Zucchini!(listen here!!)

Having had a garden all my life, I could truly appreciate her thoughts on this prolific vegetable.

In the spring of the year when all danger of frost
Is gone from my gardening plot,
I planted ten seeds, just two to a hill
And now this is what I have got-

Zucchini! Zucchini!
A versatile vegetable dream.
An Italian delight that grows in the night, 
Tender and juicy and green

Farm Journal, Sept 1966
So what can one do with this multiplicity of squashness? Actually you can do a lot. Choose squash that are fresh from the garden and no longer than eight inches. Once of our family's favorite recipes came from the Farm Journal magazine a long time ago. This magazine came every month, full of tips and stores for the farmer, but in every issue there was a section for the farmer's wife,including a page or two of recipes that I looked forward to with great anticipation. I have never tried a Farm Journal recipe that wasn't a success. In later years I purchased almost every cookbook that they published, including the Let's Start to Cook Cookbook I got for you. (These cookbooks are available on Amazon, Ebay and vintage booksellers, as well as flea markets and yard sales. Grab them if you see them! sml)

Squash and Vegetable Saute
3 TBS butter
3 cups sliced zucchini, yellow summer squash or a combination
3 cups shredded cabbage
3/4 cup chopped green or red pepper
1 1/2  tsp. salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1 Tbs vinegar

  • Melt butter in skillet (I use my Dutch oven.) Add squash and cabbage. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Uncover; add green or red pepper. Cook over low heat, turning occasionally with a spatula, until squash is tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in seasonings, herbs and vinegar. Adjust to taste. We like a little more vinegar than this recipe calls for. Makes 6 servings.
This miracle squash grows twelve inches a day,
Multiplies geometrically. 
Ten little seeds are all that you need
To feed five hundred and three.

Zucchini! Zucchini!
From nature's own Xerox machine,
An Italian delight that grows in the night, 
Tender and juicy and green.

So you search every day and you're sure that you've found
Every zucchini in sight.
Next morning you'll find ten or twelve on the vine
That sneakily grew in the night.

And no matter how hard you search, you always miss one. When you find it, it's at least twelve inches long and what could you possibly do with it besides throw it in the compost? I had this conversation with a friend of mine and she gave me this recipe:

Ellie's Stuffed Zucchini
You'll need a squash that will fit in the largest baking pan you have, turkey roasting pan or broiler pan. I have used longer squash and cute them in half so they would fit, but it's harder to scoop out the middle and stuff them.

  • Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. Put it in the pan, cut side up,with a little water and boil until the center of the squash is soft.
  • Let it cool a little so you can handle it. Scoop out the center, leaving just the skin and about 1/2 inch of squash so the skin maintains its shape. Be careful you don't break the skin.
Cook to a paste:
  • The squash that you scooped out of the shell.
  • a quart of tomatoes, either fresh or canned.
  • A cup of fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped. Or use a can of mushrooms, drained.
  • Chopped onion.
  • Chopped garlic
  • The recipe calls for celery salt, but it would probably be better with some finely chopped celery.
  • Salt and pepper.
  • It takes forever to cook to a paste, so you can add some crumbled crackers or dry breadcrumbs to help thicken.
  • Stuff the filling back into the shell.
  • Put bacon strips on top.
  • Bake on a cookie sheet, or in roaster or broiler pan. Just be sure the pan has sides.
  • Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.
  • I have a note on my recipe that says it warms up beautifully.

Zucchini for breakfast, zucchini for lunch
Zucchini for snacks in between.
I have cooked it for days in thousands of ways
In dishes unheard of or dreamed.
Boiled or scalloped, French fried or stuffed
It's turning my fingernails green!

And last...Zucchini Bread. Sorry, my recipe must be in Virginia. Maybe one of you will send your recipe to Suzi to post. I just have to tell you about the first time i ever had Zucchini Bread. Our chapter of Adirondack Mountain Club hiked in to John's Brook Lodge, in Keene Valley, NY for a weekend mountain climb. John's Brook Lodge has two rooms, the kitchen and dining room on the right and the bunk room with 6 or 8 bunks on the left. the kitchen has one of those wonderful old cast iron cook toves, where we cooked blueberry pancakes for breakfast. We were preparing dinner the first night, when my friend Jane pulled Zucchini Bread out of her pack. It was round, cooked in a Bundt pan with powdered sugar sprinkled on top. Mmmm! It was so delicious that we couldn't stop eating it. But imagine! Carrying Zucchini bread in your pack all two miles into camp!
Later that night came great shrieks and screams from your bunk. The mice were out playing and one had run across your face! (and everyone made fun of me forever )-: sml.)

I think that was the trip whereall the kids went wading in John's Brook, and one fell in. Was that you Suzi? or Crystal? (It was Kim. slm)

Zucchini! Zucchini!
If I see another I'll scream.
An Italian delight that grows in the night,
Tender and juicy and green.

I'm sure you'll find lots of other ways to enjoy your zucchini, and other summer squash. We enjoy it sliced and fried in butter. And don't forget to put some in your ratatouille. One summer we had a surfeit of zucchini and tomatoes, so I cooked up a canner full of tomatoes, zucchini, onions, celery and Italian herbs. I canned many pints of it and they made wonderful gifts to friends and family.



  1. Hi Mom -- I just made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderful. Very fast and delicious. Served it with the fresh buckwheat soba noodles (gluten-free!) from Bombalini we have at the market. Thanks for reminding me how great this is.

  2. Check to see if the copier is digital or analog. Digital copiers make their copies electronically and often can fax copies as well as print them. Analog copiers transfer the image mechanically via toner to a photo-optic belt then to the paper.

  3. Zucchini Bread! You're the first person in nearly 40 years who've I have heard mention it. When my mother was newly divorced, we ate out many times at the Stone House, a local Sandusky restaurant, and always they featured Zucchini Bread, a delicious warm-up to any meal.

  4. the song link doesn't work! any idea where to find it? I remember from being a kid.