When you looked at the picture below you probably realized that a zucchini got away from me in the garden. I don't quite understand it. This one was there among all the tiny ones. When I saw it I knew that I would be stuffing a zucchini this week and thus, this week's What's Cooking Wednesday.
Straight from the much-used Moosewood Cookbook comes Zuccanoes (read that zoo-canoes), or Stuffed Zucchini. Note: you'll need 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice for this so do that first.
4 medium-sized zucchini (or one mother zucchini)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups minced onion
1 tsp salt
1/2 lb mushrooms, minced (we were all out of mushrooms so I used finely diced green pepper)
6 medium cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 1/2 cups finely minced (or ground) almonds
3 tbsp lemon juice
black pepper and cayenne to taste
small handfuls of freshly minced herbs, if available (I used chives, thyme and basil)
optional: 1 cup grated Swiss cheese (I used parmesan)
optional: tomato sauce or some sort of sauce on top (although stated as optional, this would be pretty bland without it. More on that later)
1. Cut zucchini lengthwise down the middle. use a spoon to scoop out the insides, leaving a canoe with 1/4 inch shell. Finely mince the scrapings; set the canoes aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet. Add onion and salt, and saute over medium heat 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is soft.
3. Add zucchini innards and mushrooms, and saute another 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last few minutes.
4. Place rice and almonds in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the saute and lemon juice and mix well. Season to taste with black pepper, cayenne and optional fresh herbs.
5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Fill the zucchini shells, top with cheese, if using, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until heated through. Serve hot.
I made Red Pepper Puree to put on top and let me just say, it totally made this dish, which is good on it's own but really flies with the sauce on top. So, it's really easy. Here you go:
Chop two red peppers into large chunks. Steam them over boiling water until they are very soft. Puree in a food processor or blender and then pass through a sieve. Add some salt and pepper and one clove of minced or mashed garlic. Pour on top of the Zuccanoes.
Just to keep you on your toes, switching topics in the blink of an eye, thanks everyone for your advice regarding Hope. Things still suck. She was up from 3 until 5 crying last night. Yes, I feel really shitty about it but I don't know what else to do. If I rock her she just wakes up when I try and put her in her crib. I pretty much have to wait until she is so exhausted from crying that she passes out when she finally hits the mattress. We're sitting her right now listening to her cry again. Although this is Day 3 of the crying, we're not seeing any progress but we're keeping it up for five days and then we'll reassess. I'm sure it's developmental and it will all pass but Sweet Marie, is it hard to hear her cry. I just have to keep telling myself that this is working towards something. Damn, I hope I'm right.