My mother and recipe-writing predecessor may have been the Zucchini Queen, inundating you readers with fare containing that prolific vegetable, but I’m not as fond as she was of the green squash. Oh, I’ll eat it, but I prefer its flavor masked with cheese and stuffing or in baked goods.
Former Daily Globe Editor Ray Crippen recently sent me this email message: “The current issue of weekly Christian Science Monitor has a rhyme I would have sent to your mother:
Consider the humble zucchini,
Some huge and others quite teeny.
Try some of both
And never be loath
To serve them with fresh tortellini.
— Ann Carranza
Hmmm. I think I might like zucchini with tortellini. I might have to work on a recipe for that. It might also be palatable with some rice. I’ve recently discovered the joys of risotto, which isn’t nearly as intimidating to make as I previously thought and can be the basis for a meatless meal. (Ham or sausage could also be added.)
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add ½ cup chopped onion and sauté until tender. Add 1 cup Arborio rice and sauté for 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup white wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.
In a small saucepan, bring 3 cups chicken stock to a simmer. (I have also heated it in a glass measuring cup in the microwave — saves on heating up the kitchen.) Add a small amount of the stock at a time to the rice, cooking over low heat after each addition for about 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly.
In a separate skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter and add ¼ cup asparagus that has been blanched and sliced on the diagonal; ¼ cup diced yellow squash or zucchini; ¼ cup julienned red bell pepper; and ¼ cup sliced mushrooms. Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until tender.
Stir the vegetables into the rice, followed by 2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
Makes 2 servings.
Late last week, I stood in the kitchen, refrigerator door open, and pondered a bowl of leftover pineapple. What, I pondered, could I do with that pineapple, outside of making a fruit salad, to go along with that night’s supper of chipotle turkey burgers?
Somewhere, back in the dark recesses of my mind, I recalled some TV chef making a pineapple salsa. I randomly pulled a cookbook off my shelf, and lo and behold, there was a recipe for pineapple salsa that was pretty much as I had envisioned. The original recipe calls for chopped mint, but since I didn’t have that in my garden, I substituted basil and pineapple sage, a random odd herb I happened to plant this year.
In a bowl, combine 1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple; 1 cup chopped fresh tomato; ¼ cup finely diced red onion; 1 or 2 Serrano chile peppers (depending on how hot you like it), seeds and stem removed, finely chopped; ½ teaspoon salt; ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper; and 2 tablespoons fresh herbs (mint, parsley, basil).