Monday, July 17, 2006

For Another Day

I don’t know what made me decide that turning on my oven when it’s hotter than hell outside is a really good idea, but I did. Decide, that is. I turned on my oven and I ran out of the kitchen. It was all worth it because I made something pretty, without following a recipe (!) – mushroom stuffed zucchini.

I was very determined to make the zucchini. I didn’t need to insist on making something that called for the oven but I so wanted to break out of my no-cooking routine and make something interesting. I braved stifling heat and oppressive poster deadlines, all for stuffed zucchini. So determined was I, that I actually made these at 7:30AM on a Sunday morning, before going to lab (I promise to stop complaining about lab very soon. Many people endure it with far greater grace than I possess right now. Then again, it’s so so hot in my apartment, so I get to whine). Was it worth all my struggle? Yea, but I think I would enjoy the zucchini (and the oven) far more on a ummm… cooler day.

The baked zucchini shells were crisp tender and the mushroom filling was creamy from the cheese and breadcrumbs, making for an interesting texture contrast. They make a light side dish. I will definitely make them again as the recipe is quite conducive to variation. I am already having all kinds of thoughts - using tomatoes and lots of basil and... oooh capers in the stuffing and maybe serving the zucchini cold... That may have been the solution to my heat problem this time around.

Mushroom Stuffed Zucchini (may be best to save this recipe for another day, unless you are brave like me)

2 zucchini, halved and hollowed, insides chopped – I found that a teaspoon post a trip down the disposal did the scooping and hollowing job marvelously.

8 oz white mushrooms, caps only, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp ea fresh basil, oregano, thyme, chopped
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
olive oil

1) Sauté shallot and garlic in olive oil until slightly softened.
2) Add chopped zucchini insides and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.
3) Add the herbs and stir around a bit longer, till the herbs have softened, transfer all to a bowl and allow to cool.
4) Stir in breadcrumbs, until the mixture is dry and comes together (add more breadcrumbs if you need to). Stir in grated cheese.
5) Brush zucchini shells with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread filling evenly in zucchini shells, sprinkle top with more breadcrumbs and cheese.
6) Bake at 375F for 30 minutes, until the zucchini are tender to the point of a knife. QUICKLY turn off the oven and sit down in front of the A/C. Oh wait. That was just me…



anthony griffiths said...

Your lab has a/c. Isn't that a good reason to go into lab? :) Moreover, your lab has a beer fridge...

Anna said...

Well, not exactly a beer fridge. More like a fridge stocked with beer to prevent mutiny :)

anthony griffiths said...

or at least help prevent mutiny ;)

michelle said...

ha ha ha - I have a teaspoon like that myself! These sound delicious - I wonder if there's a way to grill them?

Jonathan said...

I would never think to stuff a zucchini, but as always Anna, you never cease to amaze. Now how about using some good old ground beef to stuff them...

Anna said...

your photography never ceases to amaze... the pictures are making my mouth water (and I'm eating my dinner)! Now that I'm ready to hop back on the blog-wagon I'm not sure I can keep up :) Lissa

Anna said...

Ooooh grilling the zucchini would be fabulous! Have to keep that in mind. Beef + zucchini + grill = good plan.