Tag Archives: easy summer sides

Reader Questions Answered: Vanilla Beans and Zucchini (Just Not Together)

Gentle Readers, when will The Practical Cook learn to be careful what she asks for? In trying to find the perfect questions to answer, she called her mother. What follows is what passes for conversation between TPC and TPC’sM:

TPC: Do you have any burning cooking questions?

TPCM: Yes, what do I do with a vanilla bean?

TPC: Slice it, scrape it, and use it in frosting. Not to drop hints, but I do have a birthday coming up shortly, and I do adore cream cheese frosting. (Hint Hint).

TPCM: The whole thing?

TPC: Yes, the whole guts of it, but save the hull. Use that for vanilla sugar. Just bury it in a jar of sugar.

Vanilla Bean Buried in a Jar of Sugar, Voila, Vanilla Sugar

Vanilla Bean Buried in a Jar of Sugar, Voila, Vanilla Sugar

TPCM: Do you have a good recipe for zucchini bread, because I think you’ll need one soon.

TPC: What are you saying?

TPCM: How about good recipes for zucchini? How about “how do I hide zucchini?”

TPC: I’m not liking the sounds of this.

TPCM: The zucchini that The Practical Cooks Junior watered did really well this year.

Abrupt disconnection of the call. Be afraid, be very afraid of the zucchini fairy.

Top 3 Ways to Use Zucchini:

1. Fry it. Substitute in zucchini in the fried squash recipe.

Golden-Brown Fried Squash with Soda Cracker Crumbs

Golden-Brown Fried Squash with Soda Cracker Crumbs

2. Stewed with tomatoes. I love zucchini sliced with garlic and tomatoes and oregano, all simmered until it’s a nice stew. Simple, season with salt and pepper.

3. Zucchini casserole. Substitute for squash. Slice, saute with onion, add a can of cream of celery soup, 3/4 a soup can of milk, and stir. Crumble in 1 or 2 pieces of hard, stale bread. (Thanks to Perfect Pregunta for that question!) Simmer until zucchini is soft, season with thyme, salt and pepper.  Top with crushed soda crackers and parmesan cheese, bake at 400 degrees until bubbly.

Squash Casserole with Soda Cracker and Parmesan Topping

Squash Casserole with Soda Cracker and Parmesan Topping

I’ll be locking my doors tonight, and do let me know if you need any zucchini. Something tells me I’ll have it in abundance very shortly.

Post your questions here in the comments section, or Tweet!

Send your non-zucchini-related questions to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Up next, Marinated Vegetable Salad Recipe. Perfect hot-weather fare!

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Filed under Kitchen Philosophy, On the Table, Recipes

Weekly Menus: Week of 7/17/2011

This Sunday, I have been met with a vegetable drive-by. If you don’t know anyone with a garden, let me show you what it looks like.

Vegetable Abundance

Vegetable Abundance

So I’ll be producing a full-out Sunday dinner later, and sharing as well (looking at you Complicated Veggie). It’s great to be back in the kitchen, even if I still feel hungry for dinner at 10 pm EST, courtesy of my jet lag.

Weekly Menus this week:

Weekly Menus 7/17/2011

Weekly Menus 7/17/2011

Four-Square Grocery List (which I’ve already shopped for, efficient!):

Four-Square Grocery List 7/17/11

Four-Square Grocery List 7/17/11

CSA from Brinkley Farms:

1 lb tomatillos $3.00
2 lbs regular eggplant $3.00
2 pablano peppers $1.00
1 red seedless watermelons $5.00

Which means:

Sunday: Sunday Dinner
Still pondering the main, but the go-withs include black-eyed peas, cukes and onions, sliced tomatoes, corn on the cob, squash in some format, fried okra, possibly potatoes. The table may beg for mercy, and I may send out invites.

Monday: Fish and Veg
Salmon Cakes and more okra.

Tuesday: Mexican
May switch this with Thursday so I can make another Mexican Squash Casserole. Otherwise, burritos.

Wednesday: Sammies
With cukes on the side, probably tomato sandwiches.

Thursday: Pasta Bake
Great way to lower the veg count.

Friday: Steak and Potatoes or Casserole
This may also be a leftover day, we shall see.

Saturday: Dine out!
I’m feeling either the picnic platter at Crook’s Corner, or a Food Truck Rodeo.

Have you experienced the veggie drive-by? Post a comment or send a Tweet.

Got questions? Email practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading the Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

Follow practicalcook on Twitter

Up next, Hazelnuts, Why Do You Mock Me?

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Filed under Weekly Menus