ZUCCHINI in El País Vasco
At long last, we reach the end of the alphabet. I swear, I never thought I’d get here when work on this project first began. I was tempted to do Zebra (I saw it on a menu once but have never eaten it) but decided to do something really approachable, easily accessible and absolutely delicious. ZUCCHINI!
Don’t call it a cop out, zucchini are fresh. OK, maybe they’ve been cooked to death in the USA as the side vegetable of many, many generic restaurants. But you know what, they’re always tasty and pretty hard to mess up. Undercooked, overcooked, sautéed, grilled, fried, raw; I think they’re delicious and I always see the good in this summer squash.
That’s right the zuch is a summer squash, available mostly from summer to late fall but you can find it nearly year-round in warm areas. Zucchini are crazy prolific and hearty, if you ever plant some you’ll be rewarded with BUNDLES of the fruit. It really overproduces! In addition, you’ll have heaps of beautiful, giant blossoms that range in color from yellow to orange and make a great addition to any dish you wish. Most people immediately think about stuffing the flowers with cheese, battering them and deep frying them, but I also love them thrown into pasta, couscous or faro, or as an addition to frittatas, omelettes, pupusas and tacos…shoot, they’re good in everything. I love the sensuous quality of cooking with flowers!
Look for small zucchini (or any summer squash). They’ll have less water content and more flavor. In addition to being tasty and easy to prepare, they are really good for you with potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamins. The Native Americans were really into their zucchini and grew them with two important companion plants, beans and maize. Known as “The Three Sisters” the trio help one another grow and when eaten together create an incredibly health meal of pure protein. Awesome!
ON TO THE SQUASH. I rock out a great RAW pasta dish on this episode. By taking a veggie peeler or mandoline to a zucchini you can create tagliatelle-sized strips that really are a great pasta substitute. Healthy, raw, tasty fun. I then got totally classic and fried zucchini in a beer batter. Why not? At the end of the alphabet is a pot of gold—golden beer and really hot frying oil. My spears are phenomenal!
In a simple and fun way, the letter Z was a great shoot for me. My neighbors Kim and Karl had an amazing amount of zucchini growing in their garden and I borrowed a bunch of fruit for shoot. When we wrapped for the day I ran over to their house and dropped off a ton of the fried spears and chatted about the show for a while. It was totally in the spirit of giving and eating and growing and bonding and, well, ORGANIC A to Z.
I started ORGANIC A to Z out of curiosity. I wanted to create a cooking show online and I wanted to blog about food and write recipes. I had this itch, this burning desire to share my enthusiasm for food and home cooking with like-minded people. But I wanted to take it a step further and dive deeper into the healthy world of organics. Focusing the show on organics was a great way for me to learn more about and master this topic further. As I jumped down the rabbit hole, I realized that going organic wasn’t always the best way to eat, in fact sometimes it made no sense at all; what’s wholesome about eating an organic apple flown half-way around the world? I broadened my focus from being an organic advocate to a local, seasonal and organic eater. But realize this is a personal choice, it’s what I am into. As the show progressed I thought more and more about what I really wanted people to get out of this. I’ve come full circle to the home kitchen.
I’m not here to preach [too much], I’m here to excite! Get your ass in the kitchen and get cooking! Whether you go seasonal, local, organic or not I just want you to cook! There’s nothing, NOTHING, better in the world than home cooked meals. This is the epitome of love, health and sustenance. Family food is so amazingly important and precious and it must be preserved. There’s really only one way to do that, cook and eat it! So ask your parents and grandparents for their recipes, go hit the markets and get cooking. At least one day a week, stand up to the fast-paced, prepackaged society we dwell in; cook a meal from scratch and eat it with people you love!
Hopefully I’ve given you some inspiration. My recipes and show ideas are nothing fancy or overly complicated, anyone can do them and they’re all [as I say over and over on the show] totally delicious. Be brave and bold, don’t worry about perfection and go ahead an make mistakes, it’s all good! Have some organic adventures of your own in your home. Just keep cooking!
Thank you so much for joining me on this alphabetical journey. I wish you much love, much sustenance and many, many tasty eats!