Think Fresh: Zucchini

Foodie Baby Checking Out the Giant Zucchini

My sister called at 11:30pm the other night, which may have incited a tiny bit panic, to tell me that she had just been given the biggest zucchini she’d ever seen and was bringing it over! (My family knows what gets me excited!) ¬†And as you can see… it is one BIG zucchini!!! So, I’ve got some cooking to do!

I feel like zucchini is around every corner right now. The end of summer = a plentiful harvest of mini summer squash(aka zucchini). So here are some of the ways I plan to use zucchini this week:

zucchini fritters(not healthy. So yummy.)

zucchini barley muffins with almonds and raspberries…mmm I’ll have to post this recipe.

chocolate zucchini cake (this one’s in the cookbook!)

pasta with shaved zucchini, lemon and garlic

And tonight’s supper: Baked potato and zucchini gratin. This is a super easy vegetarian side dish. Give it a try!

Directions: Slice two small potatoes and one large zucchini and one tomato super thinly. In a 8×8 baking dish layer the bottom with the potato slices and drizzle with 2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the potatoes(I used feta and parmesan), and some chopped basil leaves. Next layer the zucchini slices, and then the tomato slices. Add some more crumbled cheese and basil. Bake at 350 for about an hour. If the cheese browns too quickly, cover with foil. Cut into squares and serve.

Think Fresh: Kamut

Mushroom Spinach Kamut

What the heck is kamut right? Kamut is an ancient form of wheat. Similar to spelt. It pops up in ancient writings such as the Bible(rumored to be the grain Noah kept on the ark). It is high in protein, and very high in selenium. While it is not gluten free, because it is a form of wheat, it is more tolerable to people with wheat sensitivities than many other forms of wheat. It is super easy to cook and delicious! The best part is that…it’s LOCAL! Yes! Grown right here in Canada, it is an Artesian Acres product I bought at a little market in Salmon Arm, BC. So I’ve had this big bag of it for some time and have wondered what to do with it. I have baked with kamut flour before but never used the full grains which look a lot like rice. I had a very hard time finding other recipes for cooking kamut so thought I’d try to whip something up. ¬†Kamut is so shockingly easy to make…ready for it….get a pen….Step 1. Soak grain in water.

That’s it. No step two. You soak it until it softens a bit, overnight or so. I soaked it two nights so that it sprouted. It still retains a nice kind of crunch to it, no mush at all. Once you’ve soaked it, follow this super easy recipe and you will have a delicious risotto-like entree or side dish!

Mushroom Spinach Kamut

Serves 2 entrees or 4 side dishes.

Saute one chopped sweet onion, one clove of garlic and 3 tbs of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until onions begin to soften. Add 2 cups of sliced mushrooms and saute until they also start to soften. Stir in 2 cups of soaked and sprouted kamut kernels. Add 1/4 cup of white wine and 1 cup of vegetable stock. Simmer until the liquid has evaporated and broth becomes quite thick, approx 20 mins. Stir in 1/2 cup coarsely shredded parmesan cheese and 4 cups spinach. Stir until spinach wilts, 1 minute. Serve!

Kamut is available at most health food stores. It’s so mild that I think it would turn nicely into a breakfast dish, porridge style. Let me know if you give it a try!

Think Fresh: Blackberry Mint Iced Tea

The highlight of my week is always my Friday morning trek to the Calgary Farmer’s Market. I always leave with bags full of local organic produce and a heart full of inspiration. Sometimes, once the euphoria has subsided slightly, and I unpack my bags full of treasures, I find things that, realistically, I may not have a whole lot of purpose for. A few weeks in a row now, I’ve made it home with ENORMOUS bunches of fresh mint. And while I like mint, and use it as a pretty garnish on desserts, and in the odd dish, I don’t actually need to have more mint than spinach in the house. Until today. With a little of this and barely any of that, I’ve come up with my favorite new summer drink. Blackberry Mint Iced Tea. So fresh, so simple.

Blackberry Mint Iced Tea

Fill a large tea pot with boiling water and as much fresh mint as you have. Steep for 10 minutes. Pour into a jug and add fresh or frozen blackberries. Chill and serve!

Oh wonderful summer!