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zucchini

Roasted Zucchini with Whole Garlic, Lemon & Fried Sage Leaves

TIME: 45 MINUTES, SERVES: 4

The impetus for this recipe was having to thin our sage plants in the greenhouse. I’ve never been one to cook much with fresh sage, but when I had a handful of the most tender, baby leaves, I knew I had to figure something out! Now, I am so glad we decided to grow this herb because I immediately fell in love with the delicate, crispy addition of fried sage leaves to just about any dish.

When the season is in full swing, and the zucchini need harvesting every 2 days, this meal is perfect for a quick, no-fuss dinner. Especially if you have a couple pounds of bone-in chicken thighs to roast—nestle them together and bake all at once.

INGREDIENTS

4 medium-sized zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then quartered (or cut into thirds to make similar sized spears)
2 heads garlic, cut in half crosswise (to expose the center of each clove)
2 lemons, quartered
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbls. avocado oil or high-heat oil
Fried Sage Leaves
1 bunch fresh sage leaves
2 tbls. avocado oil or high-heat oil

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Toss the first 6 ingredients together on a large sheet pan to coat, being mindful as to not dislodge the garlic cloves from the heads. Before placing the sheet pan in the oven, arrange the garlic heads cut-side down on the pan.

  3. Roast for 30 minutes or so, until the garlic cloves have softened and the zucchini & lemons are tender and browned.

  4. While the veggies are roasting, heat the remaining 2 tbls. of high-heat oil in a wide saucepan or frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop the sage leaves in, careful not overcrowd them (you may have to do several batches). Fry for a few minutes until browned and crispy. Keep a close eye on them because this can happen quickly! Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on a paper towel to cool.

  5. When the veggies are ready for serving, sprinkle the crispy sage over top.

    *If serving alongside roast chicken, scatter the veggies around 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and roast at 325°F for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken registers at 160-165°F.

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Chicken Soup with Lemon & Spinach

TIME: 4 HOURS; SERVES: ~6

This whole-chicken method is super flavorful and relatively quick—perfect if you have an old stew bird lying around. I’ll put the soup on to simmer around lunch, and by dinner, all I need to do is add the greens and lemon!

INGREDIENTS

1, 3 - 4 lb. whole chicken, or chicken parts
1 large yellow onion, unpeeled & quartered
1 entire head of garlic, unpeeled & cut crosswise
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 - 4 large carrots, roughly chopped
Handful parsley, leaves (finely chopped) and stems
1 tbls. peppercorns
Kosher salt
2 bay leaves
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Water, to cover
1 lemon, quartered
2 - 3 scallions, white and green parts trimmed & sliced
2 cups spinach
1 medium zucchini, sliced with a vegetable peeler into long, wide strips

METHOD

  1. Remove the chicken or chicken parts from the fridge an hour before cooking and sprinkle with kosher salt.

  2. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, place the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, parsley stems, peppercorns, bay leaf, apple cider vinegar, and 1 tbls. of kosher salt. If using a whole chicken, separate the breasts (this makes early removal from the soup much easier).

  3. Add the chicken or chicken parts and enough water to cover, about 3 quarts.

  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for about 25 minutes, until the breasts are cooked through.

  5. Remove the breasts and let cool. Remove the skin and shred the meat. Set aside.

  6. Continue cooking the soup over low for another 3 hours or so.

  7. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before straining through a colander over another pot or large bowl. Separate the dark meat from the carcass and add to the reserved breast meat.

  8. Bring the stock back to a boil, and add the zucchini, spinach, scallions, and parsley leaves. Cook for a couple minutes until the greens and zucchini are bright green. Turn off the heat and add the reserved chicken meat. Add the lemon wedges, squeezing the juice into the soup. Season to taste.

  9. Ladle into bowls. I like to top with a dollop of crème fraîche, but it is delicious on its own.

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Spicy Pork Meatballs & Zucchini Ribbons in Broth

TIME: 20 MINUTES; SERVES: 4 - 6

During the summer months, we barter vegetables for pastured pork from our neighbors. All their offerings are phenomenal, but one of my favorites is their “Country Sausage”, which consists of 3 simple ingredients: pork, salt & pepper. Ground pork works wonderfully in these tender, poached meatballs, however, feel free to substitute ground dark meat turkey or chicken.

This soup comes together in less than 30 minutes, for when you’re needing a a nourishing, hot meal ASAP.

INGREDIENTS

1 zucchini
6 cups broth of choice (chicken, pork, veggie…)
Meatballs
1 lb. ground pork (or ground dark meat turkey/chicken)
1/2 tsp. hot chili paste or spicy harissa (or crushed red chili flakes)
2 tbls. shallots or scallions, minced
1 tsp. black garlic paste or 1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 tbls. cilantro
2 tbls. parsley
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric (opt.)
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste (check to see if meat is seasoned first)

Cilantro, scallion and chili oil, to serve (opt.)

METHOD

  1. Slice the zucchini into long ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.

  2. Mix the meatball ingredients together and form into 12 meatballs.

  3. Bring broth to a boil. If you need to add salt or acid (lemon, sherry vinegar), do so at this point.

  4. Add the meatballs so they are submerged in the liquid. Let simmer for about 7 minutes, until cooked through. Turn the heat off and add the zucchini ribbons. Let sit for a couple minutes before serving.

  5. Ladle into bowls. Top with additional cilantro, scallion, and a drizzle of chili oil.

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Zucchini Noodles with Walnut Pesto

TIME: 30 MINUTES; SERVES: 2

Zucchini noodles, or ‘Zoodles’, have become somewhat of a mascot within the low-carb food community. I have a tendency to approach most food trends with a level of skepticism. Food marketing generally operates from a profit-forward standard, rather than nutritional or ecological. So when a fancy new super food promising “antioxidant-rich!” “sugar-free!” or “healthy!” pops up, I have three main standards on whether it’s worth investigating: 1. Can I grow this? 2. If not, can it be purchased locally? 3. If so, is it grown or raised organically/responsibly?

“Zoodles” pass through all these hoops for me. Even though I wouldn’t label summer squash a nutrition powerhouse, it is yummy and we do grow it. Zoodles have become a gluten-free answer to that slurpy, noodly craving that can hit without warning.

Granted, I’ll eat grilled or roasted zucchini any day alongside a rich pesto dip, but this is a fun way to mix it up. Zoodles can also shine in a light, savory broth, or with a cream-based sauce. I purchased a 5-Blade Vegetable Slicer, and even though it takes up a fair amount of kitchen space and is a little bulky, it’s so easy to use and clean, I have no hesitation busting it out.

I use the word “pesto” very loosely in this recipe. Feel free to make it dairy-free by cutting out the optional Parmesan, or substitute different nuts, seeds, or herbs.

INGREDIENTS

Zoodles
1 large zucchini or 2 medium (Even though the smaller squash generally taste better, I’ve found the larger ones easier to “spiralize")
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. high heat oil, bacon grease, or butter/ghee
(Dairy-free) Walnut “Pesto”
2 cups packed Italian basil (I use the whole plant: leaves, tender stems, flowers, etc.). You can substitute parsley or arugula for some or all of the basil.
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup walnuts or favorite nut (pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, etc.)
Salt & fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
Juice from 1 lemon, to taste
1 - 2 tbls. water to thin, if necessary
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (opt.)

METHOD

  1. For the pesto, put all ingredients except water into a food processor and process until very smooth. If not using Parmesan, it is important to use a generous amount of salt—start with less and add to taste after blending. If it’s too thick, add a tbls. at a time of water. You will need to use enough oil to coat the noodles in a smooth sauce.

  2. If you don’t have a spiralizer, use a mandolin with a julienne blade or a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons. You can even julienne by hand if you’re confident in your knife skills.

  3. Sprinkle the zoodles with salt and let sit for a few minutes in a colander.

  4. Heat cooking fat in a large skillet. Sear the zoodles in a single layer. Do not stir, rather let them slightly brown on one side and then flip over. It is very important they don’t crowd the pan so that they sear quickly. Crowding results in soggy, overcooked zoodles. Transfer to a wide serving dish.

  5. Top with the pesto and mix very gently to incorporate. Serve topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and chicken, or alongside a few slices of bacon and crumbled goat cheese

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Baby Summer Squash with Ricotta & Hazelnuts

TIME: 45 MINUTES; SERVES: 4+
Adapted from “Bon Appetit”

This recipe is perfect for the first early harvest of baby summer squash & zucchini. It’s important when growing summer squash to harvest the first fruits before they fully mature. If left on the plant, they drain its reproductive energy, and the plant will produce fewer fruits long term.

What better way to enjoy this early Summer treat than over a creamy cloud of homemade ricotta and toasted hazelnuts?

If you’re purchasing zucchini from the market, look for the smallest ones, ideally that feel a little fuzzy—they are the freshest and pack the most flavor. Making ricotta takes less than 30 minutes and is an entirely different product than store bought, but my favorite product to use in a pinch is Bellweather Ricotta.

INGREDIENTS

1 - 2 pounds baby summer squash or zucchini, halved. (or ~4 medium, quartered)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 cup hazelnuts
5 tbls. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small bunch basil, roughly torn or chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
2 tbls. sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 lemon, juice & zest
2 tbls. parsley
1/2 cup fresh ricotta

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash and 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt in a colander over a bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes.

  2. Toast hazelnuts in a cast iron skillet on medium-low heat, stirring often until golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes. Let cool, then roughly chop.

  3. Mix basil, garlic, vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes & 2 tbls. oil in a large bowl; set aside.

  4. Toss squash in remaining 2 tbls. oil and arrange, cut side down on a large baking sheet (make sure not to crowd them—use 2 sheets if necessary). Roast for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden brown and very tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

  5. Toss squash in dressing to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature, tossing occasionally, 10 - 15 minutes.

  6. Meanwhile, zest the lemon half into a small bowl, mix in ricotta and remaining 1 tbls. oil; season with salt.

  7. Spread lemon-ricotta on a platter. Top with squash, and scatter with parsley & hazelnuts. Squeeze remaining lemon juice on top and drizzle generously with oil. Season with salt and pepper.

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