I'll start with the soup. I found this recipe on www.101cookbooks.com, which I have been using a lot lately. It was pretty simple, and the result was quite delicious. Here it is copied and pasted, with minimal commentary--I actually stuck to the recipe for once. You might think it strange to use buttermilk in soup, but this is actually something I learned from my mother, who makes a similar zucchini soup on Christmas, except hers is seasoned with curry.
Buttermilk Summer Squash Soup
a generous splash of olive oil or (3T.) knob of butter
3 large shallots, chopped (I used more--I always go crazy with shallots.)
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
3-inch sprig of rosemary
1 1/2 pounds yellow or green summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices/chunks (used both)
3/4 pound potatoes, un-peeled, cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups lightly flavored vegetable stock or water (used No-Chicken broth here)
2/3 cup buttermilk
garnish with: fresh herbs, toasted almonds, a generous drizzle of olive oil/ melted butter, and/or some crumbled feta
Heat olive oil/butter in large thick-bottomed pan over medium heat. Stir in the shallots, salt, red pepper flakes, and rosemary. Saute until shallots are tender - a couple minutes. Stir in the squash and potatoes, and cook until the squash starts to get a bit tender - a few minutes. Stir in the garlic, remove the sprig of rosemary, and then add the stock (or water) to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. (Pay attention to this last detail. I think I blended my veggies before the potatoes were soft enough... Didn't end up being a big deal, just made for a more textured soup.)
Puree with a hand blender. If you like a silkier soup feel free to pour the soup through a strainer. Slowly whisk in the buttermilk, taste, and adjust the seasoning - adding more salt if needed. I like this soup topped with a bit of crumbled feta, some toasted almonds, a drizzle of olive oil, and a small pinch of red pepper - but it's perfectly good straight with no fuss on top. (I garnished with feta and scallions! YUM.)
Serves 6 - 8.
Ok now on to the pasta. I kind of made this up. Not even really a recipe. Just julienned a bunch of zucchini, sauteed them in some olive oil with garlic, tossed them with some pasta and some homemade sauce--Mama Vallese's recipe of course. Didn't take any pics. But try it! A fun way to dress up your pasta. Bet it would be good with pesto too.
And now, last but not least: the muffins.
I am not much of a baker. But these were so easy! The recipe is from www.simplyrecipes.com. Literally the first thing that came up when I googled "zucchini muffins" but it was perfect--they came out moist, perfectly risen, not too sweet.
- 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
- 2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- Pinch salt
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup walnuts (optional)
- 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
You don't need a mixer for this recipe.
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add these dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Fold in the walnuts and dried raisins or cranberries if using.
2 Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.