Summer squash

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The zucchini or courgette is a typical summer squash. In a culinary context, it is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower.

The zucchini is originated from America but it occurred in Europe only in the very late 19th century, probably near Milan-Italy; and the early varieties usually included the names of nearby cities in their names. The alternative name courgette is from the French word for the vegetable, with the same spelling, and is commonly used in France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom

In culinary use zucchini unlike cucumber, usually served cooked. It can be prepared using a variety of cooking techniques, including steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, fried, or incorporated in other recipes such as soufflés. Zucchini can also be baked into bread similar to banana bread or incorporated into a cake mix. Its flowers can be eaten stuffed and are a delicacy when deep fried, as tempura. Zucchini can also be eaten raw, sliced or shredded in a cold salad, as well as lightly cooked in hot salads, as in Thai or Vietnamese recipes. Mature (larger sized) zucchini are well suited for cooking in breads.

In 2005, a poll revealed that the zucchini to be Britain’s 10th favorite culinary vegetable. Here are two recipes:

Zucchini cupcake with caramel frosting

  • 3 eggs, 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded zucchini
  • For the caramel frosting
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed, 1/4 cup 2% milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1-1/2 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Directions:
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and extract. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to egg  mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini.
  • Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool  for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  • For frosting, combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2  minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm.
  • Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes and decorate.

Courgette with thyme and white wine

Ingredients: 2-3 pieces of fresh zucchini

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 C. extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 C. dry white wine

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Sauté zucchini, garlic and onion in oil in a saucepan until zucchini is crisp-tender. Add parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper and simmer over very low heat covered for about 20 minutes.

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