Anyone who knows their seasonal produce or has ever had a garden or has ever known anyone who has a garden knows that July/August is the prime season for zucchinis. They also know that when zucchinis come, they come in abundance. In the past I’ve had the good fortune of having access to garden zucchini whether in my own backyard, or that of a neighbor who had so many they didn’t know what to do with them.

This year, I am reaping the benefit of local farmer’s zucchini abundance, as they are incredibly cheap and fresh at the local farmer’s markets. A few weeks ago I picked up about 3-4 zucchinis for around a dollar. I wouldn’t say that zuke’s are my favorite vegetable- in fact I hated them for the earlier part of my life. But I’ve come around, and if they are used in the right way, they are a totally awesome and versatile vegetable. Check out two recipes below from Real Simple magazine.

Grilled Bread with Zucchini, Ricotta, and Basil

4 half-inch thick slices of country bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 cup basil, leaves torn
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup fresh ricotta

Heat grill to medium-high. Brush the bread with 1 tablespoon of the oil and grill until golden and crisp, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to plates.

Grill the zucchini until tender and slightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Toss in a large bowl with the basil, red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining tablespoon of oil.

Top the bread with the zucchini and ricotta.

Grilled Bread with Zucchini, Ricotta, and Basil

Grilled Bread with Zucchini, Ricotta, and Basil

I used Italian bread instead of country bread which is what I had on hand. I also had all of the ingredients already in the house, especially some basil fresh from Stu’s mom’s garden. Delish! I also grilled up some chicken that I seasoned with a little bit of salt, pepper, dried basil, and oregano. The whole dish was incredibly simple and delicious. I highly recommend.

I recently came back from vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina with Stu and his family. I ate alot of delicious food including hamburgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs, ribs, wings, tacos, seafood, and ice cream. Very little vegetables were ingested over the course of the week, so upon my immediate return I whipped up a dish containing a bunch of ingredients that I had on hand. The dish incorporated pasta- my favorite food, chick peas for protein, and zucchini for vegetable intake. Yum!

Pasta with Zucchini and Chickpeas

3/4 lb. pasta like linguine or spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 small or 2 medium zucchinis, chopped into ¼-inch half-moons
Kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add zucchini and salt and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add chickpeas, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Turn off heat.

Stir in pasta and 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese.

Pasta with Zucchini and Chick Peas

Pasta with Zucchini and Chick Peas

I used a whole wheat linguine as my pasta, and substituted chicken broth for the 1/2 cup of water for a little more flavor. On a hot summer day when I was very hungry, tired, and worn out from an 8+ hour drive, it was exactly what I needed to get back into the swing of cooking again.

That being said, I’ll be on hiatus for another week as I head off on another vacation with my own family, this time to Gettysurg, PA for a little Civil War action. I’ll update throughout the week or upon my return with any notable restaurants or other foodie favorites. Until then, enjoy the zucchinis!