Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Trip To The Farm Means Twice Baked Zucchini

Our friend has a small plot of farmland up in Petaluma, and he brought us up there yesterday to weed, seed, and harvest some amazing heirloom vegetables.  We were so impressed with his bountiful crops and we truly enjoyed spending the entire day weeding, learning, and picking some fantastic vegetables.  We were lucky enough to get to bring some of the veggies home to make, including THE BIGGEST ZUCCHINI SQUASH I HAVE EVER SEEN.  It was two feet long (!!), and I had to get creative to cook it.  Much like you can make twice baked potatoes, I made a twice baked zucchini, and it was superb!  

We have a dinner party with some family every Sunday night, and we love to go to The Fatted Calf and get some of their special made crepinettes.  This week we had lamb patties wrapped in their signature fatty netting, with pine nuts and figs.    

The Meat
- 7 lamb crepinettes from The Fatted Calf

The Veggies
- 2 large turnips, cubed
- 8-10 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 gigantic zucchini
- butter, salt, marjoram, pepper, garlic powder to taste
- 3-4 figs, chopped 
- Parmesan cheese, to taste
- 6-10 Padron peppers, diced
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

Preheat your oven to 380 degrees.

This meal took around an hour and a half of prep, so try to time out your cooking times so you don't have food sitting and getting cold waiting for the other parts of the meal to come together.

I cubed and roasted the sweet potatoes with a tablespoon of olive oil, half a cup of water, and salt and pepper in my glass baking pan for around 45 minutes.  I had the pan ready to go and just popped them in when it was around 50 minutes before serving time.  

Cube and boil the turnips with the garlic until they are tender, around 20 minutes on medium high heat.  Drain them and then mash the turnips and garlic together and set them aside to add to the zucchini later.

Look at the size of this zucchini next to my bread knife.  When I cut it open, the seeds were big enough to be mistaken for pumpkin seeds!  I scooped out the raw innards and kept the skins to become my "bowls".  The skins got dolloped with butter and brushed with olive oil, and then I liberally salted and peppered them.  Then they got popped into the oven to roast for 30 minutes.  

I took the "meat" of the zucchini that I had scooped out and put in a saute pan with the cooked turnips and garlic.  I added butter and olive oil, plus some garlic powder, salt, pepper, and marjoram.  I sauteed the mixture until the zucchini was soft, around 15 minutes on medium low heat, then used my masher to really blend everything together.  I added a few teaspoons of tapioca starch to the mash to thicken it a bit.  

While the zucchini was sauteing, I also softened some red onion and the Padron peppers we had picked in a small pan with a little olive oil on medium heat.  I moved everything around in the pan pretty often, and after around 10 minutes they were ready for the next step.

Next it was time to remove the roasted zucchini skins and spoon the mash into them.  I sprinkled chopped figs, parmesan cheese, and the sauteed Padron peppers and red onion on top of the mash and then put the whole shebang back into the oven for 15 more minutes.   

I grilled the lamb patties on my Griddler and then put everything on platters to serve.  This dinner party menu went over really well, everyone loved the way I presented the giant zucchini! :)

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