For someone who has, at best, only moderate interest in eating all things zucchini and summer squash, this site’s archives tell different story. I mean, how about a torte, some fritters, zucchini bread or zucchini bread pancakes? Maybe a rice gratin, crisps or my favorite 5-minute side dish is more your speed? The 40-plus recipes from previous summers would make you think I jump for joy when the inevitable August glut of green and yellow piles at the Greenmarkets; instead, I approach them warily.
Summer Squash Archive
Every time I make an Ottolenghi recipe, I become convinced that he has finally lost his mind. Really, turmeric, black sesame seeds and parmesan together? Three tablespoons of fresh oregano? A full half-cup of tahini? And as my anxiety grows — you see, I, too, understand the bubble of time, ingredients and trust that we invest into new recipes, which, when popped, leads to the kind of frustration that can only be righted with a scalding review — I wonder if this will be it, the day I finally make an Ottolenghi recipe that’s just plain off. And, without fail, we sit down to something so spectacular in a way I hadn’t even considered before, I’m in awe of his talent and relieved that I ignored every instinct not to follow his recipe faithfully.
Sometimes, I think the internet is trying to tell me something. Well, most days, many things, such as why nobody should ever, ever click on a certain VMA performance (which is like begging me to click, only for me to run away with my hands over my eyes. Why would you do that to me, internet?!), why this lady should be all of our new heroes, the effect of mirrors in grocery carts and also maybe where tiramisu comes from? So much stuff, people. But sometimes, the message is a little more pointed, such as the time a few weeks ago I was checking out a tres leches cake recipe for research on a likeminded popsicle and the sidebar suggested that maybe I might consider making zucchini crisps instead?
This poor things isn’t going to be winning any beauty pageants, and especially not in the rushed, omg-it’s-10p.m., why-aren’t-you-ready-yet way I cooked it, but this torte should not be underestimated. It’s some delicious stuff.
When I made my version of baked ratatouille back in July, I had intended to follow up with suggestions of other things you could do with leftovers, or leftover ingredients, as I always have leftover components but have not yet found a store that will sell me two-thirds of one zucchini and a half an eggplant. I really hate having a quarter eggplant leftover, because I’m very unlikely to use it and incapable of throwing it away, so what usually happens is I stash it in the fridge where it gets forgotten about, rots, is found a month later as when I scream in horror and throw it away afterall, having flashbacks to that time I lived with three friends and we were cleaning out the fridge and found something completely awful way in the back and Dave said “sorry, that was my kiwi” and I was like, “uh, that’s a lemon.”
Do you RTFR? I used to. I would run through every word of a recipe, then reread it twice to really get in under my skin, create a shopping list and mentally time the dish so I’d know exactly when it would be ready. I’d prep ingredients and place them in little bowls along a spotless mise. We never ate dinner at 10 p.m.
I find it funny now — what with my obvious fascination with stirring up soups aplenty — that a couple years ago I didn’t care for them at all. Everything about the taste of vegetables boiled in flavored water until their structures compromised made my stomach turn and to this day, even the liveliest minestrone invokes a bad memory of flavor-sapped herbs and formless noodles. Even those that came close to passing muster were so laden with salt, I’d find myself aching for a glass of water after a bowl of something that was supposed to be soothing.