Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feasting from the Garden

My parents were (and still are, to a lesser extent) avid gardeners when I was growing up. At the peak of production we had 3 very large vegetable gardens and they grew just about everything: asparagus,horseradish, rhubarb, green beans, a variety of lettuces, carrots, beets, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, radishes, melons and of course zucchini. Keep in mind, there were only 3 of us! Consequently a lot of canning went on, in addition to some sales to a local restaurant. But the one thing that will always stick out in my memory is the zucchini. Let's just sa it thrived where it was planted. I think I have had zucchini prepared just about every way possible, and you'd think that at this point in life I would be sick of it and never eat it again. But to me, it wouldn't be summer without that fabulously versatile veggie and I serve it 2-3 times a week in some form or another (much to the dismay of my 11-year-old son, Brett).

So last night, when I was once again faced with the question, "Mom, what's for dinner?" I thought, "Why zucchini, of course!" After digging around in my fridge I discovered a couple leftover ears of corn from the night before as well as some ripe tomatoes from the garden in a basket on the counter. Armed with this information off to Google I went, and lo and behold good old delivered me the perfect answer to my dinner dilemna with their recipe for Zucchini-Corn Casserole. It was absolutely delicious, so I thought I'd share it here with you:
Zucchini-Corn Casserole
(Vegetarian Main Dish)
3c (1#) sliced zucchini
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. (12 oz) low fat cottage cheese
3/4 c dry bread crumbs (preferably whole grain)
1/4 c wheat germ
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil
Kernel from 4 medium ears of corn (about 2 c)
3 medium tomatoes, sliced
3 oz cheese (e.g., cheddar, monterey jack, muenster) cut into thin strips

Place the zucchini in a colander and toss it with salt. Set it aside to drain for at least 15 minutes. then press the zucchini against the sides of the colander to extract more water. Pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In medium sized bowl, combine cottage cheese, bread crumbs, wheat germ, parsley and basil. Set aside.

Line bottom of a greased 2 quart baking dish with zucchini. Using half of the cottage cheese mixture, spoon on top zucchini and press on the mixture with a fork or spatula to spread it around. Sprinkle the cottage cheese mixture on top of the corn. Cover the casserole with the tomato slices and arrange the cheese strips on top of the tomatoes.

Cover the casserole with foil, put in hot oven, and bake it for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake casserole another 15 minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and the it stand for about 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6

I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as mine did!

Now I'm off to make some cute little Halloween Treat Bags that will be debuting in my shop tomorrow.

Bon appetit!

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