Think Outside the Bread
By: Kate Powers | 23 August, 2013 | 2808 Views
Don’t get stuck in a zucchini bread rut!
By the end of summer even local food enthusiasts’ love has waned for zucchini bread. It’s everywhere. Alaskans have countless variations; from vegan and gluten free, to loaded up with butter and chocolate chips. Zucchini bread is in abundance at staff meetings, dinners and potlucks. Zucchini bread pairs well with Carhartts and Xtratufs, so you’ve probably even seen it at every fancy Alaskan cocktail party this summer.
There are plenty of guides on the zillions of ways to cook your zucchini. But here are some recipes you may have never tried.
Hobak Jeon (pictured above) is a simple, delicious banchan, meaning Korean side dish or snack. Banchan accompanies a traditional Korean meal along with kimchi and other pickled, fermented or fried vegetables. Hobak Jeon is zucchini slices dredged in flour, dipped in egg, and pan fried to perfection. When Hobaj Jeon is made right it’s slightly crispy, salty and goes perfectly with any Korean dish like bibimbap (rice hot pot), or sundubu (spicy tofu stew). When searching for a recipe, remember you cannot skip the crucial salting step. Salting the zucchini before you fry the slices extracts the water. Skipping the salt in the beginning will lead to soggy slices.
Ropa vieja is a delicious stew that originated in the Canary Islands, but can be found in kitchens throughout the southern region of Spain and Latin America. During my senior year of college at UAA I studied abroad in Cadiz, Spain. My host family had deep roots in Andalucia, the southern region of Spain. The large boarding home where they lived housed multiple generations and had been in their family since 1827. Their recipes had been passed down and changed little over the years. They explained to me the name, “ropa vieja”, comes from the appearance of the dish; the messy stew with strips of meat resembles a pile of old clothes and rags. This hearty dish contains beef and vegetables stewed in an aromatic tomato sauce. This is an easy recipe to customize and add what seasonal veggies you have on hand, add your tender veggies like zucchini in the last 30 minutes of cooking so they do not lose their temperature.
Latkes are a traditional Jewish food, usually served at Hanukah. Latkes are sometimes described as potato pancakes, but they are more similar to a hash brown patty. Zucchini latkes are a twist on tradition, and you can throw carrots or other chopped vegetables in for color. Before you fry the grated zucchini, press all of the water out to maintain the texture. Most recipes include bread crumbs, eggs and spices. Don’t forget your favorite dipping sauce, or serve them in the traditional way with homemade applesauce.
Tostadas are a simple Latin American dish that you can think of as a deconstructed taco. A mixed veggie tostada is a great way to load up on healthy vegetables with south of the border flavors. Start with seasoned sautéed zucchini, and other Alaska Grown veggies, sprinkle with taco seasonings like cumin, garlic, chili powder and red pepper. Top the tostada with traditional taco fixings like black beans, sour cream, lettuce and cheese.
Notes on preparing zucchini:
- I have the best success with recipes that are given to me from friends or family, or ones I find online that have user reviews like allrecipes.com and epicurious.com.
- In soups and stews its best to add zucchini as a final step in the recipe because it’s tender flesh is mostly water, and cooks very fast. Zucchini does not do well in slow cooker recipes for this reason.
- Before frying zucchini, make sure to press all of the water out of it. You can use paper towel or a clean cloth to absorb the moisture.
- Zucchini is generally baked at high temperatures for shorter periods of times so it doesn’t disintegrate.
Kate Powers, Co-Founder
Despite having her easy bake oven confiscated from her for questionable experiments, Kate Powers still convinced her Dad to let her continue to bake and cook without recipes. She loves cooking meals for her friends and family, she particularly loves cooking Latin American cuisine, especially Central American and Spanish food where she has been lucky enough to live and study. Kate has a particular interest in immigration and refugee resettlement issues, as well as farm and labor rights. She can make perfect duck egg omelettes, just ask her about it.