Tag Archives: Sardinia

zucchini glut

I have become privy to a perennial woe of summer farming: way too much zucchini. In her chapter “Zucchini Wars,” Barbara Kingsolver describes that the only time people lock her doors in her Virginia neighborhood is during zucchini season to prevent any unwelcome “gifts” of other growers’ zucchini. Steve Sprinkel, an organic farmer, author, and friend of Quin and Justin, wrote about zucchini season in Edible Ojai, mentioning that around July, he’d be at the farmer’s market with a pile of zucchini “melting” on him: “Of course you have too much zucchini. I have too much myself. Why did I grow it? Why did I yield to the siren song of summer squash yet again? After all these years, I go Groundhog Day with the zucchini and always get the same results.”

The past three Sundays, I have harvested the zucchini for the CSA. Last week and the week before that, each share was offered 3-5 zucchini, depending on size, but this week, we asked people to take as many as humanly possible. I have a feeling that we will be giving that instruction for a few more weeks to come.

Inspired by the insane amount of zucchini we have to go through this week (three leftover from last Sunday and about 20 beauties about the size of a professional wrestlers forearm), I made zucchini latkes the other day. We were not yet in the overload of Sundays zucchini harvest so I mixed the latke batter with shredded parsnip, onion, apple, and carrot (freshly harvested, archetypal carrots, no less).

Harvest Latkes
Serves 3 hungry farmers, or 6 people

finished latkes (applesauce in the background)

3 cups shredded zucchini
2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup shredded parsnip
1/2 cup shredded onion
1/4 cup shredded apple
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons flax seeds, ground and soaked in 4 tablespoons water)
1 cup flour (any mixture of flours will suffice)
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together. If it is too watery, add more flour. Heat a skillet with some oil and shape the batter into latkes. Cook for four minutes on either side. Serve with homemade applesauce!

P.S. Zucchini processing to come: Hot-Cumin Zucchini Pickle, Zucchini Bread-and-Butter Pickle with Ginger, frozen shredded zucchini (for future zucchini bread), dehydrated zucchini (for soups and to use as chips), and zucchini in every meal.

P.P.S. When I was finishing clipping the roots and stalks off of onions for the CSA, some members were arriving to pick up their share. One member came with a friend, this lovely woman who ended up being from Sardinia, my #1 place-to-go on planet earth (yes, it beat out Iceland). She was mentioning this zucchini pizza she made, and I think I’m going to get that going at some point. Zucchini (have more than anyone needs), fresh tomato sauce (will make once tomatoes arrive), fresh mozzarella (will make once I get some raw milk), olive oil, and some fresh basil sprinkled on top after it bakes.

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my night at the westin hotel

So, my flight to Denver was postponed and ultimately canceled. I was  pretty flustered, especially since my bags seemed to get twenty pounds heavier every hour I had them in tow (Thanks, gravity!), but managed to book a new flight and get shuttled to the nearest hotel to stay for the night. I would have bothered my friends to house me, but the trek back into DC would have required three more hours of lugging my crap all over town and a bunch of guap for transportation, so I opted for the free shuttle to the free hotel room with a $15 food voucher.

As soon as I arrived, I sprawled on my king-sized mattress and flipped on “No Reservations: Sardinia.” Anthony Bourdain proceeded to whet my appetite with flashing images of the most amazing food from the other large island neighboring Italy . If watching a goat being roasted over an open spit wasn’t enough to excite my tummy, the meat-roaster proceeded to engulf a hunk of lardo in flames and let the fat drip onto the goat. Then, I was tortured through watching a lot of people (who were not me) eat an insanely elaborate farm homestead meal, capitalizing on Sardinia’s agriturismo industry. Why, Anthony, why? Regardless, Sardinia is now firmly planted at the top of my list of culinary destinations. I mean, people there carry around special knives in their pocket to facilitate consumption of cured meat and local cheese. That is where I belong. Also, just check out the description of the cuisine on Wikipedia.

Hunger in tow, I moseyed down to the Padella, the hotel bar and restaurant, for some food and perhaps a brew or two. (By the way, whenever I say or think “hotel bar,” the Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” gets stuck in my head because I always misheard “cocktail bar” as “hotel bar” as a kid.) I had the tomato-basil soup, ravioli with rabbit ragu, and chocolate lava cake. In retrospect, I should have just gone for the burger I was craving because my attempt at exploring new territory didn’t go so well.

Ravioli with Rabbit Ragu

Chocolate Lava Cake

The rundown:

1) I was in the bathroom when my soup arrived and by the time I returned it had cooled off a bit too much. Lukewarm soup ain’t pretty (or delicious).

2)  The ravioli were actually pierogies. Thinking back to the description midway through the meal, I remember reading “smoked potato ravioli,” but for some reason, my mind didn’t make the connection to pierogies upon reading this. I think I spent the majority of time eating the ravioli trying to figure out why the ricotta was much grainier than it was creamy. It was like biting into a sweet pickle when you are expecting  a sour one.

3) The rabbit ragu had a bone in it! Eating rabbit is something I find to be at once troublesome and absolutely not troublesome. Like most animals, rabbits are adorable, so getting over eating the Velveteen Rabbit and Little Bunny Foo-Foo is a little hard for me. But beyond that, they reproduce so quickly and eat vegetarian so I feel like they are quite a sustainable food source. But when I am plowing through a maybe ravioli-maybe pierogi textural battle, the last thing I expected was to find a bone (an unidentifiable one at that) amidst a bunch of connective tissue in the sea of pulled rabbit meat. Blegth.

4) It was clear that the ravioli were old because the pasta at the seams was really dense and chewy. They had dried out a bit too much, either in the refrigerator or freezer, and were an unpleasant mouthful.

5) The chocolate lava cake was absolutely delicious except it was supposed to come topped with ginger ice cream and instead it came with vanilla bean. Screw that! I wanted to reminisce about eating dark chocolate + ginger Green & Black’s bars as a form of caffeination during late night study jams, but no. I was not afforded that moment of nostalgia.

Overall, though, my time bellied up to the Padella bar was great, and the attentive staff and $3 happy hour beers were only the beginning. Most importantly, I sat next to a woman who had been a stewardess nearly half a century ago, and her stories about dating members of the Brooklyn Dodgers and wearing girdles so she “wouldn’t jiggle” made the entire meal go down a lot smoother.