This past Monday we held our first healthy cooking workshop of the season. Though cabbage and especially summer squash are not quite in season yet, we decided to focus our workshop on new and interesting ways to use these 2 vegetables. Cabbage is a familiar vegetable for everyone in our region, yet beyond coleslaw and chow chow the uses for it have always seemed limited. I for one have never planted or bought cabbage because I never really knew what to do with it. In the past year or so Maggie and I have come across several really tasty ways to prepare it and we wanted to share these ideas with our participants. Summer squash on the other is always abundant in our kitchen come July and we have come across ways to prepare it for every meal of the day 10 different ways plus dessert, but it never hurts to have one more recipe in the arsenal and to share it with friends.
Once again we had the wonderful and talented Jenny Williams, of WMMT’s What’s Cookin’ Now, to host our workshop. Jenny led us all through the steps of making three great dishes and everyone loved the food , we even had reluctant zucchini eaters tasting raw zucchini salad and going back for seconds on summer squash tacos, and who can say no to a chocolate chip cookie, whether it has zucchini in it or not?
Following are recipes for the 4 different dishes that we had at the workshop, don’t let the names scare you off, they are really all delicious uses of summer vegetables.
Japanese Cabbage Pizza
This recipe is adapted from cookbook author Heidi Swanson, it is not really a pizza but more like a large fritter or even scramble. For the workshop we subbed half the cabbage for zucchini and it worked wonderfully. This dish got the best reviews of anything at the workshop
2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup onions, chopped
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry or all purpose flour
a couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1+ tablespoon olive oil
Garnish: toasted slivered almonds, chives/ herbs
Combine the cabbage, onions, flour, and salt in a bowl. Toss until everything is coated with a dusting of flour. Stir in the eggs and mix until everything is evenly coated.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a generous splash of olive oil. Scoop the cabbage mixture into the pan, and using a metal spatula press it into a round pancake shape, flat as you can get it. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden. To flip the pizza, slide it out of the skillet onto a plate. Place another plate on top and flip both (together) over. If you need a bit more oil in your skillet, add it now, before sliding the pizza back into the skillet. Again press down a bit with a spatula and cook until golden on this side – another 3 -5 minutes.
When you are finished cooking, sprinkle with toasted almonds and chives, and slide it onto a cutting board to cut into wedges. Enjoy immediately.
The following two recipes were both introduced to us by Jenny herself, they are wonderful and healthy ways to use up fresh summer squash. Professed skeptics of zucchini will find it hard to resist the tacos, and any salad lover will enjoy the beautiful salad!
Black Bean Zucchini Tacos-serves 8-10
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 small zucchini, diced
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp chili powder ( we love the Chili 3000 blend from Penzey’s spices, but other types will do—smell the blend, and if it smells good, it will taste good!)
- Warm corn or flour tortillas, sour cream, and salsa to serve
Sauté onion in oil over medium heat until onion turns translucent. Add garlic and sauté until onion and garlic begin to brown. Add zucchini and spices. Cook over medium heat until spices are fragrant and zucchini has softened. Add beans and cook until heated through. You could also toss in some fresh or frozen corn if you like. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste—I like mine really spicy so I usually add some more cayenne.
At this point, you can serve this with warm tortillas, sour cream and salsa (store-bought is fine, but homemade is even better!), or you can roll it up in tortillas, place it in an oiled baking dish, top with a little sour cream/salsa mix and cheese, and bake it at 350°. It also makes a really delicious and different breakfast—once the beans are heated through, make small wells in the mixture and crack eggs into them. Cover and cook over medium heat until the whites of the eggs are set but the yolks are still runny. Serve with warm tortillas.
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
- 5 zucchini—the smaller and younger, the better. You want about 5 cups once you’ve “ribboned” it.
- Orange Vinaigrette Dressing to coat—this will depend on how much dressing you like and how much the zucchini absorbs. Start with 3 tablespoons and add more if you need it.
- ½ cup of red onion, sliced thinly
- 1 orange, “supremed” and cut into half-moons
- ½ cup toasted almonds or other nuts
Make the dressing by blending the following ingredients in a food processor, blender, or by using an immersion blender:
- 2 small oranges, juiced or 1 large orange, juiced and zested
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Add 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a slow stream until the dressing emulsifies. This will keep for about a week in the refrigerator—just shake it well to blend before you use it.
Using a vegetable peeler, “ribbon” the zucchini by making long peels down the length of the squash. If the zucchini is very young and tender, you can leave the skin on, or you may wish to peel it off. Shave the zucchini until you hit the seeds in the middle, then stop. (Feed the middle seedy part to your chickens!)
Add the thinly sliced onions and oranges and about 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Toss gently with your hands to coat—avoid breaking up the oranges. Top with the toasted almonds and serve alone or on top of greens.
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Cookies
This recipe comes from the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Maggie made these for us to enjoy as dessert, they are delicious and the book is a wonderful read as well!
(Makes about two dozen)
1 egg, beaten
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 TBSP. vanilla extract
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ TSP baking soda
¼ TSP salt
¼ TSP cinnamon
¼ TSP nutmeg
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
12 oz chocolate chips
Combine the first five (wet) ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the dry ingredients, flours, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, in a separate bowl and then blend into the liquid mixture. Lastly stir the zucchini and chocolate chops into the mixture and mix well. Drop by spoonful onto greased baking sheet, and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350°, 10 to 15 minutes.
So come July and August when your counter space is overflowing with summer squash remember to check back here and be creative with your vegetables!