Zucchini Fest 2009

Zucchini. Great vegetable or not? My parents joke that at the end of summer people in their neighborhood leave huge bags on their doorsteps, ring the doorbell, and run. Even the loyal zucchini lover may sometimes get sick of the vegetable. Sauteed and in bread form . . . that's basically what most people probably do with zucchini.

My friend Samina decided to have a zucchini party this past weekend--everyone was supposed to bring a dish made from zucchini to share. Surprisingly, it was a delicious and varied menu.

We began with hors d'oeuvres: zucchini tempura and toast, zucchini, and cheese made by Alex. I especially enjoyed the tempura and was impressed by the process Alex used to make it (dip it in batter, then cold water, then deep fat fry). Yeah, you read that right, somehow he managed to dip it in water and still retain the batter . . . impressive. Melissa and Gregg also brought a fantastic creation: raw, thinly sliced zucchini wrapped around marinated mozzarella. Yum!

Our dinner began with two kinds of zucchini soup: one cold and one hot. The cold soup was creamy and fragrant with herbs (created by Chris and Gene). The hot soup combined zucchini with lentils (Samina's concoction). I enjoyed both versions which illustrated the diversity of zucchini.

The main courses and side dishes were a zucchini quiche with lovely layers of parmesan, zucchini, and carrot (brought by Gregg and Melissa). We also enjoyed a nice tofu/zucchini stir fry with delightfully nutty brown rice, thanks to Samina. I brought my zucchini, white bean, mint salad--I doubled the recipe and I think it needed more mint. Still, I love the combination.

Dessert was a yummy lemon poppy seed zucchini bread (Chris) and a delectable rice pudding with zucchini (Samina).

We were all pleasantly surprised that the meal turned out well since we hadn't planned it out. We actually had courses that worked well together . . . I suppose it was our own version of Iron Chef with zucchini being the featured ingredient.

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