Back in the Saddle Again

My ego was recently punched in the nuts. It started with an article I wrote and published (for money, I might add–well, PayPal, but same diff) and which got some — how shall I say this? oh, gloves off, I suppose — sanctimonious, snippy, unkind and just plain wrong criticism. I made the large-marge mistake of Googling myself and found this post criticizing not just my writing, but me (again, same diff); I won’t recap the whole thing. Suffice it to say that one participant said I had no more grasp of satire than a duck.

Because, as everyone knows, ducks suck at satire. Wait, what?

Several glasses of wine later, my blood pressure’s nearly back to normal and I have almost ceased trying to think of clever retorts that have a creamy, well-reasoned center underneath a deliciously snarky shell. So I’ma get back in the saddle again, out where a friend is a friend, and do some preachin’ to the choir of the church of Nick.

Let’s talk about zucchini. Much loved, much maligned, far too often the subject of corny Garrison Keillor jokes (“Hahaha, we’re unemployed Lutheran English majors with too much local produce”), zucchini is nevertheless one of my favorite veg. I like to have it on hand at all times. It can be a snack (raw, with ranch), a side dish, a soup component (minestrone, anyone? Well, that will have to wait for fall), an entree (stay tuned for the Nickmas Corn and Zucchini Fritters, which I promise are forthcoming), a quick bread or a dessert (throw some frosting on them thar zucchini muffins and children under the age of 8 call ’em cupcakes. Motherhood — it’s all in the marketing).

The first batch of zucchini from either our garden, the CSA or the local market, I like to do Gram’s Way. Or, if you’re feeling continental, Zucchini ala Gram. This is the way my Grandmother made it, and probably her mom before her. I don’t remember my mom making it this way, but maybe zucchini skips a generation, like twins?

So my stove's dirty. You wanna make something of it? I've knocked a woman to the floor before, and I'd do it again.

Anyway, so easy you would think I was patronizing you if I posted an actual recipe. All you do is put a general pat/chunk/stick (your choice!) of butter in a skillet. Iffen you’re feeling health-conscious, use half butter and half EVOO or regular OO. Let it melt a bit. Throw in some sliced sweet onion. Vidalias are nice. Throw in some sliced zucchini (here I used a mixture of zucchini and yellow zucchini. You could also use yellow squash. Same diff yet again? Maybe. I don’t know, I got my info from the Mennonite veggie stand) or pattpan squash or whatever crazily shaped summer squash your CSA throws at you. Throw in a cup or so of water. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Let it bubble, stew and sing in your kitchen until most of the water’s gone and the squash is soft and lovely. Pour it into a dish and fork up some summer. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Forgot to pepper after I plated. Use the Photoshop in your brain to add some flecks of black pepper, will you please? Thanks.

What recipes did you inherit from your Grandmother — or wish you had?


4 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle Again

  1. I make this very (non)recipe, with LOADS of garlic and then I add shrimp at the very end…just until it blushes pink, and I serve it over pasta or rice or couscous or quinoa or polenta…or Kraft Mac and Cheese or just the plate. It’s all good.

  2. I do a variation with garlic. For some silly reason I never mix the onion and garlic — it’s always either/or, which is totally at odds with the rest of my cooking. Love the addition of shrimp (to anything, really). That would rock the house over pasta. Or the plate. I had an unfortunate polenta experience once, but am thinking I need to re-explore it. Any great suggestions?

  3. I am disturbed by the duck/satire comment. Truly disturbed because I don’t understand it.

    It has never occurred to me that zucchini could be prepared like this. I’ll remember it when I leave my car doors unlocked in August and the neighbors unload their harvest upon me.

    That’s an old Lake Woebegone riff.

  4. Recipes from Grandmothers…my Paternal Grandmother used to make these soft, cakey spice cookies with chunks of apple – I’ve never had anything like them, and can still almost taste them over 30 years later. One of my Maternal Grandmother’s signature dishes was cooked vegetables molded in unflavored gelatin. I do not need to have this recipe…Grandpa was the cook in the family, and was amazing. His mashed potatoes stand out – I don’t know if it was fresh cream and butter or just his heart and hands, but none have ever tasted quite the same. And I love me some mashed potatoes! I think, though, that I’d give up having the recipe to be able to cook/talk with him just once. Or for my mom to have that chance.

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