Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Zucchini Boats (and Instagram)

I joined the instagram movement. I don't know why it took me this long, but I'm hooked now. I constantly take pictures of my food, but unless it's a new recipe, it's unlikely that it'll show up here. Now I actually have somewhere to put all of my pictures! Of course, I managed to mess up the first few pictures I put up. How does one mess up an instagram picture? I didn't include any hashtags, which apparently is the only way to get anybody to pay any attention to it. My sister had to point that out to me. I've been really against twitter and anything hashtag related in the past, so Joey had to tell me how to even use hashtags (which was embarrassing to him, that he did know how to).

This meant the first picture had a ridiculous caption

Then I started to get the hang of it

Unrelated, I also finally updated my phone to iOS7, not sure yet what I think about it. 

The last photo above (zucchini boats) got a lot of likes, and someone requested the recipe! That made me realize I couldn't completely abandon the blog, since posting pictures alone doesn't really give much information. 

These zucchini boats are seriously amazing. They are the perfect way to take advantage of giant farm-grown zucchini, and many other kinds of summer produce. Joey came up with this recipe, and it is a great one. We have made them twice in the past week.

Notes - Use your favorite vegetables, don't feel restricted to the ones in the recipe! The cheese on top is optional (but not really, I mean c'mon, it's cheese). Use your favorite there, as well. The first time we made these, I believe we used raclette. This time, we used pepper jack. 
These would make a great appetizer or side dish for a dinner party - each person could get their own. It also works well as a meal for two people (or in our case, an appetizer for two people because we wolfed down a whole pizza after we ate them). 

Recipe: Zucchini Boats
Yield: 4 zucchini boats
Adapted from - nothing! A Joey original

1/2 large onion, diced
1 cup mushrooms, diced (4 cremini + 4 button)
1 bell pepper (any color), diced
1 ear of corn, kernels sliced off
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
salt-free seasoning blend (we use Trader Joe's 21 seasoning blend, which is similar to an Italian seasoning)
2 large zucchini (about 1 lb each, uniform size)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (raclette, mozzarella and pepper jack all work well)

Preheat oven to 375 F and line a sheet pan with foil, then spray with Pam. 

Heat oil in a medium pan on high heat, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Cook onions ~2-3 minutes, until they have started to soften. Add in mushrooms and peppers, another 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp seasoning blend, and reduce heat to medium. Once they have all softened (another 4-5 minutes), add in corn and garlic. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent sticking. Add more salt or seasoning if necessary.

While the veggies are cooking, prepare the zucchini. Slice off the top and bottom, then cut in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, score the middle flesh of the zucchini down to ~1/4 inch. Using a spoon, scoop out the middle flesh of the zucchini, being careful not to cut through. Roughly chop the flesh that comes out, and add to the cooking veggies. Cook on medium until soft. If at any point the pan becomes too dry, add a little water to prevent sticking/scorching. 

Put the 4 zucchini halves on the prepared pan, and spoon on the filling. Mound it up as necessary so all (or most) of the filling is used. Bake the stuffed zucchini for 35 minutes. Remove pan, and check the zucchini for doneness - at this point, it should be soft, but not completely done. Spread the shredded cheese over the zucchini, ~2 tbsp per boat. Put back in the oven for 10 minutes. (If your zucchini was still hard when you checked, you can either put it back in the oven for 5-10 minutes before adding cheese, or increase the oven temperature to 400 F for the last 10 minutes.)

Let cool for 5 minutes, and sprinkle with more cheese if desired. Enjoy!