While zucchini / courgettes are in season (and yes, it’s already August!), here are some ideas you could try to make a nice vegetarian lunch or dinner. Ideas rather than recipes as surely you can adapt them to the veggie in season – these ideas are very flexible. And moreover three of these 4 recipes are actually improvisations – using leftovers. Anyway, summer is just a perfect season for vegetarians (and a cheaper season too) and there’s just no excuse for missing all these fresh vegetables.
Let’s start from a Greek recipe I’ve made in the Spartan conditions of our dacha : )
A year ago – Italian Delicacies a la Russe
Haniotiko Boureki (or Zucchini and Potato Bake / Pie from Crete) adapted from www.kalofagas.ca will make a really soft veggie dish with a super tasty cheese crust. See the website for the original recipe.
My changes: Well, they were quite a few to say the least. Instead of flour I used oat bran (not your common choice…) and as a Feta substitute this time I had some super salty white brined Chanakh cheese from Armenia (well, I hope so). I was lazy about two things in the recipe – picking up fresh mint from the garden (too hot outside!) and peeling potatoes. So I used dried basil and… no potatoes instead. As there were no sesame seeds at hand (and I had to take almost all the non-dacha ingredients with me, of course), I just grated some cheese on top – and that was a success! There was no foil at my dacha either, but this cheese created a real crust on top.
Remarks: The zucchini will produce a lot of liquid while baking so you might want to ‘drain’ your dish before serving. Don’t ask me if I discard the liquid. No, I don’t!
Result: The still crunchy zucchini and that cheese crust is a great combination, especially with lots of salty cheese in the middle. The super salty Chanakh cheese was quite decently salty once baked – I guess due to all the milk and almost neutral ricotta that it goes with. This dish reminded me of Χανιώτικο μπουρέκι (Courgette and Potato Boureki or pie from Chania, Crete) I made back in July 2012 and was somewhat similar to a recently tried Kolokithoboureko or Greek Zucchini Cheese Pie which I also lightened up by skipping the potatoes. I guess that makes a more summer-y version to this dish!
The next recipe, Zucchini Rye Pizza from Leftover Sourdough – was a pure improvisation with what was left from the above recipe. I also had to refresh my sourdough culture and since my freezer is already full of bread, I had to find another use for the leftover sourdough. So here we go, a sourdough rye pizza in just about no time! No kneading, no rising, no S&Fs if you know what I mean =)
What I did was to mix my rye sourdough culture (some tablespoons) with some all purpose flour and a bit of water. That was my crust. For the topping I had some zucchini, spring onions and Chanakh cheese which I just crumbled on top. And that’s it! A Northern version of a pizza it is : ) A bit rubbery (the crust) but still nice when warm.
Then comes Zucchini and Couscous Cheesy Bake which was another improvisation using the stuff from the fridge. These were: onions, leftover cooked couscous, herbs, some tomato sauce, zucchini of course and cheese – soft white and regular hard. I made several layers, starting with a zucchini layer and going up building this:
The only problem, I overused the fan option of the oven and the dish got dry a bit. But again – an easy way to use up your lunch leftovers!
And here’s the last idea: Baked Stuffed Zucchini and Aubergines which shows I can sometimes be less lazy if I want to. So at first I just wanted to bake some aubergines and zucchini, so I cleaned and halved them, placed on baking paper and used the fan option for some minutes and then just baked them. Then there was an idea to make stuffed veggies, which in the end made me scrape the flesh out of both zucchini and aubergines, mix it (looks like someone’s brains…) with mozzarella, herbs, tomato sauce and LOTS of fresh garlic from our dacha. I seasoned the stuffing with lots of things and filled the veggies. I also grated some hard cheese on top + sprinkled with sesame seeds. More baking and some minutes with the fan on – and they were ready!
The zucchini version were sweeter than the aubergine one although both had the same stuffing. But I liked them! I guess the trick in the baked stuffed veggies is to avoid scraping them down to the bottom – this way you will leave some of the flesh on (oh my god) and the veggie ‘boats’ won’t get too dry or hard to swallow. Another dish that you could try – and this time with a recipe – is Baked Aubergine and Courgettes Stuffed with Roast Pumpkin.
So, enjoy! And leave some space for improvisation in your life : )
Again there’s a long queue of posts still in drafts… I’m trying!