Sunday, August 19, 2012

1 Zucchini, 2 Zucchini, 3 Zucchini, 4...

5 Zucchini, 6 Zucchini, 7 Zucchini, more....

Zucchini plants are the gift that keeps on giving...and giving...and giving. When I grew my first garden zucchini was the first plant to flourish and produce, and when it started producing it just wouldn't stop. A novice to gardening, I was beside myself and convinced I was the most amazing green thumb ever! I had this wonderfully dark green, lush looking, and incredibly humongous plant with amazing looking squash sticking out of it. I'd read all about other people's gardening woes, and had prepared myself for a year of failures. The people with these stories were, after all, the experienced country folks I aspire to emulate all the days of my life. Maybe it's not so hard as I thought--my plants look great! Who knew I was so amazing and talented? Oh glory day I can garden!

There was just one eensy weensy little problem. Okay I'll cop to it...there were a few problems.

The first was I didn't have a clue about gardening. I thought I was off to a great start. I had the passing thought my good fortune might just be beginners luck, but I confidently shrugged that off and went about my day. I'm not prideful at all. Never. Not me. Pride comes before the fall. I'm just sayin'. And I don't have any pictures documenting my early demise. Heh.

Another problem was even though I grew the plant and it produced lots of zucchini for me, I didn't have a clue when I should pick them. So I, being so amazing and smart, figured I'd do a trial of the first one and watch for signs it was getting past it's prime so I could determine the best stage to harvest. That didn't work--the damn thing just kept growing and growing, looking as wonderful and magnificent as ever. Anybody who knows anything about gardening could have told me this would happen, but I was new and stupid so I didn't know what to expect. The beast could double it's veggie size in a days time and it didn't show any signs of slowing down. We finally picked it when it was about the size of my arm, and my then 7 year old had the brilliant notion we should pick the rest when they got to be the size of the ones at the grocery store. Smarty pants. Why didn't I think of that?

The um...third problem was that I'd never actually eaten a zucchini before. You can laugh now. It's okay. Really. My husband said they tasted good and they sure looked good, so I went out and bought me some seeds and went right along my merry way. But there was bound to come a time when I had these things on my kitchen counter and had to do something with them, and the baseball bat sized one was intimidating. It's odd how I could be so proud and so scared of my prized vegetable laying on the counter top, but there you have it. Not to be deterred or bested by a damn vegetable, I set about on a recipe hunt. I was going to find a way to create a masterpiece with these things. It would be glorious and tasty and everyone's going to think I'm a kitchen goddess! Well...not exactly. I discovered a truth--I (cough) do not like (cough) zucchini.

For 3 years I've grown zucchini for the sole purpose of harvesting the first few for my husband to eat (he's the only one who'll eat it). I then ignored the plant and allowed it to succumb to squash bugs. Stupid things take up too much space anyway. It's awful, isn't it, that I'd let the thing die off rather than care for it? Does that lose me points in the country-girl sweepstakes? Does it show me to be just a sheep in wolf's clothing--a woman masquerading as a gardener and unfit for the title? Probably. Oh well.

But this year something happened. Financial Ruin. Thankfully it's temporary, but with the start of my husband's new business we've been going through two months of being b.r.o.k.e. NO Money. The first 6 weeks we didn't have ANY income. None. Nada. Our savings carried us through most of it, but there comes a point when it just doesn't carry you far enough. And with our financial demise of late, we found ourselves living off what was left in the pantry and what was growing in my little garden--in the scorching 110 degree heat and the worst drought to hit this part of the country since the dust bowl. With mandatory water rationing upon us, it didn't look good. But I tell you what--those zucchini plants sure were putting out a lot of food.


Back to the recipe search. We do, after all, have to eat.

So far I've learned to make a pretty awesome zucchini bread, a vegetable soup with zucchini and an awesome spaghetti sauce guessed it--ZUCCHINI. They are all quite edible, I assure you. And you know what?

I'm beginning to think I might like zucchini after all. If it's done up just right. (Shhh...don't tell anyone)

I'm still on the lookout for other recipes to try, but for now we've got a few to spread it around.

I'll post some of the recipes soon for anyone who's interested.

Now, if only I could find a way to make okra taste yummy...

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