I am a loyalist by nature, especially when it comes to food. Over the years I have tried almost everything on my grocer's shelves, determined what works best for me, and declared allegiance to my favorite brands. My favorite baking chocolate? Ghiradelli. Never expect me to buy anything otherwise. Favorite breakfast food? Quaker Oatmeal. I've been eating it for years on end, and have no intention of stopping.
When it comes to vegetables I express my loyalties in a more seasonal fashion. Sure, I buy vegetables year-round at my local grocery store, but there is nothing like being presented with big fat bushels of produce fresh from a local farm. There are certain vegetables I simply adore, and, when they are in season, I obsessively cook with them until they are no longer available. This month my obsession has been zucchini. I have already written about it here, and here, and here since they became available, and fully intend to take advantage of the remaining two months of the season.
(a glimpse of my sacred recipe binder)
Earlier this week I posted my recipe for Baked Zucchini with Tomatoes, a newer dish that has been added to my permanent repertoire. Today I am going to share an old favorite from my binder (pictured above), zucchini spoonbread. My mother has made this for years, it is the perfect way to use any surplus from the garden, or the fridge. I love it because it is a light meal that showcases the true flavors of summer.
Making spoonbread is incredibly easy and perfect for Naptime Chef-ing. While my daughter sleeps, I chop the vegetables and assemble the simple batter. Once it has been poured into the pan I place it, covered, in the fridge. In the evening I put in the oven before dinner, and wait for the delicious hot meal to be ready. We all love how it is packed with the flavor of fresh vegetables in a light cheesy bread, almost like a savory pudding. I like to serve it with a simple green salad and a fresh crusty roll. Needless to say, given my unwavering devotion to fresh zucchini, I have been serving this a lot lately and, luckily, nobody seems to have tired of it. Yet.
Naptime's Zucchini Spoonbread
loosely adapted from Better Homes & Gardens, July 1996
1 c. fresh corn, off the cob (you can substitute frozen corn if necessary)
1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped
1/2 c. red pepper, seeded, cored and cut into strips
1 c. chopped zucchini
1 c. chopped tomato
4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. whole milk
7 dashes Tabasco sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Bring 1/2 c. water to boil in a medium sauce pan and add corn, onion, and peppers. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, tomatoes, cheese and cornmeal. Set aside.
3. In a seperate bowl, add eggs, milk, Tabasco Sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Stir egg mixture into the vegetable mixture in the saucepan.
4. Pour into a greased 1 1/2 quart casserole. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until top is set. Remove from oven and let stand for 6 minutes, then serve.
Naptime Recipe Props: This recipe is wonderfully flexible, feel free to add any kind of vegetables you would like. Just keep the portions of dairy consistent.
Naptime Stopwatch: It takes about 25 minutes to prepare this batter, then another 40-45 minutes to bake.
Naptime Reviews: People love this dish because it is like eating a light pudding. It is a great way to use up vegetables and it doesn't weight too heavily in your stomach after eating.