The Sights of Summer

Summer has finally arrived in Manchester and I’m into it, starting with homemade strawberry sauce. If you have to recipe test gingerbread in June, all it takes is a little strawberry sauce to take things from Santa to summer. Cut up fresh berries, add a little sugar, let things sit and chill for a few hours. Voila.

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Baked Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Yes, it’s zucchini season, and these things are everywhere, calling to us from the garden or with their rock-bottom prices from the farm stand and local markets. Are you currently being buried alive with summer’s most prolific green veggie? Here’s how I’ve been eating them.

Slightly hollowed out and stuffed with savory goodness, then baked to perfection. Let’s make baked stuffed zucchini boats.

I use a melon baller to scoop out a shallow well in each zucchini. If you do this you’ll want to angle the melon baller or spoon tip along the sides of the center strip rather than straight down the middle.

Hello, gondola zucchini.

Once they’ve pre-baked for a few minutes dressed only in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, stuff the zucchini boats with whatever you want before a return trip to the oven. Here I stuffed mine with diced red pepper and onion, cherry tomatoes, halved balls of fresh mozzarella, and slivers of fresh basil. A little extra olive oil and salt and pepper, and they’re ready for their second trip to the oven.

The first time I made these I cut off the ends of the zucchini before baking them, but I quickly realized I needed the ends to “hold in” the melted filling and cheese, so just ignore the knobby ends until they come out of the oven, then cut them off and dig in.

Fresh, delicious, flavorful summer eating!

Be creative with your fillings. The original recipe linked below called for olives and breadcrumbs, but you can also add meat, mushrooms…anything you want. Happy zucchini eating. Good luck keeping up with it!

Baked Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Adapted from The Kitchn

2 medium zucchini of equal size
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
10 fresh small mozzarella balls, halved
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced red pepper
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Cut zucchini length–wise and scoop out about 1/2 inch of the very center. Don’t worry about it being too deep — just enough to eventually hold the fillings. Drizzle with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake on the prepared sheet for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven and fill the zucchini with tomatoes, onions, peppers, and mozzarella. Drizzle with more olive oil, then sprinkle fresh sliced basil over the top. Add a little more salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Increase the oven heat to 450°F and cook for another 10-15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. When the cheese is melted, it’s time to eat.

Serves 2

View and print the recipe for Baked Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Zucchini “Mock Crab” Cakes

We all know my vegetarian heart weeps for the seafood I do not eat.  There are a lot of good meat substitutes out there (fake hamburger, bacon, sausage, chicken strips, and hot dogs to name a few) but there just isn’t a seafood stand-in.  The best cure for the seafood-sick heart seems to lie in substitutions rather than swaps.  For example, instead of a fake tuna sandwich, you replace the tuna with chickpeas.

And instead of fake crab cakes, you replace the crab meat with shredded zucchini and carry on.  I know it sounds doubtful, but the combination of traditional seasonings and the texture of zucchini really do create a resulting dish that looks and tastes a lot like crab cakes. 

Along with a side salad and some tartar sauce for dipping, you’ve got a light, flavorful supper perfect for summer.

This post was inspired by the whale watch I went on last weekend with my family.  Also, please note that I decided to cut off most of my hair.  Welcome back, 2001 Aimee.

Zucchini “Mock Crab” Cakes
Adapted from The Washington Post

2 medium zucchini (2 cups when shredded)
1 cup bread crumbs (Panko work best)
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped


  • Coarsely grate the zucchini and place in a colander over a bowl.  Sprinkle with a few shakes of salt, and allow the zucchini to drain for 30 minutes.  Press the zucchini down to remove excess water, and pat dry with paper towels.  It should be damp, but not dripping.  Discard the water.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together zucchini and breadcrumbs.  In a small bowl, mix together egg, mayonnaise, Old Bay, mustard, lemon juice, and parsley.  Add egg mixture to zucchini mixture and combine.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, place portions of the mixture in your hands and form into a ball.  Press down lightly on the ball to form a cake.  Using the scoop will ensure that all of your cakes are equal size, so they will cook at the same speed.  Place the cakes on a piece of parchment paper until ready to cook.
  • In a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, splash some olive oil, then gently transfer the cakes to the skillet using a spatula.  Turn the cakes after a few moments, then turn again, until they are golden brown and crispy.
  • Serve while hot with tartar sauce, lemon wedges, and a side salad.

Yield: 6-8 cakes.

Note:  Any cakes that you don’t cook right away can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.  I just wrapped the parchment paper up around the extras and kept them in the fridge until ready to use.

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Four and Twenty Blackbirds

This past weekend I went to Brooklyn (not NYC…Brooklyn) to visit my beloved Kayte (and Sam!) in their new place.  I had the best time.  We had no agenda and less than 48 hours together, but managed to accomplish an amazing amount of eating, drinking, and walking everywhere while sweating profusely…but it was a great time, and it was great to see Kayte.

I lied…there was actually one thing on our agenda.  PIE.  Kayte told me about a pie place in her neighborhood that had just opened up in April and had pie to die for.  That place was Four and Twenty Blackbirds.  Since I have been on a major pie kick lately I thought I thought it only fair that I share this latest chapter in ALL THINGS PIE 2010.  We stopped in on Saturday…and went back for breakfast on Sunday.  The bakery/cafe is beautiful, with tin-tiled walls and ceilings, hardwood floors and lots of sunshine.  The pies of the day are written on the chalkboard, along with drinks and some other traditional cafe fare like scones, sweet breads, and their unique spin on “Egg in a Nest”.  The shop is owned and operated by two South Dakota sisters, and I am a sucker for sister business ventures (especially bakery-themed ones) since Courtney and I often joke we should do the same thing.

Saturday’s pie slices were berry crumble and apple ginger.  Kayte was a good sport about all of my picture-taking…even when it meant she had to wait to eat.

Sunday’s slices were blueberry lavender and salted caramel apple (double blog reference there).

The Egg in a Nest was not the “toast with a hole with egg in it” that I was expecting.  Instead it was like a delicious sweet biscuit wrapped in a soufflé-like egg and cheese puff.  Delightful.

The crusts were buttery and flaky.  The fruits were flavorful and fresh.  The ginger had bite.  With teeth.  The girl behind the counter recognized us on Sunday and had great feather earrings.  I will absolutely go back here every time I visit going forward.  Their pies change with the seasons and I want to try them all.

For further reading visit their writeup on Serious Eats.

Or better yet, visit them and taste for yourself!  They are located at 439 3rd Ave in Brooklyn and they are doing it right.