live anywhere in these United States you know
that this week has been a blisteringly hot one.
Folks in Dallas've had to deal with this 90
to 100° heat for well into two weeks now,
and even the Northeast got boffoed with excessive
heat and humidity for the better part of this
god, 'cause I don't know what the local tv stations
would've had to talk about. With the SEPTA strike
over, the "Welcome America" celebration
long forgotten, and Labor Day parades a good
five weeks away, the record heat filled the
ratings coffers for at least a few days.
knowing the local media the way I do -- we watched
it 'round the clock during the excessively silly
blizzards of 94 -- I'm sure they'll be able
to stretch the coverage out into this weekend,
when temps are supposed to fall back to a seasonable
high 70s to mid 80s.
than anything, these hot temps only mean one
thing to me: man, would my garden be going great
guns right now! Unfortunately, since we pulled
up roots in the late spring and moved to a house
with a kickass porch but no garden, I can only
stop and think about my small, but beautiful
veggie garden of years past.
Ah yes, squash,
tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beans, lettuce...sigh.
Luckily, we do have some nice farm markets in
the vicinity, and New Jersey is a scant twenty
minutes to our East. And no matter what anyone
says, New Jersey veggies taste better than any
I've ever had!
I got a nice
surprise earlier this week when one of Mrs.
Nitrate's co-workers sent home a few nice-sized
Summer Squash (or Zucchini) for the crisper.
I thought and thought until I came up with the
following recipe, a sort of Quichy Zucchini
Casserole that can be modified to fit whatever
tasty summer veggies you have on hand.
1 tbsp. olive
2 medium onions, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 eggs, beaten
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 to 2 lbs. zucchini, halved and cubed
8 oz. package of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
8 oz. sour cream
zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt.
Place a paper towel on top and add weight on
top to force water from zucchini. Let sit for
30 minutes. Force excess water from zucchini
by hand. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°
and lightly grease a 10 x 8 baking dish with
cooking spray. Heat olive oil in a saute pan
and add onions, garlic, and carrots. Season
with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat
until onions are soft and carrots are slightly
tender, about 20 minutes. Place potatoes in
a large mixing bowl and add eggs, salt and pepper,
and a dash of cayenne pepper. Stir to coat.
Add reserved zucchini, onion mixture, and half
of cheese packet. Mix ingredients together well
and place in baking dish. Sprinkle remaining
cheese on top and drizzle with olive oil.
tin foil and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Remove
tin foil and turn on broiler. Broil until top
of casserole is browned and bubbly.
is baking, season chicken breasts with salt
and pepper and cook on grill or in stovetop
grill pan, about five minutes each side. Set
chicken breasts aside.
Place 1 chicken
breast on each plate and mound a quarter of
the casserole on top of the chicken. Garnish
with a dollop of sour cream and freshly ground
black pepper. Serve with a piece of crusty French
bread and a nice brown ale, like Yards Special
Ale from Philly.
1: You can also brown the chicken breasts lightly
on both sides and place them in the bottom of
the baking dish before adding the casserole
mix. Follow directions from there.
2: We used what we had on hand to make this
dish...you could mix and match, just as long
as your substitutions have similar consistencies.
Makes 4 servings.