home sweet home
From where I write I don't see the piles of boxes that are scattered around the house, so I can forget that at some point I will need to deal with them and their content. Il giorno di Ognissanti (on All Saints' Day), we arrived at what is now our main residence in beautiful Humboldt County (we will still spend part of the time in the Bay Area and therefore keep a base there). The morning fog burned off to reveal a gorgeous day that made the movers' job easier. The hand-painted sign hanging on the front door shows the name we chose for the house, which is perched, like a little marine bird, over the ocean (no reference to the fish of the same name). The sign was my idea and having it was an important step to make the house our home. I am writing this paragraph thinking of fabdo of parole di cioccolato, who just recently found her casa dolce casa: congratulazioni!
At some point I gathered the courage and went to check how my little vegetable patch and herb garden had fared during my six-week long absence. Così così (so-so) was the final verdict. The herb garden has done much better than the vegetable patch, with the exception of una pianta di zucchine (one zucchini plant), which I found carrying three oversize specimens. They were a bit hidden underneath the broad leaves, so they probably went unnoticed until my arrival. In the photo you can see the biggest two sitting on our bench. I hauled my prize to the kitchen and made my husband and the movers laugh. Beyond laughing, what is one supposed to do with monster zucchini (zuccone, one would say, though this term usually refers to either a stubborn or a slow-witted person)? Stuff them, I said to myself. E così ho fatto (and that is what I did).
For no particular reason I decided that the stuffing must have roasted bell peppers and some other ingredients from a recipe I created a little while ago for involtini di peperoni (bell pepper rolls). This being a test, I decided to stuff only half of one zucchina, so the given quantities need to be adjusted depending on how many zucchine you have.
I placed a giant zucchina cut in half widthwise (otherwise it would not fit) into a pot of boiling water and cooked for five minutes, then drained and cut one piece in half lengthwise. In the meantime I prepared the stuffing by mixing in a bowl:
- 1 roasted bell pepper, diced
- 1 Japanese eggplant, diced and cooked with a clove of garlic, minced, for about 15 minutes in a frying pan sprayed with olive oil
- 4 halves of pecans, toasted and chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon currants, left for 15 minutes in a small cup with lukewarm water, then drained
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh herbs: origano, menta, salvia 'hot lips' (oregano, mint, hot lips sage)
- 1 tablespoon minced prezzemolo (parsley)
- olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
With the help of a grapefruit (pompelmo) spoon I carved out the core of the zucchina and distributed the stuffing in the resulting space. The photo shows the 8" square pan I used to bake the zucchina before it went into the oven. After spraying some olive oil over it, I baked the dish at 375 F for 35 minutes, and served it immediately as a side dish to frittata with red beet greens. The baking time for regular-size zucchine will probably be less: I would check the dish after 25 minutes.