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     I knew right away that I wanted to make a stuffed zucchini recipe for my main dish for squash week. One of my favorite go-to dinners is a sausage and pepper pasta that is fantastic. That recipe was the inspiration for my stuffed zucchini. I hope you enjoy!
---Karly


STUFFED ZUCCHINI

4 large zucchini
About 1/2 pound Italian sausage

About 1/2 pound ground beef
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
Red wine
Fresh basil, chopped
Romano cheese

     Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and parboil the by placing the halves in a large pot of boiling water for 10-15 minutes, or until it’s tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and set aside to let it cool. While the zucchini is cooling, brown the sausage and ground beef in a skillet with bell peppers, onions, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Once the sausage has browned, add 3-4 tablespoons of red wine to the pan and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add basil and stir.

     Scoop out the seeds and flesh of the zucchini with a spoon, leaving enough of a shell for stability. Fill the zucchini with the sausage mixture.

     Bake on a baking sheet at 375 for about 10-15 minutes. If zucchini is still warm, you may omit this step. 
     Grate Romano cheese over the top Sprinkle with the fresh basil to garnish.

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I’m kind of on a cookie kick right now, so I knew I wanted to do a cookie for my zucchini dessert. I found a recipe for zucchini lemon cookies that looked good, but I decided to modify it a bit by adding almond as well because I love the combination of lemon and almond. I also added a lemon glaze to the cookies because I just wanted that extra bit of decadence…feel free to leave off the glaze if you want.
---Karly


ZUCCHINI LEMON ALMOND COOKIES

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
Zest of 2 lemons
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup blanched, slivered almonds

For the glaze:
¼ cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 375. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and almond extract and mix until well combined. Add the zucchini and lemon zest and mix until combined. With mixer on low, add the flour mixture until combined, but don’t over-mix. Stir in the almonds. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges are golden. If you’re going to glaze the cookies, make the glaze by beating the butter and powdered sugar, then add the lemon juice and beat until combined. Glaze after cookies cool.

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     As you all know, this is squash week here on Kitchen Psycho, and Jenny has already posted some amazing recipes. I have been super excited about squash week. I love squash and have some great recipes coming your way. But, I ran into a little problem early in the week… I absolutely could not find decent squash or zucchini at the grocery store. They were all bruised or going bad...it was not pretty. For the first time this year, I am growing a garden, but I only have one tiny little baby crookneck squash right now, so that wasn’t an option. And, I wasn’t able to make it to my local farmer’s market this week to shop, so I was starting to think that I would have no offerings for you for squash week. Fortunately, I was able to find some good squash yesterday, so we are in business!

     I wanted to do something different for a side dish, and I kept seeing recipes for zucchini carpaccio which looked fantastic. Basically, it’s thinly sliced zucchini that’s tossed with a vinaigrette and then sprinkled with herbs and maybe cheese. It’s light, summery, and very versatile.

---Karly


SUMMER SQUASH CARPACCIO

1 large zucchini, very thinly sliced
2 small yellow squash, very thinly sliced
Vinaigrette (your choice here, I used homemade balsamic vinaigrette)
Salt and pepper
¼ to ½ cup chopped fresh herbs (use what you have, I used basil, thyme, parsley, and chives)
2 oz. crumbled plain goat cheese

Slice the zucchini and squash very thin using a mandoline slicer or a very sharp chef’s knife. Put in a bowl and drizzle with vinaigrette and toss to lightly coat; let sit for 15-20 minutes. Arrange the squash and zucchini slices on a platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, scatter the herbs and crumbled goat cheese on top.

NOTE: You could do so many things with this recipe. Try using a lemon vinaigrette or simple olive oil vinaigrette, use different herbs, try it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, add some cucumber…the possibilities are endless.


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Hmmm, this was the first time I've actually tried Baba Ganoush, and it's not too shabby! For those of you who have a problem with hummus, which is made with garbanzo beans, this should be a great alternative.  Serve with raw veggies or baked pita chips.

A few notes: 
--- This recipe calls for tahini, or sesame paste. You can usually find it at your local health food store, but even mainstream grocery stores carry it these days. 
--- The recipe also instructs you to grill the whole eggplant first. I skipped this and just broiled it in the oven for the same amount of time, then I lowered the temperature for the remainder.
--- I found it easier to "filet" the flesh of the eggplant away from the skin, as opposed to peeling it off... FYI.
--- I also found it easier to just throw everything in the food processor, rather than mash the eggplant by hand.
--- One more thing: it says to serve at room temp, but I like it chilled. Be like Burger King and "Do it your way". Also, I find that the olives are a nice salty touch...

BABA GANOUSH


1 large eggplant
1/4 cup tahini, plus more as needed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
1 pinch ground cumin
salt, to taste (I added about 1-1/2 tsp)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup brine-cured black olives, such as kalamata

Directions:Prep Time: 15 minsTotal Time: 35 mins

1 Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill.
2 Preheat an oven to 375°F.
3 Prick the eggplant with a fork in several places and place on the grill rack 4 to 5 inches from the fire.
4 Grill, turning frequently, until the skin blackens and blisters and the flesh just begins to feel soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
5 Transfer the eggplant to a baking sheet and bake until very soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
6 Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and peel off and discard the skin.
7 Place the eggplant flesh in a bowl.
8 Using a fork, mash the eggplant to a paste.
9 Add the 1/4 cup tahini, the garlic, the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the cumin and mix well.
10 Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.
11 Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and spread with the back of a spoon to form a shallow well.
12 Drizzle the olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the parsley.
13 Place the olives around the sides.
14 Serve at room temperature.

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   Someone told me once they were scared to try it. Try to eat it? Try to make it? Dunno. But there's no reason for either one, and in my opinion, it's a can't-screw-it-up dinner. My version is a healthier one, in which I broil the eggplant rather than fry it. So really, the majority of the calories lie in the pasta, which I try to do gluten-free.

EGGPLANT PARMESAN

1 eggplant
panko bread crumbs
1 egg                                          
My recipe for Italian Meat Sauce       
http://kitchenpsycho.weebly.com/1/post/2011/01/italian-meat-sauce.html

Pasta (spaghetti, linguine...)

Peel (with potato peeler) eggplant and slice into 1/2" thick slices. Dredge in whipped egg, then coat with bread crumbs. Pour about 4-5 tbsp oil in baking sheet and spread around. Put eggplant on baking sheet and broil for about 5-7 minutes, until browned, then flip and continue to broil another 5 mins.
Serve with pasta and meat sauce.

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So I wanted to make something sweet with squash, in addition to the acorn squash dessert that I posted a while back. (http://kitchenpsycho.weebly.com/1/post/2011/01/a-warm-dessert-on-a-chilly-night.html)
I found this recipe for Zucchini Cookies on AllRecipes.com, but I wanted chocolate and cranberries instead of raisins. Not too shabby! They're very cake-ey and soft. I think next time, I'll just leave out the cloves. Not too impressed with the flavor in these cookies... Otherwise, great result!

Chocolate & Cranberry Zucchini Cookies

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg then stir in the zucchini. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and cloves; stir into the zucchini mixture. Mix in cranberries. Cover dough and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Cookies should be about 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven until set. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
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