Wednesday, June 29, 2022

June 30, 2022 - This Week's Box Contents Featuring Zucchini


Cooking With This Week's Box

Zucchini and/or Sunburst Scallop Squash:  
Zucchini, Fennel, Mint & Basil Soup (See Below)
Zucchini Breakfast Pancakes (See Below)

Green Scallions:  



Green or Silver Slicer Cucumbers:  


Lacinato Kale:  

Sugar Snap Peas:  


Green Top Chioggia Beets:  

Tiara Cabbage:  

Photo of Orecchiette with Snap Peas, Fennel & Mint from Barilla
Good-bye June and Hello July!  The fields are exploding with gorgeous vegetables and there are so many more yet to come!   Lets dive into this week’s box starting with our featured vegetable, Zucchini!  This is one of our staple summer vegetables that is versatile in use and deserves more credit for its contributions to our health than I’ve given it in the past.  If you haven’t read this week’s vegetable feature article, take a moment to do so and you just might appreciate this humble vegetable a little bit more!  As for recipes, the first one is this Zucchini, Fennel, Mint & Basil Soup (See Below).  The flavors of the vegetables in this soup come together in a way that blends nicely.  I wasn’t sure about having mint in the soup, but it provides a nice background flavor and is not overpowering or “minty.”  I also wasn’t sure how the red pepper flakes would factor into this recipe.  That seemed like a bold ingredient to add to such a smooth soup with subtle flavors.  But you know, it all came together in the end so nicely and as I took the first few bites I actually said out loud “This is really good!”  The second recipe is for Zucchini Breakfast Pancakes (See Below) because you know I am an advocate for including vegetables in every meal, including breakfast!

Beet Salad photo from
Now that we’re finished with lettuce, salad mix, baby spinach and baby arugula (until fall), it’s time to start focusing more on vegetable salads made from other vegetables.  In the summer, I often prepare salads as the main dish such as this Crispy Coconut Chicken Salad with Sesame Vinaigrette which is a great use for this week’s Tiara salad cabbage!  I am also looking forward to try this interesting Beet Salad with Smashed Sesame Brittle and Ina Garten’s Broccoli & Kale Salad.  If you’re looking for something new to try, check out this recipe for Indonesian Fried Noodles utilizing this week’s cabbage and scallions.  You could certainly add more vegetables to this dish too, such as some broccoli and/or kale.  I also thought this recipe for Roasted Beet & Fennel Burgers looked intriguing.  It also happens to be vegan, gluten-free and grain free, which means the full flavor of the vegetables will come through!  

I hope you enjoy more tasty meals over the next week and hopefully you’ll find some inspiration from some of these suggestions.  Perhaps you’ll also be using some of your vegetables in dishes to take to 4th of July celebrations!  If you do, share your recipes and creations in our private Facebook Group.  As always, I love to see what’s happening in your kitchens!  Have a great week and I’ll see you back here next week!  ---Chef Andrea 

Vegetable Feature: Zucchini

by Andrea Yoder

Mexicana and Sunburst Scallopini Squash
Zucchini is a humble vegetable that can sometimes be underappreciated.  So, this week I want to give it a moment to shine and show us all what it has to contribute to our culinary adventures this summer as well as how it can contribute in positive ways to our overall health!  Growing up, my mom grew zucchini in her garden, but we really only had about 3-4 ways she prepared it.  One of those ways was simply sautéing it in butter…until it was smooshy and overcooked.  It just wasn’t appealing, but she served it with the tagline of “Eat it, it’s good for you!”  Well, turns out she was right about it being good for me, but I hope to show you that you can reap all the health benefits from zucchini while also enjoying it in a wide variety of recipes over the course of this summer!  

So lets talk a little bit about why zucchini is good for us.  First of all, while the flesh of zucchini seems kind of dry, it actually has a high moisture content which is more evident when you grate, salt or cook it.  As you do any of these things to zucchini, you’ll see the flesh start to release moisture.  Well, during the heat of the summer hydration is exactly what our bodies need!  Proper hydration is important for many health reasons, including healthy skin and properly functioning kidneys.  Zucchini is also rich in vitamins A, B and C along with potassium, magnesium, folate, and a host of other antioxidants. A lot of these valuable nutrients are in the skin.  Since zucchini has a thin, tender skin I seldom ever peel it and incorporate it whenever possible.  We know these nutrients contribute in many ways in our bodies including maintaining electrolyte balance, calming the nervous system, and dealing with free radicals that may otherwise negatively affect our tissues and cells.  Without going into every potential health benefit, the bottom line is that zucchini really can impact our overall health when incorporated into our diets throughout the summer!  No one food will save or protect us from disease alone, but rather it is the sum total of all the food we eat that contributes to our overall picture of health.  This is why it’s important to eat a variety of vegetables every day as well as over the course of the year!   

Zucchini in the field
We are just getting started with this year’s zucchini harvest and we have two plantings.  We typically harvest three times a week from mid-June through August and sometimes into September.  Sometimes we have a little gap in between plantings one and two but settle in folks…we’re in it for the long haul!  This year we are growing the traditional green zucchini, but we have a few other varieties as well.  In our first planting we have a new variety called Mexicana zucchini which is a little smaller and teardrop shaped.  In our second planting we included Italian zucchini which is lighter green in color and has ribs and stripes on the skin.  This is historically one of the best for flavor and has good texture when cooked.  You may also receive Sunburst Scallopini Squash.  While this is not a zucchini, it’s in the same family of vegetables that we can label as “Summer Squash.”  All these varieties may be used interchangeably in recipes calling for zucchini and/or summer squash.  

Zucchini is a very mild-flavored vegetable which lends to its versatility.  It pairs well with so many different flavors and is easily adaptable to combinations with other vegetables throughout the entire summer.  Zucchini is most often cooked, but it can be eaten raw as well.  I have seen recipes for raw zucchini salads and of course, there’s always smoothies!  I never considered putting zucchini in my morning smoothie, but now I’m going to have to give it a try!

The other nice thing about zucchini is there are ways to preserve it so you can enjoy it throughout the year.  One of the easiest things to do is grate or shred raw zucchini, squeeze out the excess moisture and then put the zucchini in a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer.  In this way, you can use zucchini at a later time in soups and stews, casseroles and baked goods.  When I freeze zucchini, I try to portion it into a quantity that is appropriate for making some of my favorite recipes, or just 1 cup portions so I don’t have to measure it again when I thaw it.  Of course, you can also use zucchini to make pickles, relish, and other preserves.

Zucchini can be sautéed, roasted, grilled and stir-fried.  It may be used to make snack foods, casseroles, and gratins, incorporated into lasagna and meatballs, dips, enchiladas, tacos, egg dishes, smoothies, soups & stews, desserts, baked goods and more.  I mentioned earlier that zucchini does not need to be peeled.  Depending on how you will be using the zucchini, you may choose to remove the fleshy portion in the center where the seeds are.  If you do remove this part, consider saving it to add to vegetable or meat broth or stocks.  

Zucchini is a warm weather vegetable and is best stored at temperatures between 45-55°F.  We have a dedicated cooler for that temperature range but realize you may not have the perfect storage temperature situation in your home.  So, my recommendation is to keep your zucchini at room temperature and use them within a few days of receiving them, or store them in teh refrigerator for no more than 3 - 4 days at most.  

Zucchini Breakfast Pancakes

Yield:  6 servings
2 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup grated zucchini
Maple syrup and butter, for serving
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugars.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract.  Pour liquid ingredients over dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.  Fold in the zucchini. 
  3. Heat a griddle or pan to medium heat.  Spray with cooking spray.  Pour about  ⅓ cup of batter onto heated skillet.  Cook until the pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, about 3 minutes.  Flip carefully with a spatula and cook until browned on the underside.
  4. Continue making pancakes until the batter is gone.  Serve pancakes with butter and maple syrup if desired.
Recipe borrowed from

Zucchini, Fennel, Mint & Basil Soup

Yield:  4 Servings

“This flavorsome anti-inflammatory soup is a quick and easy one-pot dish full of nourishing vegetables and broth.  Fennel boasts calming and anti-spasmodic properties and is wonderful for digestive health.  And the herbs aren’t just there to brighten the dish—basil contains powerful plant compound including eugenol, citronellol and linalool that have been shown to help reduce gut inflammation.”

Photo from
5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided  
1 small or medium fennel bulb with fronds
Zest of one lemon
1-2 pinches dried chili flakes
1 medium onion, finely sliced (may substitute green onions)
1 clove garlic or 1 Tbsp garlic scapes, finely chopped
2- 3 medium zucchini, thickly sliced
1-2 handfuls basil (about 1 cup loosely packed)
1 handful mint (about 20 leaves)
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. First, prepare the fennel by stripping the fronds off the stalks.  Cut the stalks from the bulb and reserve stalks for another use.  Cut the fennel bulb into ¼-½ inch slices.  Finely chop the fronds.  
  2. In a small bowl, combine 3 Tbsp olive oil, 2-3 Tbsp of the finely chopped fennel fronds, the zest of one lemon and 1-2 pinches of red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like your food).  Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Sauté the fennel bulb, onion and garlic until softened, about 3 minutes.  Add the zucchini, broth, 1 tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add the basil, mint and the remaining fennel fronds.  Stir to combine.  Cook for about 5 minutes or just until the vegetables are tender.  For the best overall flavor, do not overcook the vegetables!
  4. Once the vegetables are tender, remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice.  Using a high-speed or hand-held blender, blend the soup until smooth.  If you have to transfer the soup to a stand blender, do so carefully and blend it in batches if the blender jar is not large enough to safely blend it in one batch.
  5. Once the soup is blended, taste it and add additional salt, black pepper and/or lemon juice as needed.
  6. At the time of service, portion the hot soup into bowls and add a small spoonful of the fennel frond and oil mixture to each bowl.  As each person stirs their bowl of soup to incorporate the fennel fronds & oil mixture, the flavor of the soup will transform!  

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