Zucchini glut? I wish

Usually in July I try to find new zucchini recipes. Not this year. The cucumber family in my garden has taken a terrible beating. Between zucchini, cucumbers and my beloved Charentais melons (no sorbet this year, alas), I lost more than 25 seedlings to the striped cucumber beetle. Not only does it eat the plants, it also transmits bacterial wilt, a disease that makes plants collapse overnight and against which there is no cure.

I thought the worst was over but yesterday I found my only surviving zucchini plant spread out in a sad wilted mass, full of blossoms and baby zucchini. The zucchini are perfectly fine to eat, and since we won’t have zucchini for a while, the pilaf I made with them tasted quite special. The next set of seedlings is just ready for transplanting, and who knows whether they will even make it that far.

I made a promise to myself: never to complain about too many zucchini ever again!

Quinoa Zucchini Pilaf

This can also be made with regular zucchini, in which case the seeds should be removed.

1 cup quinoa

Salt

6 to 8 baby zucchini, or 1 medium zucchini

1 cup cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces crumbled feta

1/2 preserved lemon, rind only, finely chopped

3 to 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1. Wash the quinoa thoroughly in cold water at least twice. Drain in a fine sieve.

2. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with 1.5 cups water. Salt lightly and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the water has been completely absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

3. Dice the zucchini and halve the tomatoes. Heat the olive oil in a wide medium pot or a skillet and cook the garlic for 1 minute, do not let it brown. Add the zucchini and cook until it just starts to brown at the edges, stirring often.

4. Add the to tomatoes and cook for about 7 minutes, until most of their juice has evaporated.
Transfer to a large bowl.  Add the quinoa, feta, lemon rind and basil. Toss and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings

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3 thoughts on “Zucchini glut? I wish

  1. Sh**, that’s ecological farming! One year you loose, next time it’s the striped cucumber beetle that’s the winner 😦
    Will keep my finger crossed for the next trial..

  2. I am so sorry. I’ve not had much luck with zucchini for a couple of years now, but it’s all powdery mildew for us. I’ve seen a couple of those little buggers, but so far so good. Fingers crossed and wishing you a better harvest next year.

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