I have to let you in on a secret: I may be the only person in the world who can’t grow zucchini. Other people may be faced with an unwanted glut of the green monster but in my garden, while the tomatoes flourish and the herbs fill their beds, the zucchini plant withers and dies. Last year there was a virus which killed off the zucchini plants in our area. This summer started well but then the endless rain resulted in white mold and my zucchini harvest screeched to a halt. Which is such a shame because I have so many wonderful zucchini based recipes to use here at our bed and breakfast in Asheville!
Fortunately, I am sharing a CSA basket (Community Supported Agriculture) from our local tailgate market with a friend. Our box comes every week from Full Sun Farm, a small family owned farm just outside Asheville and it’s always the beginning of another culinary adventure for me. Huge bags of basil, fresh baby beets of every variety, mustard greens, collard greens, bok choi, cabbage: some things I am delighted to see (Can one ever have too much basil?) and other things present more of a challenge (Mustard Greens? Really?). It’s fun. Some of the time, I don’t even know what it is I’ve been given!
So the fact that my plants are not a success does not mean that we are without zucchini at the Carolina bed & Breakfast. And this last week’s box held what I am certain is just the beginning of the summer squash harvest. Just in time too, because James and I were going to the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater last night to see the Montford Park Players’ new production of the Merry Wives of Windsor and I wanted to make a Zucchini Tart for our picnic. It’s dead easy to make and is good warm or cold. Perfect for theater under the stars!
3 cups grated zucchini
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup flour
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tsp chopped fresh basil (or more to taste)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
freshly grated pepper to taste.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs and the olive oil. Combine all of the rest of the ingredients together in a big bowl and then add the egg/oil mixture. Spread in an oiled 10″ pie plate.
Bake 45-50 minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle with a little more grated Parmesan if you like. Let the tart sit for ten minutes or so before slicing.
And my zucchini plants? We sprayed them with a gallon of water mixed with 1 tablespoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon liquid dish detergent. It seems to have worked. It killed the mold and the plants are back in business!