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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Finish zucchini and tomatoes with a flourish

Thursday, October 05, 2000

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

If you're wondering what to do with those few remaining zucchini and tomatoes, four Kitchen Mailbox readers have the answer.

D. M. Jordan of Upper St. Clair sent us Fall Vegetable Chowder -- a creamy soup that's spilling over with chunky zucchini and tomatoes. The addition of corn, onion and cheddar cheese adds to the flavor of the hearty soup.

If you're looking for quick and easy, try either the Zucchini Bake or Tomato Pie -- both sent by Mary Ann Debor of Natrona Heights. Zucchini Bake is a light frittata-like dish (a frittata is an Italian omelet in which the ingredients are mixed with the eggs instead folded inside). It is loaded with bits of zucchini, onions and pepperoni. And we have to mention the Parmesan and mozzarella cheese because they complete this dish. The Tomato Pie is in and out of the oven in a matter of 30 minutes. The tomatoes and basil have to be fresh for this dish to work.

We can't end zucchini season without a recipe for zucchini muffins. P. S. Polivka of Pleasant Hills shared a recipe for Zucchini Bran Muffins that are perfect for a quick breakfast or as an accompaniment to lunch. The addition of orange zest added zing to these muffins.

'Tis the season for Fall Vegetable Chowder, from D. M. Jordan of Upper St. Clair.

Fall Vegetable Chowder

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 medium onions, diced
1 3/4 pounds zucchini, about 3 or 4 zucchini, depending on size
1 pinch thyme
1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
1 pinch salt
3/8 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley
3 1/2 cups tomatoes, diced, 1 can whole tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes, juice included
12-ounce bag frozen corn
2 1/2 cups hot water
7 chicken bouillon cubes
3/4 cup flour
2/3 cup half and half
3/4 cup milk
2 cups cheddar cheese
1/3 cup plus 1tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Melt margarine. Add onion, zucchini, thyme, basil, salt, pepper and parsley. Saute for 8 minutes.

Add tomatoes and corn. Dissolve bouillon cubes in the water. Add flour and mix thoroughly. Add bouillon to the soup pot. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.

Mary Ann Debor of Natrona Heights writes: "After reading all your goodies made from zucchini, I thought you might enjoy a casseroles made with zucchini and tomatoes. I hope your and your readers enjoy these."

Zucchini Bake

4 cups chopped zucchini
2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 to 1 cup pepperoni, diced
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
Salt, pepper, oregano and basil to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients; place in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes.

Tomato Pie

2 cups baking mix
2/3 cup milk
Fresh tomatoes (we used 3 medium tomatoes, but more may be used)
Fresh basil (about 4 tablespoons)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix milk and baking mix press into a 9-inch pie plate. Layer tomatoes, fresh basil, salt and pepper in pie plate until the pie plate is filled.

Mix:

3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Spread mixture over pie.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

P.S. Polivka of Pleasant Hills not only sent us this recipe but also let us in on a great find: Dave's Terrace Bakery, 5353 Brownsville, Baldwin Borough, makes an icebox cake that supposedly is identical to Dudt's icebox cake.

Bran Zucchini Muffins

1 cup whole bran cereal
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons grated orange zest (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed dry
1/3 cup chopped nuts, optional
12 muffin cup liners

In medium bowl, combine cereal, milk, vanilla, oil, eggs and zucchini; mix well. In another medium bowl combine the dry ingredients. Combine liquid ingredients with dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Do not overmix.

Fill 12 muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake in preheated 450-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove muffins from oven and place on wire rack to cool.

Note: These muffins freeze well.

Requests

Joan Leuch of Pleasant Hills would like to know if anyone has the recipe for the cinnamon scones sold at the Irish Festival.

Carole Simon of White Oak e-mailed us with this request: "Help! What to do with acorn squash. The only way I know is to cut them in half (not easy) and bake with butter and brown sugar. Is there any better way to cut through the hard shells? Any better recipes?" How about it, readers?

Judy Thompson of Washington is searching for a recipe for Hungarian fried doughnuts.

An e-mail from Peggy J. Robison of Houston Harbaugh: "I'm looking for a recipe that a friend's mother used to make years ago and unfortunately, they no longer live in the area. She called it "red cake." The color resembled maroon. It wasn't red devil's food -- actually I don't believe there was any chocolate in it at all." Any ideas, readers?

Donna Cooper of Belle Vernon remembers her mother making dumplings from flour, water and "other ingredients." The dumplings were then dropped in a pot of boiling water, then fried in butter and onions. Donna is not sure she has the complete list of ingredients for dumplings. Can anyone help?

Letters

"Jackie Rogers' 'Ode to Amarraca' really awakened me -- Where oh where will I buy my Jandl turkey?"

Theresa Doerfler of Ross.

A gentle correction

To my surprise, I feel moved to correct a "fact" from the sidebar "Apple Facts" (9/28 story by Arlene Burnett). The phrase "apple of my eye" first appears in the Book of Psalms, a bit before the 1700s!

"Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings..."

Psalm 17:8.

Such lovely images ... Sincerely, Eileen Colianni, Oakmont.


If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.



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