Tuesday, June 23, 2009
No More Fears...
OK. Confession time. Be honest. When you read, "I thinned out the young zucchini plants and left only four of them" in my previous post, how many of you went, " 'Only four?' *chuckle* Well, you'll see..." in front of the display? Yeah, I learned a lesson. Definitely.
When I made a quick online search in May, I did find some sites that mentioned the bounty of the crop, but all the authors happened to be living outside Japan. The Japanese websites I read then said more things like, "Pollination may not be successful unless you do it manually" or "Male and female flowers tend not to bloom at the same time," bla bla bla... So I thought that maybe zucchini was difficult to grow in Japan because of the weather or something.
But I started feeling a bit scared as my zucchini plants reached for the sky like this ...
...and both male and female flowers opened one after another...
... and their offspring grew like long balloons being blown up one after another. My parents said that they had never seen anything like this before.
Darn me. No one else but I asked for this. And some of my zucchini grew twice as big as store-bought ones while I was busy with consuming other crops from the veggie garden AND yamamomo.
But finally yesterday, I told myself that it was time to face it.
First I went for "the must" recipe: zucchini bread. The recipe was my good old one, except that I added a pinch of salt this time. (I don't exactly remember why I omitted it when I wrote the above mentioned recipe... Maybe at that time I was using somewhat expensive, rather moist salt. I remember that the salt didn't melt well when sifted with other dry ingredients, and since the zucchini was rubbed with salt beforehand, the saltiness added up to make the bread too salty. So perhaps I wanted to be on the safe side.)
OK. One zucchini disappeared from my sight. And I kept looking for a few more recipes to use a lot of this vegetable at one time, because there were several more that looked almost ready to be picked. Then I bumped into a recipe which turned out to be a lifesaver. It was -- I should copy and paste the name instead of typing -- Kolokithokeftedes!
To try out this Greek dish, I simplified the recipe quite a bit. I didn't use tomatoes or potatoes, and used grated cheese (popular Japanese brand) instead of feta cheese. But still, the "fake meatballs" really tasted like meat and it was AMAZING! :D So tasty!
I made about ten meatballs, or patties -- whatever you call them -- and managed to use up two big courgettes just like that. Oh, I'm soooooooooooo happy! Now I'm not scared any more. No more nightmares of this long, green vegetable chasing me with evil eyes and sharp claws. Hahaha...
(Nevertheless, I'm going to grow less than three plants next year ... or maybe just two.)
And I'm going to experiment some more to make a Japanized version of this dish without cheese so that dad can eat it. I wonder if using katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) would do... because I know a recipe that uses it to make "fake chicken nuggets." I'll post a recipe if I come up with a great invention.