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Carrie Havranek


Crazy Zucchini Harvest: Make Fritters!



My amazing friend C, who just had a baby, tends to her community garden plot in between feedings. She was there over the weekend and there was only one flower that was bearing fruit. Today she returned and was greeted with a small army of baseball-bat sized zucchini. Ok, I exaggerate, but only slightly. She thought she'd planted seeds for half yellow squash (her preference) and half zucchini, but alas! alack! no such luck.

We lined them up and weighed them. The biggest clocked in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces.

In case you're like us--curious, hungry, and inventive, but man-that's-a-lotta-zucchini--here are some links to some good zucchini recipes, and suggestions for what to do.

Zucchini bread: Tried and true. Freeze a bunch. You'll be glad you did. My favorite recipe comes from  King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking, and involves white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, and is really moist.

Grilled, roasted, sauteed. Salt and pepper. Olive oil. You don't need much else.

Turn them into ribbons and saute with herbs.

Eat them raw with salt and pepper.

Slice them thinly and top them on homemade flatbread pizzas.

Zucchini pie. Here's one.

Zucchini Oven Chips, from Cooking Light. I've always wanted to make these. Perhaps this is the year; some are large enough that they'll be more like discs than chips but who cares?

Last summer, with all the swiss chard that kept giving itself up for our enjoyment, I made a lot of reverse frittatas, inspired by a Mark Bittman column. I've been calling it the less egg, more veg frittata. The photo you see here also includes local purple potatoes from last summer.

And finally, my favorite delicious thing to do with zucchini is to make Nigella Lawson's zucchini, mint, and feta fritters. Here's the recipe, from NPR's site. Here's the basic text of it. The recipe is from her book Forever Summer. It yields about two dozen, and it's great as is with salad for dinner, or makes a good summer lunch, too.

* 4 zucchini (approx. 1 pounds)

* 5-6 scallions, finely chopped

* 9 ounces feta cheese

* small bunch fresh parsley, chopped

* small bunch fresh mint, chopped, plus extra to sprinkle over at the end

* 1 tablespoon dried mint

* 1 teaspoon paprika

* scant 1 cup all-purpose flour

* salt and pepper

* 3 eggs, beaten

* olive oil for frying

* 3-4 limes

Coarsely grate the zucchini with either the grating blade in the food processor or by hand. Spread the little shards out on a tea towel and leave for about 20 minutes to get rid of any excess wetness.

Put the chopped scallions in a bowl and crumble in the feta. Stir in the chopped parsley and mint, along with the dried mint and paprika. Add the flour and season well with salt and pepper. Gradually add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly before stirring in the drained, grated zucchini. Don't be alarmed by the unflowing straggly lumpiness of this batter; it's meant to be this way.

Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and drop heaped dessertspoons of the moisture into the hot oil, flattening the little cakes down the back of the spoon as you go. Cook these little patties for about 2 minutes each side until golden, and then transfer to a couple of waiting plates.

Chop up the limes and tumble them about the edges of the plates. Sprinkle over a little more chopped mint and eat them just as they are, spritzed with lime juice as you go.

And finally, here's the zucchini haul. Note the Croc, carefully positioned, to provide perspective.