Zucchini couscous

Not too long ago a friend of mine came by to pick berries and brought me zucchini from her garden (thanks, Debbie!). This was especially appreciated as ours never made it into the garden this year. Our master gardener put his back out during the zucchini planting window. I didn't realize this until I asked why we weren't overrun in late July like we had been in past years. D'oh!

Fast forward a few days and I was in my, too oft as of late, mid-afternoon "what the heck am I going to make for dinner?!?!?" panic. Spying the zucchini on the counter brought to mind a recipe for zucchini orzo I read in a memoir a few years ago. It sounded delicious and super simple, but for some reason I had never made it. I pulled out the book to reacquaint myself with the method and ingredients. I didn't have orzo, but found a bag of whole wheat Israeli couscous that I thought would be a great substitute and got to work.

I chopped a fairly large onion and a few cloves of garlic and sautéed them in olive oil with salt & pepper until softened.

I halved, seeded and shredded all the zucchini (four small and one monster). It gave me way more than I thought I needed so I set two cups aside in the fridge for another use. I then measured three HEAPING cups.

I added the zucchini, and more s+p, to the onions & garlic. I cooked it on high heat so the water would evaporate quickly, leaving the zucchini with some bite (not overcooked and mushy). Simultaneously, I cooked two cups of couscous following the directions on the package.

The couscous was pretty clumpy and I worried I had overcooked it and it would be a pasty mess. I added it to the zucchini anyway and hoped for the best.

 Happily, once the couscous was stirred into the zucchini, it broke right up and each little nubbin became coated with the juices and oil present from the sautéed veggies. It was almost perfect, but needed a little something more, so I ran to the garden to cut some oregano to toss in.

I thought an over-easy fried egg from our birds would be the perfect final touch.

I was not wrong.

The kids don't usually share my affinity for grain/veg/runny egg dinners, but this time they loved it.

And I mean LOVED it.

There were leftovers for the next night, but not enough for the four of us who were home. I stretched what was left by adding corn I cut from two ears and a few incredible tomatoes from Late Bloomer Farm. Everything got tossed in a sauté pan and heated just enough to barely warm it. To serve, I topped it with feta and Late Bloomer Farm's pickled garlic scapes.

Zucchini pickles

A few summers ago, when we had zucchini coming out of our ears, I looked for creative ways to use the excess and came across the recipe for Zuni Cafe's zucchini pickles. It has been a favorite ever since. I couldn't let not having our own crop this year deprive us of their sweet & sour deliciousness. So I bought beautiful specimens at Blooming Hill Farm and took care of business.

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