Gad Zukes!

It’s that time of year again. Once more it’s zucchini time, and we’re primed for a few good belly laughs. What in the world will we do with all this funny looking zucchini? For starters, I offer some shareable humor poking fun at the versatile yet bland zucchini, the occasional clown, and surely one of nature’s most prolific characters:

Here’s a gardener’s joke…
How can you tell a person who doesn’t have any friends?
He has to BUY his zucchinis! (Snicker!)

Or, how about this second amendment joke…
Beware of dangerous vegetables!
A man in White Plains, N.Y., tried to hold up a bank with a zucchini.
The police captured him at his house, where he showed them his “weapon”. (Dark humor!)

My favorite doctor joke…
A guy has celery sticking out of one ear, lettuce out of the other, and a zucchini up his nose. He goes to the doctor and asks him what’s wrong.
The doctor tells him, “Well, for one thing, you’re not eating right.”
(Guffaw! ! ) Gad Zukes!

Now without further ado, may I present to you the following variations on a theme and true gustatory delights. Bon appétit!

Zucchini Stuffed with Spinach and Ricotta
Handsome make-ahead accompaniment with pasta

3 medium zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 green onion, chopped (including greens)
1 large clove garlic, crush
2 tablespoons pine nuts, chop lightly
2 cups spinach, shredded and packed
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
1/2 dash nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon crushed mixed seasonal herbs, basil, oregano 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper each
1/2 cup bread crumbs, divided
olive oil for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Cut zucchinis in half, scoop out centers (if unmalleable, the flesh may be softened by placing in microwave for 1 minute).

In small sauté pan, heat olive oil, add green onion and garlic and stir briefly, add the pine nuts, tossing until aromatic; stir in the spinach to wilt. Set aside to cool.

In medium bowl, combine ricotta and about 1/3 cup of the parmesan, stir in the red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and herbs and season with salt and pepper. Add the sautéed veggies, plus about 2 Tbsp bread crumbs or enough to bind.

Sprinkle zucchini halves with salt, mound with filling, and place on prepared baking sheet.
Combine remaining bread crumbs, cheese and a little olive oil to moisten; sprinkle over the tops of the filled zucchini and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Can be make ahead to this point.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until bubbly and tops are golden brown.
Serves 6 ~~

B.L.D. Bars
These tasty treats are great any time, especially Breakfast-Lunch-or-Dessert. They hold well making them the perfect partner for picnics or travel.

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup coconut flakes
3/4 cup dates, chopped
3/4 cup raisins or dried berries
2 cups zucchini, freshly shredded, or reserved from another cause

Topping:
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line and spray 9×13 pan. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

Cream butter and sugars, add eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry mixture. Stir in dried fruits and zucchini. Spread evenly in pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool briefly.

Whisk topping until smooth and drizzle over top, sprinkle with nuts. Cool then cut. Yield: 24 or more bars ~~

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