Celebrating zucchini

It was just a matter of time before sometime turned zucchiniís reputation for August abundance into a national holiday. Where does American Greetings fit in?

You, too, can send a card marking today, August 8, as National Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighborís Porch Day, but youíll have to create your own. Pennies for the post office, trees dropped, paper production and then back to ashes in the land fill. All so we can ridicule a vegetable that most of us canít even spell, let alone appreciate.

Itís true Ė Tom Roy, of Pannsylvania, has declared August 8 a national zucchini holiday. I tried to track down how one does something as ambitious as this, not to mention why, but got sidetracked reading about the amount of potassium in zucchini. Thereís actually more potassium in zucchini than in a banana.

Iíll take a zucchini over a bananaany day. My neighbor, Joanne Bruton, knows that. She has the awesome garden on the corner of East Third and Seventhavenues. Itís the most gorgeous vegetable garden in Durango, an artful display of everything youíd want to eat. She is the master with the green thumb and boundless energy.

The other day, I was lusting over that garden when her husband, Larry, asked me if I had grown any zucchini this year.

No, I replied. Too much confusion in my yard. I was barely surviving the house remodel, I said.

This year, nearly all my vegetable gardening energy is going to Shared Harvest, where last year my team grew Romanesco zucchini, a superior yellow and gray-green striped variety.

These are wonderful just lightly sauteed in garlic-spiked olive oil, then seasoned with salt and pepper. I havenít brought home any zucchini from Shared Harvest, so I was delighted when Joanne gave me a big bag full, including one monster.

These big guys donít go to waste at my house. I have an Ohio recipe for chocolate zucchini cupcakes. They freeze really well and are sweet enough that they need no icing. I like to pull one straight from the freezer when Iím headed down the road with a cup of coffee and little else.

For me, zucchini is best in a savory, preferably simple recipe. Twenty years ago, when I was president of the Garden Club of Durango, I dedicated the September meeting to ďeverything zucchini.Ē

Members pulled out all the stops, creating or adapting great recipes from this underappreciated vegetable. That was the first time I had stuffed zucchini blossoms with feta, still a favorite I make once or twice a year Ė when I remember to pick early enough in the ripening cycle.

Will there ever be a day when the Food Network packs a few in the Chopped baskets or when zucchini is the mystery ingredient on Iron Chef?

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