Lisa, at Champaign Taste recently quoted one of my favorite Minnesotans, Garrison Keillor, "Why do the inhabitants of Lake Wobegon lock their cars in the month of August? So their neighbors won't leave bags of zucchini on the back seat."
Here, in the French countryside, people don't lock their cars. They rarely lock their houses…. except at night.
At night they close up tight. All of the shutters, including the shutters on the doors, are closed every night. That's why there are no screens on windows or doors here: one wouldn't be able to reach through to fasten the shutters closed.
We, of course, being the crazy/ignorant/poorly raised Americans, don't do that.
We, actually, not only do not shutter our windows; we open them. Yes, we do! We open our windows at night. We let in night air. We have screens to keep the bats out (removable ones, so we can close the shutters when we're gone overnight – otherwise the house insurance is invalid), but the windows are open.
I know we are eternally damned for such a transgression, the local gendarmerie have been warned to keep an eye on us, and the mayor murmurs a small prayer when he sees us, but… I just can't help myself. I like fresh air when I sleep. I like the cool air after a hot day. I like to listen to rain on the giant leaves of our mulberry tree. At the very least, I like to know when it's daylight!
There is another advantage to having our windows open: At precisely 8:05 each morning, Madame, the lovely 85 year old that lives next door (with her husband of 94) open her front door and steps outside to fasten her shutters open for the day. The gentle thump, thump of them hitting the side of the house is our wake-up call.
And there is an advantage to having Madame et son mari nestled snugly in their tightly closed up house in the middle of summer: After hearing the opposite thud (at 10:10 each evening) we know that we can sit outside, talking, listening to music, watching the stars, until the wee hours, enjoying our summer nights without disturbing their sleep!
What has that to do with zucchini? Absolutely nothing but it's the Glorious Twelfth and my mind wandered…. Besides, you really didn't want to hear about zucchini, did you? Haven't you had enough of it yet? Check your back seat…or back door step (another good place to leave it)
In case you still have the urge to eat more zucchini, I have one last (maybe) recipe for Weekend Herb Blogging, founded by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and hosted this week by the lovely and talented Melissa at Cooking Diva.
And in case you've forgotten, according the WHFoods zucchini (courgette) are "an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C and a very good source of magnesium vitamin A (notably through its concentration of carotenoids, including beta-carotene),fiber, potassium, folate, copper, riboflavin and phosphorous."
1 zucchini (courgette), about 2-1/2 inches (7cm) in diameter and at least 7 inches (18cm) long
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
3 – 4 green onions, thinly sliced (about 3 tsp)
1.5 oz (45gr) cheese, cut into short, thin sticks
handful fresh basil leaves, snipped into thin strips
Greek olives, optional
Cut the zucchini into six 1 inch (2.5cm) rounds. Using a teaspoon scoop out the center of each round leaving 1/4 inch (.6cm) on sides and bottom. Dip the bottom of each zucchini cup into oil and put on a baking sheet. Divide the green onions and put into each zucchini cup. Divide the tomato and put on top of the onions, mounding it up a bit to get it all in. Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 30 minutes. Remove and arrange cheese around the edge of the zucchini trying not to let it hang over the sides and leaving some tomato uncovered (prettier). Return to oven until cheese melts. Remove, arrange three on each plate, sprinkle with basil, garnish with olives and serve.
Be sure to visit Chef Melissa at Cooking Diva on Monday for the recap of all of the Weekend Herb Blogging entries.
One of these days I'm going to skip the ramblings and just post a recipe…. something for y'all to look forward to….