Garrison Keillor once asked: "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. At the very least, I like to know when it's daylight!
When we lived in the Vendée there was another advantage to having our windows open: At precisely 8:05 each morning, Madame, the lovely 85 year old that lived next door (with her husband of 94) opened her front door and stepped outside to fasten her shutters open for the day. The gentle thump, thump of them hitting the side of the house was our wake-up call.
Here, even more remote, we only have the birds flocking in to feed on the sunflowers to let us know it's time.
What has that to do with zucchini? Absolutely nothing but it's the Glorious Twelfth and my mind wanders….
You do know what the Glorious 12th is, don't you? Besides being my birthday, that is?
You really ought to know….
And if you want to see me on a bygone Glorious Twlefth at the tender age of 12….. click here
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)
Warm Stuffed Zucchini Cups, a first course for two
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.
One of these days I'm going to skip the ramblings and just post a recipe…. something for y'all to look forward to….