August 30th, 2010

{recipe} Quickest Curried Zucchini: The Anatomy of a Scratched Together Side Dish

I’m finally back. Not back for a few days before leaving again. Like really back. Getting ready for the start of school. Organizing fall clothes for the kids. Putting the suitcases away until November. And just settling back into a schedule. Because it’s only been two days since we were lounging, off the grid, on the glorious Oregon coast.

But you know what all this means, right? The cupboard is bare.

I’ve been hanging in by running to the store for this and that which, yesterday, included some gorgeous golden zucchini. I also grabbed cilantro just because. But then I got home and wondered: zucchini and cilantro?

It’s not that it sounds horrible. Just, well, a little odd. But probably only because I’d never paired the two before. (Have you? Tell!) I stared at my near-empty fridge hoping for inspiration, which came in the form of a recent batch of Quick Pickled Golden Raisins. Now I was getting somewhere!

Zucchini. Cilantro. Pickled Raisins.

Sound strange? Questionable, even? Sure, I’ll admit that it’s a motley crew of ingredients, but the addition of just one more component—curry powder—made them sing together. Like a carefully orchestrated choir.

Of course! Curry. Goes great with sweet and sharp pickled raisins and always lovely garnished with cilantro. The Hungry Papa and I ate our zucchini as prepared, and I added higher protein Greek style yogurt (a great condiment for curry) to portions for the Hungry Boys.

Not bad for an empty fridge and random selection of ingredients, huh? A keeper. Blogworthy, even.

What dishes that you’ve scratched together have become surprising additions to your dinner repertoire? Tell us!

Quickest Curried Zucchini
serves 4
(can be served to kids 6+ mos)*

4 zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise then 1/2″ pieces
curry powder, how much depends on how strong & spicy your powder is (see step one for notes and sources)
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c chicken or veggie broth
salt and pepper
1/4-1/3 c chopped cilantro, depending on your taste
Quick Pickled Golden Raisins

1. Toss zucchini with curry powder. (I used about 2 teaspoons of pretty strong and fragrant, medium spicy curry powder from my favorite spice source, Kalustyan’s. Whatever you use, the more authentic and fresh your spice blend, the better your dish.)

2. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium high flame until oil begins to ripple. You want your pan to be h-o-t! Toss zucchini into pan, roughly arranging pieces in one layer. Sear one side until fragrant and golden brown, then toss. Keep cooking until both sides of all pieces are brown in spots and zucchini is cooked through around the edges.

3. Add broth. When it’s done sizzling, lower heat to medium and allow zucchini to cook through, another 5 minutes or so.

4. Remove zucchini from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro and Quick Pickled Golden Raisins. Serve hot alongside chicken or lamb. You can also mix this with yogurt, rice and/or couscous.

*Note: This dish can be mashed up (or served as finger food to older babies) as prepared and shared with babies as young as 6 months. Consider adding yogurt or cottage cheese for protein and, depending on your babies taste, to soften the curry flavor. If taking a more traditional approach to feeding babies, you can pull out any of the ingredients that make you nervous along the way—though you don’t need to for health reasons (in fact, the more flavor, the healthier!). In other words, feel free to skip the raisins or cilantro in baby’s portion.

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