Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Dinner

I decided to spend Hurricane Irene weekend upstate at my parents' house, although it turns out I didn't need to leave Brooklyn since the flooding was apparently minimal and the power didn't even go out. Flooding is going to be more of a problem in my journey through New Jersey to get back to the city tomorrow. With a lot of time on my hands, I cooked dinner for my parents on my second night here: a zucchini parmesan casserole and cantelope sorbet for dessert.

My mom has grown some massive squash in her garden this year. The snake-like one is called a cucuzza squash and is common in Italy, but I chose to use the oversized zucchini - and I actually only needed to use half of it to create two create two casserole dishes. I breaded zucchini slices and lay them in a glass baking dish, which I topped with tomato sauce, stale pieces of bread, and shredded mozzerella cheese and baked for a half hour. It was fine, but a bit mushy. I recommend either frying the breaded squash first for a crisper texture, although it's time consuming, or going more deconstructed by dicing the zucchini and combining it with the bread pieces (but no bread crumbs), sauce and cheese rather than layering.

I also made sorbet out of an overripe cantelope that was too mushy for eating. We blended cantelope pieces and then added 2/3 cups of orange juice and 2/3 cups of simple syrup. It came out with a large ice grain texture, which could be improved by cutting down the OJ and syrup and using an ice cream maker instead of my handmade stirring method.

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