July 02, 2013

Stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini

Recently Grant and I have been semi-obsessed with the Farmer's Market downtown.  It's not that big, but the vendors are really nice and there are some great produce and products.  But what I love most about it is buying random vegetables and letting them inspiring my meals, instead of planning everything out on Sundays based around a chicken breast or whatever.  
On Saturday I saw these cute little 8 Ball Zucchini and had to have them.  Have you ever seen these before?  I hadn't.  But the farmer selling them said the best way to eat them was to stuff them and place a piece of Monterrey Jack cheese on top.  He was very specific about the Monterrey Jack cheese!  So I followed his orders and was so pleased I did.
Here's what I used to make the stuffed 8 Ball Zucchini.  Besides the jarred goods it's all either from the Farmer's Market or our garden.  That just warms my soul.

Another big part of my inspiration was this chorizo from a local meat guy.  This was my first meat in multiple links experience.  How's that for authentic? 
The recipe was really simple.
4 8-ball Zucchini
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
1 garlic clove minced
1 cup of cooked rice
1 lb. of ground meat of your choice
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 tomato sauce
Salt and Pepper
Seasoning for meat
Monterrey Jack cheese for topping
1. Saute onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes.
2. Add garlic clove and cook for 30 seconds.  Add salt and pepper.
3. Add chorizo or meat of your choice, out of casing, with any meat seasoning you love, and brown for about 5 minutes.
4. Add bell pepper and cook everything together until meat is well browned and vegetables are softened.
5. Add this meat mixture to a ball with rice, tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
6. Slice zucchini in half and hollow out with a spoon.  This was way easier than expected.  Nothing like the horror of cutting through a spaghetti squash. 
7. Stuff zucchini and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
8. After 15 minutes add Monterrey Jack cheese (I added 1 and a half thin slices per zucc).  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until cheese is well melted.
Then you get this:

I was so happy we got a small zucchini too so that those little side cars could be used for lunch!
Then you know you gotsta broil those babies for about 1-2 minutes on high for a nice cheesy crust!
Broiled and beautiful
I served the stuffed zucchini with a corn, squash, and zucchini skillet fried situation that Grant made.  It doesn't look like a lot of food but there is cheese and chorizo involved in the stuffed zucchini and plenty of butter in the side vegetables, so trust me, it was plenty hearty.

I also tried to take a picture of the inside.  Since I'm so tech savvy I first accidentally took a beautiful picture of myself.  This is my look in all accidental "selfies" when my camera somehow goes into turn around mode:  Terrified of what I see and full of chins.

 And then, naturally, I accidentally took a video of the food.
And then, finally, I got a picture of the inside.  My favorite thing about this zucchini is that it is a perfect texture.  Soft yet with enough crunch to give a nice bite.  I don't like food that is too soft or soggy.

My trust assistant was plum tuckered out by the end of this meal.  Although she stood by my side despite her fatigue.  She's just great like that.

You know what my favorite part about cooking is?  Besides grocery shopping, experimenting, having delicious food, and retaining my husband's love?
It's the cheesy bits left on pans after they've been baked in the oven.  It's like a bonus cheese wafer for the chef!
Looks gross.  Tastes great.
 So there you have it.  Farmer's Market inspiration and a delicious meal with lots of vegetables.  Stay tuned for more Farmer's Market delights!

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