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While some were escaping a falling stage at Ottawa Bluesfest, this past weekend I attended the Stewart Park Festival – a three-day musical treat in the charming town of Perth, Ontario.   Stewart Park is a long tradition in my family, complete with large family picnics.  Between good music, family galore (at last count, I visited with over 28 family members), and lazing in the sun on the cottage dock, the weekend quickly evaporated.

Cottage food combines the best of simple and delicious.  My grandmother’s stuffed zucchini is one such delicious cottage tradition.  The recipe is ever-changing, incorporating vegetables in the fridge that need eating, but always manages to taste delicious (and while a little finicky, it is super easy to make en mass) Because really, who does not love zucchini stuffed with bread crumbs and topped with bubbling cheese?

Stuffed Zucchini

(serves 8-12)

Ingredients:

6 zucchini, ends trimmed

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

Herbs to taste (be generous – I love a combination of thyme and basil)

A vegetable or two, finely chopped (I used a tomato and half a red pepper here – also great with mushrooms)

About 1/3 of a loaf of stale bread (fresh is fine too – although your stuffing will be less crispy), cut or grated into small pieces

Splash of Worcester sauce/tobacco (if you would like to add heat)

Grated old cheddar cheese

Directions: 

Drop the zucchini in a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until al dente, about five minutes.  Remove from the water with tongs, and cut each zucchini in half lengthwise and widthwise, creating four “logs”.  Allow to cool slightly before hollowing out the zucchini seeds.  Retain and finely chop about half the zucchini innards.  Place the zucchini logs on a large baking sheet.

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the herbs and vegetables and cook until soft.  Stir in the breadcrumbs, Worcester sauce, and the finely chopped zucchini innards and continue to cook stuffing for five more minutes.  Carefully scoop the stuffing into the zucchini cavities and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.

Bake in a 400 F oven for 10-12 minutes.   Broil for an additional minute or two, until the cheese is bubbling and the stuffing is crisping. Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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