Growing up, my parents were never particularly creative when it came to mealtimes. My Stepmom had the same weekly rotation every single week (with the exception of Christmas and Thanksgiving). The same thing. My Stepmom didn’t enjoy a day spent in the kitchen or learning new recipes. She had a handful of dishes she could make well, and that was all she ever needed to bother with. My Mom on the other hand referred to her kitchen as her quiet space and could happily spend hours stood over the stove tweaking a soup or stew. My Stepmom and my Mom are similar in one thing though, they never like to play with new ingredients.
The first time I saw a zucchini was when my aunt brought some from her garden for my stepmother. My Stepmom was incredibly perplexed, none of her 7 meals ever contained a zucchini. I was 8. Stepmom handed this zucchini to me and asked me to figure out something for dinner. I thought it was a cucumber, and was excited when my aunt told me it wasn’t. I had no idea what I could do with it, but I stuck to something simple and made a soup for the family. It was the first time Stepmom had let me cook anything without help and I remember excitedly throwing in herbs and spices from the shelf I was so rarely allowed to touch. As it turned out, I had managed to throw a little bit of everything from our spice rack into that soup. Yeah, don’t do that. I was so proud of myself when it was finally ready.
Ten people sat at that table, and only my oldest brothers dared to take a second taste of whatever was in front of them. I was so proud of myself I could have happily eaten it all, but no one else felt that way. And I don’t blame them. It was not good. It reminds me now of that one episode of Friends, when Rachel attempts a trifle and fails horribly. I failed at my soup, and my brothers were trying so hard to not let anyone say anything, as to hurt my 8 year old feelings.
My oldest brother David likes to recount that tale often, so I thought it would be fun to make him another zucchini dish. This time hopefully a lot better. And it was a success!
Thankfully as I’ve gotten older I have learnt a little more restraint in the kitchen, though I doubt my family will ever forget the incident with the zucchini soup. But here is to Zucchini Pie!
This recipe fed two people well, with enough leftover for a lunch the following day.
Puff pastry (enough to fill your baking dish on the top and bottom)
2 zucchini, grated
1/2 block feta cheese, crumbled
2 sprigs mint, chopped
Grate the zucchini and drain out the liquid. Quite a lot of liquid will come out of your zucchinis. I grated mine in the early afternoon a few hours before I needed them, and I still had a little juice left in my bowl.
Combine the zucchini, feta cheese and zucchini in a bowl.
Add the egg and mix until combined.
Roll out the pastry so that it can line the bottom of the baking dish. Spoon the zucchini mixture on top of the pastry.
Put another layer of pastry on top.
Bake at 450F for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden.