Monday, September 6, 2010

Crockpot Stuffed Zucchini Recipe in Memory of my Aunt Esther

Crockpot Stuffed Zucchini
Can't believe its already Labor Day, hope all my readers have a wonderful safe one. I got up at 5am, scrubbed these zucchini's  in the bath tube,  stuffed them, put them in a lined crockpot and will wait for my family to come over later, lucky for me that they make those liners now, I used the crockpot plastic liners, so will just throw out the empty bag tonight when they are all gone!! Perfect for people like me having a kitchen remodel.

Had all these zukes in my fridge for a few days now, got them at the farmers market and thought I needed to make a recipe inspired by my Aunt Esther (RIP) I didn't have her recipe, so I made it as close to my memory as possible...these were always my favorite, I used to watch her as a kid make them,  she made the best stuffed zucchini in the world! My Aunt owned a farm in Whitesboro NY and they raised their own squash. Her husband, my Uncle Dave, had seeds called Kusa. These seeds were a breed of their own, the squash was a light pale green in color and cross between green and yellow squash. I so wish to have them again, but long since their passing that taste remains etched in my memory. I had purchased these yellow squash and some green zukes, and began my journey into the past in hopes to recreate these in similarity. Of course this isn't the exact recipe, but diffinitely satisfied with my fabulous memories of these and made me miss my  Aunt Esther (my mom's sister) even more if that is possible...I loved her dearly and always will. What a fabulous cook she was.

Although she would stuff the whole squash and not separate halves, I did it the easy way, she didn't use a crockpot either, old fashioned in a huge pot on the stove top,  it really difficult  not to make a mess with no counter tops except for the bathroom, with this remodel. I sliced them in half stuffed them, put them in the crock pot and on to other projects!  A great meal to come home to and its labor day weekend, so as everyone else  will be grilling the next few days,  these can also make a great side dish for anything you cook!

When I got home the whole house had a fabulous aroma of allspice, cinnamon and that simmering sauce.

They were tender, with just the perfect blend of flavors.

I was just so happy to have some of the past back and just for a moment felt like she was here with me. Just having that similar taste so comforting. They were such a wonderful treat when she made these. Thanks Aunt Esther....for some wonderful food memories~!

1 lb of ground lamb, hamburger or turkey
1 cup of raw quick cooking rice
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 whole fresh basil leaf
2 sprigs of fresh mint
8 to 10 small assorted colored zucchini's dark green, yellow or green squash ... if your lucky enough to cultivate Kusa's from seeds those are the best squash to use!
1 28oz can of tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes pureed
 Add water to just below the stuffed zucchini in the crockpot.
Add 1/2 cup white wine.

Slice squash in half. With a spoon hollow out the centers with a small spoon, not to far in so not to rip them. ( I use the scooped out insides to make zucchini breads or use for filling omelets. You can also freeze these leftovers,  place the raw zucchini in a freezer bag and freeze up to 3 months.). In a bowl mix meat, rice and all spices except bay leaves. Stuff raw hamburg/rice mixture into each half. Lay each one in the crock pot. Add water, wine and  tomato sauce,  put on low for at least 8 hours, around the last two hours, add the fresh basil and mint...that's it!!  serve this with  Homemade pita bread and enjoy! If you prefer to use the stove top or baking them,  no problem, set on low or (300 degree in oven) in a large dutch oven style pan, cover with water, cook till tender Have a safe and wonderful weekend and thanks for reading!
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