Is that a zucchini in your pocket? Or are you just happy to see me?

I’m out in the garden the other day, picking beans, digging up potatoes, plucking peaches, cutting lettuce, feeling virtuous, when I trip over a zucchini. Literally. It has to be at least 18 inches long and 6 inches in diameter. I mean, how could I have missed this? Well, okay, I wasn’t focused on the zucchini patch because it looked like blossom city, and not pickin’ ready. But it’s been really hot, the soil’s happy and everything’s in a super-charged growing state, hence the mutant zucchini.

I bring it into the house just so that the Twits can ogle the size, but figure it’s way too big to have any taste except as Freddy (i.e. dog) food. I slice it open and dang! I was wrong. This baby’s flesh is delicate. Dainty, even. New challenge. What to make? While I admit to being Cocoa Loco, chocolate zucchini bread is just not my thing. Nor the Twits’. I round up Emy (housekeeper of all housekeepers) and we figure we’ll start with our ol’ standby, curried apple-zucchini soup. Freezes brilliantly, easy to make, tastes complicated (perfect for a dinner party—just add croutons and grated parmesan and you’re good to impress). We make a double batch and barely make a dent in the vegetable. We figure, hey, it’s pizza night, let’s make a topping. We slice, stir-fry with almost-caramelized onions, toss with crumbled blue cheese and spread over two pizzas. Yum.

But still more zucchini to go. Out comes the mandolin to slice the remainder, enough to fill two 9×12 pans. We leave it in a strainer and three hours later toss with celery leaves, dill, leeks, tomatoes (all home-grown), olive oil and flour, put in pans and cook in oven for a sublime ratatouille that the Twits eat for dinner-lunch-dinner.

All done. Except now it’s one week later, it hotter, the soil’s happier, it’s summertime—and the zucchini is easy.

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