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Cooking 101 at Casa de Cuisine: Southwest Stuffed Zucchini

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In this new series called Cooking 101 at Casa de Cuisine, Chef Larry Edwards will teach you some of the dishes the Casa is known for and people love. Each of the inclusions in this new series will feature a complete how-to slideshow. So enjoy learning to cook with one of the most popular Chef's in the world and bestselling cookbook author.

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Does zucchini ever go out of season anymore? It seems as if every time you venture into the produce section of your market you see those lovely elongated squash sitting there waiting to be purchased. I love all members of the squash family but it is zucchini which is the most versatile.

With zucchini being an internationally favorite food, it should surprise no one that every ethnic cuisine has a few recipes for stuffed zucchini. Stuffing a zucchini is a very simple process. You simply scoop out the the pulp (where the seeds are located) and then fill the crevice with your stuffing. The secret, however, to cooking the stuffed zucchini so it won't fall apart is to leave the stem end on during the cooking process.

For our Southwest Stuffed Zucchini, we rely solely on cheese to hold our stuffing together. There are no breadcrumbs or eggs involved. Being in the great American Southwest, we use our two favorite types of cheese: Monterey Jack and Cheddar. Both of these cheese greatly compliment each other and will not overshadow our other ingredients in either taste or texture.

Ingredients needed to make Southwest Stuffed Zucchini (serves 4):

  • 1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced salami
  • 2 Tbs. minced cilantro
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and pulp scooped out
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the two cheeses, salami, cilantro, garlic, scallion and ginger. Stir all ingredients to combine (this is your stuffing).
  3. Halve your zucchini lengthwise and scoop out the pulp. Discard the pulp.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  5. Brush the inside of the prepared zucchini with the balsamic vinaigrette. Yes, you'll have a little leftover.
  6. Fill the zucchini with the stuffing.
  7. Drizzle the remaining balsamic vinaigrette over the stuffed zucchini.
  8. Add about 2 inches of water to a large saute pan. Place the zucchini into the pan and place a lid on the pan.
  9. Place into the oven and bake 20 minutes (time may vary depending on the size of the zucchini).
  10. Remove from the oven and serve.

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."

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