While testing zucchini recipes for my new e-book, 23 Zucchini: Fast, fun, easy recipes from The Perfect Pantry® kitchen, I tried some dishes that, although successful, didn't make the final cut, often because they were similar to other recipes in the book. My friend Ann first suggested I include a zucchini pie, and I read through many recipes before I stepped into the kitchen. I decided to make a pie that would hold up well for picnics and potlucks -- something a bit more sturdy than a traditional frittata or egg casserole -- and this version passes the test. It's important to squeeze as much water as you can out of the shredded zucchini before adding it to the egg batter (this short video I made for 23 Zucchini shows you an easy way to do it). If you don't, you'll end up with something more like pudding than pie. You can make this up to a day or two ahead.
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One of the most reliable perennial herbs in my garden, tarragon arrives early in Spring, alongside the chives. The tender leaves of tarragon impart a faintly licorice flavor, and you either love it or hate it. We love it, especially with eggs, and these tarragon and roasted red pepper deviled eggs make a perfect light lunch. If you're not sure how you feel about tarragon, use half the amount called for in the recipe, and if tarragon isn't your thing, substitute garden-fresh parsley or basil. Of course, deviled eggs always go first at a party, so add these to your repertoire if you're the person others rely on to bring the deviled eggs.
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When we lived in Boston, friends with plots in the local community garden would deposit zucchini on our front stoop, and as we didn't have our own garden, my husband Ted and I relished the unexpected gift of other people's bounty. Little did we realize we were doing them a favor by taking those excess zucchini. Here in rural Rhode Island, it's common for folks to come to visit in late summer brandishing zucchini large and small, their eyes begging us to take those all-too-abundant vegetables off their hands. I love the small zucchini, tender enough to eat raw, or toss on the grill, or dice into this zucchini, bacon and feta quiche. (Save the canoe-size specimens for flotation devices. Or for soup.) Quiche tastes best at room temperature, which makes this recipe great for make-ahead entertaining.
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Everything about this dish falls into the splurge category, especially if you live here in the Northeast, where shrimp come from elsewhere and Meyer lemons do not grow on trees. However, the holiday weekend approaches, and who deserves this over-the-top indulgent appetizer more than friends and family coming to the first official celebration of the summer season? There's nothing complicated here. Steam, poach, broil or grill jumbo shrimp. Mix up a fresh sauce with Greek yogurt and fresh dill weed and, if you can find one, a Meyer lemon, which is a cross between a lemon and a tangerine. Simple, elegant, and sure to be the first dish to disappear at any party.
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