Zucchini, chickpeas & pinenuts/ Zucchini, coconut & cashews

Zucchini, cashews

We watched the Wimbledon final at work, with the sound down. I was surprised and moved by Andy Murray’s tears, possibly more so because I couldn’t hear what he was saying. And I felt a little bad for Federer, he looked so apologetic. I think that’s how I’d be. I’m not competitive at all. My idea of a fun game of tennis is hitting the ball back and forth to each other for as long as possible. I don’t really like to beat people at anything – especially if I like them, which, let’s face it, is usually the case when you’re playing a game with someone. I let my kids win at races and board games. I know there’s a school of parenting that insists I’m setting up unrealistic expectations for them, but I’m not too worried about it. The world will knock them down soon enough, sadly. And, increasingly, I’m not letting them win! The few times in my life I’ve felt myself get all competitive, it felt horrible. I recognized that it was coming from insecurity or envy, and I said to myself, “what the hell, self! Cut it out!” It’s strange to think about how much competition is a part of our lives, as Americans. The assumptions about human nature inherent in setting up such a system bewilder me a little. But I’m okay watching from outside of it all, with the sound down.

Last night we sat in our yard in the evening, and made a fire. The boys dashed around catching fireflies. Malcolm twirled Isaac around at arm’s length (by the fire! So dangerous!), and he came flying into my lap. I thought he’d be hot and sweaty from all the mad running, but he was as soft and cool as the dusk. One of the boys said, “I wonder who turned firefly-catching into a sport?” I said, “Ah, yes, the firefly catch, I saw that in the olympic trials last week.” And David said, “No…the firefly toss. Can you imagine what a quiet, gentle sport that would be?” People standing near each other, in the gloaming with their hands in the air, waiting for the firefly to climb to the fingertips and take off into the night, at their own twirly dreamy pace. I love that idea!

What!? Talking about fireflies again! What!? More zucchini recipes!?! Haven’t we just done all that? Yes. Yes we have, people, this is summer!! The first zucchini recipe we ate as a side dish, but it would be good as a meal over rice. It was very quick and simple, like most good zucchini recipes. It involved sauteeing the zucchini with some frozen peas. We added a little cumin and ginger. And then we tossed the lot with cashews, sweetened flaked coconut, and, lime, and fresh basil. Ta da!! The second zucchini recipe is actually a pasta dish. Despite being vegetarian, we don’t eat pasta very often. I’m drawn to things with more intensity of flavor. The boys love it, though, so I’ll make pasta, and I’ll eat the sauce as a sort of soup or stew. Anyway – this pasta dish. We made orchiette, and then we made a summery mix of quickly cooked zucchini, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, fresh basil, and pine nuts. Simple, substantial, and super.

Zucchini, chickpea, pine nut

Here’s Belle and Sebastian with Stars of Track and Field. I like how someone became a runner simply to feel the city air rush past their body.


1 large zucchini, cut in quarters lengthwise, and then cut into 1/4 inch segments
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 t ginger (fresh or powdered)
1/2 t cumin
zest and juice of one lime
1/2 cup cashews – roughly chopped
1/3 cup flaked coconut (I used sweetened, because that’s what I had!)
large handful fresh basil, washed and cut into ribbons
dollop of butter (unless you’re vegan!)
salt and plenty of pepper

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic, ginger and lime zest, and stir till it starts to brown. Add the zucchini, and cook till it’s translucent and starting to brown a bit, but is still crisp and bright. Add the peas, stir till they’re well coated. When the peas are warmed through, add the cumin. Cook for a minute, then remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, coconut, cashews, basil and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Eat!


Orchiette, or the pasta shape of your choice

1 large zucchini cut into matchsticks. My knife skills are lacking, so I made a mess of this, but it doesn’t matter all that much
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
4 scallions, cleaned, and cut into small circles – white parts and a few inches of green
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, cut into small pieces
dollop of butter
dash of lemon or white wine vinegar
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
salt and plenty of pepper

Put a big pot of salted water on to boil.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat
Add the garlic, scallions, red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic starts to brown. Add the zucchini. Cook till it’s translucent and starting to brwon in spots, but still bright and green.

Add the artichoke hearts and chickpeas. Stir till everything’s well coated. Add the lemon, and butter. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and pine nuts.

By this time the water will have boiled, and you’ll have added the pasta, and cooked it to just the consistency you like. Mix the pasta and zucchini together in a big bowl and serve.


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