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Orzo-Stuffed Zucchini

It’s time for “Flashback Friday” when I feature a favorite post from the past.  This week, the spotlight is on Orzo-Stuffed Zucchini, dating from July 2009. It was at a farmer’s market that summer when I discovered these adorable little round zucchini.  They were between the size of a tennis ball and a baseball and I couldn’t wait to get them home to stuff them.  I sliced off the tops and scooped out the insides, leaving about 1/4-inch shell all around.  I cooked the shells in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, just to soften them slightly.
I knew the stuffing would have to feature tomatoes because I love the zucchini-tomato combination.  I then got the idea to give it a puttanesca-inspired twist.  I sautéed minced garlic in olive oil along with the chopped insides from the zucchini.  I added chopped tomatoes, olives, and capers, seasoned with salt, pepper, and basil.  I combined this fragrant mixture with some cooked orzo (the rice-sized pasta proved to be perfect for the stuffing) and a little chopped cooked chard that I had on hand to add some greens.  I then stuffed the mixture inside each zucchini and baked them for about 20 minutes. I served these little beauties on a bed of the orzo-puttanesca mixture and they tasted as good as they looked. I haven’t seen these round zucchini since that one fateful encounter, but I keep looking — maybe I’ll find some next year.
While I was going through the posts from the summer of 2009, I found another favorite flashback from that time — this trio of delicious vegetables: roasted diced sweet potatoes and beets flanking some steamed spinach. 
I thought it would be fun to give the spinach a similar appearance to the other cubed vegetables, so I shaped it into a narrow rectangle and used my chef’s knife to “dice” it. The resulting plate of vegetables looked almost too good to eat — and would be even better drizzled with some Lemon-Cashew Cream Sauce from Quick-Fix Vegan!

Pan-Seared Picatta Portobellos with Brown Rice Potato Cake + Cookbook Contest Winner!

I said it before and I’ll say it again — I love leftovers.  Some of my favorite meals came into existence by using up a bit of this and that.  Take this dinner of pan-seared portobello mushrooms, spinach, and brown rice potato cake.  It was the result of needing to use up a few stray items in the fridge before going shopping. The spinach and mushrooms were delicious, but the real star of the meal turned out to be the happy marriage of leftover mashed potatoes and cooked brown rice.
When mixed with some seasonings and sauteed, the brown rice and potatoes transformed into a third entity with a wonderful texture and flavor that provided an ideal companion for the mushrooms and spinach all complemented by a tangy lemon-caper sauce.

Now, for this week’s Special Vegan Mofo Cookbook Giveaway:  The winner of a copy of Vegan Fire and Spice (chosen randomly by the random number generator on Random.org is:  Candy Beans! Congratulations! (E-mail me with your address and I’ll get the book in the mail to you.) 
Everyone else:  Check back tomorrow for the 4th and final cookbook giveaway during Vegan Mofo.