By Tori Avey, The Shiksa in the Kitchen
This post marks my 10th recipe contribution to the Zabar’s blog, a proud milestone indeed. I love the Zabar’s team; over a year ago they welcomed me into their fabulous store, and immediately made me feel like part of the family. That’s why I’m beyond excited to make a special announcement here on the Zabar’s blog. Today, I am launching a new website called The History Kitchen. Those who follow my blog know that I am a “food history nerd”—I love learning about the origins of different ingredients and recipes. I decided to create a new website dedicated to exploring all facets of food history, from ancient Mesopotamian meals to the cocktails of Mad Men and everything in between. I’ll be posting on The History Kitchen about a variety of historical culinary topics, and I’ll also be posting on PBS Food in a new History Kitchen column. Those of you who follow The Shiksa in the Kitchen will be happy to know that I still plan to post there regularly, just like I always have. I consider The History Kitchen to be like a “sister site” to TheShiksa.com—it’s a natural extension of something that I already love to do. I hope you get a chance to check out The History Kitchen, it’s already shaping up to be a fascinating corner of the web!
What better way to celebrate this new website adventure than by grilling up something delicious? 4th of July is just around the corner, and people across the country are planning to grill for the holiday. It’s fitting that we often celebrate America’s birthday by gathering to grill with friends, family and neighbors. Grilling isn’t just a way to cook food—it’s a social gathering that has brought people together since the early days of America. While the grill is usually reserved for burgers, hot dogs, and steaks, it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m discovering that grilled vegetables can be every bit as inviting as their meatier counterparts. Case in point—grilled zucchini!
Zucchini (also known as courgette) is a relatively modern variety of summer squash. Like all squash, zucchini has ancestry in North America. Archaeological evidence suggests that squash may have been first cultivated on the isthmus between North America and South America (known as Mesoamerica) around 10,000 years ago. Squash was one of the three major native crops planted by Native Americans, known as the “Three Sisters”– maize (corn), beans, and squash. After the New World was colonized, squash found its way to Europe. Zucchini as we know it today was developed in Italy in the late 1800’s, a distant relative of its Mesoamerican squash ancestors. It was introduced back to America by Italian immigrants in the early 1920’s, and has been a favorite in this country ever since.
During the summer, I love to grill zucchini; it’s a simple way to enhance the mild flavor of this versatile squash. This recipe is one of those simple, tasty dishes that might become a standard on your grill menu, especially if you have a lot of zucchini growing in your garden. The simple basting mixture allows the natural flavor of the zucchini to shine through. The butter and lemon essence give these veggies a wonderful tangy zip. This would make a terrific addition to a 4th of July menu, and it couldn’t be easier to make!