The first zucchini seeds were advertised in the 1933 Burpee Seed Catalog, so it is timely for a golden anniversary celebration in 1983 to honor that popular and prolific vegetable whose seeds were brought from Italy in 1921.
When a gardener says, ''Take my zucchini, please!'' it is probably because he doesn't realize how versatile a vegetable it is. Fortunately for those of us who like to prepare it in dozens of ways, we can buy it year-round.
Zucchini combines effectively with practically any other vegetable, meat, or pasta. You have probably stuffed it many times, because it's an easy way to make a one-dish meal, but there are plenty of alternatives just as easy and a little different.
Try zucchini with pasta; in souffles, pancakes, pizza, omelet, soups, casseroles, salad, deep-fried or oven-fried, bread, cakes, and pie. Here are some delicious uses for too many zucchini, and not a ''stuffed zucchini'' in the lot. Zucchini Soup 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 1 tablespoon cooking oil 1 small onion, chopped 6 cups chicken stock or broth 6 medium zucchini, sliced 1 sprig fresh basil White pepper Yogurt or sour cream
Heat butter and oil in medium skillet. Add onion and saute until soft. Add remaining ingredients except pepper and garnish and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to blender in batches and puree.
Season with white pepper to taste and reheat or chill. Garnish with dollops of yogurt or sour cream. Serves 6. Zucchini and Kidney Bean Salad 3 small zucchini, thinly sliced 3/4 cup chopped green pepper 1/2 cup chopped onion 1 16-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed 1/4 cup salad oil 3 tablespoons vinegar 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Toss together zucchini, green pepper, onion, and kidney beans in large bowl. Combine oil and vinegar with seasonings. Pour over vegetables. Mix lightly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Stir occasionally. Serves 8. Pork-Zucchini Stir-Fry 1 pound boneless pork, cut in julienne strips 1/3 cup chopped onion 2 tablespoons cooking oil 2 cups sliced zucchini 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced 3/4 teaspoon marjoram 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water Cooked rice or fine noodles
Cut pork into julienne strips. If meat is partly frozen it will be easier to cut. Saute with onion over high heat until pork is lightly browned. Add zucchini , mushrooms, marjoram, salt, pepper, and bouillon.
Stir and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and pork is thoroughly cooked. Serve with rice or fine noodles. Serves 4. Crustless Zucchini Pizza 3 1/2 cups grated zucchini 3 eggs 1/3 cup flour 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1 tablespoon dried sweet basil Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Salt zucchini lightly and let sit for 15 minutes. Squeeze out all excess moisture. Combine zucchini and rest of ingredients in a large bowl and mix.
Spread mixture onto oiled pizza pan (14-inch) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until dry and firm. Brush top with oil and put under broiler for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and pile on sauce and your favorite pizza toppings and cheese. Return to 350 degree F. oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Fried Zucchini Sticks 1 pound small zucchini, washed 1 tablespoon coarse salt 1/2 cup flour Vegetable oil, for frying 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed Freshly ground pepper
Cut off and discard ends of zucchini. Cut into julienne sticks 2 1/2 inches long by 1/4 inch thick. Place sticks in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and let stand 30 minutes. Excess liquid will drain off.
Pat dry with paper towels. Toss with flour until well coated.
Heat 1/2 inch of oil with garlic until hot. Brown zucchini in single layer until golden brown. Drain, sprinkle with pepper, and serve as appetizer or side dish. Meatless Manicotti 10 to 12 manicotti shells 2 to 3 cups diced zucchini 2 tablespoons butter or margarine 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese 1 1 1/2-ounce envelope sloppy joe seasoning mix 1 6-ounce can tomato paste 1 1/4 cups boiling water
Cook manicotti shells in 4 quarts salted boiling water about 10 minutes, until almost tender. Drain and rinse in cold water. Cook zucchini in butter in large skillet about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cottage cheese and 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese.
Stuff manicotti shells with cheese mixture. Arrange in single layers in shallow 2-quart baking dish. Stir together contents of seasoning mix envelope, tomato paste, and water. Spoon over manicotti.
Cover with foil and bake in a 375-degree F. oven 30 minutes. Uncover. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar cheese and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer, until hot and bubbling. Serves 4 to 6. Zucchini Fritters 2 medium-size zucchini, grated 1 teaspoon salt 1 carrot, grated 2 tablespoons minced onion 2 tablespoons minced parsley 1 egg, beaten 1/2 cup flour Dash of freshly ground pepper Oil for frying
In colander mix zucchini and salt. Let drain about 15 minutes, squeezing out excess liquid with back of spoon. Mix well-drained zucchini, about 1 cup, with carrot, onion, parsley, egg, flour, and pepper.
Drop by tablespoonfuls into 1/2 inch hot oil in skillet and fry until brown on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper. Serve very hot. Makes about 12, or 4 servings. Zucchini Dessert Squares 1/2 cup butter or margarine 1/2 cup cooking oil 1 3/4 cups sugar 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup buttermilk 2 1/2 cups flour 1 teaspoon soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup cocoa 1 teaspoon cinnamon 2 cups grated raw zucchini, drained Chocolate bits and walnuts for topping
Cream margarine, oil, and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients slowly to creamed mixture. Stir in zucchini by hand.
Spread in greased 11-by-16-inch jellyroll pan. Sprinkle chocolate bits and walnuts over top and bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn oven off. If more cooking is needed, leave in oven 5 minutes.
Cut into 2 or 4-inch squares as desired.