Two weeks ago I went to La Vega with Andrea again. We were shopping among the trucks. I had a small list, but mainly we were just shopping for deals. If spinach is a great deal, you just plan to eat and/or process lots of spinach for the next couple of weeks. So, we were out hunting for the bargains.

Well, I was at Andrea's car, trying to find a good spot for the huge bag of carrots I bought, a spot where I wouldn't crush the lettuce, tomatoes, blueberries, or strawberries, when here came Andrea with a huge grin on her face giving me two thumbs up. A man was walking behind her carrying a box. "$6 for a box of zucchini!" she says. She was really excited. I was too until she opened the box. They were big, big zucchinis. Not the young tender kind. These looked like they'd been on the vine too long. I smiled back anyway; after all she was doing me a huge favor just to take me with her and split bulk items with me.

For perspective, that's a 1 cup measure

For perspective, that is a 1 cup measure

Upon getting home, I was pleasantly surprised by this zucchini. It was tender and was not full of seeds as I had feared. What seeds there were, were small and tender.

I came home with 22 of these large zucchini. We've sliced them raw and used the thin rounds as a bread substitute for our sandwiches, grated them into salads, put them into soup, sauteed them... But here are a couple of recipes I found that were big hits. I tweaked them just a bit. These are the tweaked versions.

Zucchini Cornbread

Ingredients:

1 medium zucchini (about 10 ounces) - I used a large
2 cups cornmeal
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon salt
cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
cup buttermilk or yogurt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or 8x8x2 square pan; set aside.

2. Trim the ends off the zucchini and thinly slice 3 to 5 rounds from one end of the zucchini and reserve for garnish. Shred the remaining zucchini, toss with 2 teaspoons of coarse salt and place in a colander. Allow to drain for 20-30 minutes, then squeeze out any excess water.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, honey and buttermilk. Gently stir the zucchini into the butter mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold together until no traces of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and top with the reserved zucchini slices.

4. Bake until the bread is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool completely. The bread can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.

Zucchini Pizza

Ingredients:

For the "Crust":
4 cups shredded zucchini
teaspoon salt
cup shredded cheddar cheese
cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten

For the Toppings:
1 pound ground beef

1 cup chopped green pepper

1 large eggplant, cubed

1 onion, chopped
8oz mushrooms
teaspoon garlic powder
teaspoon dried oregano
15-oz can tomato sauce
cup shredded mozzarella cheese
cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Sprinkle the shredded zucchini with the salt and let stand for 10-20 minutes. Drain well and squeeze dry

3. Stir together the zucchini, shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and the eggs. Once combined, spread the mixture onto the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until set and golden brown in spots.

4. Meanwhile, brown the ground beef along with the onions and pepper until the beef is cooked through and the vegetables are soft. Stir in the mushrooms, garlic powder and dried oregano. Let simmer together for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the tomato sauce.

5. Spoon the filling onto the prepared zucchini "crust" and top with the shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Return to the oven for an additional 10 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.