The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well in our neighborhood this weekend. Signs were made, cups and spoons were in place and ice was at the ready as my boys and their friend (and adorable sidekick little brother) got ready to put on their salesmen hats and wave down every passing car and pedestrian.
“Snow cones, snow cones…come buy a snow cone!”
And really, who can resist four boys practically begging you to try their flavored snow cones – made with a cool at-home snow cone maker, no less?! (This is the snow cone maker the kids used, in case your kids have their own snow cone aspirations.)
With only one customer in the first 20 minutes, it felt as though it was going to be a VERY long two hours. But then the neighbors started coming out of the woodwork. Little kids, big kids, adults…even repeat customers. There was even a line at one point!
By the end of the two hours, the boys had sold about 45 snow cones. (I think I’m in the wrong profession!) And they had a ball every step of the way.
After an afternoon of sugar and treats, I decided to put together a simple vegetable gratin, starring the enormous zucchini that we pulled out of our garden a few days ago.
I layered the zucchini slices, along with slices of yellow squash and tomato, and added just enough fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese for a great herb-cheese flavor.
Gratins can be made with or without a topping, but I can never resist a crunchy, golden brown breadcrumb topping. I almost always use panko breadcrumbs, which are now available in regular or whole wheat.
Like most simple dishes, the ingredients count for everything. Try to find the sweetest tomatoes you can and don’t be tempted to use dried basil. Fresh basil has such an alluring summertime scent and flavor that just can’t be replaced with the dried version.
If you’re like me, you might be tempted to sit down and consume half of the gratin for lunch. Thank goodness it’s packed with veggies! Otherwise it’s perfect for a side dish at any meal.
Other zucchini recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Shrimp & Zucchini Stir-Fry Recipe with Miso Lime Sauce
Cookin’ Canuck’s Grilled Vegetable Wrap with Hummus
Slender Kitchen’s Tex Mex Stuffed Zucchini
Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Zucchini & Green Chile Breakfast Casserole
Averie Cooks’ Baked Chipotle Sweet Potato & Zucchini Fritters
- ½ large zucchini, cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 medium yellow squash, cut into ½-inch slices
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tomatoes, cut into ½-inch slices
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 6 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a 1.8 quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place the zucchini and yellow squash slices in a bowl and toss with the olive oil.
- Layer the yellow squash slices on the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping slightly.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ⅓ of the basil over the zucchini.
- Layer the tomatoes over top, then repeat with the same amounts of Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and basil.
- Layer the zucchini over top and sprinkle the remaining basil over top.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining Parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture over the zucchini.
- Cover with foil and bake until the zucchini is tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.