Archive for May, 2010

Cheese-Filled Zucchini Boats

“I hope these aren’t going to be too foofy for the guys,” Bikenut says.  I’m not sure why he thought the guys wouldn’t like them.  Guys like mozzarella sticks, right???  All I did was add a vegetable!

I StumbledUpon the recipe on Life’s Ambrosia but had to do things a little differently, based on the zucchini I picked up.  It was far too dainty to core out when cut into rounds.  Instead, I cut each zucchini into thirds or quarters, then split those sections in half lengthwise and used a melon baller to scoop out a pocket for the cheese.

I also sliced off a thin bit of the bottom of the “boat” to keep each one from rolling around, then sprinkled them with some sea salt and pepper.

If I had this part to do over again, I would have not gone with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Instead, I’d have bought a ball of mozzarella and used chunks of that, or if I happened to have string cheese in the fridge, cut that up.  It wouldn’t have necessarily changed the final outcome, but it would have made things a little easier for prep and clean-up.

Once the cheese was finally packed into the zucchini boats, they were dunked in an egg wash, patted with panko bread crumbs and parmesan, and placed on a baking pan.  Surprisingly, the cheese stayed in the boats the whole time!

A little drizzle of olive oil, and into the oven they went.  Okay, fine.  The “little drizzle” was really more like poorly controlled glugs from the bottle, but still.  All is well that ends well, right?

Fifteen minutes at 400°F then a few minutes under the broiler and what you end up with is a fantastic appetizer that even the guys that were over for Fight Night enjoyed!  Serve with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping.  Delicious!

A special thanks to Bikenut for lending me his camera, since I had neglected to charge my battery since our last photo excursion.  Without him, you’d only have gotten to see the first two steps!

Cheese-Filled Zucchini Boats


  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 ball of mozzarella cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • olive oil
  • Marinara sauce for dipping


  1. Slice ends off of zucchini, then cut zucchini into three to four pieces.  Split each piece lengthwise, then slice a thin strip off the rounded bottom of each piece to create a flat surface for the zucchini to rest on.
  2. Using a melon baller or small spoon, scoop out the centers of each piece, making sure not to scoop too much of the flesh away.
  3. Sprinkle zucchini boats with a good bit of salt and a crack of black pepper.  Stuff the zucchini with pieces of mozzarella cheese, pressing it into the hollow.
  4. In a small bowl, beat two eggs.  In a separate small bowl, mix together the panko bread crumbs and grated parmesan.
  5. Dip each zucchini boat in the egg wash until it is thoroughly coated, then transfer the zucchini to the panko mixture.  Toss in the breadcrumbs until well-coated, pat the breadcrumbs onto the top, then transfer zucchini to a baking sheet that has been prepared with cooking spray.
  6. Drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.  Broil for another 3-5 minutes until tops are browned.
  7. Remove from oven and serve while hot with marinara sauce for dipping.


While I don’t have any pictures for the blog, I do have recipes!  I was really WAY too busy with the food prep to be able to spend the extra time to get the photos, but the results were delicious!  Ask anyone that actually showed up and ate!

I was going for LOST themed food stuffs, and I think it all turned out well — if not thematically, at least in being a successful dish over all.  The BBQ was a semi-potluck, where Bikenut and I would provide the meat of the meal (literally) and the guests were asked to bring an appetizer or side dish.  The contributions from our guests included a yummy mango salsa and tortilla chips, and a big pot of homemade spanish rice — both scrumptious!

For my part, I offered up Luau Ribs, fried chicken (in honor of Mr. Cluck’s!) and grilled shrimp.  I really didn’t work from any set recipes on any of these, I just sort of winged it.   As best as I can recall, here are the recipes if you want to try and recreate them for yourselves. 🙂

Peep’s Luau Ribs


  • 2 slabs of extra meaty baby back pork ribs
  • 1/2 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups pineapple, orange and banana blend juice (or straight pineapple juice)
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 green onions, sliced (both white and green parts)
  • 1/2 bottle of Lagunitas IPA (or similar beer)


  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all spices, sesame seeds, soy sauce, juice, garlic and green onions then whisk to combine.
  2. Place ribs, meat side down, in a large enough oven-proof dish to hold the ribs and the marinade mixture.  Pour marinade over the ribs.  (I used a large foil roasting pan.)
  3. Cover dish with foil and marinate in the refrigerator for 6-24 hours.  (Mine marinated for 17 hours total.)
  4. Thirty minutes prior to cooking, remove ribs from the fridge and flip them over in the marinade.  Let them sit on the counter to warm up to about room temperature before baking.
  5. Preheat oven to 250°F.   Place the foil-covered dish in the oven (ribs, marinade and all) and bake for 1 hour, then baste the ribs with the marinade and replace the foil.  Increase temperature to 275°F and bake for another 60 to 90 minutes, or until tender.
  6. When ribs are just cooked through and tender, remove from the oven.  Reserve the pan juices in a small saucepan.  Simmer pan juices over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, to reduce into a glaze.
  7. Finish the ribs by glazing with the reduced sauce and grilling them over hot coals/flame (or under the broiler), basting with beer after each turn, until nicely carmelized.  Remove to a serving platter.
  8. Slice the ribs into individual portions and serve with the remaining glaze.

Peep’s Fried Chicken (How blasphemous!)


  • 12-15 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • Spices, quantity to taste:
    • Garlic powder
    • Onion powder
    • Paprika
    • Cayenne pepper
  • Flour for dredging
  • Oil for frying


  1. Season drumsticks with spices.  Place in a container and cover with buttermilk.  Marinate overnight, up to 24 hours.
  2. Add enough oil to a large skillet (I used a deep 12″ pan) so that the oil comes about 1/8″ up the side of the pan.  Heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Drain buttermilk from the chicken.  Re-season drumsticks with spices, then dredge in flour.
  4. Making sure the oil is hot, cook chicken in batches of 4-5 pieces for about 10-12 minutes on each side, or longer for meatier pieces.   (To check oil temperature, dip the end of a drumstick into the oil.  If it doesn’t lightly sizzle, increase heat before adding chicken or your chicken will be oil-soaked and the batter won’t stick to the chicken.  If it sizzles violently, turn the heat down before adding the chicken, or you’ll end up burning your chicken before it’s cooked through. )
  5. Once chicken is cooked through and browned, remove from oil and place on a cooling rack over paper towels.  (Do not place chicken directly on paper towels.)
  6. Serve hot or cold.

Grilled Drunken Shrimp


  • 1-1/2 pounds of jumbo raw shrimp (preferably cleaned and deveined, it’s not nice work to do yourself.)
  • 1 bottle of Lagunitas IPA (or your favorite beer)
  • 1 ton of garlic (or more realistically, 12 large cloves or more)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • 2 lemons
  • Bamboo skewers


  1. Place 4-5 shrimp on each skewer (I use two skewers, to keep the shrimp from flipping around on the stick while I’m trying to flip them on the grill) and place in a rectangular baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle garlic and onion powders over shrimp skewers.
  3. Crack whole garlic cloves using the side of a large knife blade (or smash them with whatever is handy) and toss garlic over the seasoned shrimp skewers.
  4. Pour beer over skewers, cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill.
  5. Over hot coals, grill shrimp, basting with beer, until opaque.
  6. Remove from grill, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the shrimp and serve with additional lemon wedges.