Summer Morning Muffins bring together zucchini and berries. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t mention zucchini in one of my summer columns. This is the time of year when I find them on my doorstep – sometimes many, sometimes a few, sometimes huge, sometimes petite.

What started out as a joke among the neighbors has become a tradition that I can count on. I don’t even bother to plant my own summer any more; I just keep my sense of humor and keep discovering imaginative ways to use up all this bounty.

My son has successfully been on the Keto diet for quite some time and consumes a lot of zucchini along with his meat, cheese and bacon. This fact inspired me to use zucchini as a delivery vehicle for the ever-popular spinach-artichoke dip. Stir in some chicken for added protein, then wrap the whole business in bacon. What’s not to like?

To bridge the two zucchini recipes I’ve included here, I’m including the recipe for this light summer salad that combines peaches and cucumbers with a handful of goat cheese crumbles and a sprinkling of little wild Maine blueberries.

And because we can never get enough blueberries in our lives this time of year, let’s add some to the zucchini muffins along with just enough raspberries to add more color and flavor.

Support all your local farmers and embrace all the deliciousness that August has to offer.


Bacon-Wrapped Zucchinis

3 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted, drained, squeezed dry and chopped
1/2 cup cooked chicken, shredded (optional)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
12 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then fit with a cooling rack. Using a spoon, remove the seedy centers of each zucchini.

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, chicken (if using), mozzarella, parmesan, garlic and red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture into zucchini then wrap each one with 2 slices of bacon. Place on rack in pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until zucchini is tender and bacon is crisp. Yield: 6 servings

Peach and Cuke Salad

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 ripe peaches
2 small cucumbers
1 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn

In a serving bowl, whisk vinegar, salt and pepper together. Slowly stream in olive oil as you continue to whisk.


Cut the peaches into thin slices, leaving the skin on. Shave the cucumbers into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Add all these to the bowl of dressing with the mint and cheese. Toss gently. Add salt and pepper. Yield: 4 servings

Summer Morning Muffins

3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
3 tsps. vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 cups zucchini, grated
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use butter or non-stick cooking spray to grease two muffin tins.

In a mixing bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, sugar, zucchini, and lemon zest until well combined. Mix in dry ingredients until incorporated. Fold in berries. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each muffin well.

In a small bowl, mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and softened butter together until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the tops of each muffin.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until muffins are golden on top and cooked through. Yield: 2 dozen

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