Morning in NYC (Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins’ Stuffed Zucchini)

The air is heavy and dark, lying still between the tall rows of buildings as I head to the hospital this morning. Deserted, the streets have just a few scattered people keeping alive the truth that New York Never Sleeps. The fruit stand man rearranges his oranges, hoping for a late night insomniac or an early morning dog walker – at this hour, it could go either way. The security guard patrols his few blocks and a tech is out for a smoke break. Who knows why those two girls stroll past, giggling. Are they on their way to or from? Late night party, early morning class, sunrise yoga, midnight movie showing – it doesn’t matter. Up and down York, lights sparkle for a dozen blocks in either direction, marching off to show the circling cab drivers their route.

Inside, you’d never guess this hospital had 850 beds. The corridors are quiet as patient care support moves about their tasks and night doctors start to tuck in their services. The lobby is empty; the Au Bon Pain is out of bagels and the stairs are empty as I begin to climb. The stairs are always empty, but the elevators are empty right now, too, cruising the floors, hoping for riders.

Through the windows, I can see the East River glinting in the moonlight and Roosevelt Island, silent and suburban in the middle of the water. The sky isn’t that dark, smokey color anymore. It’s lightened to an indistinct grey, enough to see the industrial stacks of Long Island city outlined against a rapidly brightening backdrop. By the time we round on the 14th floor, the orange and peach streaks across the clouds fill the floor-to-ceiling windows and the river is clearly flowing upstream. The tide must be coming in. I’m still fascinated at how this river changes throughout the day and I’ll spend a good portion of time today moving patients to the window so they can watch the boats and floatsam and foam floating past.

By the time we finish rounds, the sun is fully up, the streets are packed with people and the hospital is bustling. You can see the opacity of the river and the dirt on the windows and suddenly the elevators have no time for you. The harsh daylight is a little harder to romanticize, but it’s okay, because I have stuffed zucchini for lunch.

This is a perfect late summer entree or side dish. Tomatoes + zucchini = one of my favorite combos.

This is adapted from Silver Palate. They didn’t cook their zucchini – they served them raw with the stuffing, and they had no Parmesan, but I wanted them a little soft from roasting.

Stuffed Zucchini

Adapted from Silver Palate by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Serves 6. Allow 20 minutes.

1 small white onion,
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons olive oil12 baby zucchinis
2 medium tomatoes
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan

1) Preheat the oven to 350.
2) Chop the onion and garlic and soften in a frying pan with the olive oil over medium heat.
3) Cut each zucchini lengthwise, then use the tip of a spoon to scrape out the seeds and pulp into the onions.
4) Chop the tomatoes and add to the zucchini and onion. Continue to saute until the tomatoes are softened and the mixture starts to come together.
5) Place the zucchini on a baking pan and pack the tomato mixture into the cavities. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes, or until a fork pierces them.

Every Friday, a group of women writers is blogging their way through 50 Women Game-Changers of Food – find more information here. Here’s who’s joining this week.

Mary of One Perfect Bite

Kathleen of Gonna Want Seconds
Barbara of Moveable Feasts
Amy of Beloved Green
Linda of Ciao Chow Linda
Deborah of Taste and Tell
Barbara of Lines from Linderhof

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9 Responses to Morning in NYC (Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins’ Stuffed Zucchini)

  1. What beautiful writing! Your word images are wonderful–loved the part about the elevator looking for riders. Oh, and the recipe looks good, too!

  2. I love how this post builds so beautifully to the recipe. This is the perfect dish for me right now because the gardens and farms around here are still cranking out zucchinis and tomatoes. Great post.

  3. That transition from night to day is beautifully portrayed … and no, NYC never sleeps. I'm always amazed, when I visit my daughter in Brooklyn, how noisy the city is at all hours … how restless. Even when it's 4 AM, there are street sweepers, people clicking their way past on the sidewalks, distant sirens, the clang of trucks hitting manhole covers as they chug to make deliveries … amazing to a country girl!This lunch of yours … though! Could be straight from the backyard garden! Glad you got a fresh taste of vitamins and minerals!

  4. girlichef says:

    Well, if stuffed zucchini is what follows that beautifully set scene, then count me in! Wonderful words and delicious, simple dish đŸ˜€

  5. bellini says:

    New York never sleeps and I may never sleep until I make stuffed zucchini..I know a little drama Queen but I have many adopted zucchini sitting on my counter.

  6. I have been seeing a lot of good stuffed veggie dishes, this looks amazing!

  7. Barbara says:

    I enjoyed picturing your morning, Taryn. When I turn on the news in the morning, I always look out the newsroom's windows at NYC as my daughter lives there. I know the weather before she does!The zucchini recipe is definitely a lunch to look forward to!

  8. I love how you can weave poetic prose seamlessly into a recipe for stuffed zucchini.

  9. Miranda says:

    Love the descriptive NYC morning. Five ingredients that go very well together. This sounds like a great lunch!

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