Column: Slice of life

by Meg Heiman

It’s been about a year now since I began writing this column. During that time, I’ve often been asked two questions by people I meet out and about. <BR><BR>The first: Do you like to cook? I usually avoid a direct answer by stuttering and stammering a reply that would make most politicians proud. Or I answer back with a question. “What do you mean by LIKE?” <BR><BR>The way I look at it, I HAVE to cook. It occurred to me a few years ago that unless I learned how to prepare a decent meal for my family and me, we’d either go broke from eating out or suffer from poor nutrition. So I started looking for and trying recipes that were nutritious, delicious, and most importantly, hard to mess up. <BR><BR>But I’m like most of you who juggle the demands of family, home, work and activities. Preparing three meals a day seven times a week is challenging. I’d love to have a personal chef. <BR><BR>And if I had a dime for every time my kids complained, “There’s nothing good to eat in this house”, I’d be able to afford that personal chef. <BR><BR>Like someone you may know, my kids stand in front of the opened refrigerator for too long not seeing what they wish was there, too. <BR><BR>And for those who wonder, I’m not above using store-bought cake mixes or serving frozen waffles. Not everything we eat at our house is homemade, or necessarily nutritious for that matter. <BR><BR>The other day I bought some Laffy Taffy while paying for gas at a convenience store in town. <BR><BR>The lady behind the counter remarked, “I didn’t think you let your kids eat this kind of stuff,” referring to the Laffy Taffy. I just smiled. Absolutely my kids eat this kind of stuff. What’s more, the Laffy Taffy I was buying that day was for me! <BR><BR>Food and meals are a big and an important part of life. But they’re only slices of the whole, and the whole is what I like. The whole is what I love. So I’m changing the name of this column to “A Slice of Life” to better represent what it’s all about. <BR><BR>Sure, I’ll still include a recipe - that’s one way slice can be interpreted. But in addition to writing about food, I’ll continue to write about life, or at least a slice of it. <BR><BR>The second question I’m often asked since writing this column refers to my picture beside the byline. To those who ask I say, “No, that is not my driver’s license picture.” It’s just a bad picture. So I’m changing that, too. <BR><BR>All that being said, I can focus now on other things. How about zucchini? This is the time of year when we discover who our true friends are. Those who accept zucchini from us stay on our Christmas card list for another year. <BR><BR>If the zucchini in your garden is going nuts the way mine is, here’s a recipe for a good way to use some of it up. This recipe is nutritious, delicious, and hard to mess up. Best of all, it’s quick and easy, allowing you more time for what’s really important: Life. Enjoy!<BR><BR>ZUCCHINI PIE <BR><BR>4 cups sliced zucchini (if using large zucchini, remove the seeds) <BR><BR>1 cup chopped onions <BR><BR>1/2 stick butter <BR><BR>1/2 teaspoon pepper <BR><BR>1/2 teaspoon garlic powder <BR><BR>2 T fresh cut parsley or 2 tsp dried parsley <BR><BR>2 eggs, beaten <BR><BR>8 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese <BR><BR>1 package (8 ounces) crescent dinner rolls <BR><BR>2 teaspoons prepared mustard <BR><BR>In a large skillet, sauté sliced zucchini and onion in butter for 10-15 minutes. Add eggs, cheese, and seasonings. Remove from heat. Press crescent rolls in bottom and sides of 10-inch pie plate. Spread the mustard over the crust. Pour zucchini/egg mixture evenly into crust-lined pan. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. <BR><BR>Cover edge of crust with strips of foil during last 10 minutes of baking if necessary to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm. <BR><BR>