By Erin Walgamuth:
Here I sit at Zuma beach on a perfectly beautiful August afternoon watching my daughter and her friend step tentatively into the chilly Pacific Ocean. The wind carries the sound of their girlish screams back to where I sit under the shade of a striped umbrella.
I can’t help but smile as they cling to each other in a futile attempt to steady themselves against the onslaught to come, but to no avail. A strong wave manages to knock them down into a surge of white froth. Now all I see in the foaming water is a tangle of arms and legs. Finally they come up for air; their heads tipped back, mouths open wide in hysterical laughter….ah, youth.
It doesn’t seem like so long ago that I had to haul sand toys, diapers and a case of juice boxes for a few hours at the beach. Now, we only have to make one trip from the car to the shore….amazing, where did the time go? My daughter is feeling a bit panicked about the fast approaching school year, and the end of day trips to the shore. This is a big year for her; it will be her first year of college! I can’t decide if I want to cry or clap! So, we will enjoy these last few weeks of August in the slow lane, as a new chapter in our lives begins….at warp speed, of course!
When we got home from the beach and finished cleaning sand off the beach chairs and ourselves, it was time to make dinner. I was not in the mood to cook anything elaborate; a PB&J sandwich would have been fine with me!
So, my daughter and I cut up some zucchini and onion that we had gotten from the Farmer’s Market to toss with pasta. It really was delicious and I thought you might like to try it too.
Sautéed Zucchini and Onion
Makes approximately 5-6 cups
Prep time is about 13 minutes
Cook time is about 27 minutes
You will need-
12 inch sauté pan with lid
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic finely minced
½ cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
2 large zucchini, about 20oz, ends removed and cut into 1 inch chunks
4 pinches of sea salt or to taste1 teaspoon dried basil divided
1-2 pinches coarsely ground black pepper or to taste
Suggestion-Top with grated Parmesan cheese and freshly chopped flat leaf parsley.
Note: I slice the zucchini in half length-wise, slice each half into thirds length-wise, then cut into I inch chunks.
Put the olive oil and garlic in the sauté pan and let rest while you cut up the veggies.
Turn heat to medium high and warm the garlic and olive oil for about 10 seconds (don’t let it turn brown), stirring constantly. Add the onion, 2 pinches of salt, 1 pinch of pepper and a ½ teaspoon of the dried basil, stir to incorporate. Sauté until onion starts to soften, stirring often about 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini, 2 pinches of salt, 1 pinch of pepper, ½ teaspoon of dried basil and stir to incorporate. Cover with the lid and turn heat to medium-low. Remove lid and stir occasionally. Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until zucchini is tender but not mushy. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve.
We have eaten this as a side dish and as a main dish tossed with pasta. You could add shrimp or Italian sausage if you like!
Erin Walgamuth  has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe  section.