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Since You Asked: Recipe Box hits the spot for cooks

As usual, for reasons unknown, we planted a couple zucchini plants this spring, which are doing quite nicely. We have a growing pile of zucchini and little interest in eating them — aside from in bread. Can you recommend any recipes, cookbooks or websites to lighten the load?

— Robert L., Medford

If it's recipes you're after, Robert, you came to the right source.

For the past three years, the Mail Tribune has maintained a searchable, online database with thousands of recipes that have appeared in our various publications. This month, we rolled out a revised Recipe Box, which shows 66 entries for using zucchini in soups, salads, casseroles, baked goods and quintessential summer dishes likes minestrone and ratatouille.

A few of these were submitted by readers and newspaper staff, but the vast majority are test-kitchen recipes from our news services. New recipes are added weekly. The Recipe Box can be accessed at www.mailtribune.com/recipes.

If none of those entries strike your fancy, consider some of our strategies for adapting zucchini to a variety of dishes. Simply sliced, sauteed and seasoned, inherently bland zucchini can accommodate virtually any flavor profile.

Put zucchini in fajitas, omelets, pastas, quiche, quesadillas and stir-frys, on pizza, hot sandwiches and burgers. If you don't want to actually taste zucchini, the shredded squash can be disguised with any ground meat in meatloaf, meatballs, burger patties, tacos, lasagna, eggrolls and dumplings.

If all else fails, cut short your zucchini harvest by plucking the blossoms with immature fruits attached. Halve these, dredge them through egg wash and bread crumbs, then fry for a snack or appetizer with marinara sauce or aioli for dipping.

Send questions to "Since You Asked, A la carte" Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com.