Monday, September 16, 2013

Joplin's Animal Sanctuary and Zucchini Chips

I made these kale chips in July, and I've been drooling over other vegetable chip recipes all summer. When I got a boat load of zucchini this past weekend, I immediately thought about zucchini chip possibilities.  So I started planning it right away--a little oil, some smoked sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Healthy, no carbs--exactly the kind of chip I've been dreaming about.

I checked my pinterest snack section to see the vegetable chip recipes I'd squirreled away for the perfect time.  There was this one for zucchini chips made in a dehydrator, and this one for oven-baked chips.   The recipes seemed incredibly easy, so I tried both ways.

I'll tell you the recipe, but first let me tell you how I ended up with so much zucchini.

A few of my friends from the gym got together and went to see Joplin's Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in Snohomish County.  It's a new sanctuary founded and run by my friend Byron.

Ever since he first learned about Pasado's story in 1985,  Byron has worked in animal rescue.  Big disasters, and he's there.  He also became a vegan with a dream to open an animal sanctuary, where rescued cows, sheep, chickens, horses and eventually dogs and cats will have homes.

Byron looked around for suitable property and finally found it in Snohomish.  He filled out all the paperwork for a 501c nonprofit status and the sanctuary is currently recognized Washington State Charity and Nonprofit.  Along with the extensive paperwork involved, Byron also built enclosures and housing for rescued animals.

Pastures at the sanctuary

Joplin's Sanctuary and Animal Rescue

A lot of work still needs to be done, and as Byron gave us the tour, a man on a tractor was preparing a pasture. Soil needed to be brought in for this pasture, and Byron is putting in all the infrastructure so all donations people make go for food and medical costs for rescued animals.  Donations through credit card or Paypal are accepted on the website.

The name of the sanctuary comes from this cat -- rescued after the Joplin Tornado (an EF5) in 2011.   Joplin was a baby, only a few days old, and pulled from the rubble, he was fed with a dropper, then a tiny bottle.  

Check out the rescue photos, the story behind the sanctuary, and the the pictures of the animals living at the sanctuary now.

Sally and Errol--read their stories on the website.

Byron helped design the chicken coops and barns.  The ramp in front of the chicken coop is for wheelchair access so handicapped children and adults can see where the chickens lay eggs, though they don't lay many.  Most rescued chicken today come from large scale egg producers and also backyard urban "farmers" who have given up the "hobby." Chickens typically produce eggs for two, maybe three years, and raising chickens is like raising any animal.  The rewards may initially seem tempting but like any live animal, caring for chickens comes with its share of problems.  Roosters, for example, are typically discarded at birth.  The same can't be said for male dogs.

People, please give some thought into what will become of your urban farm "hobby" before you buy the baby chicks or goats for your so-called urban farm.

Thelma and Louise came to the sanctuary from a house that was overrun with chickens. Blanche and Rose later joined them, rescued from the same place.  The chickens at Joplin's don't have to live in fear of an axe when they no longer lay eggs.  

Byron has added a rain garden and also has his own personal garden with carrots, lettuce, corn, tomatoes and summer squash.  Wild rabbits have nibbled all the carrot tops, but are not interested in the lettuce.  As we walked by the zucchini plants we marveled at the size of so many of them.  Squash snobs turn up their noses at bigger summer squash and claim the babies are the best, but mature (not giant) zucchini actually has more flavor.  One recipe for chips even specified only baby zucchini because it had more flavor, but this is a widespread myth.

Byron said since he has such a big crop that he washes, cuts and freezes it.  Big or small I love all summer squash, and I'm always sad to see the local season end.  The bigger the zucchini never get much love, so it's a bonus for those of us who appreciate all kinds of sizes.

I bargained for some of the biggest specimens. 

My Cooking Assistant was impressed. But actually it doesn't take much to impress Finn.    
I dried some in the oven, and I filled my dehydrator.  

Here's the recipe:

Zucchini Chips
(Makes 4 cups or as many as you want)

4 pounds zucchini
Extra-virgin olive oil
Smoked sea salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Turn on dehydrator and preheat at 145F.  Or preheat oven to 200F.  

2. Slice zucchini with a mandolin.

3. Toss thin slices with a little olive oil.  Do not saturate. Lay flat on dehydrator racks or on parchment paper on a baking sheet.   

4. Reduce heat in the dehydrator to 125F and dehydrate for 24 hours or until crisp.   In the oven, bake for 3 to 4 hours or until crisp.  Do not turn the oven higher because these chips can quickly go from crisp to burned.

1 comment:

Miz Helen said...

Hey Finn, be sure and leave Max and I some of those awesome Zucchini Chips. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week!
Miz Helen and Max