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Who’s Cooking: Patricia Yakacki Karlic makes zucchini pie

Patricia Yakacki Karlic says her zucchini pie can

Patricia Yakacki Karlic says her zucchini pie can be served as an appetizer or main course. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Patricia Yakacki Karlic, a homemaker, lives in Seaford with her husband and son.

How did you become interested in cooking?I’ve been cooking probably since I was 8 years old. There are cooks on both sides of my family. My whole extended family built homes in the same neighborhood. My maternal grandmother, Mary Caramanica, and my aunt Marian Caramanica lived next to us. I would go over there as a little girl and make ravioli with them. My grandmother would lay them on her bed on a wooden board, cover them with a sheet and let them dry out.

We would make Christmas cookies. There would be at least 30 different types. I still have those recipes, written by them, which I treasure. Since the day I got married I’ve been baking the same cookies, continuing the tradition.

My paternal grandmother, Stella Yakacki, was Polish. She would have us over every Sunday for traditional food like pierogies. And my mom, Lucia Yakacki, has always been an inspiration. She cooked so many wonderful dishes and instilled in me a love of cooking. When I cook their recipes, I feel so connected to them.

What role does cooking play in your life today? I probably cook every single day. It’s my passion and my therapy. It was huge for me when I had cancer and was going through chemo. (Patricia has been in remission since January 2014.) When I felt OK, I would cook a lot and freeze food for later. My husband would say: “Patty, we can get takeout.” But I liked to know that he would have home-cooked food, since he doesn’t cook himself.

Do your children cook? When my three children were younger and I cooked, I wanted to do my thing, and they were very busy with school and activities, so they didn’t really cook with me. But now I have three grandsons and I’m taking the time with them to cook with the two older ones, who are 6 and 4.

Where do you find your recipes?Most of the time I just do my own thing. My husband and I love to work in the yard together and we have a garden every year. We grow an abundance of cukes, tomatoes, Swiss chard, string beans, fresh basil. I freeze a lot for the winter months. I always incorporate them into my cooking. . . . For a couple of years I’ve been posting pictures of my cooking on Facebook, and about 6 months ago I started posting videos. It’s another way of sharing, and I get so many comments.

Where does this recipe come from? This one has been in the family and shared by many of us. I’m not exactly sure where it originated. But everyone loves it as an appetizer or as a light meal with a salad. It’s fast, it’s simple.

Any tips for success or serving suggestions?

It has to be covered with foil midway through baking, so the top doesn’t over-brown. . . . For a bigger crowd, you can double it and put it in two round dishes or in one greased 9-inch-by-13-inch pan.

ZUCCHINI “PIE”

2 cups grated zucchini

1 medium onion, grated

1 cup Bisquick baking mix

12 cup vegetable, canola or corn oil

4 eggs

14 cup grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounces grated Cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9- or 9 1⁄2-inch round Pyrex cooking dish with cooking spray.

2. Spread grated zucchini onto a clean dish towel. Working over the sink, wrap towel around the zucchini and wring out as much excess liquid as possible. Open towel and then place zucchini in a large mixing bowl, removing all zucchini pieces from the towel.

3. Add the onion, baking mix, oil, eggs, Parmesan and Cheddar to the bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.

4. Spoon and spread out mixture evenly into glass dish. Bake in center of oven for 50 to 55 minutes. Midway through cooking, when top has become brown, cover top of dish with foil. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve hot, warm, at room temperature or refrigerate until cold. Makes 8 appetizer or 4 main-course servings.

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