by Camille Cody
Alright. We seem to reach this point every summer, nearly everywhere across the country. What are we supposed to do with ALL THIS SQUASH? Zucchini, crookneck, yellow, pattypan, I’m rolling in it up to my eyeballs and I’m getting tired of eating it in every salad and baked at every meal! Well forget your complaining, because summer squash is one of the most versatile crops and there are plenty of creative, frugal and fancy ways to consume and set aside this behemoth of summer crops.
BREAKFAST: Start your morning off with some zucchini pancakes, zucchini bread or squash hash.
Beat eggs and add zucchini. Then mix in the remainder of the ingredients. Spoon batter into hot griddle with sizzling butter and cook about 2 minutes on each side.
Zucchini Bread (think banana bread gone veggie)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Sift together the dry ingredients. Combine the zucchini, sweetener, eggs, and oil – mix well. Stir in dry ingredients till just combined, adding 1 cup chopped nuts (like pecans or walnuts) if desired. Transfer batter to pans and bake for 45-55 minutes.
Squash Hash – Nothing could be simpler!
Wrap grated squash in a kitchen towel to squeeze out excess moisture. Mix with eggs. Season with salt, pepper, and spice. Press into a cake in a large frying pan with melted butter and let sizzle on one side for about 8 minutes before stirring, breaking or flipping to cook the other side. Enjoy with ketchup like potato hash browns.
LUNCH: Now that you’re done with breakfast, how about some lunch? And what is a more classic lunch combo than soup and salad? Cold, marinated zucchini salad and puree of yellow squash soup, to be exact.
Yellow Squash Soup
In a soup over medium heat, sauté the butter onions and garlic for 5 min. Stir in squash, salt and spices. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and continue to cook while stirring. Mix in broth or milk and wine and simmer ~15 minutes. Remove from heat for about 10 minutes and purée in batches. Adjust seasoning, add pepper, and heat gently before serving.
Marinated Zucchini Salad – While your soup is in its heating and simmering stages, you can be preparing your salad.
Slice zucchini. In a skillet, heat just enough oil to coat the bottom and fry zucchini slices until just golden on both sides. Drain on towels. Lower the heat and add garlic, stirring until golden. Arrage zucchini in a bowl and sprinkle with vinegar, salt and herbs. Cover and refrigerate until your soup is done, or as many as 3 days ahead of time. Grated carrots or daikon radishes, finely diced bell peppers and sliced tomatoes also go well in this cold salad. Just before serving, crumble with your choice of cheese.
COCKTAIL: Now that you’ve spent all this time chopping, pureeing and cooking, you are probably ready for a break. How about a cocktail? More specifically, how about a Zuketini?
Zuketini 4 servings
Juice zucchinis, either running them through a juicer or by blending in a food processor and pressing through a fine sieve. Mix well the honey and water into a syrup. Pour 1 shot of sake into each of 4 cocktail glasses. Garnish with fresh lime slices and set aside. In a mason jar combine ice, your honey syrup, the gin, and zucchini juice. Shake well and divide between the 4 glasses, pouring through a sieve. Enjoy your summertime happy hours!
DINNER: Heap your plates with yellow squash and cheesy pasta.
Baked Yellow Squash and Cheese Pasta
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start by cooking your choice of pasta in boiling salted water according to pasta directions. Once the pasta is underway, shred the yellow squash and saute it with 1 Tbsp olive oil and garlic until golden. When pasta is al dente, drain and place into a baking dish. Toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Mix the squash with milk, the cheeses, and nutmeg. Stir into the pasta and bake for 20 min until the cheese is melted and set. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs.
DESSERT: To finish off your summer squash-tastic day, help yourself to a slice of double-chocolate zucchini cake!
Double-Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13″ cake pan. Mix oil, sweetener, eggs and vanilla until creamy. Mix together dry ingredients in second bowl. Mix zucchini and buttermilk in third bowl. Alternately add dry mixture and zucchini mixture to egg mixture and stir just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into baking pan and bake 30-35 minutes.
Voila! You are now a walking, talking squash being and your garden harvest is that much lighter. Enjoy!