Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer squash recipes

We are swimming in summer squash at our house. It is going crazy in my garden. The hand-size golden flowers are just a gorgeous break in the greenness of my vegetable garden.

This is my first attempt to actually grow summer squash, and I can tell you a few things I've learned so far:
  1. It's really easy to start from a small plant. It's taken very little effort other than watering. I'm adding this to the "anyone can do it" list (along with lettuce and onions).

  2. Farmers market vendors are making a steal. For $1.50 I bought a package of five vegetable starts. Three of them made it through the night. Of those, I've already plucked a half-dozen squash, and there's many, many more blooming or still growing. Compare that with the $.75-$1 each they're selling for now at the market.

  3. Summer squash is better small. I am finding that the larger squashes have larger seed areas and tougher skins.

That being said, the last week I've had to force myself to be more creative in hunting down summer squash recipes. I'm used to munching on it raw, but that is getting a little old. (Not to mention that my kids tend to decorate the floor with it more than eat it raw.)

The trick, I'm finding, is finding recipes for summer squash -not zucchini, as most recipes seem to be. Here are a few I've stumbled on so far and some interesting ideas I've gotten from others.

Summer squash sauteed

Simply slice and saute with a little garlic and olive oil.

Summer squash sauteed with pine nuts
adapted from the July-August 2009 Vegetarian Times

My well-meaning coworker gave me this recipe for zucchini with pine nuts, capers and raisins. I subbed the summer squash and dropped the raisins. It tasted well enough, but the brownish color and strong flavor of the balsamic vinegar turned off my kids.

2 medium summer squash
2 T. olive oil, divided
2 T. pine nuts
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. capers

Cut squash into matchstick-size strips. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and add squash. Saute until squash is tender. Add pine nuts and garlic and heat. Stir in vinegar and capers, heat up. Serve with pasta.

I'd love to see other squash recipes. If you've stumbled across any good ideas, please let me know!

Serving up blossoms?

The other idea I've gotten is to actually eat the blossoms themselves. Eating flowers is a new idea to our family, so I'm not sure how they'll warm up to it. Chile advised me that squash blossoms "don't have that strong floral taste like salad flowers."

I admit I thought this was a crazy idea, but there are a lot of recipes for this online, including squash blossom frittatas, quesadillas, stuffed blossoms and, in the ultimate healthy form, fried (both American and Thai versions!). Apparently they are fine to eat raw too, according to the University of Illinois extension site. Who knew?

These plants are not going to quit any time soon, so start sending those recipes and cooking ideas on!


Carol Michel said...

Yes, the secret of squash! It is easy to grow, for the most part. But let's not talk about squash vine borers or squash bugs.

I love the round summer squash like 'Cue Ball', very prolific. Do a search for "zucchini pie" to find the one that is made with Bisquick... makes a quiche like pie and uses three cups shredded zucchini (or any summer squash). You can see it however you like.

Chile said...

Here are some more ideas for the squash blossoms.

Don't forget, too, that you can shred your zucchini and freeze it to make bread in the winter when you want. You might do a test loaf with shredded other summer squash, too. I'll bet it would work just as well.

I also add shredded squash to spaghetti sauce, stir frys, and soup. The big seedy ones can be hollowed out and stuffed. I've also got a delicious recipe for lemon-zucchini relish I can send you if you'd like to do some canning.

Robbie said...

Chile, I've yet to be brave enough to can! Maybe this is the year, not sure. I'm terrified of giving my family food poisoning.

Carol, I'll have to try the pie recipe. Anything with carbs is attractive to my little guy!

Anonymous said...

I just tried the summer squash sauteed with pine nuts (the recipe came in my CSA box last week). I made it with zucchini instead of the yellow summer squash version and it was delicious! I actually mixed cooked penne pasta right in and served it that way. Yum. I think the only thing that could have made it better would be a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

The recipe came with a note that you would like other squash recipes. I have one from my local newspaper for zucchini tacos (from Penzeys One, Vol. 3, Issue 6, 2009). Would you like it?


Robbie said...

Mary, sure, I'd love to see it!

Anonymous said...

Okay, here you go...I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds really good.

Zucchini Tacos
3-4 medium zucchini (6-8 small)
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (~1 cup)
2 garlic gloves, crushed
1/2 t seasoned salt
1/4 t jalapeno or cayenne pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
8-12 flour tortillas
Peel the zucchinis if you like, or leave the skin on if not thick. Cut off the ends. Slice in half lengthwise and then slice into pieces about 1/2-inch thick.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is al dente. Add additional seasoned salt and hot pepper to taste.
While the zucchini cooks, heat a flat-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet and sprinkle with some cheese. Cover and heat until the bottom of the tortilla starts to become slightly crispy and the cheese melts, 1-2 minutes. Place the tortilla on a plate. Spread a layer of the zucchini mix on half the tortilla, top with salsa, fold in half and enjoy. (Penzeys One, Vol. 3, Issue 6, 2009)