Monday, July 12, 2010

Market Fresh: Zucchini and Summer Squash

Zucchini and Summer Squash season are here! I hope you're not sick of them yet. I resisted nearly every urge to buy them throughout the winter so I've been eagerly awaiting their arrival. And now my fridge and counters are groaning under their weight.

Every year people come up with more uses for these easy-to-grow vegetables. There are saute, stir-fries, breads, quiches, casseroles, tians, pastas, soups, salads, and more that can be made with them.

One afternoon we tried grilled squash kabobs. We used both zucchini and summer squash and added red onions. We brushed them with olive oil and sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Not only were they beautiful, they were also delicious served alongside our grilled chicken.

This pasta is so good that I can't wait to have it again. The recipe originally called for just summer squash, but I threw in zucchini too. Either or both would taste fine in this dish.

(Everyday Food Magazine)
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coarse salt and ground pepper
8 ounces fusilli
4 slices bacon, sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
4 medium yellow squash (8 ounces each), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 garlic cloves, thinly slices
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Asiago (or Parmesan) cheese, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium. Add bacon, and cook until browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain (leave bacon fat in skillet).

Place skillet over medium-high. Add squash and garlic to fat in skillet; season with salt and pepper, and toss well. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until squash begins to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook until liquid is evaporated and squash is tender, 2 to 3 minutes more.

Add cream and cooked pasta to skillet; toss well, and cook until cream begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in Asiago, and add enough reserved pasta water to create a sauce that coats pasta. Serve topped with reserved bacon and more cheese.

Serves 4.

This salad may look too simple to be good, but don't be deceived. We loved this salad and thought it was perfect for a summer evening. You must try it!

(Everyday Food Magazine)
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3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil (or mix with canola oil if your olive oil is very strong)
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 medium yellow squash (8 ounces each), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 shallot, thinly sliced crosswise (or use green onion or finely chopped red onion)
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add squash, shallot, and thyme. Toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

Note: Try this again with zucchini instead.

Zucchini bread always brings me back to my childhood when we would make 6 loaves at a time in a desperate attempt to use up all of the huge (almost baseball sized) zucchini that grew in our backyard garden. I don't think we knew about picking them young and tender.

This is the very recipe we used when I was a child.

(More-With-Less Cookbook)
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3 eggs
¾ c. sugar
1 c. oil
2 c. raw, grated zucchini
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. nuts (optional)

Combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini and vanilla in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix just until combined.  Stir in nuts if using. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done.

Makes 2 loaves.