Carolina Kitchen

Five from the Field: Squash

sardis@thestate.com Twitter: @foodsusanJuly 9, 2014 

Let’s just say that I’m all squashed out. My grandparents grew squash in the garden when I was a kid. Just a few plants would yield enough vegetables to feed our family of five ... and the neighbors!

While I am trying to appreciate yellow squash and zucchini again, I do cringe a bit inside when I see “spring vegetable medley” on a restaurant menu because I know that it’s code for a mix of either (a) sauteed or (b) roasted zucchini and yellow squash ... with maybe a mushroom or two, along with a sliced onion.

In the recipes below, when I tested them, I used yellow squash and zucchini interchangeably.

I’ve tried to get creative here and offer a few, hopefully new, ideas for dealing with those bountiful yields of squash. After compiling these recipes, my sister told me that she and her husband were going to try out a recipe using shredded squash as filler in turkey burgers and the proprietress of The Other Store offered me her version of squash soup.

Needless to say, the possibilities are endless as far as new and different ways to serve squash ... a medley of choices if you will.


Pickled Yellow Squash

Makes 3 cups

2 pounds small yellow squash

1/2 of a Vidalia onion

1 small red bell pepper

1/4 cup kosher salt

2 1/2 cups cider vinegar

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground mustard

Slice squash into very thin rounds. Peel and slice onion into very thin strips. Seed and finely dice the red bell pepper.

Toss squash, onion, peppers and salt together in a mixing bowl. Add a handful of ice cubes and just enough cold water to cover (you may have to place a smaller bowl or plate on top of the mixture to keep vegetables submerged). Let sit for 30 minutes.

Rinse vegetables and place in a sieve or colander to drain.

Meanwhile, bring the vinegar, sugar and ground mustard to a boil in a small saucepan. Immediately remove from the heat, stirring well to make sure the ingredients are dissolved. Let stand 3-5 minutes.

Gently pat the vegetables dry with a towel and place in an airtight container. Place a small strainer or sieve over the mouth of the container and pour vinegar mixture through the strainer, over the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate until cool.


Salt & Vinegar Zucchini Chips with Garlic Yogurt Dip

Serves 2-4

2 large zucchini, cut into thin slices

4 cups (more or less) white vinegar

kosher salt

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 small clove garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Place sliced zucchini in a medium sauce pan and fill with vinegar to just covering.

Bring vinegar to a slow boil over medium heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes.

Drain zucchini and dry in a single layer on paper towels.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Lay zucchini in a single layer (you may need two baking sheets, or do this in batches) and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake for 15 minutes then flip chips and bake for 10-15 minutes more, being careful in the last five minutes as to not burn the chips. Some chips will brown before others. Remove chips as they start to crisp and turn golden brown.

To make the dip, combine yogurt, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Serve zucchini chips hot out of the oven with the dip.


Zucchini Spaghetti with Spinach Pesto

Serves 4

For the pesto:

2 cups fresh spinach

2 tablespoons fresh basil

4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup cashews (raw or roasted)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the spinach, basil, garlic, cashews, lemon juice and Parmesan. Process until the spinach breaks down and gradually add the olive oil and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

For the zucchini noodles:

2 large zucchini, ends trimmed

Salt and pepper to taste

Using a mandolin or a box grater laying on its side, shred the zucchini into long strands like spaghetti.

To serve cold: add the pesto immediately after shredding, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

To serve warm: place zucchini noodles in a large skillet over medium heat and lightly saute for 3 minutes. Add the pesto and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.


Yellow Squash, Zucchini and Tomato Tian

Serves 4-6

2 leeks, white part only, washed thoroughly and sliced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 medium zucchini, sliced very thin

4 small yellow squash, sliced very thin

8 plum tomatoes, sliced very thin

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1/3 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch round or a 9-by-13 rectangular glass or ceramic baking dish.

In a saute pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and saute the leeks and garlic over medium low heat until translucent but not brown.

Add garlic and cook for one minute. Spread the leek and garlic mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer the zucchini, squash and tomato slices on top of the onions in one layer. Sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper and thyme and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover dish, sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 30 minutes or until browned.


Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Makes 2 dozen

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups zucchini, grated

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin spice (or use this equivalent mixture: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 12-cup muffin pans.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs. Add sugar and oil and beat. Add cocoa, vanilla and zucchini and stir to combine.

Fold in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin spice mix. Mix until just combined, do not overmix.

Pour or spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tins. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan and let cool on wire rack.

 

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