I'm sure gardeners and farmers call all agree that summer squash is one thing that is bountiful yet sometimes seems a little pointless. You can only eat it so much. Throw it on the grill or stew it up with butter, salt, and pepper. What else can you do with it? Most of you may think, that's it! But folks, I am here to tell you, squash can be put to use and enjoyed in many-a-ways and through out the year. Here are 10 ideas I've come up with to deal with my squash problem.
1) Make squash bread (or muffins)!
Squash and zucchini are basically the same thing with a little variation in taste and texture. I have been using Mark Bittman's zucchini bread recipe from "How to Cook Everything" but substituting a very heaping and packed cup of zephyr squash (just to get rid of more squash!). I find that this is an excellent use for large squash that you can't eat all of. I deseed and peel it. I find that about one large squash goes into one loaf. Here's his recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ cup whole wheat and ½ cup cornmeal
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground nutmeg
½ cup walnuts (optional)
½ cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 1/4 cup milk
Add to wet ingredients:
1 cup shredded, drained zucchini
Mix wet ingredients into dry, making sure not to over-mix. Batter will be lumpy. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out dry.
2) Squash Fritters/burgers/patties! There are lots of easy recipes out there for this (Mark Bittman has a great one, actually). I usually wing it cause that's just my style. I grate the squash or zukes. I add whatever other veg I want (chopped or grated) say carrots or beets, garlic, onions, etc. I add fresh or dried herbs, if fresh chopped finely. This could be cilantro, basil, oregano, dill, cumin seed, curry, turmeric, etc. Add an egg or two (for vegetarians or vegans try ground flax seed and water, 1 tbsp flax + 2.5 tbsp water=1 egg) depending how much veg you have. Add a little flower to solidify your patty. You want it wet but fairly solid. Choose your favorite oil and fry them up! Alternatively you could bake! Put the fritters into a cupcake pan. Add a little more egg than flour, bake at 375 or so for about 30 min!
Some flavor ideas:
Moroccan flavor try adding raisins, cinnamon, a pinch of clove, cumin seed, coriander, ground ginger, and allspice. Garnish with yogurt and fresh cilantro or make a dill mint yogurt sauce to top it off.
Mexican: make the patty pretty plainly but add salt and maybe a chili (habanero, jalapeno). Garnish with lime, avocado, pico de gallo and queso fresco!
Indian: Add other veg like okra or peppers maybe a little tomato for acid. Add 2-3 tbsp of garam masala (Here's a good recipe for it) Fry it so it's brown on the bottoms and a little crunchy. Top with a yogurt sauce and mint chutney and fresh cilantro.
3. Freeze it! Obvi! Blanch it, Cool it, Drain it. Freeze it. Have it all year round to try cool stuff with.
4. Make cold soup out of it! Ok. I have two ideas for this. The first thing that came to mind was a delicious cold gazpacho with a dollop of yogurt and some fresh herb on top. I think it would be great to grill it first, cool it, then chop and add it to a gazpacho recipe with all the grilled flavor. You could also chop it and food processor it with the rest of the gazpacho ingredients. Here is a recipe that calls for it to be just cut into chunks and set in the gazpacho. You could also add some to a cold cucumber yogurt and dill soup to get a little more volume. Might want to sweat it first if you like your cold soup less watery.
5. Make warm soup out of it! (and freeze the leftovers). A classic would be to sautee, roast or boil your squash then add to a pot of stock. Add cream once off the stove and puree with an immersion blender. Fresh herbs on top. yum. Then freeze left overs. Although summer squash could also go in a classic tomato-y veggie soup as well or beef stew. You could use some of the squash that you froze in a hot soup in the winter. Yum, yum, yum.
6. Ferment it! So the other day I was making some kimchi and kraut with cabbage and green onions. I just can't get enough of either, particularly kimchi. I didn't have a ton of cabbage so I thought, " How can I make this kimchi stretch? I need more!" So I grated a bunch of summer squash and threw it in there. The texture is perfect and you can't even tell it's not cabbage. "I can't believe it's not cabbage kimchi". It's so good and maintains it's crunch and is real juicy and easily adds it's juices to the brine when you massage it with salt.
7. Pickle it! oh man. I cannot wait to try this. Here is a recipe for sweet pickles squash with onions and peppers.
This one is a refrigerator pickle recipe. So it will be ready much faster. and it looks KILLER! yay for the internet.
8. Make Fake Apple Pie: Ok. If you can do this with zucchini you can do it with squash. This recipe looks awesome. I have yet to try it. But I will and will let y'all know how it goes!
9. Summer Squash Chocolate Cake! Oh yes I did just say chocolate cake! The good thing about squash is it adds texture and moisture to baked goods. Again, this is a recipe I haven't tried, but intend to.
10. Add it to any sauce or salad or turn it into a topping or dish enhancer. Squash is not the most tasty thing by itself but mixed into a dish it adds moisture, texture (especially if raw), and volume. Make a kale salad go a lot farther with some grated summer squash. Add it to a pasta sauce to stretch your tomatoes a bit and so you have left overs tomorrow. Roast it and mix it in with your pesto pasta. Add it to a stir-fry. Grill it and throw it on a steak taco. Or grate it raw and put it in your pico de gallo. Squash has endless uses.
This is a lot of what we've been up to! Besides three farmers markets. How do we enjoy all this beautiful food we're harvesting? I'm working without Jesse and Tony this week. But I've been able to scrounge up some help for tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday and Thursday! Thanks Emily, Lauren and Regan!
Here are some photos from the week!