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Recipe: Zephyr Squash Bake

14 Oct

I am always glad to add another recipe to my summer squash arsenal because this time of year people are innundated with squash and every where you go home gardeners are trying to relieve themselves of it. I love to turn them into fritters or add them to a soup and my mom loves to grate them and cook them with onions like you would hash browns. When my friend Jacob came to town awhile ago he brought a Zephyr squash from his garden, which looked like a yellow-green striped zucchini the size of a small loaf of bread, and it was so large I wanted to try to bake it like you would a gratin.

Summer squash is a general term which can be applied to any squash harvested in the summer, such as zucchini, patty pan, lemon zuke, etc, as opposed to the winter squash which are harvested in the fall and keep well during the cold winter months: pumpkin, acorn, and butternut. Zephyr squash is not required for this dish, it just happened to be what I had on hand. It worked well because of its large size.

After some pantry rummaging I decided not to do a gratin after all. I had some tomato sauce and half a block of jack cheese that I wanted to use up. This turned out more like a meat-less, pasta-less lasagne, so think lots of sauce and a bit creamy from the cheese. I wanted to use either ricotta or cottage cheese but I had neither, so I substituted Greek yogurt, which worked really well. It  separated a bit when cooked and so it created a ricotta-like texture that was really nice.  I served it with a green salad dressed with oil and vinegar, Parmesan toasts, and because I live with two carnivores, baked meatballs.


  • one large or several small summer squash, sliced into rounds or half-moons, seeds removed
  • half a yellow onion, sliced
  • about two cups of tomato sauce (jar of veggie pasta sauce will do)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt, fat content up to you
  • one half cup jack cheese, or more, to taste
  • parsley for sprinkling


– Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

– Slice squash and put it in a 9 in x 9 in pan.

– Dice a yellow onion and add to pan.

– Pour tomato sauce over onions and squash. Mix gently.

– Add yogurt and mix again.

– Layer top of pan with jack cheese and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is browned and bubbling and squash is fork tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


This dinner was simple to put together and perfect for a late summer dinner.



Little Big Kitchen: Adventures in Pickling

23 Sep

One of our goals for this summer was to do some pickling with our friend Jacob. Specifically, jalapeno pickling. Pickled jalapenos are a fantastic thing, but the jarred kind you buy at the store just don’t cut it. Previously the only ways to procure this delight involve finding a taco truck that pickles their own or to befriend a kindly Central American grandma who will do it for you. Anthony, Jacob and I decided to take matters into our own hands, and using the pepper bounty from Jacob’s garden, we set about pickling our own.

We used a few different types of peppers, including cayenne and habenero, but mostly jalapeno. I had been given some ball canning jars from my uncle’s cousin Ginny and we had an afternoon free to experiment. Since we were there we also pickled some cucumbers that Jake picked up at the farmer’s market. It was my first experience with both, and Jacob’s second. We were excite novices, and I followed all of Jacob’s instructions, as he was the senior novice in charge of the project.

We used shallots from our friends Justin and Melynda’s garden. I feel like this was a group effort before we even started.

Pickling will mellow the heat of the peppers, but we’ll see if I’m able to tolerate them. I adore the smell of pickled jalapenos, and love the taste when I can get past the heat.

We have several jars in the garage right now getting down to business and doing their thing. I’ll report back once we taste them. Jacob assures me it probably won’t kill us.




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