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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.

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  • 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

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– 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: Preserving Green Onion Tops

25 Aug

Last year’s mild winter meant we had green onions in our garden, ready to go, all year long. They kept growing with a vengeance. Green onions, also called scallions or spring onions, are edible from white bulb all the the way to the tips of the stems, but the white and green parts are sometimes treated as two different ingredients as their differing texture requires vastly different cooking times. Occasionally a recipe will call for one part of the onion but not the other.

 

The green part of the onion is more delicate in flavor and structure than the white bulb and to stay fresh require a different method of storage.

The cool temps of the fridge are great for onion tops, but the lack of humidity not so much, so we need to create an environment that is most without being so wet that things get slimy and gross.

The onions that grew in my garden had really, really long tops so I cut them in half, though I did still have to fold the long tops to get it to fit in the bag. If you remember the trick to keeping most cut herbs fresh, you store them directly in water. That would not be good for our green onion top friends. To keep them fresh you need to moisten a paper towel (damp but not dripping) and roll up the tops inside like a soggy burrito. Toss the packets in a plastic bag and you are good to go! They’ll keep handily this way for a few days or so.

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