My kitchen garden contains long, vibrant green vines containing beautiful, edible, yellow flowers. The blossoms precede an abundant crop of summer squash. Summer squash are members of the gourd family and include zucchini, cocozelle, yellow squash (crooked and straight) and pattypan, also called scalloped and scaloppini.
Summer squash is available year-round, but are best from May through July. They should be harvested when the rind is tender and the flesh is sweet. To select the perfect summer squash at the grocery store, look for ones that are medium-sized, with shiny, unblemished, slightly tender rinds. The larger ones may be fibrous with hard rinds and seeds. The smaller ones may not have developed much flavor.
Summer squash is very fragile and should be handled with care, as small punctures and drops of water will lead to decay. They should be stored in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator, unwashed and in a perforated plastic bag, for no more than three to five days. Wash the squash immediately before cooking.
Squash can be frozen, but it will be soft, making it more suitable for dishes like casseroles where crispness isn’t important. To prepare squash for freezing, cut off both ends and cut it into cubes or slices. Blanch for 2 minutes in hot water. You also can freeze grated summer squash.
Summer squash is low in calories, but the nutrients are in the peel, so never peel summer squash. Squash is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin A, dietary fiber, potassium, copper, folate, phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B1, B2 and B6, calcium, zinc, niacin and protein.
Squash is deliciously versatile and can be prepared in casseroles, as croquettes, stir-fried, stuffed, baked, boiled or as the “crust” for this recipe for Sneaky Squash Pizza.
SNEAKY SQUASH PIZZA
This squash-based pizza “crust” tastes great and is good for you. The pumpkin puree in the tomato sauce provides a boost of beta-carotene and fiber. You can add 2 or 3 ounces of sliced pepperoni, if desired, but this all-veggie version is delicious. Any leftover sauce can be used on pasta, refrigerated for up to five days or frozen for three months.
3 cups grated zucchini
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 Eggland’s Best eggs, well-beaten
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup canned, unseasoned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1. Generously oil a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Preheat oven to 450 F. Put grated zucchini in a colander and press out as much excess liquid as possible. You can also roll the grated zucchini tightly in a clean dishtowel and twist it to wring out any excess water to ensure a crisper crust.
2. Put the zucchini in a mixing bowl. Add beaten eggs, flour, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Mix well and spread mixture evenly in baking pan. Bake in 450 F oven for 8 minutes.
3. Remove baking pan with zucchini crust from oven, and reduce temperature to 350 F. Using a medium bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, garlic powder, black pepper, sugar and the ground nutmeg until well-combined. Spread sauce evenly over baked zucchini crust.
4. Combine onions and bell peppers and sprinkle vegetables over the sauce. Arrange sliced tomatoes on top and sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and Italian seasoning. Drizzle the cheeses with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake at 350 F, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
© 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.
Juicy peaches hot off the grill are perfect with tender seared meat. Try the following recipes from Good Housekeeping.
Southern Peach Pork Chops
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch black pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed with garlic press
4 (about 5 ounces each) pork loin chops, 3/4-inch thick
4 large peaches, each cut in half
1/2 cup peach jam, substitute apricot jam or preserves
Arugula, for garnish
1. In cup, stir curry powder, brown sugar, olive oil, salt, cinnamon, pepper and garlic.
2. With hands, rub both sides of pork chops with curry mixture.
3. Brush cut side of peach halves and 1 side of chops with some jam. Place peaches, brushed side down, and chops, brushed side up, on grill over medium heat; cook 5 minutes.
4. Turn chops and peaches over and brush grilled side of chops with some jam; cook 5 minutes longer. Remove peaches from grill when browned and place on platter. Turn chops and brush with remaining jam; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer, until chops are browned on the outside and still slightly pink on the inside. Place chops on platter with peaches; garnish with arugula. Serves 4.
• Each serving: About 475 calories, 24g total fat (8g saturated), 23g protein, 42g carbohydrate, 58mg cholesterol, 325mg sodium.
Try this easy dessert recipe with other grilled fruits such as nectarines or apricots, then top with frozen yogurt and strawberry or blackberry sauce.
Grilled Peach Melba
2 large ripe peaches, each cut in half and pits discarded
1/2 pint raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
1. Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling on medium.
2. Place peach halves on hot grill grate and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until lightly charred and tender, turning over once.
3. Meanwhile, prepare sauce: In bowl, with fork, mash half the raspberries with sugar. Stir in remaining raspberries.
4. To serve, place a peach half in each of 4 dessert bowls; top with ice cream and raspberry sauce.
• Each serving: About 160 calories, 8g total fat (5g saturated), 26mg cholesterol, 25mg sodium, 22g total carbohydrate, 3g dietary fiber, 2g protein.
For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our Web site at www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/.
© 2009 Hearst Communications, Inc. All rights reserved