Sunday, May 6, 2012

Summer Squash

If you've been wondering where I've been hiding the last few weeks, I've been buried in school work and eating more burgers and pizza than I care to admit. But now that school is out, I'm slowly getting back into my cooking groove. Arlond and I visited the farmer's market this week and picked up lots of yummy food–most of which I haven't done anything with, yet. But I'm slowly working on it.

Anyway, while we were there, one of the farmers was selling yellow summer squash. My parents never really cooked squash for us when we were kids, so I've never been really comfortable eating it. I usually would just pick around it if it were in something. I did eat zucchini bread and things like that, but not much of anything else. Recently, I was served raw summer squash slices and I figured I'd try them out. And they were pretty good. I enjoyed their light, nutty flavor and they weren't so watery like cucumbers. So I bought some at the grocery store to put in my minestrone-ish soup, and that worked out really well, too. So I checked out the squash and asked the farmer how he liked to prepare them so I could get some more ideas. He said he ate them raw and would boil them, but only just a little bit, and said his wife made this really good stuffing with cottage cheese and cornbread with it. I could see the sweet fondness he had for the dish as he recalled just how much better it tasted two or three days after it had been cooked. He turned to his wife and asked if she had the recipe and she pulled out a half piece of paper with the recipe for squash cornbread. So I bought a basket of squash and took the recipe home and sat on it for a few days until I finally forced myself to stop being lazy and make it before the squash went bad. The recipe called for an 8x12 pan, which is way too big for me to eat by myself, so I opted for a half-portion, as detailed below:

Squash Cornbread:

1/2 cup boiled chopped squash (drain through colander)
1/2 stick butter (melted)
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 chopped onion
1 chopped jalapeno pepper (the recipe called for 1 can of chopped green chilies, but I opted to go with fresh peppers instead)
1 egg
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Whatever 1/2 a pinch of salt is (You can also substitute a box of cornbread mix for the last four ingredients)

Mix all ingredients. Bake at 375°F in greased 8x6ish pan for about 25 minutes.

I meant to take a picture before I started eating it, but I forgot.

All in all, it was pretty delicious. It's definitely a great side to add on to a meal and relatively quick and easy to make. I put the rest in the fridge, so we'll find out tomorrow just how good the leftovers are.

So after I made my mini-squash cornbread, I still had two more squashes to use up. I pulled out my Simply in Season and looked for some ideas. I found a recipe for zucchini cookies, and figured it was close enough to what I needed.

Yellow Squash Cookies (adapted from Simply in Season, p. 166):
3/4 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups summer squash (shredded)
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Mix in flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Slowly stir in squash and chocolate chips. Drop onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 375°F. (Note: Bake cookies as soon as they are mixed. If the batter stands too long, it will get a bit watery).

You can never go wrong with cookies.

So I was a little short on chocolate chips, but I had one Hershey's bar and cut that up and added it in too. I think what I liked most about these cookies was the nutty flavor without the nuts. Call me crazy, but I really hate nuts in my baked goods. Not because I dislike nuts, but I dislike having hard bits of nut inside my soft, gooey cookies and brownies and cake. So it was nice getting that flavor while still having an overall soft consistency. 

So summer squash is definitely a go for me. I'm not sure if Arlond's going to get on board, but I'll make sure he tries some when he gets home and see what he thinks.

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