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Dash of Class: Recipes starring the ever popular squash

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Food column by Nora Sweat

By Nora Sweat

In today’s column, we find ourselves back on the alphabetical tour of fruits and vegetables with the letter S, focusing on one very popular vegetable.

That vegetable is squash. If it’s not already in your garden, maybe it will be.

Squash is in the gourd family, with two categories, winter and summer squash. Winter squash come in many shapes and colors. The different varieties of winter squash may be substituted for each other in many squash recipes. Winter squash are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Types most familiar to you are acorn, butternut, spaghetti and Hubbard. Summer squash have two very popular varieties, summer crookneck and zucchini.

I have a recipe for two winter squash and two summer squash. Zucchini doesn’t have to solely be turned into zucchini bread or cake. Hopefully, you will have some squash maturing very soon in your garden. If not, summer squash are readily available at farmer’s markets and local groceries.

Acorn Squash Butter

3 acorn squash, halved and seeded

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2 1/4 cups brown sugar

12-ounce can frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Fill two 9” x 13” baking dishes with 1 inch of water each. Place three acorn squash halves cut-side down into each baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven until the squash is very tender and the skin begins to separate from the meat, about 1 hour. Remove squash and set aside until cool enough to handle. Discard the water.

Scoop the acorn squash flesh from the skins and into a blender. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. Puree until thick and smooth. Scrape the squash into a heavy-bottom pot and stir in the brown sugar and apple juice concentrate. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thickened, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely before packing into freezer-safe containers. Store in the freezer up to 6 months.

Source: www.allrecipes.com

Sweet Hubbard Squash Custard Pie

2 1/2 pounds Hubbard squash, cut into chunks and seeds removed

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons salted butter, softened

1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange squash on lined baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven until the skin is browned and flesh is tender, about 45 minutes; let cool before handling. Remove flesh from skin using a spoon. Reduce temperature setting on oven to 375 degrees.

Place 2 cups of squash in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the brown sugar, eggs, cream, apple pie spice, salt and butter; process until smooth. Pour the squash mixture into the pie crust. Bake until the filling rises, about 1 hour.

Source: www.allrecipes.com

Zucchini Tomato Bake

Cooking spray

1 pound sliced zucchini

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 1/4 pounds sliced vine-ripened tomatoes

1/2 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 2-quart shallow baking dish with cooking spray and alternately layer sliced zucchini, corn kernels and sliced tomatoes. Combine Panko and Parmesan; sprinkle on top. Bake, uncovered, in the center of oven for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cover with foil and bake 10 minutes more or until vegetables are tender. Serve immediately.

Source: www.health.com

Nora’s Note: Panko is located in the same aisle of the grocery that bread crumbs, cornmeal, etc. are located. They are used in Japanese cooking and make a delicious crumb coating for meat and fish.

Breaded and Baked Zucchini Crisps

2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 clove mashed garlic

1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine egg, milk and garlic in a shallow dish and set aside for about 15 minutes to let flavors combine. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, parsley and pepper in another shallow dish. Dip zucchini slices into egg mixture, then into crumbs and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over and bake for 5 minutes more or until brown and crispy.

Source: www.allaboutfood.com

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.comor by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.