Friday, August 30, 2013


 From my Petaluma Post column.

It is the middle of August, your garden is going great and there is squash everywhere. Zucchini, Crookneck, Romesco, Pattypan, oh my!   What to do.  A vegetable sauté is nice, you just grill it with olive oil, it is always a hit.  But there is so much more.

One of my favorite tricks is to julienne the squash on a mandolin, a French grater.  I grate the squash lengthwise down to the seeds, leaving the seed area intact.  This gives you nice long strands.  I have never been a fan of raw summer squash, as I didn’t like the texture.  However with a little marinade or heat it turns out great.
Summer Squash Slaw
(serves 4)
2 lbs Zucchini, washed and julienned - yields about 4 cups
1 red bell pepper, cut in thin stips
¼ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced
½ cup celery, thinly sliced
4 oz kidney beans
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup sherry vinegar
2 Tbl Sugar
½ cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients, then allow to sit 45 minutes to allow it time to marinate and the zucchini to wilt. Serve cold.  This can be made 24 hours in advance.  This is a great salad, with no mayonnaise and will hold up very well.

Something else I found surprisingly good was using julienned zucchini to get a great carb free dish by substituting it for pasta.  Yes, I know that sounds awful, but it is actually quite good.

Zucchini Spaghetti
(serves 2)
2 lbs Zucchini, washed and julienned-  yields about 4 cups
1 Tbl salt
3 Tbl olive oil
2 cup Marinara sauce
Parmesan to taste

Place the zucchini julienne is a bowl with salt, toss well and allow to sit for 30 minutes, during which the zucchini will wilt and put off water.  Then drain it and rinse well.  Next heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, add in the zucchini and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until tender.  Add the marinara and heat through.  Serve with parmesan.

I love SomTom, a Vietnamese green papaya salad.  However finding the green papaya is not always that easy.  So I have made it with this julienne as well.

Zucchini SomTom
2 cups of shredded Zucchini
½ cup cherry tomoates, cut in half
¼ cup fresh green beans, cut 1”, then smashed with your knife
¼ cup chopped thai basil
Juice of ½ lime
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbl fish sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbl of toasted peanuts, chopped

Combine, garlic, sugar, fish sauce, and lime.  Set this aside.  Combine the zucchini, green beans, basil and tomatoes and toss well.  Next mix in the dressing.  Finally top with the chopped peanuts.  This goes great with barbequed pork or chicken.

Ratatouille is a very classic French stew.  While it is considered a peasant dish, it is normally a complicated dish that can take a lot of prep, but I have lightened up the recipe to make it quick and easy with things you might normally have in your garden.

Quick Ratatouille
2 cup medium chop zucchini
2 cup medium chop yellow squash
1 cup bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1 medium onion, julienned
2 cloves garlic
2 cup chopped garden tomatoes
¼ cup chopped basil
½ Tbl dried thyme
1 cup thick sliced mushrooms
½ cup olive oil

Prep all of your vegetables and set aside.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, then add the garlic, onion and thyme, and sauté till golden brown.  Add the squash, mushrooms and peppers, sauté until wilted.  Next add the tomatoes, and bring to a simmer and reduce.  -Finish with basil and salt and pepper.  Serve with some toasted hearty bread.

One of my favorite recipes as a kid was a zucchini fritter, yes I even liked zucchini as a kid!  But, seriously, anything is good in a fritter.  This is a home style recipe.

Zucchini Fritter
2 cup Bisquick or other biscuit mix
1 cup zucchini
½ cup grated parmesan
1 Tbl dried Italian seasoning
2 eggs
1 cup milk (approx.)

Combine all the dry ingredients, stir in the eggs, then the milk.  You can make this batter as thick or thin as you like.  Thicker would be a fritter, but thinner would make a great pancake.  You might want to top with the ratatouille? Mmm

From here you can finish two ways.  Cook as a regular pancakes, for the thicker batter you might need to finish in the oven. Or you can drop in to a deep fat fryer and serve like a hush puppy.  If you are interested in a more detailed discussion, see my blog ( and search for “fritters”, there is a good article on the differences and how to make Hushpuppies, Beignets or Fritters.

And never forget your favorite zucchini bread recipe.  This summer enjoy the summer squash!

And when winter arrives don't forget this incredible Butternut Bisque!

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