Our summer squash harvest is abundant this year. Lest you think zucchini is never not abundant, I assure you that last year we had trouble getting the plants started and they petered out early. But come to think of it, I put enough grated squash in the freezer last summer that, despite frequent winter baking, there’s still at least one bag still in the freezer.
No difficulty growing summer squash this year. We used leftover 2013 seeds, heirloom varieties for which we paid a little extra for the adventure of trying something new. Cocozelle is an old Italian summer squash that produces very long fruits, deep green with vertical light green stripes. Black Beauty is a traditional shiny, dark green zucchini. We planted one hill of each and each hill produced at least one bushy plant.
So far we haven’t tired of grilled zucchini as a dinner vegetable. Jay slices the squash lengthwise, brushes slices with olive oil, and sprinkles on seasoning. Any slices that are not consumed, which happens only when Jay purposely grills extra, are refrigerated until lunch the next day and added to sandwiches.
In the past month or so I’ve baked a dozen small or large loaves of Zucchini Molasses Raisin Bread. Family and friends helped us eat a few loaves and the rest are in the freezer. We’ve polished off two Pineapple-Zucchini cakes and one Zucchini Deep Dish Pie. And I’ve given away many pounds of zucchini to neighbors and fellow church council members. I haven’t yet made a zucchini casserole or hamburger-zucchini-tomato one-dish meal, nor frozen grated zucchini for winter baking, so options remain for the fruits still forming.
I get by doubling the amount of grated summer squash in sweet breads and cakes, yet another recipe stands out for the amount of produce it uses: Zucchini Deep Dish Pie. While the original recipe calls for ten cups of sliced zucchini, there’s enough crust and topping for twelve or fourteen cups of the vegetable if your baking dish is deep enough. Or you could use ten cups of zucchini but reduce the dry ingredients by one-third.
The couple who gave us the recipe recommended removing the zucchini peel and seeds so people think they’re eating an apple crumb cake. I do scoop out seeds from fat vegetables but I don’t peel. I’ve yet to see anyone fail to finish this dessert even when told what they’re eating. It really is yummy, easy to make, and yields at least 15 servings.
Zucchini Deep Dish Pie
4 C all-purpose flour (you may replace half with whole wheat)
1 2/3 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C unsalted butter
Combine until crumbly. Put half the crumb mixture into an ungreased 9″ x 13″ baking pan or two 9″ round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
10 C sliced zucchini (peel and remove seeds if desired)
2/3 C lemon juice
Cook together until zucchini is tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add
1 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Simmer one minute. Cool slightly, pour over the baked crust.
Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the remaining dry mix and put on top of the filling.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.
Cool about an hour before serving. Top with vanilla yogurt or ice cream if desired. Yield: 15 servings.