Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thousands and Thousands of Uses

Just last week, I was reminiscing with some facebook friends about some of my favorite scenes from Pee Wee's Big Adventure. I remain a fan out of loyalty to Pee Wee's big bicycle because it's the kind that I still ride!

~ 29 August 2012 ~

And my heart is with him at that existentialist moment when he finds out that there is no basement in the Alamo: "Some things they don't teach you in school; some things you just have to learn for yourself."

Another priceless segment of the Alamo Tour (click to view) is the the mini - lesson on "culinary delights of the Southwest," provided by tour guide Tina (Jan Hooks): "The mainstay of the Alamo diet is corn. Corn can be prepared many ways. It can be boiled, shucked, creamed, or, in this case, dried. Corn can also be used to make -- tortillas! . . . Yes, there are thousands and thousands of uses for corn, all of which I will tell you about right now!"

Thousands! Poor Pee Wee! He is running out of patience!

This summer, the mainstay seems to be yellow squash. My cousin Dodie wrote from California to say that "somehow we have all these yellow squash and acorn squash, but no zucchini! How could this happen?" I had to agree; it's the same here in our garden. Though Gerry planted half and half and we usually have a medium amount of each, so far we haven't seen one zucchini, only yellow squash as far as the eye can see!

So yellow squash it is! I don't know a thousand uses, but I do know a good half dozen . . . all of which I will tell you about right now . . .

Shredded Yellow Squash (for fritters or freezing)

Yellow Squash Pickles

Yellow Squash Chutney

Yellow Squash Ratatouille

Yellow Squash Sandwiches, Soups, Salads
I've been cutting the larger ones into slab - size slices, grilling them indoors on a grill pan, and eating them on large wheat rolls -- yummy yellow squash sandwich! I've also cut several up into cubes and stuck them straight into the freezer, no blanching or anything. You can put them into almost any soup or chili throughout the winter. I also have this idea to make three - bean salad, but instead of the yellow wax beans, use little chunks of yellow squash. If we previously held a slight preference for the zucchini, we've gotten over it this summer!

Dodie reminded me of a family favorite, zucchini, shredded and frozen for making bread throughout the winter (nuts and chocolate chips, optional but extra tasty). Maybe this will be the year we try it with yellow squash instead. Who knows, it might be equally delicious. From my brother Bruce's kitchen comes the observation that "while the zucchini is more versatile (holds up better in soups, or when baked), I actually prefer the taste of the yellow squash."

Indeed! Who can forget the taste of yellow and white squash mashed up with tons of butter like the grandmothers used to do! No longer politically correct, I know, but delicious! As Bruce says, "Just like mashed potatoes!" Or, more moderately, "Steamed, with a little butter, salt and pepper." Along the same lines as my squash sandwich, Bruce also points out that a whole portobello mushroom, grilled, with a slice of Swiss or provolone, "makes a dandy sandwich" (but first, check out Catharine Savage Brosman's poem "Portobello Mushrooms" on my Fortnightly post from a couple of months ago: "Hungry Heart" ).

In addition to the poems you'll find there, I'm allowing my wise cousin the last word: "I usually just steam with other veggies or saute and occasionally grill . . . with fresh veggies, simple is always the best."

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