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Zucchini and much more – creamy, light and delicious

Recipe: Two-squash casserole uses mix of summer varieties

Yellow and green squashes, diced
The yellow pattypan and green zucchini squashes are diced before steaming.
(Photos: Debbie Arrington)


Creamy summer squash casserole is an old Kentucky favorite. Usually, it’s made with baby crooknecks; peeled, boiled and mashed.

This variation uses a mix of summer squash, still plentiful in October. Even (somewhat) over-sized squash will work. Once puréed, big and little squash all cook the same.

The combination of green zucchini and yellow pattypan makes for an attractive side dish, too. All green or all yellow is pretty (and tasty), too.

Two-squash casserole

Makes 6 servings

Zucchini and pattypan squash
Summer squash season is coming to an end, but there's
still time to find (or harvest) them for the casserole.

Ingredients:

2 pounds mixed summer squash (zucchini, pattypan, crookneck, etc.), chopped into 1-inch chunks

1 egg, beaten

¼ cup cream

1 tablespoon sugar

5 teaspoons cornstarch

½ cup (1 cube) butter, melted

½ cup onion, finely chopped

¼ cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

Casserole baked and ready to eat
Two-squash casserole is a homey, creamy side dish.


Instructions:

Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Steam squash over simmering water until fork tender. In a food processor, purée squash until smooth.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg with cream. Mix together sugar and cornstarch; add to egg-cream mixture. Stir in melted butter and chopped onion. Fold in puréed squash. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour mixture into greased casserole dish. Sprinkle grated cheese over top.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes or until top is golden.

Serve warm.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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