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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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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of March 3:

* Celebrate the city flower! Catch the 100th Sacramento Camellia Show 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2, and 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Admission is free.

* Between showers, pick up fallen camellia blooms; that helps cut down on the spread of blossom blight that prematurely browns petals.

* Feed camellias after they bloom with fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants.

* Camellias need little pruning. Remove dead wood and shape, if necessary.

* Tread lightly or not at all on wet ground; it compacts soil.

* Avoid digging in wet soil, too; wait until it clumps in your hand but doesn’t feel squishy.

* Note spots in your garden that stay wet after storms; improve drainage with the addition of organic matter such as compost.

* Keep an eye out for leaning trunks or ground disturbances around a tree’s base, a sign of shifting roots in the wet soil.

* Fertilize roses, annual flowers and berries as spring growth begins to appear.

* If aphids are attracted to new growth, knock them off with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. To make your own “bug soap,” use two tablespoons liquid soap – not detergent – to one quart water in a spray bottle. Shake it up before use. Among the liquid soaps that seem most effective are Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps; try the peppermint scent.

* Pull weeds now! Don’t let them get started. Take a hoe and whack them as soon as they sprout.

* Prune and fertilize spring-flowering shrubs after bloom.

* Cut back and fertilize perennial herbs to encourage new growth.

* Make plans for your summer garden. Once the soil is ready, start adding amendments such as compost.

* Indoors, start seeds for summer favorites such as tomatoes, peppers and squash as well as summer flowers.

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