Food Friday: Summer Squash for Everyone


The Fourth of July has snuck up on us again. It is a four-day weekend this year, and everyone in the Spy Test Kitchens is poised to flee the office early, and get on the road to dream destinations. There is no better time to be celebrating with all the squash in your arsenal at picnics, family reunions, neighborhood potlucks, parades and fireworks festivals you will be attending. It is time to unload all your spare squash.

This is an excellent opportunity to use all that squash that is starting to crowd your humble garden beds. That one packet of squash seeds you planted can probably take care of a family of four from now until next planting season. The prospects are daunting. But do you want to be the former-favorite aunt who brings zucchini ginger cupcakes to the picnic at the lake? Not if you want those kids taking care of you in your old age! They never forget so-called “gourmet” baking experiments, or deliberate kid slights.

This zucchini salad requires time in the kitchen, which is not my favorite place to be these hot summer days: Be warned!

But roasting vegetables can be swift and painless – you can do it in the morning, before you go off to the parade: And if you are going to be hanging with your in-laws, it never hurts to look impressive.

Bon Appétit stops the squash dead in its tracks with this pretty ricotta-stuffed squash blossom:

You can tiptoe out the back door and pick the blossoms early in the morning, before the rest of the house is stirring. Squash blossoms always look so summery and pretty, a natural progression from putting garden nasturtiums in your salads.
For a seasonal appetizer Bon Appétit also suggest a Grilled Summer Squash Baba Ghanoush, which is worth preparing if only for the delight in rolling “Baba Ghanoush” around on your tongue.

Here is a conversation starter for the neighborhood picnic: squash pickles. You can hand out goodie bags of squash with printed recipe cards, and rid yourself, ahem, redistribute, that surplus squash: So creative! Be sure to use recyclable bags! Be that neighbor!

Or you can serve an elegant cool gazpacho, and never get near a stove, oven, or grill. You can entertain the fantasy of floating around in cool, wrinkle-free linen, while tossing witty bons mot to your admiring and sycophantic guests. Or you can have a nice cool soup, and get in all your veggies for the day, for once: Or, depending on how annoying in-laws and neighbors’ children are, pour the gazpacho in a tall glass, add a shot of vodka and a straw and go about your buzzy business…

If our fecund squash plants are any indication of the manifest destiny of summer squash, you had best have a rotation of squash recipes lined up: breakfast, lunch and dinner. You are going to be working on a veritable squash assembly line. And you will look back fondly on these wacky summer squash follies when you are scraping ice off your windshield come February. Honest.

“The trouble is, you cannot grow just one zucchini. Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of zucchini will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden, menacing the other vegetables. At night, you will be able to hear the ground quake as more and more zucchinis erupt.”
-Dave Barry

About Jean Sanders

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