“Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Night”

August 8th was the official holiday, established by Pennsylvanian Tom Roy, this day encourages sharing. “Due to the overzealous planting of zucchini, citizens are asked to drop off baskets of the squash on neighbors’ doorsteps.” Inspired by the “Submit an Entry” form in a copy of Chase’s Calendar of Events, Roy and his wife, Ruth, have launched several creative holidays.

A few suggestions from Tom Roy’s “Top 20 List for successful sneaking of Zucchini or otherwise ridding yourself of unwanted surplus summer squash:”

  • Look for out-of-the-way places which have signs posted, “Clean Fill Wanted.”
  • Under light of full moon, either stark naked or wearing full army camouflage, carrying a machete or any garden implement, run amuck in your zucchini patch, cutting and slashing. Be sure to thank Mother Nature for her bounty before and after this cathartic experience.
  • Buy a large roll of freezer paper–the kind that sub shops use. Then proceed to wrap each zucchini that has managed to grow to a foot or more in length. Next time your child has a fundraiser, send him or her out supplied with these phony subs. Tell child to drop them off with neighbors or relatives and leave quickly. It’s advisable that a responsible adult hover nearby in a get-away car.
  • Gather all available plastic containers and freezer bags. Drink a vat of your favorite caffeinated beverage, in preparation for staying up ’round the clock to purée large quantities of zucchini. This can then be packaged neatly and artistically labeled: “For Zucchini Nut Bread Recipe.” These packages can be freely given, along with copies of recipe, to anyone on your Christmas list.

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Here are a couple of ways to disguise your zucchini crop!

 

Zucchini Fritters- like potato pancakes without potato

1 lb of zucchini (about 2 medium sized), coarsely grated
Salt
Ground black pepper
1 large egg
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup olive oil (or vegetable oil)
Sour cream

Method

1 Salt the zucchini with about 1 teaspoon of salt (more or less to taste). Try to remove the excess moisture from the zucchini by either squeezing the liquid out with a potato ricer, or by squeezing with paper towels. (The original recipe calls for putting the zucchini in a colander set in the sink to let it drain for 10 minutes after salting it. I think it works much better to use a potato ricer.)

2 Whisk egg in a large bowl; add the zucchini, flour, scallions, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix to combine well.

3 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook fritters in two batches. Drop six mounds of batter (2 Tbsp each) into the skillet. Flatten slightly. Cook, turning once, until browned, 4-6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve immediately, with sour cream (or plain yogurt) on the side.

 

 

 

Best Zucchini Disguise Ever!

 

I have radar when it comes to zucchini, no matter how many ways you try to disguise it. I just don’t care for it. At a church luncheon one day, I was thoroughly enjoying some apple crisp made by one of the Wagner girls (top cooks all!) when the clan burst into laughter. They got me! Not only had the yummy dessert never even seen an apple, it was made with…zucchini! Well, of course I had to get some more and I poked and prodded, looking for tell-tale green things, but it was so cleverly disguised that there was only one thing more to do…I ate some more. If this recipe doesn’t get the veggies in your kids, nothing will! Thanks to Kathy Schumacher and Nancy Liuzzi (Wagners) for the recipe.                                                                                                                             Julie

Zucchini Pie

Disguised as Apple Crisp

 

Crust/crisp:

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ tsp. salt

3 sticks of butter

Filling:

8 to 10 cups peeled, sliced zucchini (seeds removed) (use more if you like!)

2/3 cup lemon juice

      1 cup sugar

      ½ tsp. nutmeg

      1 tsp. cinnamon

 

        Mix dry crust ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly. Pat half the mixture into a 13X9 inch pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Take ½ cup of mixture from the second half and use in filling.

         Cook zucchini in lemon juice until tender.

Add sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Simmer 4 minutes. Add the ½ cup of crust mix to thicken.

Pour filling over baked crust.

Add 1 tsp. cinnamon to the rest of the crumb mixture and sprinkle it over the zucchini filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.

 

Zucchini Pickles

2 pounds zucchini or summer squash, sliced, about 7 cups

2 medium onions, halved and sliced, about 2 cups

1/4 cup salt

2 cups white vinegar

1 to 2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon celery seed

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoons mustard seed

      Place squash and onions in a large non-reactive pot; add the salt and enough water to cover. Let stand for 2 hours; drain well. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring remaining ingredients to a boil; pour over the squash and onions. Let stand for 2 hours. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes; pack in hot sterilized jars and seal; process according to jar manufacturer’s directions or process pints or quarts for 10 minutes from 1 to 1,000 feet, 15 minutes from 1,001 to 6,000 feet, or 20 minutes above 6,000 feet in altitude.

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Butter Babies

  I was in the middle of eating an ear of wonderfully sweet corn earlier today when I realized I still made a butter ledge in the ear to start. A holdover from my childhood! Funny, I don’t remember just who taught me the trick but I was very young and at an Obermiller family reunion at the farm. When you eat an ear of corn, you need to eat a couple of rows the length of the corn to make a butter ledge. Then, when you roll the ear across the stick of butter, the ledge collects and holds the butter in place while you eat the next row! It’s a Butter Baby’s delight.

I formed my eating habits in the 50s and 60s. Cholesterol wasn’t heard of and saturated fat had not been demonized yet. Our public school cafeteria lunch ladies made the greatest peanut butter cookies on the planet and we drank whole milk to wash them down. They had different ideas about nutrition in those days and EVERYTHING was buttered! Vegetables, potatoes and pasta got doused and they buttered the bread of every sandwich…even the hot dog and hamburger rolls! Truth to tell, we ate margarine at home, mostly. I don’t remember the days when you had to mix the coloring into the lardy stuff because it was yellow and in sticks at our table. I remember when Mrs. Filberts made it’s debut; the cadillac of margarines! We even made the coveted Christmas Butter Cookies with it to save money that year. Butter at home was a real treat, like Sunday morning when Mom would walk down to Smolinski’s bakery for fresh, crispy hard rolls and a pound of butter from Markiewicz’s Superette. Those rolls and butter were comfort food at its best; a shared delight. Real butter was the final ingredient in the homemade Hershey’s Cocoa fudge that Mom made sometimes as a treat.

Around 1958, Bethlehem Steel went on strike for almost 10 months. Money was so tight for us and many families that we were signed up for Surplus Food from the government. Every month my mother lined up with her food book to get the allotment for six people in our family. They gave us powdered eggs (yuck), powdered milk (that took a cement mixer to get the lumps out of), oatmeal, flour, sugar and canned meat (double yuck). The best things were five pound blocks of cheese (lots of mac and cheese in those days) and one pound of real butter for each person. That seemed like such a luxury to me. Real butter- all the time! It made those endless grilled cheese sandwiches just melt in your mouth. My mom made some great oatmeal cookies with those other things but it was having butter in the fridge that somehow took the sting out of those months of scrimping. Even then it seemed decadent.

Theres a TV commercial on lately that shows a 50s sitcom kind of mom giving her family baked potatoes with a whole stick of yellow gold in each. Yeah, baby! Baked potatoes and butter are a match made in heaven. I think it’s a commercial for cholesterol drugs, but the only thing that caught my attention was those potatoes. It’s only fair to report that despite my obesity and love of butter, my cholesteral at last check was 163, with lots more good ones than bad. That’s purely genetics, believe me! One of these days those genes may turn on me and I may have to give up the red meat that’s my favorite food, but they’ll have to pry the butter from my cold, dead hands!

The tougher the economy gets, the more luxuries we’ll have to give up. My saving grace is that butter on sale isn’t much more costly than margarine so I refuse to feel guilty. Hey, I already gave up a gallon of Diet Coke a day…a girl has to have some pleasure in life! I’ll keep baking cakes and cookies with butter, cooking my eggs in it, and biting a butter ledge into every corn ear to get more. When we picked yellow buttercup flowers as kids, we would hold them under someone’s chin. If the shiny petals reflected yellow onto your chin, it meant you loved butter. I don’t remember, but my whole face must have turned yellow because I’m a butter baby for sure.

Flummery!

Flummery is one of those words that it’s fun to say, a silly string of syllables with several meanings. “Flummery” can be silly, trival or nonsensical talk.  The assorted guests at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in Alice in Wonderland were spouting flummery. As a fan of old movies, I’ve heard the term “flummery” used with mild disdain, like “Humbug” or “Balderdash. I was about 20 years old when a British-born friend made me a raspberry flummery and it was so unlike the cooked puddings of my youth that I loved it immediately. True Welsh flummery was thickened with the liquid from strained, cooked oatmeal, a tedious-sounding process, although oatmeal is wonderful in most things. This recipe uses cornstarch and those abundant berries that are popping up all over. It is a lovely, soft pudding that is cool and raspberry tangy! Since the raspberries are all on top, non-berry lovers can still enjoy the pudding. Substituting almond flavor for vanilla gives it a whole different twist!

Raspberry Flummery

 

1/3 c Sugar   1/4 c Cornstarch
1/4 ts Salt       3 c Milk
1 egg yolk, beaten      2 tsps Vanilla
2 c Fresh raspberries

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in milk. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir a small amount into the egg yolk; return all to saucepan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into a serving bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and cool; then chill. Remove plastic and garnish with berries before serving. Serves 6.

This is just one of the raspberry and blueberry recipes you can pick up at tomorrow’s Farmer’s Market in Barker. “Blueberry Monkey Bread” is an easy crowd pleaser your family will love (and kids can make). You can also pick up those great fresh corn recipe sheets, and let me know what farm-fresh ingredient you’d like to see recipes for in the coming weeks. Miles and miles away from our little village? Contact me and I’ll share the recipes via email.

Buffalo Corn??

With all the fresh produce coming into our Barker Farmer’s Market, we wanted to offer new recipes each week for shoppers. Last week, Don “Ski” Pyskaty had recipes for Garlic Scapes (see 6/27 post) and was spooning out samples of Dilly Beans made with scape instead of green beans. I was looking for novel fresh corn recipes for this week’s market (although steamed with plenty of butter works for me), when I came across something pretty unique. Buffalo Corn- chicken wing style!

The freshsupersweetcorn.com website listed contest winners and this was among them. It was created by Lisa Hill of Norwalk, Connecticut. Vegertarian chicken wings?? Or maybe as a side with real chicken wings. I’m blogging this recipe and would love to hear from any of you who try it. Alas, I can’t eat hot sauce or peppers in ANY form, so I’ll leave this up to you to try. Hmmm…. I wonder if it would work with a nice honey barbecue sauce in place of hot sauce……… Oh, don’t forget to get this and more printed corn recipes at Thursday’s Farmer’s Market , 5 to 7:30 p.m. in Barker Village Park. Enjoy Live country music with Craig Wilkins from 6:30-7:30.

BUFFALO CORN EARS

4 celery ribs, halved and sliced thinly lengthwise
1/2 funnel bulb (stalks & leaves removed), thinly sliced
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup jalapeno hot sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons red pepper sauce (e.g., Tabasco)
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 ears fresh supersweet corn, husked
Blue Cheese Slather (recipe follows)

Preheat grill or broiler. Place celery and fennel in a bowl of ice water to crisp. To prepare Buffalo; Corn Ears: In a small saucepan, melt butter with hot sauces. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Brush corn with seasoned butter mixture. On a rack, arrange corn; grill or broil until slightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes, turning ears and basting with remaining butter mixture. To serve: Drain celery and fennel. On 4 dinner plates place celery, fennel and Buffalo Corn Ears, dividing equally. Top Corn with Blue Cheese Slather. Use remaining slather as a dip for the celery and fennel. Serve with grilled or fried chicken or fish, if desired.

Yield: 4 portions

Blue Cheese Slather: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces), 1/4 cup softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon half and half and 1/4 teaspoon celery salt. Mash with fork until fairly smooth.

Yield: about 1/2 cup

Why call it “Friendship bread?”

A recurring phenomenon has been spotted in Somerset and has no doubt made its way into the next county by now, quietly growing as we speak. It’s the living organism called Amish Friendship Bread and it’s coming to a doorstep near you!
On a visit to the coffee counter at the Barker Mall a few weeks ago, I spied a familiar looking ZipLoc bag on the counter. Oh, I knew all about “the bag.” I knew it was just an innocent blob of goo with a list of instructions that subliminally begged you to take it home. It evokes memories of a dense, vanilla cinnamon dessert bread that smacks of grandma’s kitchen. You know you haven’t had any in a while and it is really very good…and you give in. With trepidation, you take the bag home to sit on the counter, checking it’s “birth date” and following instructions daily.
Day 1: Squish the contents of the bag to mix completely. Leave it alone.
Day 2: Squish the contents of the bag to mix completely. Leave it alone.
So it goes until Day 5 when Goody, we do something! Add a cup of flour, cup of sugar a cup of milk. Squish and mix, then back off!
Days 6 through 9 are squish and run days, but you’re allowed to gently unzip the bag to burp out the air caused by the fermentation of whatever is living in there, lest the bag EXPLODE in the night (believe me, you don’t want to go there).
On Day 10 you’re really cooking! First you add milk, flour and sugar again after putting it in a huge bowl. After mixing it, you carefully scoop a cup of the the little bubbly guys into each of four ZipLoc bags.
Now you take the rest of the goo and begin adding the stuff of life; sugar, flour, eggs, milk, oil, vanilla pudding mix, salt, soda, powder and LOTS of cinnamon. Mixing with wooden spoons takes some muscle (no metal bowls or utensils allowed) but eventually you fill two loaf pans with the thick goo and pop them in the oven. The heavenly aroma alone is worth the mess you just made out of the kitchen and an hour later you have two loaves of dense, sweet bread ready for a glass of milk or cup of coffee. It’s perfect to serve to friends, hence the name I guess, but you soon realize there is a reason you must share this sinful pleasure!
Over on your counter are four, gallon bags of goo brewing in silence. They are waiting for you to rope your friends in with a delicious bite, so you can foist a bag, with directions, on them when they least expect it. You save one bag for yourself, of course, and in ten days you have two more loaves of the yummy bread/cake….and three MORE bags of goo to find homes for! Your friends, charmed by the novelty of the starter-in-a-bag and the sample bite you gave them, adopt a bag with all good intentions and expectations. Oh, the poor, unsuspecting innocents!!
The first time I birthed the bags and baked ten days ago was wonderful. It is still the same, marvelous taste I remember. I had help from a couple of 5 year-olds and gave a loaf and instructions to the Mom- my niece. She raved over the bread the next day and said the men-folk in her house loved it. When little niecette was over a few days later and I was squishing my bag, I mentioned she could help her mom add the day 5 food. She just rolled her eyes at my naivete and said “Oh, Mom threw it out in the garbage.” Horrors! That poor defenseless little bag of friendship goo never had a chance, but I should have known. Everyone loves to eat it, but nobody wants to make it!
Well, I kept two bags for myself so I could bake four loaves to share the wealth, but those two bags today begat 8 more bags and they are bubbling away on the kitchen table like primordial sludge, waiting to be taken in and squished daily. A wiser woman would have just baked the loaves, dumped the remaining goo and savored the last of the bread for a long while. Alas, not given to wisdom when I need it most, I could not bear to throw out the starter, the link in the chain that has been going around since who knows when? Besides, I already invested all that flour, sugar and milk. Oh, the guilt of waste! There it sits. I just want to warn you.
Worse than an unwanted litter of kittens to give away, the goo bags must somehow find homes. The trick is to give them to others who will not give one back to you when theirs multiply. I’m sure there have been some pretty devious goo-passings over time. If you leave it in a basket on the doorstep, for heaven’s sake keep it out of the sun! Those little bubbly guys in there will expand and blow up the bag! Next comes an explosion of yeasty, sticky goo! Do it in the dark!
You know, maybe a Chinese auction basket with kitchen supplies could hide a bag! What about the next holiday? Not right for Father’s day unless you can guilt their womenfolk into baking it for them. Can’t donate it to the food pantry without the 50 pounds of flour and sugar it takes to keep the little buggers ancestry going. Rats! Surely there are young innocent cooks who have never heard of Amish Friendship Bread, who can still be enticed by the prospect of yummy bread… as long as they don’t know they’re in for a never-ending cycle of squish and bake. This is not for the commitment-phobic; it’s a real responsibility.
I’m going to find homes for these freshly-filled bags of goo…I owe them a fighting chance at life in the oven…but I give you fair warning. Watch where you sit, park your car or leave your purse. Be careful when you stick your hand in the mailbox. If you find a bag of goo, you’ll find instructions. Take it home, squish it, feed it, bake it. Then leave those extra bags with unsuspecting friends (or strangers, or the mailman) and run like hell!!