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Summer Squash: Still Growing

October 15, 1992|MARCIA CONE and THELMA SNYDER | Cone and Snyder are cookbook authors. and

Sometimes it seems as if summer squash won't ever go away. Even if you don't grow your own zucchini, it seems to be everywhere. Count your blessings: These tender, easy-to-digest vegetables make not only a tasty side dish but a wonderful main dish too.

If you have a choice, take the small zucchini and yellow squash that are three to six inches in length. They should feel firm and heavy for their small size, indicating sweet and tender flesh.

No peeling is required before cooking, and in the microwave, summer squash is best cooked on HIGH (100% power), covered with wax paper. Wax paper keeps in some of the moisture for uniform cooking but not so much that the vegetable gets soggy.

There is no need to add liquid for these squashes to cook properly, but you might add some butter or tomatoes for flavoring. Salt is sprinkled on at the end of cooking to prevent any drying on the surface or overcooking.

Zucchini or yellow crookneck squash are done when tender. A whole squash that is stuffed should pierce easily with a fork. Standing time is minimal, probably no more than the time it takes to bring the dish to the table.


2 cloves garlic, minced, or 2 tablespoons chopped green onions

1 teaspoon butter, margarine or oil

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds summer squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick

2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil and chives

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place garlic in 2-quart microwave-proof casserole. Add butter and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is tender. Stir in squash. Cover with wax paper and microwave on HIGH 4 to 6 minutes or until squash is tender, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir in herbs, salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.


1 clove garlic, minced, optional

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon butter, margarine or oil

1 1/2 pounds small to medium summer squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 cup fresh bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat

1 cup shredded Cheddar, Gruyere or Swiss cheese

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried, optional

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried, optional

2 tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick, optional

1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

Place garlic and onion in 10-inch pie plate. Add butter and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add squash. Cover with wax paper and microwave on HIGH 8 to 12 minutes or until tender, stirring twice. Stir in bread crumbs, cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, parsley and basil. Spread evenly in dish.

Arrange tomato slices decoratively around outer rim of dish, leaving center open. Microwave on MEDIUM (50% power) 10 to 15 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from center comes out clean and center is almost set.

Let stand 5 minutes. Center will set during standing time. Serve with spoonfuls of yogurt. Makes 6 to 8 servings as side dish or 4 main-course servings.


Mexicali Zucchini Pie

Substitute Jack cheese for Cheddar cheese. Add 2 tablespoons diced canned green chiles with cheese.


4 (1/4-pound) each zucchini, cut in half lengthwise

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 pound tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch cubes, or 1 cup chopped canned, undrained

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped

1 1/3 cups low-fat cottage cheese

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 ounces shredded Jack cheese

1 cup tomato salsa

Scoop out each zucchini half with grapefruit knife, leaving 1/4-inch shell. Discard inner pulp. Place zucchini, cut side down, in 2-quart rectangular dish. Cover with wax paper and microwave on HIGH (100% power) 2 to 4 minutes, or until tender-crisp, rearranging after 2 minutes. Drain dish and turn halves over.

Combine garlic and onion in 2-quart microwave-proof casserole. Cover with wax paper and microwave on HIGH 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, corn and jalapeno chile. Cover again and microwave on HIGH 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring once. Stir cottage cheese, cumin and pepper into tomato mixture and mix well.

Spoon mixture into zucchini shells, heaping and rounding on top. Sprinkle tops with shredded cheese. Microwave on HIGH 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is melted, repositioning after 2 minutes. Serve with salsa. Makes 4 servings.

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