June is the month of waiting in the garden, at least for me. The show-stoppers of summer vegetables–tomatoes and sweet corn–have largely not yet arrived. I spend a lot of time pacing the garden, looking for signs of the first ripe tomato. In the meantime, there’s always squash. And squash. And more squash. If there’s a theme to what I cooked this month, that would be it.
Southwestern Summer Vegetable Soup. I really love making up soups. It’s very hard to go wrong. There’s lots of room for corrections and adjustments. I was in the mood for something tomato-y, kind of like the Campbell’s Vegetarian Vegetable Soup I used to eat every day after school, but better. What I had on hand: summer squash, green Bell peppers and jalapenos. Also, the tomato juice my Mom cans every summer.
I sauteed some onions with the jalapeno and a pepper. Added some cumin. Then the squash. The quart of tomato juice and a little bit of vegetarian boullion. Secret ingredient: a dried chipotle pepper to give it a little smokiness. One summer squash down, two hundred forty million left to go.
Zucchini Tater Tots. Surprisingly, the zucchini plants are lagging significantly behind the yellow squash this year in terms of production. Still, while I was in North Carolina for five days, several zukes swelled to the size of baseball bats. I think the English prefer their zukes this way (they’re called marrows or courgette over there–not sure what the difference is). But a large zuke is really only good for shredding, so I decided to try this recipe. I bought a mini-muffin pan just for this, a potential solution to how to convince our daughter to eat squash. These were really good, though I would probably double the recipe next time. They’d make perfect appetizers for a dinner party and would go well with Siriacha mayonnaise, because everything goes well with Siriacha mayonnaise.
Zucchini Bread. Always. My mother’s recipe makes two loaves–one for your family to eat on and one to give away. One of my favorite things about making zucchini bread is deciding who will get the second loaf. Spread the zucchini love.
Caramelized zucchini with herbs and feta. This is from my cookbook bible, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. Have a vegetable and you’re not sure what to do with it? Deborah knows, and it will be delicious. Here, you slow cook the zucchini so it caramelizes, then toss it with herbs and feta. This dish convinced me that zucchini does, in fact, have a taste, and under the right circumstances, it’s delicious.
Cold curried yellow squash soup. Made this one up again after getting the general idea with a few online recipes. Some friends brought a similar dish with zucchini to a dinner party and it was so good. Easy enough to do with yellow squash, too. In the past, I wasn’t much of a fan of cold soups. But I’ve been converted to chilled soups of the creamy, curried variety. Two more yellow squash down.
Tupelo Honey Cafe Pickled Beet Salad. So pretty much the best restaurant in the whole entire world is Tupelo Honey Cafe. On my annual pilgrimage this year, I bought their cookbook. With the last of my mom’s beets, I made their pickled honey beet salad. You slice the beets very thin and don’t cook them at all. Just let them sit in the marinade overnight. Yum and a nice change from yellow squash.