2014-08-29 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Zucchini and summer squash, b’gosh
By Connie Wendell
Special to the Post

It just wouldn’t be summer without the bounty of zucchini and summer squash. While both of these are scrumptious just steamed with butter or olive oil, salt and pepper, I’ve come up with a few recipes that will make your family and friends at your Labor Day get together coming back for more.

Summer squash, bacon and mozzarella quiche

Crust: 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour; ½ teaspoon salt; 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces; 2 tablespoons vegetables shortening, cut into small pieces; and ¼ cup ice water; cooking spray.

Filling: 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; 2 cups (1/8-inch thick) slices yellow squash; 2 cups (1/8-inch thick) zucchini; ¼ cup chopped shallots; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme; 1 cup reduced fat milk; ¾ teaspoons salt; ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; 4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled; 3 large egg whites; 3 large eggs; and ¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese.

To prepare crust, combine flour and ½ teaspoon salt in a food processor and pulse 2 times or until combined. Add butter and shortening; pulse 4 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. With food processor on, add ice water through food chute, processing just until the mixture is combined (do not form a ball). Press mixture into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap and cover. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slightly overlap two sheets of plastic wrap on a slightly damp flat surface. Unwrap and place chilled dough on plastic wrap.

Cover dough with 2 additional sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll dough, still covered, into a 12-inch circle. Place dough in freezer for 5 minutes or until plastic wrap can be easily removed.

Remove top sheets of plastic wrap and fit dough, plastic wrap side up in a 9 ½-inch deep dish pie plate coated with cooking spray. Remove remaining plastic wrap from dough. Fold edges under and flute. Pierce bottom and sides of dough with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Reduce oven to 350 degrees. To prepare filling, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add yellow squash, zucchini, shallots and thyme. Sauté for five minutes or until squash is tender, stirring frequently. Cool the squash mixture slightly. Combine 1 cup milk, salt, pepper, crumbled bacon, egg whites and eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Arrange squash mixture evenly over crust and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Pour the egg mixture over cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.

Makes eight wedges.

Potato salad with herbs and grilled summer squash

Salad: 2 pounds small red potatoes; ¾ pound yellow squash and zucchini, cut lengthwise into ½-inch slices; cooking spray; and salt and pepper to taste.

Dressing: 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives; 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley; 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon; ¼ teaspoon grated lemon rind; 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; 2 tablespoons water; 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; and 2 tablespoons finely chopped cornichons (or gherkins).

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Salad: place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 18 minutes or until tender. Drain. Cut potatoes into quarters and place in a large bowl. Set aside.

Lightly coat squash with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Place squash on grill rack; grill 2 minutes on each side or until browned and tender.

Remove squash from heat and add to potatoes.

Dressing: combine chives, parsley, basil, tarragon, lemon rind, lemon juice, water, oil, cornichons, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk. Pour over potato mixture. Tossing gently to combine. Serve salad warm or chilled.

Serves six.

Zucchini-pecan flaxseed bread

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour; 1 cup whole wheat flour; ¾ cup granulated sugar; ½ cup ground flaxseeds; ¼ cup packed brown sugar; 1 tablespoon baking powder; 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; ¾ teaspoon salt; ¼ teaspoon baking soda; ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg; 2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium); 1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt; ½ cup egg substitute (or 2 eggs); 3 tablespoons canola oil; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract; ¼ cup pecans, toasted; cooking spray; and 3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flours, sugar, flaxseed, brown sugar; baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Spread zucchini onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels, cover with additional paper towels.

Press down firmly to remove excess liquid.

Combine yogurt, egg or egg substitute, oil and vanilla in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in zucchini.

Add zucchini mixture and ¼ cup pecans to flour mixture, stirring until well combined.

Pour batter into a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle batter with 3 tablespoons pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Remove bread from pan and place on wire rack.

Have a fun-filled Labor Day. Until next time, keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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