Sunday, September 15, 2013

Zucchini/Crookneck Squash Casserole

Grated Crookneck Squash omelet
with Tillamook medium Cheddar,
yogurt w/ fruit and sliced almonds,
English muffins w/ homemade strawberry freezer jam
and Mexican Coffee w/ cinnamon, vanilla and
cayenne pepper.
Sharing good food ideas is so much less confrontive than sharing politics. With that said, please still listen to the previous posting's video interview with Greg Palast so you can understand what is collapsing our world economies. You'll be glad you did. It is effecting us all.

When summer gives us those bumper crops of squash and tomatoes, green beans, blackberries, apples, etc., Autumn's answer is nourishing recipes and time in the kitchen.

Here is a Zucchini Squash Casserole recipe below that I like to mix with the yellow Crookneck for variety and color. Crookneck is also my favorite thing grated, and mixed with scrambled eggs to make an omelet-a touch of sauteed onion and a sprinkle of parmesan, provolone or cheddar makes a great breakfast plate. Last week I made a molasses oatmeal cinnamon raisin bread that made a good toast, (liberally buttered and sprinkled w/ cinnamon sugar). With a bit of fruit or small custard dish of yogurt w/ fruit and sliced almonds, it makes a beautiful presentation.

I got to share this artistic breakfast with my friend, Nellie from Texas. Nellie went on an Alaskan cruise with her family and landed in Seattle. She changed her flight to leave from Portland. I picked her up there and showed her around. She and I went to graduate school together years ago.

There were so many fresh fruits and veggies to share from places like Guisto's and the Barn and the Gresham Saturday Farmer's Market, we ate too much! lol A cruise ship feeds a person well, and gaining 7 lbs. is a normal consequence of that experience.
We found fresh corn on the cob for 5 or 6 for $1, peaches, blackberries, blueberries, figs, green guage plums, etc. I love picking lettuce and baby chard and yellow pear tomatoes from the garden and making a salad with homemade blue cheese dressing. Who says the winter is the only season that can cause extra padding?

Nellie takes photos, so I showed her the Rose Gardens above Portland. Here are a few of our favorites...
First for the begonias at home. I forgot this pot had a begonia in it the previous year. When the tuber began sprouting, even though it was in the pot cemetery with no water, I hung it up and kept watering. There's something about an orange begonia. With compost tea, they've been huge.
Not only bees do nose dives. The smell!
I've been baking a lot! A friend keeps bringing me little gifts of groceries. He likes to give to others, and supplies bread to the court here. I keep making things like rice pudding, peach crisp, oatmeal bread and rhubarb blackberry raspberry pie and sharing with my friend
and his wife, making installments on giving back.
Next will be clam chowder...

I told him he had to stop making contributions for trade for a while. I 've enjoyed listening to the story of how he got to know his wife. He'd stop after his graveyard shift to have coffee and raisin squares at the bakery/cafe where his love interest worked. When his girlfriend got off work, he'd take her to breakfast. They've been married about 32 years.

One of my Favorites at Washington Park Rose Garden

A budding pink rose...
The merging orange, pink and yellow roses and smells of roses subtle or distinct above the Portland cityscape, listening to the harp player and watching the crowd...before I

took Nellie to try the drinking chocolate at Cacao was fabulous. I like the coconut milk w/ cinnamon
and cayenne pepper mixture. The little white espresso cups of this piece of  heaven is sipped while watching the bellman and all the people walking past in downtown Portland.
Cacao is at the corner of the Heathman Hotel.
414 SW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97205
(503) 241-0656

Zucchini Casserole
Cook 1 c. of white or brown rice. Basmati is nice. Set aside. (2 c. water and 1 c. white rice. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer at low heat 20 min. till done Follow brown rice directions if you use that.)
Steam 4-5 c. zucchini and/or crookneck squash till barely tender.
Put in bottom of a greased 9x13" pan.
Cook 1 lb. of hamburger. Combine w/ the cooked rice and 1 tsp. each oregano and garlic salt. Put over zucchini in pan.
Place 16 oz. of cottage cheese on top, then 1 can undiluted mushroom soup. (The MSG in it isn't too desirable. Maybe you can find one without at New Seasons or Whole Foods? This recipe is from the olden days...) Finish with 1/2-1 c. shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 min.

More pretty colors...
**I made another casserole using 3 lbs or so of chopped crookneck squash that I cooked in 2T. butter w/ 2 diced onions till tender. You can mix it with zucchini for color, also. I added a bit of green jalapeno pepper without the seeds, but next time I'd use pickled jalapenos to pop that flavor, added to the following: Mix squash w/this mixture: 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese, 1/2 c. buttermilk and 1/2 c. mayo and a packet of Ranch Dressing, or make your own mix of spices: 1/2 tsp... garlic powder, dill, onion powder, onion flakes, parsley, salt. Add  2-3 beaten eggs and about 15 crushed saltine or Ritz crackers. (What used to be acceptable, using processed foods like crackers and mayo now really is not, with the soy, corn syrup, canola and sugar beets that are genetically modified, Roundup-ready for obesity and cancer.) This may force Moms back in the kitchen. Teach our children how to cook from scratch, and toss the tv for family time an idea.
Spread squash mixture in a 9x13 pan or casserole dish.
Top w/ stuffing mix tossed with 1/2 c. butter. I made regular stuffing from toasted bread cubes and sauteed celery and onion w/ poultry seasoning. I even defrosted a pint jar of chicken broth a bit-- using the liquid for the stuffing. Bake at 350 for 20-30 min. Smells will permeate your home, and bring smiles. Serve w/ a salad or fruit and cottage cheese, etc.
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