"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Recent Rambles
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Scifres


When October rolls around in Indiana, the gool ol days of gardening are numbered. The days of the growing season are a thing of the past, but not completely. 

To be sure, you won’t grow much in October, but I have some zucchini plants that keep sending up new growth, and blooms, not to mention some baby zucchs, which I am beginning to believe will do their hurrahs in the pot. 

They may not get so large as I have picked earlier in the summer, but aside from size (I am not completely convinced of that), I think quality will be about the same. I also tend to believe that those small, anemic items may offer more in taste because their goodness may be packed more tightly. 

So, once you get past the stunted growth and odd features, you may be eyeball-to-eyeball with some very good table fare. I don’t think this example is completely applicable to this concept, but several years ago I was made aware of the fact that many older beekeepers in Europe live exceptionally long and useful lives. The source of the idea advanced the theory that this condition was largely due to what they consumed. 

The explanation for the longer life tenure was that the beekeepers of longer than usual life sold their pretty honey and comb, but kept the dark stuff--and the comb for theirn own use. The theory was that the unsightly, dark honey possessed medicinal values not found in the so-alled good stuff.  For that reason, when I encounter shriveled nutmeats and other forms of imperfections in a natural product my first inclination is to get outside it--certainly not to discard it. 

SANDWICH SHOP--With summer and the garden winding down, one of favorite bites is half a sandwich (your choice of bread, even leftover biscuit) adorned by a slice of any lunchmeat with a slice of cheese (your choice), and thinly-sliced cucumber and sweet onion marinated in white vinegar and brown sugar, aided and abetted by mayonnaise, salad dressing (your choice), or a sprinkling of oil (your choice), lots of salt and pepper, of course, and other of your favorite condiments. 

It is, of course, necessary to marinate the cucumber and onion slices in advance. I slice enough cukes and onion to fill a jar, add the brown sugar and vinegar and keep the jar under refrigeration. The older it gets, the tastier . . . to a point. 

Both sides of the bread are coated with mayo or salad dressing and the slices of bread cut into equal halves (maybe even with a hint of mustard.) The slices of lunchmeat and cheese are halved, and the lunch meat and cheese (alternately) are placed on half of the bread atop the slices of cucumber and onion. Then it is topped with the other slice of bread. 

I suggest wearing a bib to keep a clean shirt clean. Also, when this sandwich is picked up, it should be put back on the plate only in a dire emergency. It flies around like a covey of quail exploding from the roost. 

BAKED SQUASH--We, and thousands of other cooks, have for many years been turning out boiled and fried delights with summer squash (yellow with hooked neck), but what happens when the seeds mature and the whole shebang apparently is over the hill--still in good shape, but too old to cook. 

It bothered me a bit that such a beautiful product of the garden would reach such a useless state in fall. 

So, with a brace of fairly large squash in hand, I set out to bake them with a liberal dose of what I call my “garden spaghetti sauce” (everything including fresh garlic), with a strong tomato base. 

First I split the squash in half from stem to stern. Then, I carefully removed the well-developed seeds and baked them with a pat of Bluebonnet (butter will do), and another tablespoon of good homemade black raspberry wine and a teaspoon of brown sugar for good measure, I sprinkled each half with salt, pepper, and a dusting of cinnamon. 

I baked the halves (at 350 degrees) for half an hour, then filled the meaty squash with my sauce and duplicated the baking. When done, I sprinkled them with grated cheese (your choice, but I used Cheddar). When the cheese melted, it was din-din time. 

Note: I did not serve mine with a sauce, but an orange sauce, or lemon, seems in order. Even a gravy to use the spillover in the shallow baking dish.

Click on thumbnail image for enlarged view.

squash2.JPG (30798 bytes) Baked, with many fillings, summer squash takes on a new role. 

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All columns are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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