GARDEN GOURMET-- October 2008
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.
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
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.
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.
with many fillings, summer squash takes on a new role.