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Squash It!

They’re back!

In spite of dry weather, bugs and weeds, the zucchini plants in our garden have risen to the challenge, ready and willing to challenge the originality of the family cook.

What does one do with all those slender green fruit, which left unattended, can turn into blimps overnight?

The answer is simple — serve (or disguise) squash in a variety of ways. Today’s recipes offer some suggestions: Zucchini Fritters, Squash Stuffed Chicken, Orange Glazed Chicken and Squash, Zucchini Herb Pate, Zucchini Relish.

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

½ c. milk, oil

1 egg, lightly beaten, 1 c. flour

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder, ½ oz. ranch dip mix

2 c. zucchini, shredded

Fill a deep fat fryer or skillet with oil to a 2-in. depth. Heat to 375 degrees. Combine milk and egg in a mixing bowl. Stir together dry ingredients and add to egg mixture; blend well. Fold in zucchini. Drop batter by rounded teaspoonful into hot oil. Fry until deep golden brown, turning once. Drain thoroughly on paper towels. Makes 1-1/2 to 2 dozen fritters.

SQUASH STUFFED CHICKEN

3 T. margarine, ½ sm. onion, chopped

1 T. fresh parsley, chopped, ½ tsp. basil

2 med. zucchini, shredded, 3 slices white bread, diced into coarse crumbs

1 egg, beaten

¾ c. Swiss cheese, shredded, ½ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

In skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Sauté onion, parsley and basil until the onion is tender. Add zucchini and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in breadcrumbs, egg, cheese, salt and pepper. Carefully loosen the skin of the chicken on one side to form a pocket. Stuff each breast with zucchini mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until chicken is done. Serves four.

ORANGE GLAZED CHICKEN AND SQUASH

½ c. orange juice, ½ c. chicken broth

3 T. soy sauce, 1 tsp. hot mustard

1 T. cornstarch, ½ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 T. oil, 1 lb. boneless chicken thighs, cut into strips

2 tsp. sugar

2 ribs celery, cut in strips, 1 med. yellow squash, halved, cut in strips

2 med. zucchini, halved, 1 sweet red pepper

Whisk together orange juice, chicken broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, hot mustard and red pepper flakes in small bowl. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add chicken thigh strips; cook 4 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove with slotted spoon. Reduce heat to medium high. Add celery to skillet; cook 1 minute. Slice squash halves. Add yellow squash, zucchini and 2 T. water to skillet; cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken strips and cut up sweet red pepper to skillet; cook for 2 minutes. Add the orange sauce from the bowl, stirring to combine; cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about another 2 minutes. Serve with hot cooked couscous or rice.

ZUCCHINI HERB PATE

4 med. zucchini, 2 tsp. tarragon vinegar

2 tsp. sugar, 2 tsp. salt, divided

½ c. packed fresh parsley, ½ c. snipped fresh chives

8 oz. cream cheese, softened, ½ tsp. pepper

assorted crackers

Line a mixing bowl with double thickness of cheesecloth. Coarsely shred zucchini into prepared bowl. Sprinkle with vinegar, sugar, and 1 tsp. salt. Toss gently; cover with towel and set aside for 1 hour. In food processor with chopping blade, mince parsley and chives. Gather ends of cheesecloth, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Add drained zucchini and process until pureed. Add cream cheese, pepper and remaining salt; process until smooth. Press pate into small bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve with crackers. Makes 1-1/2 cups.

ZUCCHINI RELISH

10 c. zucchini, diced, 4 c. onion, diced

5 T. salt, 1 sweet red pepper, diced

1 green pepper, diced, 3 c. sugar

2 T. cornstarch, 3 T. turmeric

2 tsp. dry mustard, 2 tsp. celery seed

½ tsp. pepper, 2-1/2 c. cider vinegar

Combine zucchini, onion and salt; let stand overnight. Rinse and drain well. Place in a large kettle or Dutch oven along with remaining ingredients; cook until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Do not overcook. Pack hot into hot jars, leaving ¼ in. headspace. Adjust caps and process in hot water bath 10 minutes. Makes 16 half pints.