Sunday, July 14, 2013

Waste Not, Want Not

Just about the only thing that is doing very well in my garden this year is the squash, both yellow crookneck and zucchini. For a while, I was diligent about getting rid of the squash bug eggs on the leaves (I've not been so good at that lately). The result is that I've accumulated quite a bit of squash, even with giving some to a couple of people at church. As of yesterday, I had four shopping bags' worth of squash in my refrigerator, which doesn't leave much room for other food! We've been eating a lot of squash, too - fried with a light cornmeal breading, crusted with parmesan cheese and broiled, raw in a salad, in a skillet sauteed with other veggies. At one point, we had squash of some kind for four of five meals (breakfast was the exception, ha ha).

Last night when I was making the rounds to check the garden, I found the zucchini in the picture above hiding discreetly under a couple of big leaves. The picture really doesn't do justice to the size of this squash. It it 15 inches long and probably four inches in diameter. It's definitely what my family refers to as a zucchini "club."

I always joke that I "grew up in the Great Depression," so I just couldn't stand to just throw it away. Because it will have big, more mature seeds, it won't be suited for frying or broiling. I've seen recipes using shredded zucchini, though, including one for brownies. So I made a batch this afternoon, without telling the family. (My daughter came in and caught me making them, so I had her help out and share the secret.) They are actually pretty good - the zucchini is not obvious.

It was priceless when my son realized these weren't ordinary brownies. I said something about "Mom's special brownies with an organic ingredient I grew myself," and he got this incredulous look on his face and said, "Zucchini? You put zucchini in them?" We all got a laugh. He says he's going to take some to band camp with him tomorrow and share the fun.

But can they compete with the return of Twinkies????

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Delightful Summer Diversion

(Finally! Something to say and time to say it coincide!)

After taking a couple of weeks off from reading while the family was on vacation, I decided on Eva Ibbotson's Journey to the River Sea as my reading re-boot for the summer. This is a book I knew nothing about when I picked it up as a "bargain" book during a visit to a mega-bookstore about two and a half years ago. The cover art is lovely, and I've always meant to read it (especially after trying to get my daughter interested in it). So far, it's been a great choice for summer reading.

In some ways, the story draws on what are definitely cliches in literature for children: the main character is an orphan; she has to deal with relatives who are hateful and borderline abusive. Harry Potter, anyone? But there are other ways in which I've found the story to be delightfully fresh, including the characters, the plot situation, and the setting.