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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Food Albums

During the time that I was not writing down recipes, I was still cooking food. Here are some of my albums - if any of them garner any interest, I'll try and recall the recipes for you.

Summer Vegetable & Bean Soup

The climate in Maine this summer has not been great for most vegetables, but the squash - well that's another story. The farmers' markets and farm stands are overwhelmed in the yellow and green goodness that is the staple of every summer garden. Our own measly backyard garden is producing at an astounding rate - we even found our first pie pumpkin this morning!

My kids are not that interested in squash, but they eat it 12 months a year. I can't get enough of it - soups, stir fries, baked & stuffed, shredded, raw, cookies & pies - so I have to find ways to incorporate it into dinner without them disliking it. If I stuff it, they eat the insides. If I stir fry it, they will usually pick it out. But if I shred it....oh the things I have done with shredded squash. Tonight's dinner was created for just this occasion! The shredded summer squash acted like a noodle in this decadent summer soup, and my kids devoured it none-the-wiser.

The other stars of this delicious soup were inspired by what we could cut from the garden, and what my SO could grab from the Swango Farm Stand, where he works. He came home with a bushel of summer squash and added that to our growing stock, plus a handful of onions. In the garden we have fresh Swiss chard and chives, which I gathered up. In the cupboard we had some canned beans, a perfect source of protein for my mostly vegetarian family.
Beautiful fresh ribbons of Swiss Chard not 5 minutes after I snipped them from the garden.

Fresh chives from the garden add the perfect pop for this savory soup.

Summer Vegetable & Bean Soup
(serves 4)
1 large onion, sliced
4 T butter, unsalted
2 C water
3 vegetable stock bouillions
1 can white beans, rinsed
1 can butter beans, rinsed
1 C Swiss chard, leaves and stems
1 C summer squash, grated
4 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
4 T chives, fresh chopped
1/4 C Parmesan cheese, shredded

With cold and flu season on its way, we are going to be including garlic in every meal.

1. In a large pot over medium heat melt butter, and add onions, tossing to coat thoroughly. Turn to med-low and simmer onions gently, stirring 1 or 2 times, for 10 minutes.

2. Add bouillion to the onions and stir to coat with spices. Pour in water (add more if you want a more brothy soup) and beans.

3. Stir in chard, summer squash and garlic until combined.

4. Bring to a gentle boil, drop to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and chives, with some crusty bread.

We had the green tops from the fresh onions, so we added those on top of the cheese & chives.

Mac 'n Cheese 'n Summer Squash

This is the time of year when zucchini and summer squash run rampant through our gardens. You can buy it by the bag loads from farm stands and farmers' markets. Most of us can get bushels from friends who are overwhelmed with these long, vivacious green and yellow vegetables. We eat zucchini bread, fry rounds of them in butter, stuff them, make noodles from them, and try to find a number of other ways to use up the plethora of zucchini and summer squash we are surrounded by.

My kids eat just about anything, but they have already reached their limit of these summer vegetables. I know have to find new and creative ways to use them up. Tonight's dinner was a win in all categories. The kids got homemade macaroni and cheese, I served them a healthy dose of summer squash, and the SO gave it two thumbs up. I cheated on the sauce, admittedly, because I was lazy and it needed to be used up, but you can make a roux and a white sauce from scratch.

This is what it looked like before baking.

Mac 'n Cheese 'n Summer Squash
1 package pasta
2 C cheddar cheese
2/3 C Alfredo sauce
1 C shredded summer squash
1/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese
4 mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 T butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta until just cooked. Drain and set aside.

2. In the meantime, heat 1 T of butter over medium heat and add onion slices. Toss the onion slices so they all get coated in butter. Turn heat down to medium low and let cook until a golden brown.

3. In a pot melt 1 T butter over medium heat and add in Alfredo sauce and shredded cheddar cheese. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Add in summer squash and cook for 2 minutes.

4. Butter a baking dish and add cooked pasta. Dump in cheese and squash sauce, mix thoroughly. Serve with a fresh salad, sauteed green beans, and some crusty bread.

Delicious and creamy, topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.