Zucchini Desperate

My Mother was born and raised in Kershaw, S.C. during the depression. As with most folks during that time my Grandparents had a garden and Mom said she often spent her days tending a small flock and weeding and hoeing the plot in the often miserable conditions of a South Carolina summer. Of course she also helped with the canning and other preserving of food, cooking and cleaning.

When we were children we spent some of the most wonderful summers at my Grandparents in Kershaw, often farmed out to other relatives, both for fun and beloved child labor in a way, things were not so hard in the 50's but still, there were gardens full of black-eyed peas, corn and string beans, flocks of chickens, sometimes a cow or sow or two. And we spent many an hour on one porch or another, aprons full of beans, bowls in our laps, doing our part to prepare the next meal. Oh, we had to help and eat the stuff too, even the dreaded mashed squash, no way to hide that one and to this very day when I see banana squash coming I will walk the other way.

As far as I can tell, Mom never inherited the "gardening gene" from her father although both my sister's and I have it to one extent or another. After Mom fell in love with the dashing young officer and married him at 16 or so I don't think she ever had to bend to pick a weed, she was just that well cared for (and with a stubborn streak I might add.)

Because of all the squash nightmares of the past, I never could bring myself to plant the seeds of the dreaded banana squash, and indeed was actually horrified though also intrigued one day when we drove for a short spell behind a pickup truck loaded with what appeared to be elongated yellow-pink pods. My husband informed me to my horror what that was what the entire banana-type squash looked like. I could have gaged.

And so, in my garden there are no squashy mistakes to be found, except for the very (sometimes alarmingly) prolific Zucchini, which my younger sister lets grow to the size of her leg, grinding them up in bags placed into the freezer for use in bread and cakes as time goes by and the holidays are upon us. I see no difference in letting the stuff take over this way and, along with the usual bread and cake recipes, flakey crusted "fritata" and sautéed medley, I had collected a few standbys for when you've got it and can't bear to waste it. Not my own concoctions, but tried and true. The following is the first installment..... for those times when you are zucchini desperate.

Stuffed Zucchini Squash

  • 4 or 5 med. squash, about 6 inches long
  • salt
  • 3/4 Tbsp light olive or vegetable oil
  • 3/4 chopped onion
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1/4 lb. sweet sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 3 slices bread
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp grated cheese (I use parmesan)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Wash zucchini and cut off ends. Cook whole in boiling water 8 min.

Drain, cut in half lengthwise and remove pulp, scraping with a spoon and saving pulp. Cook onion and garlic in oil a few minutes, add sausage, beef 1/2 tsp. salt, pepper and rosemary. Cook 15 minutes

Break bread in pieces and soak in milk,. Add to meat with cheese and zucchini pulp toss well with a fork. "Stuff" mixture into squash halves. Place in greased baking dish and bake at 325 for 35 min. Serves 4 or more.