Just as I was thinking that summer was nearly over, we have gotten slammed in a huge panini press of searing, scorching heat. My daughter lives in Florida, and I compare her temperatures almost daily with ours. We are neck-in-neck. It’s going to be 93° this afternoon, here and in Florida. On the whole, I think I’d like an ocean view, at least there I could go swimming.
Instead, here I melt, a soft, oozing cheese, while I puzzle over the mysteries of summer squash. Have you noticed the annual wave of zucchinis and squash taking over the produce section at your grocery store? It reminds me of the moment in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, when the pods are disgorged from trucks and car trunks – the gourds are everywhere. We have been outnumbered, and we must do all we can to protect our species, even in this roasting heat. It’s time to whip out our cookbooks and save humanity.
There are green zucchini and yellow zucchini. There is Costata Romanesco Zucchini, which is striped. There is an eightball zucchini, which is a pale green billiard ball. There are straight neck and goose neck yellow squash. There are yellow, green and a yellow/green combination of pattypan squash. There is a pale green Cousa Squash. There is the hybrid Zephyr squash, which is a combination of yellow crook neck, delicata, and yellow acorn squash. It is no wonder that cucumbers are feeling crowded out of the produce section.
While we are still enthusiastic about eating summer squash this is an excellent dish: https://food52.com/recipes/86125-best-orzo-risotto-recipe-with-summer-squash You can eat it sitting on the back porch, once the sun has set, the temperature has dropped, and it is feeling less like a furnace in your own back yard. Look, there are still a few fireflies, and we can almost converse over the racket of the cicadas! Have another glass of wine!
As long as it is summer, let’s use the grill again. Some nights I can’t face more than a salad. Adding a side of grilled zucchini makes a salad more of an event. https://www.skinnytaste.com/grilled-zucchini/ And then a bowl of icy cubes of fresh watermelon. Deelish.
How about dinner and a movie tonight? Ratatouille and Alice Waters’ genius Ratatouille http://tastyoasis.net/2015/11/11/alice-waters-ratatouille/. After you spend the afternoon slicing and dicing, you can spend the evening in Paris with a couple of charmers.
(Here is the link to Ratatouille the TikTok Musical, which is lots of fun: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1aIzbW6Lrs)
Watch out for your neighbor who shares too much. The first couple of zucchini shared over the back fence are nice and neighborly, but it can lead to mysterious midnight deposits of body bags of them left on your front porch. I can handle any amount of home-grown tomatoes, but my taste for zucchini and squash is limited.
As a thank you for your neighbor, try this subtle revenge: zucchini bread: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-zucchini-bread-157748
Summer is going to wind down. I have seen a scattering of red leaves in the dogwood tree across the street. Our zinnias are going nuts, and the black-eyed Susans are petering out. I will never remember this heat deep in February, when I will be heartily tired of turtlenecks and knee socks. Carpe diem.
“The trouble is, you cannot grow just one zucchini. Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of zucchini will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden, menacing the other vegetables. At night, you will be able to hear the ground quake as more and more zucchinis erupt.”