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Let’s Call the Whole Thing Squash Our dear editor asked me if I could come up with recipes utilizing zucchini, which is one of the only vegetables I have no taste for. Perhaps it’s because it has none and is mostly water. My father did grow a variety called “eight ball” which was still practically flavorless; but, true to it’s name, perfectly round. It was the ideal thing to hollow out and fill with something that did have some flavor. Ratatouille is, of course, the obvious choice, but the sun-dried tomato and bacon custard was definitely better. Anyone who’s ever planted zucchini knows that it is a proliferate producer. If you go away for the weekend, more than likely you’ll come home to find one nearly the size of a canoe. Normally I’m all for bigger being better; never in the squash realm though. Even people that make the quick bread with it have to admit it’s not pleasant to hack apart and scrape out the seeds before grating it. There are some things that I’ve found over the years to make with it since I can’t ever seem to bring myself to just tossing it in the composter when someone brings it for a hostess present or I find some left on my porch. I do make a side dish with zucchini, yellow squash and julienne red peppers that is always a hit with my guests. I run the squash lengthwise along the julienne blade of a mandolin so that it looks like angel hair pasta. I only use the colored skin with perhaps a few passes of the flesh underneath. It’s very colorful and appealing and if you add enough garlic and herbs it actually tastes like something. The secret to making this dish is to have a very large skillet, that is extremely hot before adding the peppers and then, consequently, the squash. My partner adores grilled zucchini. I will eat it without much complaining since it is, after all, grilled. Salting and

seasoning for a few hours before hand helps to infuse some flavor and omit some of the water which makes steam and prohibits the formation of the perfect grill markings. It’s best to pat dry with a towel and brush with oil immediately before placing on the grill to insure proper marking. I recently had to do a few menus for someone with peptic ulcers. In doing some research on recommendations, I found that – because of its mild nature and high moisture content – squash is an excellent choice for a vegetable. Any diet that’s titled “The Bland Diet” is definitely not at the top of my list of choices, and I thank heaven that I’m not cursed with an ulcer. Perhaps my favorite thing to eat from the plant is the blossom. I had them in Italy prepared two ways. One was a simple 3-stage breaded (flour, egg and breadcrumbs) and deep fat fried. It was an absolutely amazing presentation on the plate and supremely delicate. The other was stuffed Capri style before being breaded and fried. I still make both preparations several times throughout the season. I like to think the more blossoms I cook, the less squash I’ll have to make. One tip for flavor enhancement is to incorporate at least 30% freshly-grated Parmesan cheese in the breadcrumbs. The filling for the blossoms is also outstanding as a topping or a filling for the squash itself. Have a wonderful summer and enjoy the bounty your garden or local farmers market has to order! Scott Sinemus is a Chef with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Pennsylvania Institute for Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh. He’s continued his education with classes from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and The Greenbrier; and has travelled internationally in search of authentic cuisine.

Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

TouchstoneCenter forCrafts, 1049 Wharton Furnace Road, Farmington, PA 15437 tel: 800.721.0177 724.329.1370 fax: 724.329.1371

Artist of the Year Celebration Join us Saturday, July 18th from 12 pm to 2pm, as we celebrate Sue Pollins as Touchstone’s 2009 Artist of the Year. A reception and a luncheon will be held to honor Sue, her work, and her many contributions to Touchstone. Also, visit Touchstone’s Iron Gate Gallery, where Sue’s works will be on display throughout the month of July. The cost of the luncheon is $10 – Please RSVP with Touchstone at 724-329-1370.

Senior Citizens Life Enhancement Program Through a generous grant from the Eberly Foundation, Touchstone has established a program that will provide quality art instruction that will enhance the quality of local seniors’ lives while supporting their independence and encouraging their continued involvement in and with the community. Seven local nursing homes will participate in activities - both in their own facilities and on Touchstone’s campus throughout July and August. Instructor Nancy McChesney, of Dancing Trees Studio, has created a curriculum that will offer multiple disciplines of art instruction that will be catered to the individual ability of each participant.

Checking the list and "saving the date" for An Evening in the Neighborhood, II are (seated from left) Susannah Calvo, Committee Chairperson, Diana Kreiling, Committee Member and Gabi Nastuck, Webmaster/Graphic Designer. Standing is Jackie Dixon, Director of Latrobe Art Center.

12-15 zucchini blossoms 1 package Buffala Mozzarella* – drained well, fine dice 2 large very ripe tomatoes ~ peeled, seeded, fine diced and drained well 5 garlic cloves – roasted & pureed ½ cup fresh basil – chopped fine ¼ c. very good quality olive oil salt & pepper to taste Oil for deep fat frying • Dip the blossoms in boiling salted water for no more than 2 seconds, then immediately immerse in ice water. Drain well and pat dry. • Combine all remaining ingredients. Fill a large disposable pastry bag with a large plain tip (star tips snag too much to be practical). • Pipe the filling into the blossoms. Then bread them for frying. 350 degrees is a good temperature to fry them in • As with most things deep fat fried, when they float they’re finished. Serve Immediately *Buffala Mozzarella can be purchased at Pennsylvania Macaroni Company in the Strip District. It is made the same way as regular mozzarella. The difference is it’s made from water buffalo milk. Penn Mac also has a website and ships virtually everything in their store if you can’t make it down to the ‘burgh. Regular mozzarella can be used but it’s not nearly as scrumptious.

Every Story Begins At Home.

July/August 2009 - 19

Laurel Mountain Post July-August 2009  

A Magazine from the Heart of Western Pennsylvania

Laurel Mountain Post July-August 2009  

A Magazine from the Heart of Western Pennsylvania