CAPTION: Pulling the zucchini wool over Grandpa Nead’s eyes, here he is with one of Rosanna’s nieces
BY ROSANNA BAUMAN
Around here the joke is that the only time folks lock their car doors at church is when they already have enough zucchini. Those squash are still bearing well in our area and by this time of year everyone is getting weary of the classic ways to serve squash: fried and steamed. We most often eat the fresh zucchini and squash steamed, with a bit of cheese. Even though we can eat a giant pan full of squash, we can’t eat it at every meal. And when those zucchinis are coming on strong, you just about need to serve it once a day. Those tender little zucchini are great for frying or steaming but what do you do with those monsters that have hid under the leaves until they reach two pounds? Our answer for giant, seedy or tough zucchini is to shred them. Shredded zucchini is very versatile. It freezes nicely and you can sneak that shredded stuff in just about any dish: eggs, meatloaf, and even desserts!
For some reason, green zucchini seems more disliked by youngsters than the yellow squash. Perhaps it is because green is so representative of “healthy” foods (spinach, broccoli) and yellow is reminiscent of sweeter fruits (banana, pear). My Grandpa Nead never overcame his childhood dislike for zucchini, so my grandma delighted in finding ways to sneak zucchini into the dishes. She got a lot of amusement out of watching him eat second helpings of a dish that had zucchini in it. This was usually accomplished by peeling that tell-tale green skin before incorporating the squash into a recipe.
Our family’s absolute favorite way to consume the zucchini is in a zucchini casserole. We make this casserole in a 9 X 13 dish, and there is rarely anything leftover. We serve it with ground beef, as our main dish, but if one omits the meat it becomes a nice side dish. We all like it so well that Mom leaves the skin on when she shreds the zucchini because it adds attractive green flakes to the casserole coloring. However, when my Grandma Nead served it to my grandpa, she had to peel the zucchini and rename the dish “hamburger casserole.” To this day he enjoys the casserole heartily and no one had has the courage to tell him that he is eating zucchini.
- 3 cups shredded zucchini (peeling before shredded is optional)
- 1 pound ground beef, fried
- 1 ½ cups cracker crumbs
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/ 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 /2 cup butter, melted
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- Combine ingredients thoroughly and then pour into a greased 2 quart dish.
- Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.
- If desired, additional cheese can be sprinkled on top of the casserole after it is finished baking.
- Test for doneness is just like custard, there should be no wiggle in the middle.