Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Getting Fresh—Without Getting Slapped!

When it comes to produce, there’s nothing like getting fresh, and it doesn’t get any fresher than your own garden. The benefits of a home garden are obvious. You plant exactly what you want. You choose what does or doesn’t get applied to it. You can pick treats and eat them the very same day.
If you're really swimming in produce, you can use veggies to write your next book!
The hidden downside of a home garden—and I know this is a great problem to haveis when you have a bumper year and get way, way more veggies than you know what to do with. Of course giving some away is always a good option, but at some point, all but the most veggieracious friends will tire of seeing you sneak onto their porch with yet another bag of zucchini or beets. So, unless you can it (I don’t) or freeze it (I sometimes do), you’ve got to figure out quickly how to serve the bushels of produce filling your house. Some, like tomatoes, are easy. Other, like squash, have more limited options, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t new tricks to learn.

There’s nothing original about grilling squash, but for whatever reason, I never got around to trying it until this summer. When the family was in town, my brother cooked up a killer batch of grilled squash that still had us hungering for it weeks later. I’ve followed suit a couple times since, and it has been marvelous—even if I cut mine too thin.
This weekend's squash cropfinally on the decline.
You can cook yours wrapped in foil, straight on the grill, or on a grill tray. However you do it, it’s an excellent way to use the bounty from your garden (or grocery store). So, here’s the recipe, modified slightly from what my wise brother cooked up, but note that I’m presenting this more as general guidelines than an exact formula, since it’s pretty forgiving as long as you don’t burn it.

Grilled Squash
Yellow squash (or zucchini)
A few garlic cloves
Olive oil
Crushed or fresh chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper

Slice squash into ¼- to ½-inch-thick pieces. (If you want to cook directly on the grill, cut lengthwise into large pieces. With foil, smaller rounds are fine.) Mince a few garlic cloves.

For each squash, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a small bowl. Brush oil onto both sides of squash, and sprinkle with rosemary and salt and pepper. (I suggest starting light on the salt and pepper, since you can always add more later.) Squash should be put on foil sheet on grill and cooked on medium heat for 5-10 minutes per side, turning at least once.
That’s it! Easy peasy! Like I said, you can make pouches, put these straight on the grill (if you omit the garlic), change the seasonings, or switch out the olive oil for butter—whatever strikes your fancy.
Jonathan Schkade is the author of six books for children, including Icky Sticky, Hairy Scary Bible Stories. He's also a network co-representative for the Southern Illinois region of SCBWI. For more fresh facts about Jonathan, slice and dice your way to his site: www.jonathanschkade.com.

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