Summer surprises

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My garden is finally starting to yield enough to eat. Fresh peas, beans, sweet corn and potatoes are filling our plates. I also found my first ripe tomato the other day, and the yields look promising. Thank goodness the garden is next to the cornfield. They have both been getting watered by the irrigation gun every week due to our dry summer conditions. 

AJ and Isaac’s garden is in full swing too. We stopped by their place on a four-wheeler ride around the neighborhood as we tried to cool off after milking in a hot barn. They were just coming out of their garden with an armful of zucchini. I’m not a big fan of zucchini, but I do enjoy it covered up in chocolate cake or bread. As Isaac handed me a big bag of zucchini, I was starting to panic about what to do with his generous gift.

AJ suggested I make zucchini pie. The look on my face must have been utter confusion because she quickly told me it tastes just like apple pie. Now I was really confused. There is no way this is a real thing. Apparently, her family has a pie and crisp recipe using zucchini. She pulled together the parts she liked and created her own version of zucchini pie. 

I took the zucchini and her recipes and decided I would at least give it a try. I used my own regular pie crust for my pie and made her filling. I have to say she was right. It did taste like apple pie, and the pieces held their shape very well. One piece of advice is to make sure you clear out all of the seeds from the slices. The pie tastes fine but looks a little funky with seeds floating around in the filling.     

As hot as it has been, I really don’t want to heat up the house cooking, so I decided I was going to try and use my grill a bit more to cook dinner. Tin foil has become my best friend in the kitchen. I make a pouch out of tin foil and add cubed potatoes, onion slices, butter cubes and a bit of oil along with seasonings. I roll up the top and sides of the foil, securing everything inside. I throw the foil pouches and wet sweet corn on the grill to cook. Add a few hamburgers to the hot grill, and 15 minutes later, supper is ready. Who needs sweet corn at the state fair when you can cook it at home so easily? Give the Hawaiian salad a try to finish off a simple summer meal. Enjoy!


Zucchini pie by AJ Popp

2 pie crusts

5 cups peeled, seeded, cubed zucchini

2/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ginger

Place zucchini and lemon juice in sauce pan; bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover for 8 minutes. Stir in sugar and spices. Cover for another 5 minutes. Spoon into lined pie pan. Cover with crust. Cut vents into top crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juices bubbling through vents.


Zucchini crisp

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt 

3/4 cup cold butter, cut into small chunks

Combine all ingredients until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups. Press remaining crumbles into greased pan or heavy skillet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes. Pour above filling recipe onto crust. Sprinkle remaining crust on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.


Apple slab pie by Nancy Dowell

1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

9 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (nine medium apples)

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove pie crusts from pouches. Unroll and stack crusts one on top of the other on lightly floured surface. Roll to 17 inch by 12 inch rectangle. Fit crust into 15-by-10-by-1 pan (jelly roll pan), pressing into corners. Fold extra pastry crust under, even with edges of pan. Crimp edges. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and lemon juice. Stir in apples to coat. Spoon apple mixture into crust-lined pan. Bake 33-38 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Cool on rack 45 minutes. Mix powdered sugar and milk until well blended. Drizzle over pie. Allow glaze to set before serving, about 30 minutes.


Sweet corn on the grill

Pick ripe ears. Break long dangling leaves off ears. Don’t husk. Soak in cold water. Place on hot grill. Rotate every 5 minutes. Total time on grill about 15 minutes. Using oven mitts to hold hot cobs, peel back husks and silks. Roll in butter.


Hawaiian tortellini salad by Donna Elick

1 (19 ounces) bag frozen tortellini pasta

2 orange bell peppers, cut into bite size pieces

1 cucumber, cut into quarters and sliced

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

16 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cups diced ham

1 (14 ounces) can pineapple tidbits in juice, divided

Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook tortellini according to directions on package. Drain and set aside. Chop ham and vegetables. Reserve pineapple juice from can for the dressing. Set aside. Mix ham, vegetables and pasta together. Make dressing.

Dressing:

1/2 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup pineapple juice (reserved from can of tidbits)

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon fresh grated garlic

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a pint size jar, add dressing ingredients. Shake jar until dressing is combined. Pour over salad and gently toss with salad tongs until well coated.


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