Squash and tidbits of information

My week was pretty quiet, in comparison with the last couple of weeks. Pokeno was Monday afternoon, and it is always pleasant to be with that group of ladies. Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons found me in the gift shop, which is another great way to spend an afternoon. There wasn’t much business, but there a few “lookers”, and that made the time go faster. Part of Thursday was spent with two friends, as we began hand making the “yoyos” that are used to decorate our holiday themed embroidered cup towels that will be sold at our Craft Show in November! We got quite a few made among us and, of course, there are lots more to be made, as many of the towels are being made and will need to be decorated.
According to an old issue (1938) of The Devine News, I gleaned the following information in an article called “The Pocketbook of Knowledge, by Topps”.
Where was the War Between the States fought? It wasn’t fought only in the north and south—battles were fought in 32 states, two territories, and the District of Columbia! There were a total of 2,261 battles and engagements fought, taking place in the following states: Washington Territory, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, California, Minnesota, Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Indian Territory Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, District of Columbia, Virginia, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Some more information from the same article: Vinegar was used as a beverage in ancient Rome diluted with water it was a popular drink. (In today’s world, we are told that drinking apple cider vinegar will lower our cholesterol and make us healthier.) At that same point in time, (1938), the United States had one telephone for each seven persons. (Can you feature that in today’s world?) The four other leading nations averaged one phone for each 35 persons. In 1914, it took about 105 minutes for the average man to earn the price of an electric light bulb…today (1938), it takes 12 minutes and the bulbs are better! Wonder what it takes today, in an age where electric lights, appliances and computers are all taken for granted!!! Makes you think, doesn’t it?
Some folks are probably still getting squash from their gardens, and they have run out of ideas of what to do with them. Do you know anything about the origination of squash? Do you need a couple of new recipes to cook the ones you have?
An encyclopedia tells me that “Squash, is the fleshy fruit of several species of the genus Curcubita of the gourd family.” Squash vines are strong, very frost-sensitive, and usually have broad leaves. Some varieties are bush types, but many of them have sprawling runners that can reach lengths of over 40 feet. Squash blossoms are a beautiful golden yellow and both male and female are produced on the same plant. Insects, especially honeybees, are the chief pollinators. (Don’t make the mistake of planting squash and cucumbers too close to each other as they will cross-pollinate and you will have weird tasting squash.) Also, recently, I have come across recipes using squash flowers, fresh in a salad, or being battered and deep fried!
They are usually divided into summer and winter types, depending whether they are used for culinary purposes in the immature (summer squash) or the mature condition (winter squash).
The summer squashes are generally of the varieties of C. pepo, or the white scallop (sometimes called Patty pan), yellow crookneck, yellow straight, and zucchini.
The varieties of C. maxima are the most important winter squashes, the Hubbard, buttercup, acorn, etc. C. moschata and C. Mixta are winter squashes.
Even though none of the squashes have been collected in their truly wild state, there is unmistakable evidence that all of them originated in the New World. Various specimens have been recovered from pre-Columbian archaeological sites in the Americas. Some of the evidence found suggests that they were originally domesticated many centuries before the arrival of Columbus.
Originally, man is believed to have first used squashes for their edible seeds, and in parts of Latin America it is till their primary use.
The various varieties of summer squash are boiled, stewed or fried before serving, while the winter squashes are generally baked or used in pies.
Squash can be cooked in many ways including casseroles and even desserts. A couple of years ago, I found a recipe for “Zucchini Lasagna” also one for “Zucchini Enchiladas.” These, of course, are vegetarian dishes. For a dessert, you can make “Zucchini Nut Bread”, which is similar in texture to banana bread. There are also recipes for cookies and if I remember correctly, even a “Chocolate Zucchini Cake”, in an article or a cookbook. In addition to the above, I have recently, come across recipes using squash flowers, fresh in a salad, or being battered and deep fried!
Following are a couple of recipes for you to try. The Double Squash Casserole is from the GVEC newsletter that Mother received, back before we had the magazine TX Co-op Power. If you have never cooked squash, the first one is a simple recipe for plain squash.
Cooked Squash
2 to 3 pounds fresh yellow or white squash
2 to 3 slices bacon
1 medium onion, chopped or sliced in strips
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash squash, thoroughly, cut into slices, and place in pot. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry until fairly crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Cook onion in bacon drippings until nearly tender, add to squash and place over low heat season to your taste with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until squash is done to your taste. You do not really need to add any water, as they will create their own liquid if tightly covered. Squash is also good just cooked until barely tender and seasoned with a tablespoon of butter or margarine.
Also, don’t forget that squash, especially zucchini can be sliced about ¼-inch thick, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper, dredged in flour and deep fried. Most times they are served with Ranch Dressing as a dip!
Double Squash Casserole
4 yellow squash
3 zucchini
1 medium onion
1 cup picante sauce
24 saltine crackers, crushed
Shredded cheese
Cook squash and onion in water for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.
In a casserole dish, combine squash and picante sauce and mix together. Sprinkle cheese and crackers on top. Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes.
For dessert, you might consider serving a Coca-Cola® cake. This recipe is in answer to a request on face book! Enjoy ladies!
Chocolate Coca Cola® Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
3 tablespoons Hershey’s cocoa
1 cup Coca Cola®
½ cup buttermilk*
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cups miniature marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Mix together flour and sugar in large mixing bowl. Heat butter, cocoa and Coca Cola® to boiling and pour over flour mixture. Add buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, vanilla and marshmallows; stir together until combined. (This makes a rather thin batter, and the marshmallows will float to the top. Pour into a 9×13 pan and bake until cake tests done with a toothpick. * You can use whole milk, just pour about 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice into your measuring cup and add the milk to the ½ cup line, stir to mix and allow to stand a couple of minutes and it will thicken.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly as you make the frosting:
1 stick butter
3 tablespoons Coca Cola®
1 box (1 pound) powdered sugar
1 cup pecans
Place butter, cocoa and Coca Cola in a saucepan and heat just until boiling. Pour over sugar, add nuts and beat until creamy. Spread over cake.
Now, for those of you who can’t eat chocolate for whatever reason, here is a chocolate-free version of the Coca Cola® cake.
Chocolate Free Coca Cola® Cake
1 package yellow, butter flavor golden cake mix* (no pudding added type)
1 package (4-oz size) instant vanilla pudding
1 cup cooking oil
1 cup flake coconut
1 cup pecans
10-oz Coca Cola®
Grease and flour a 9×13 pan OR grease the bottom of the pan and line it with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Heat oven to 350ºF.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer combine cake and pudding mix, oil, coconut, pecans Coca Cola® and eggs. Mix well and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake from and cool thoroughly before frosting. *This recipe is from when cake mixes were 18.25 ounces. The new ones are 16.25 ounces, so you can add about 3 Tbs. baking mix (i.e. Bisquick or Pioneer Baking Mix) to the cake mix and this will give you about the same amount as the larger box of cake mix would be.
Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup butter
1 package (8-oz) cream cheese
1 pound box powdered sugar (sifted)
In small bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese together, continue mixing and gradually add powdered sugar, beating until fluffy.