Finding a New Taste for Squash

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Did you have one of those vegetables that you absolutely hated as a child, but love now? Well, that’s yellow squash for me.

When I was a kid, we always had squash in our family garden, so when it was time to gather it, I knew Mom was going to make me eat it. I loved the pretty blooms it made, but to eat it…well, it was torture.

Mom cooked it many ways: fried, boiled, and even squash fritters. She made squash casserole with creamy additions, but still no dice for me. If I had to eat it, I would usually take it with a bite of my roll or biscuit, hoping it would help with getting it down. I know I complained about it. It was squishy and stringy and those little seeds…ugh. No way!

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Then something happened when I was served squash casserole at a plated dinner I attended. I was hesitant, but when you’re seated at a table with others, I was taught it was rude not to at least try everything on your plate. I was trying not to make a grimacing face as it approached my mouth. And then it happened. I fell in love with squash. It was good. I was enjoying it. I finished all that was on my plate. Truly though, what can go wrong with fresh squash, loads of cheese, and a crushed-cracker crust?

Through the years I have made many a squash casserole, squash fritters, veggie lasagna loaded with squash, and just classic steamed squash. My favorite squash casserole recipe to this day came out of Southern Classics, a 2012 special issue of Cooking with Paula Deen magazine. I don’t even have to flip through the pages to find this recipe anymore. The magazine opens right up to it because I’ve turned to it so many times that the page is weathered with splashes of ingredients from past casseroles—that’s how you know you’ve used a recipe a lot!

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When Paula and our magazine staff decided to do a feature article on what to do with the summer bounty of yellow squash and zucchini, it was great to see all the recipes that emerged: Squash and Potato Pancakes with Dill Sour Cream, Ginger and Macadamia Nut Zucchini Bread, Zucchini and Yellow Squash Ribbon Salad (my personal favorite), Cheesy Squash Enchiladas, and Zucchini Sheet Cake. It was especially fun tasting all the delicious recipes. For a girl who initially didn’t like squash, it was a way to make up for those years of turning my nose up to all those wonderful dishes prepared with the summer staple. Sorry, Mom! At least I’m eating my squash now. It wasn’t your recipes. I just didn’t give it a chance.

Squash can be delicate to handle and store, so here are some tips to help you:

1. The skin of zucchini and yellow squash should be smooth, glossy, and vibrant without blemishes or soft spots, which are signs of deterioration. It should be firm, heavy for its size, and ideally, 6 to 8 inches long.

2. Store zucchini and yellow squash in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer. They will stay fresh for up to a week. Delay washing until you’re just about to use them.

Paula and I would love for you to try our squash recipes. You can pick up the May/June 2013 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen and turn to page 47, or click here for a sampling. Let us know what you think!

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Reader Comments:

54321

I miss you on TV, you were part of my day. I loved your recipes. I hope to see again soon!!!!!

By Anonymous on August 26, 2013

54321

I want to talk to Miss Paula pleas ! Thank you !

By eddinku@yahoo.com on April 27, 2013

54321

Good use of zucchini.. Slice it in half, score it. Spread a little butter on each half. Put into a microwave safe dish, add 1/4 cup water to dish. Sprinkle lemon pepper and garlic salt to each side. Put into microwave. Push the fresh vegetable button. Remove and enjoy.

By Charlotte Efird on April 23, 2013

54321

About a hundred years ago I watched Julia Child make a Zucchini recipe for "those people that think they HATE zucchini". I share it on my website www.thedecadentdiabetic.com. Julia was right. This is so good they won't know what it is. The trick is not to tell them. Gotta love that woman!!!

By Ward Alper, The Decadent Diabetic on April 23, 2013

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Paula Deen
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hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 8:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 11:03 pm