This time of year always reminds me of the summer I was pregnant with Hayston. I was horribly sick and couldn’t keep anything down apart from Gatorade and we were about 8 weeks into our first season trying out a CSA with Britt Farms. My mother came to stay with us for a week and when she asked what she could do to help around the house, John and I resoundingly said, cook up our veggies! If you haven’t realized already, I am the cook in the family and apart from popcorn and pasta (which he is very proud that he can make himself) John stays away from the stove. So we were literally drowning in squash. It was so bad, my mom opened the refrigerator door and screamed when she saw our mountain of vegetables.
No one realizes how much zucchini and squash plants will actually produce until they’ve grown a few in their garden. That innocent little starter plant quickly takes over 4 square feet (something everyone told you would happen but you couldn’t believe until you saw it for yourself). About this time of year everyone is tired of zucchini bread and sauteed squash, and yet a zucchini plant will continue to produce for many more months (unbelievable, but true). So, it’s time to pace ourselves people and not allow ourselves to be controlled by that innocent little green squash! Do not fall into the black hole of a squash mountain in you fridge like we once did! There are plenty of incredible recipes that include zucchini and yellow squash that will liberate you from your sauteed squash and zucchini bread rut. I promise that almost all of my recipes over the next couple months will include squash and I have a number of “end of the week” clean up type recipes that include everything but the kitchen sink, so keep checking back for new ideas to stay in control of your squash. Until then, here is the first of a two part post that will knock out an amazing amount of squash. On Tuesday I had 6 zucchinis and 2 crook neck squashes and by today they are all gone, making me one of the few people in the South who is wishing they actually had MORE squash. These recipes are delicious and will make you excited the next time you open your fridge to find a mountain of squash. So here is part 1: Zucchini and Black Bean Burgers with a Garden Salsa Salad and to get you excited, part 2 is a Maya Chocolate Zucchini Cake that is to die for so check back in a couple days!
Zucchini Black Bean Burgers
2-3 small to medium sized zucchini and/or yellow squash (when grated and drained will equal 2 cups)
1/2 cup Panko Bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (if you like it spicy, you can use pepper jack)
1 egg beaten
1/2 can black beans smashed with a fork
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
Zest 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for cooking
1. Hand grate on a box grater (no, do not use your food. For this to get the right texture you have use a box grater) a combination of zucchini and/or yellow squash. I like to use 1-2 small zucchinis and 1 yellow squash for its color.
2. Put shredded squash into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze as much of the excess liquid out of squash as you can. Measure two cups of shredded and squeezed squash and place into a bowl.
3. To the squash add the remaining ingredients and mix with a fork or your hands.
4. Form patties with your hands (I can usually get about 6 patties out of the mixture) and place on a plate. The mixture will feel a little dry and crumbly, that is ok, just stick them together the best you can and put them aside.
5. If you have the time, refrigerate for about 30 minutes so that the patties will firm up a bit.
6. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan on med-high heat. Add the patties and cook until brown and crispy on the outside and cooked through on the inside (about 3-5 minutes per side). Serve warm topped with the Garden Salsa Salad.
Garden Salsa Salad
2 large tomatoes cut up into chunks
2 ears of corn cooked and kernels removed from the ears
1 large green pepper chopped (yellow or red would work just as well)
2-3 cucumbers peeled and largely diced
1 jalapeno seeded and very thinly diced
1 small onion thinly sliced
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 avocado cut into chunks (optional)
1-2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 4 limes
large handful of cilantro (about 1/2 cup)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Whisk lime juice, garlic and olive oil together in a small bowl.
2. Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a large bowl mixing well with a large spoon.
3. Dress with the lime dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve as either a salad that stands alone, a topping to the burgers or as a fresh salsa served with chips.
**I served this with a fried tortilla fourth. To make this extra large tortilla “chip” fold a flour tortilla in 1/2 and then cut the 1/2 so that you have two triangular folded pieces. Heat olive oil in a small pan and quickly brown up both sides of the folded tortilla fourth (almost like a cheeseless quesadilla). Serve immediately so it will be warm and crispy**