By Nicole Montesano • Staff Writer • 

Enjoying the overabundance of summer

Peaches with raspberries, peaches with strawberries, peaches with blackberries, peaches all by themselves. Yep, it’s definitely summer — the time of overabundance. At least in the case of the peaches, we have only what I deliberately buy. If you do find yourself with too many on your hands, try slicing them and stuffing them into crepes. Top with raspberry sauce.

A gardening friend claims she is doggedly exploring 1,001 ways to eat zucchini, earning her the sympathy of gardeners everywhere.

Fortunately, our own plants are behaving remarkably temperately this year, having produced, so far, exactly three zucchini, and showing no immediate sign of turning out more. This, let it be said, is fine. We are enjoying zucchini, without being overwhelmed by it. Apparently, my friend’s plants are less moderate.

In our household, we have one main favorite way to eat zucchini, with a few backups to employ as needed. We like it best sliced into round coins, battered and fried, for breakfast or supper. I also freeze it that way, to pull out in late winter when we want a break from root vegetables.

It’s also good diced on pizza or in spaghetti sauce, in stir-fry and in frittatas, as sauteeing in olive oil does very nice things for its flavor, and it goes well with eggs. It’s also good in soup. Actually it’s good in a variety of soups, whether contributing one act in a classic minestrone type, or playing a starring role in a simple summer squash soup, perhaps with basil or thyme and grated parmesan.

You can also try to pre-empt its development by eating the male blossoms for breakfast with eggs.

Big zucchini, grated or minced, make a fine stand-in for cucumbers in pickle relish.

And, of course, there’s the old standby — zucchini bread, which is a pretty fine-tasting way to use up a lot of squash. “The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book” prefers to keep things in the savory realm, with zucchini cheese muffins. Hard to object, really.

So that’s nine. You’re on your own for the other 992 variations. May the kitchen Force be with you.

Given the equal abundance of green beans in many gardens, you might consider combining the two. Though, personally, I prefer to serve green beans with lemon zest or diced cherry tomatoes and garlic, or with boiled potatoes and pesto. They go well with mushrooms, too, or in stir-fries, and are a standby in casseroles and soups.

My friend of the many zucchini says that green beans are truly wonderful when roasted, something I’m going to have to try this year. I would bet that roasting cherry tomatoes and/or garlic with them would also be delicious, in the event there are too many of either hanging about the kitchen.

Enjoy summer’s abundance.

Nicole Montesano can be reached at

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