Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I have never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth. Still, I am in a tizzy over the extreme productivity of certain garden plants in the family Cucurbitaceae. I foresee another round of cucumber pickling tonight--everyone gets pickles for Christmas this year! And the yellow crookneck squash is overwhelming in its exuberance. We'll really be in for it when the zucchini hill starts producing!

I started my morning by making two loaves of tender, savory, oniony Squash-Parmesan Bread (a recipe from Marian K. Towne's A Midwest Gardener's Cookbook, because if a Mennonite woman from South Dakota doesn't know what to do with extra squash, who will?). And then I made the cake below, which I very loosely adapted from a recipe in the same book. It's excellent--very similar to my mother's chocolate-apple cake--and I highly recommend it.

Of course, we will also be having squash as a side dish with our chicken dinner tonight...


1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. sour nonfat milk (made by adding 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice to regular nonfat milk)
4 Tbs. cocoa powder
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt (more or less to taste, and depending on whether your butter is salted)
2 c. grated yellow crookneck squash
dark chocolate chips and chopped walnuts for the top

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9x13 cake pan.
Cream together butter, oil, and sugar. Add remaining ingredients (except the toppings) and mix until just combined. Spread in pan and sprinkle lightly with chocolate chips and walnuts.
Bake about 45 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.