Summer Bounty

kitchen_at_shomreiIs your garden overflowing with zucchini and summer squash? Most everyone who plants these delicious summer vegetables has more than a family can consume on its own. Here are two recipes for delicious alternatives to grilled or sautéed squash.

The first recipe was sent to me by my daughter Rebecca who lives in Lille, France. David Lebovitz, a transplanted American who lives and bakes in Paris, adapted it from a recipe by Gina DePalma. In France courgettes often appear on the menu and abound in the daily and weekly markets that are the centerpiece of grocery shopping. Check out Lebovitz’s web site ( for other scrumptious desserts and insights into baking.

zucchini cake with lemon glazeZucchini Cake with Crunchy Lemon Glaze
 (Serves 12-16)

For the cake:
1 cup (135g) almonds, pecans, or walnuts, toasted
2 cups (280g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 3/4 (350g) cups sugar
1 cup (250ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (300g) finely grated zucchini
grated lemon zest to taste

For the lemon glaze:
1/4 cup (60ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
1 cup (140g) powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 10 cup bundt or tube cake pan (or two loaf pans) with non-stick spray or butter, dust with flour, tap out any excess.
2. Pulse the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugar, and olive oil for 3 minutes on medium speed, until light and fluffy. Stop and scrape down sides of mixer, then add lemon zest and vanilla.
5. Mix in dry ingredients, scraping down sides of bowl to making sure everything is mixed well. Then beat on medium for 30 seconds.
6. Stir in the chopped nuts and zucchini.
7. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, then bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan. Reduce baking time slightly for loaf pans.
8. During the last few minutes of the cake baking, make the glaze by whisking together the lemon juice, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and powdered sugar.
9. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a cooling rack. Brush the glaze over the cake with a pastry brush (silicone works best) and let the cake cool completely.

Storage: The cake can be wrapped (or put under a cake dome) and will keep for a few days. You can freeze the unglazed cake. Defrost and heat slightly before glazing.

Looking for a dish perfect for a light supper or a side dish? If you have a counter top oven (like the Breville which I love as a 9 by 13 baking pan fits perfectly), use that and you won’t heat up the kitchen. The olives and Parmesan give some zip to bland summer squash. Credit goes to Cook’s

summer-squashSummer Squash Gratin (Serves 6-8)

2 T unsalted butter, softened, plus 4 T melted
2 onions, halved and sliced thin
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 T minced fresh thyme
½ c. white wine
½ c. pitted kalamata olives, chopped fine
¼ c chopped fresh basil
2 T basil for garnish
1 ½ lbs. zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 ½ lbs. yellow summer squash, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (1 C)


Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
1. Melt 1 T. softened butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.
2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
3. Stir in garlic and thyme. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
4.Stir in wine and cook until evaporated, about 3 minutes.
5. Off heat, stir in olives and 2 T. basil. Set aside.
6. Meanwhile, toss green and yellow squash with 2 tsp. salt in large bowl. Microwave, covered, stirring halfway through, until slightly softened and some liquid is released, about 8 minutes.
7. Drain in colander and cool slightly. Arrange squash on triple layer of paper towels. Cover with another layer of paper towels. Press firmly to remove as much liquid as possible.
8. Use remaining 1 T. softened butter to grease bottom and sides of 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
9. Combine panko, Parmesan and 1 tsp pepper (or to taste) in bowl. Evenly coat baking dish with 6 T. panko mixture. Stir melted batter into remaining panko mixture until well combined. Set aside.
10. Arrange half of squash in prepared dish and season with pepper to taste. Sprinkle ¼ c. panko mixture evenly over squash. Spread onion mixture in even layer over crumbs. Arrange rest of squash over onion mixture and season with pepper to taste.
11. Cover with foil and bake until just tender, 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle remaining panko over the top. Bake uncovered until bubbly and brown, 10-15 minutes.
12. Cool on rack for about 15 minutes.


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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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