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Welcome to My Kitchen

Summer heat and yummy treats

Series: Recipe Column | Story 54

Summer harvest season is not just for wheat. Home gardens can produce a bumper crop leaving the gardener wondering what to do with it all. I received requests for an easy apricot jam, any ideas besides zucchini bread for an abundance of zucchini and those cooking for harvesters were exchanging meal ideas on Facebook. My recommendation in that department was Twist Tuna Salad, a recipe I received from the late Elizabeth Fink in 1989. Easy to prepare, it lends itself to variations depending on ingredients at hand.

Twist Tuna Salad

12 ounces twist pasta (rotini)

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

2 Tbsp cider vinegar

Big Dash ground black pepper

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

3 cups frozen peas, thawed

3/4 cup chopped red onion

2 cans (7 ounces each) tuna, well drained

Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and rinse to cool, then drain well.

Meanwhile, make dressing by combining in a medium bowl, the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, black pepper and dill. Set aside.

In a large mixing or salad bowl, combine cooled pasta, drained peas, red onion and drained tuna. Fold in dressing, working gently until all ingredients are coated. Serve immediately or chill up to 24 hours before serving. Yield: 6-8 meal servings or 12-14 side servings.

Note: canned salmon or cubed grilled chicken breast are also good in this salad. Use any style pasta you like. Walla Walla sweet onion or green onions may be substituted for the red onion but are not as colorful. Diced red pepper or drained pimento also add nice color.

Several people have asked for an easy Apricot Freezer Jam recipe. It seems that most of the apricot trees in Odessa are loaded with fruit this year. I use the recipe included in the pectin box, but I’ll print it here because sometimes they miss getting one in every box.

Apricot Freezer Jam

3 cups finely chopped apricots

1/2 cup lemon juice

4 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 box fruit pectin (2 ounces)

1 cup light corn syrup

The key to making good jam or jelly of any kind is to measure ingredients exactly.

In a large mixing bowl combine apricots and lemon juice.

Place sugar in a separate bowl.

Gradually stir 1 box of pectin into fruit mixture. Mix thoroughly. Let mixture stand 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to dissolve pectin thoroughly.

Pour corn syrup into fruit mixture, mixing well.

Stir in sugar gradually. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy.

Pour into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch head space at top to allow for expansion during freezing. Cover with tight fitting lids.

Let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 1 year.

Yield: 7 cups.

Note: corn syrup is added to prevent sugar crystallization during freezer storage. Don’t leave out or substitute.

Zucchini seem to produce faster than you can use them up or give them away. Some families love everything zucchini and others have limited likes and a few loathe this green summer vegetable. I was asked for a recipe that wasn’t chocolate flavored.

Lemon and nutmeg flavor Lemon Zucchini Muffins, and if you spread them with some cream cheese frosting, you could pass them of as cupcakes. I have had this recipe in my collection since 1998, but I have no notation of who I got it from.

Lemon Zucchini Muffins

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 container (8 ounces) lemon yogurt, at room temperature

1 large egg

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 medium zucchini, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine flour baking soda, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl: mix well and set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, egg, lemon zest and juice, sugar and melted butter. Add to dry ingredients; stir gently to blend. Stir in zucchini and walnuts.

Spoon mixture into 18 greased muffin cups until 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes; then remove muffins to wire rack. Yield:18 muffins.

Note: it is hard to find 8 ounce containers of yogurt, most are only 6 ounces, so you will need 2 containers to get the correct amount. Orange yogurt is also good in this recipe.

As you may know, I enjoy creating recipes. Zucchini Spice Muffins is a recipe I put together in 2006. Sometimes I make it with zucchini and other times with yellow summer squash.

Zucchini Spice Muffins

1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 large egg

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, canola oil and egg. Stir into dry ingredients.

Fold in zucchini and nuts. Spoon into prepared muffin cups and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown and set. Yield 12 muffins.

Note: measure the amount of shredded zucchini needed in you recipe. Puree in the blender, then add to your recipe as directed and most eaters won’t know the difference. Pureed zucchini may be used in place of, or for part of mashed banana in many recipes. Just add a drop or two of banana extract if you want banana flavor.

Share your favorite summer meal recipes, jam recipes and tips for using up zucchini and other summer squash by sending them to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA or email them to: or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office. Water gardens and flowers early morning or late evening for best moister absorption by your plants.


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