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Slice of Life

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Don’t give up on the summer veggies yet

I don’t care that most people think summer is over the day after Labor Day. Summer is still here until Friday, and it’s still hot outside.

I’m not ready for wool sweaters, hot cocoa or any kind of hot and heavy dinners, and neither are most of my readers.

I’m still getting requests for dishes you can eat on the deck and utilize the summer veggies that are still available and can “weather” the transition from summer to fall.

Serve the following recipes with hot bread or rolls, fresh fruit, and of course, any dessert that has chocolate in it.

With these dishes, you’ll be able to squeeze just a little more fun out of the last few days of summer.

Wrapped Grilled Veggies

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 zucchinis, cut lengthwise into 1/4 -inch slices

2 red bell peppers, sliced

4 portabella mushrooms, sliced

2 to 3 cups baby spinach leaves

1 red onion, sliced thick

6 large flour tortillas

1/2 cup pine nuts

Salt and pepper

1 to 1 1/2 cups hummus (lots of different kinds at the grocery)

Preheat the grill or grill pan. Brush both sides of the zucchini, onion pieces, peppers and portabellas with the oil and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper. Grill just until tender and slightly browned, about 4 minutes per side. Spread the hummus over each tortilla. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of pine nuts on top of each tortilla. Top the hummus with zucchini, mushroom, red pepper, spinach, a few sliced onions. Roll each of them up and cut in half on a diagonal.

Serves 6.

Tex Mex Chopped Salad

2 cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed

2 cups deli chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces, or canned white tuna, drained

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup black olives, sliced

2 cups tomatoes, diced

1 to 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded

1 jalapeno, sliced

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the corn, chicken, beans, olives, tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, jalapeno, cilantro and pasta. Toss to combine.

In a jar with a lid, combine the olive oil, cumin, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and shake to combine. Adjust the sweet and salt to taste. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to coat and serve.

Serves 8 to 10.

Yellow Squash and Corn Gratin

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs

2 cups onion, chopped

5 cups yellow squash, thinly sliced

2 cups fresh or frozen corn (don’t use the canned stuff)

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2/3 cup sour cream

2/3 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set it aside.

To make the topping: In a skillet, combine 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of butter, melt, and then add the garlic. Sauté just until soft, then add the breadcrumbs, stirring to combine for about 2 minutes. Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and set it aside.

Don’t clean out the skillet; just add 1 tablespoon oil and 3 tablespoons of butter, then add the onion and sauté until tender about 6 or 8 minutes. Once the onion is soft, add the squash and corn, stirring often, until the squash is tender but not mushy. Remove them from the heat and add the cheese, cayenne, sour cream, whipping cream, parsley and salt and pepper. Mix well and then spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the breadcrumb mixture and bake, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden.

Serves 6 to 8.

– Submitted by Tina Carson of Denver (modified) Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.