Warming Up To Summer Squash

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - January 17, 2007
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Water is the most essential item on Earth. Without it, we have no life.

It is found in a myriad of places - in the form of rain or snow from clouds, in oceans and streams, frozen in the polar ice caps - literally covering 70 percent of our planet’s surface. We drink it, use it in cooking and use it to grow crops.

Now water has become a commodity for export by Deep Ocean Hawaii, a new Hawaii Kai-based company whose principals have years of experience in the scientific and water industries. They plan to provide shipments around the world for use in bottling, making upscale cosmetic and beauty products, and meeting emergency situations head-on when water is unavailable or at a premium due to drought or war.


Water is the main ingredient in many soups, perfect for enjoyment this time of year when even Hawaii gets “chilly,” so with that in mind, we dedicate this recipe to German-born Rudy Ahrens, president and CEO of the new company.

A variety of summer squash, zucchini is thought to have originated in Italy and looks like a large cucumber. Most varieties of squash are classified as summer or winter squash depending on their storage life. Summer squash cannot be stored for very long, whereas winter squash has a longer life. Summer squash is picked while very young, and both the seeds and skin are tender enough to be edible. The thin smooth, skin can be yellow or green, and some have stripes or speckles. It has a cream-colored flesh that is actually quite bland, and the most flavorful zucchini are between 6 and 8 inches long.

When purchasing, look for firm, unblemished zucchini with a glossy skin, and avoid zucchini with spots, as it has been exposed to cold.

To store zucchini, place in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator, where it should keep for about a week. Do not wash until just before use.

Zucchini may also be frozen; cut into slices and blanch for 2 minutes. Once frozen, it will keep for about 3 months.

It is an excellent source of potassium and vitamin A, and contains vitamin C, folic acid and copper.

HEART-Y VEGGIE AND PASTA SOUP

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 Maui sweet onion, chopped
* 4 carrots, sliced
* 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
* 2 zucchini, cut into small chunks
* 1 cup frozen peas * 5 Roma tomatoes, cut into chunks
* 1/2 teaspoon oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
* salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
* 8 cups water
* 1 12-ounce package small elbow macaroni, cooked,rinsed and drained
* grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Heat oil in a large soup pot and sauté onion, carrots, garlic and zucchini for about 7 minutes until translucent and vegetables are fork-tender. Stir in peas and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are slightly wilted, stirring a few times. Add oregano, dill, salt and pepper, and stir to combine.


Add water, stir, and cook for about 20 minutes on low heat until vegetables are fully cooked. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add cooked macaroni. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Makes eight servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 150 Fat: 3 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium:180 milligrams, but will vary depending on how much salt is added

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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