Recipes from the Garden
Kin Shilling's recipes for summer squashes
On any given day, the aromas of baking sweets and simmering
soup seep out her kitchen door, past the henhouse, and up into the rare air of
Kin Schilling is known to her friends as smart, generous,
artistic, and innovative -- but most of all, as a great cook. The
Her children were growing up fast by then. "I had always been a stay-at-home mom and I felt like it was time for me to do something," she says as she nudges freshly baked muffins out of their cups. As if she had been saving it up all those years, she began this new life as an entrepreneur. "I have no fear," she says. "I do everything on a shoestring. I've always said, 'If you have an idea, do it!'"
She started with women's clothing, but moved soon to her first love: food. A bookstore cafe, a lunch wagon out of the back of her Volkswagen, an ice-cream parlor that, as a novel aside, also sold French antiques. In between these ventures, she just plain cooked for people -- for her friends, for an arts colony, for the local school.
And then she started to cook for handicapped children at
She did once spend a couple of weeks working at a local restaurant. She backed away as if from a hot iron. "I'm not a professional cook. I never have been. I'm an intuitive cook. I think about what I want to make, and out of that comes something good."
That's where the zucchini muffins came from -- something she dreamed up that became a favorite during the two years she ran that bookstore cafe. And they've been part of her repertoire ever since. That's how she does it. No fear.
Yield: 12 large muffins or 2 loaves
This recipe works well as zucchini bread, too.
2-1/2 cups plus
3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup unsweetened coconut
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 1-1/2 medium zucchini)
½ cup grated carrots (about 1 carrot)
About a dozen whole or 1/4 cup chopped pecans
Heat oven to 375°.
In a large bowl, gently combine flour, coconut, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl or standing mixer, cream together sugar, oil, and butter until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla extract, and beat until well combined. Add flour mixture and stir just until combined -- do not overmix. Fold in zucchini and carrots. Fill two large, well-greased muffin tins (or two loaf pans) three-quarters full and top with pecans. Bake 25 minutes (35 to 40 minutes for bread); cool on wire racks.
Summer Squash Soup
Yield: 6 servings
Perfect for a midsummer luncheon on the porch. Serve with a mesclun salad with lemon and olive oil dressing and a hearty baguette.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 pounds summer squash, sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
3 cups water or homemade vegetable or chicken stock, divided
3/4 cup light cream
Kosher or sea salt
Garnish: whole cilantro leaves and orange nasturtium blossoms
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter and cook onion and squash until softened and translucent -- about 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients plus fresh ginger. Add to onion-squash mixture. Add 1 cup water or stock and cook about 5 minutes. Add remaining liquid and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and puree until smooth. Stir in cream and season to taste with salt. If soup is too thick for your taste, thin with additional cream or stock. Ladle into six soup bowls and garnish with cilantro leaves and flowers.