Syrupy Dilemma

The last of our King Turkey Day and wedding houseguests left a week ago this morning, but we continue to find reminders of their stay in our abode, such as a few left-behind toiletries. But most notable, I suppose, would be the gallon jug of apricot syrup that is currently sitting next to my sewing machine.

Our Cuero, Texas, friends, Annette and Erwin, were supposed to carry the jug back with them to Texas for fellow Texan Tony Allen, who became enamored of the syrup while eating at the local Perkins. But when they ran out of room in their guest quarters, they stashed the syrup in our sewing room/study and drove off without it.

Upon discovering its loss (and not remembering where it had been left), Annette arranged for a replacement jug of syrup to be expressed to Texas, leaving me to find the syrup on Sunday, when I decided to finish up a quick sewing project.

Annette has insisted that we keep the syrup — evidently one gallon of apricot syrup is enough for Tony — so we are left holding the jug.

So what does one do with a gallon of apricot syrup? I guess we could have a pancake feed. Hubby Bryan and his beer-making buddies are trying to decide if they could incorporate it into a brew. And if anyone has other ideas, I’m open to suggestions.

With our continuing warmer temperatures, I’m assuming that area gardens are still churning out the produce, including zukes and other summer squashes. So I’m sharing this recipe that comes highly recommended from Tom Ahlberg, who procured it many years ago during a Cajun cooking class. Originally called Squash Nicholas, I’m dubbing it …

Squash a la Tom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put 1½ pounds of tender yellow squash into a steamer and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, steam for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, but leave the squash in the steamer.

In a large saucepan, sauté 3 strips bacon, chopped, until brown and crisp. Add ½ stick unsalted butter and 1/8 cup olive oil. When the butter melts, add 1 large onion, chopped; ½ cup chopped bell pepper; ¼ cup diced celery; and 1 clove garlic, minced. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent.

As the vegetables are sautéing, remove the squash and cut into ¼-inch-thick circles. Put the sliced squash back into the saucepan and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, 1/8 cup minced fresh parsley and 1½ cups Ritz cracker crumbs; blend well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour mixture into a shallow casserole dish and lightly sprinkle with 1/8 cup seasoned bread crumbs. Dot with 1 pat of butter, cut into pieces, and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Among the recent visitors to my desk in the Daily Globe newsroom is Judy Emary, who came bearing a well-tattered book held together by rubber bands. The cookbook, circa 1923, was purchased at an Okoboji flea market.

“I like these old recipes,” said Judy. “They give you the ingredients, and then you’re on your own.”

But what Judy came to show me was this humorous entry in what was evidently the “handy hints” part of the book: Put a potatoe on the top of your pot of beans when you bake them and it will absorbe all of the gases to such an extent that it would be injurious to eat the potatoe afterwards.”