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Yid.Dish: What to Do When Your Garden Explodes in Bounty

Q: What do you do when you have so many home grown zucchini your friends won’t answer the door when you try to share your harvest?

A: Find a car with an open window.

The triumph and the tragedy of the summer growing season is the sheer fecundity of gardens and farms. How to partake of fruits and vegetables at their peak without relying on the same old recipes?

Lois M. Burrows and Laura G. Myers offer a mouth-watering solution with their book, Too Many Tomatoes … Squash, Beans, and other Good Things; a Cookbook for When Your Garden Explodes.

Originally published in 1976 and reissued in 1991, this book would be completely at home on shelf beside Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. The recipes focus on more than 20 vegetables that are typically abundant in late summer gardens. The ingredients are generally few and simple, leaving the glory of the vegetables to shine.

The recipes draw from diverse cultures such as Greek, Italian, Mexican, Spanish and Midwestern American. They range from long-standing favorites such as herbed snap bean salad, coleslaws and corn fritters to the exotic and unexpected such as tomato cake and broccoli guacamole. From canapés to soup to sauces to main dishes, this cookbook has it covered.

Here’s the recipe for fresh tomato cake. It’s spicy and lightly sweet.

1 cup dark brown sugar

½ cup shortening

2 eggs

½ cup chopped nuts

½ cup chopped dates

½ cup raisins

2 cups peeled, cubed tomatoes

3 cups sifted flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

8 ounces cream cheese

½ cups confectioner’s sugar

3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

Cream the sugar and shortening. Add eggs, nuts, dates, raisings and tomatoes. Sift dry ingredients into the tomato mixture. Pour into a greased and floured 9” x 13”pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serves 8.

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