Puree of Summer Squash

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2 cups chicken broth    1 med. yellow squash    1 yellow tomato     ½ sweet yellow pepper
¼ cup tomato juice   4 thin slices French bread   1 tsp. butter    1 T. Parmesan or Romano

Bring broth to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan. Add the chopped squash, the peeled and seeded tomato, and the seeded pepper. Lower heat and simmer covered till tender. Place ingredients in a blender and purée. Return soup to pan and reheat, or place in refrigerator to cool. Carefully ladle soup into individual bowls and drizzle tomato juice in a pretty pattern. Top with a thin slice of buttered French bread sprinkled with grated Parmesan or Romano and placed under the broiler till lightly browned. (Serves 4, hot or cold.)

Variation 1: Substitute 1 small zucchini, 1 green tomato and ½ sweet green pepper.

Variation 2: Make both recipes. Carefully ladle in ½ cup yellow squash, then ½ cup green, taking care not to mix the two. *Garnish as before.

*If you grow your own squash, pick the male blossoms early in the morning when they are fully open. (The males are larger and have no fruit attached.) Carefully trim the stems with a sharp knife or scissors, and remove the centers. Stuff with softened mascarpone** that has been lightly peppered. Gently press the petals together to seal. Chill. When ready to serve the soup, place the stuffed blossoms in a preheated 350° oven for 2-3 min, just long enough to barely soften the cheese. Use one blossom per bowl instead of the croutons.

**Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese. It can be found in Italian specialty food shops and many supermarkets.