The sun’s up a little later.  The nights are a little cooler.  The garden is churning out the last rounds of yellow squash, zucchini and cucumber.  And the heirloom tomato plants are so heavy with ripening lusciousness that they have nearly toppled over.

What to do with all of this abundance?

I hate it when I open the vegetable drawer in the fridge and see a squash past its prime.  Such a waste.  I am determined to use it all up.  Even if you don’t have a garden overdelivering, you probably have a farmer’s market or local grocery with fresh and wonderful summer veggies.   Here are 3 delicious ways to enjoy the bounty of summer’s end.

Grilled Squash Panini

Use a mandolin or sharp knife to thinly slice yellow squash and zucchini.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill for a minute or two on each side in a hot cast iron grill pan or skillet.  Cut two slices of sourdough from a large round, and place ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella on one half.  Top with grilled squash slices and the other slice of bread.  Grill the sandwich in the same pan, weighted with something heavy, until golden and crusty on each side.  Cut in half and enjoy with a green salad.

Pesto Topped Tomatoes

Cut some medium tomatoes in half and place cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet.  Top with pesto, then sprinkle with panko and shredded parmesan.  Broil for a few minutes until golden.

Garden Gazpacho Smoothie

End of summer days can still be hot.  Cool down with this refreshing smoothie.  In a blender, place 2-3 ripe tomatoes, 1 medium cucumber peeled and cut up, 2 sprigs of parsley and 1 thin slice of red onion.  Whiz it up and end summer’s bounty in a glass.

I actually made the panini and pesto topped tomatoes last night and forgot to take a picture.  (I guess I was extra hungry?)  So you’ll have to take my word for it.  Make the sandwich and pesto tomatoes – they’re a beautiful and delicious summer veggie indulgence.

What are your favorite ways to enjoy the bounty of summer’s end?  Share your comments below.