Delicata Squash

A new kind of winter squash (what? winter? it’s still almost 90 degrees out!) showed up in my CSA box last week. They were out of spaghetti squash so instead I got delicata. This lovely little vine fruit is secretly a summer squash but is treated like its winter cousins. Having never seen a delicata before, I consulted my old friends Mark Bittmann and The Internet. Both advised me that roasting was the way to go, and so I did.

I wish I could show you pictures of the end result, but…there isn’t anything left. It came out so well I almost couldn’t help eating every last slice while they were still hot enough to burn my tongue. I hope to get more next week. (Secretly, I really hope for spaghetti squash. Why? So I can make spaghetti squash and meatballs, of course.)

Roasted Delicata Squash

(makes enough for, oh, let’s say 2 side dishes, or one me-sized snack)

2 squash, scrubbed clean and not peeled, about 1 pound each
olive oil
salt, pepper, other spices as per your inclination

Set the oven to 400. Prepare the squash in one of several ways:

  • Slice off the ends, then cut into 1/2″ thick rounds, removing the seeds with a knife, a spoon, or your fingers (this is what I did)
  • OR slice the whole thing longways, remove the seeds, and slice into half-moons
  • OR poke the skin a couple times with a knife and roast whole

(Keep the seeds if you want – clean off the guts and roast those suckers right along with the squash.)

Drizzle olive oil all over a rimmed cookie sheet. Lay the slices onto the sheet, flip once, and season. Cook for about 40 minutes or until everything is caramelized and lovely, flipping once halfway through. If you decided not to slice, cook it until you can poke the skin easily with a knife, rotating once or twice during the cooking process.

Try not to remove too many taste buds eating directly from the cookie sheet.

Summer sauce

This week I came home with about 3 pounds of tomatoes. On top of that I had equal amounts of squash, 3 fresh onions, and a bunch of cucumbers (but those aren’t important to the story).

In addition to the tomatoes I got, I already had about a pound. What does one do with four pounds of tomatoes, and the squash and the onions and everything else?

Sauce!

This is the beginning of what I’m calling summer sauce. It blurs the line between chunky spaghetti sauce and ratatouille (sans eggplant).

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In this pot, you will find: three small onions, chopped and sauteed; a whole head of garlic, also sauteed; 2-3 pounds of pattypan and summer squash, chopped; a pint or two of cherry tomatoes, whole; 2 pounds of regular tomatoes, chopped; water; salt/pepper/other seasonings.

I brought it to a boil and now I’m letting it simmer for a few hours. I’m about an hour in and right now it’s looking pretty good. I’ll serve it with whole wheat pasta and meatballs. Yum!

Lemon chicken, skillet potatoes, squash fritters, zucchini bread

Happy Fourth/random Wednesday in July!

It’s very hot here. Hot and humid. So, without a doubt, it was the perfect day to keep the oven running for 6 hours straight. In my defense, the end results were pretty spectacular.

Late Monday night I marinated some chicken with lemons and some other stuff; this morning I baked it. I didn’t really follow a recipe but if you want to replicate this, have at.

Lemon Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes

1-1/2 lb chicken breast (or whatever meat/meat substitute floats your boat)

2 lemons

a couple tablespoons oil

2 cloves garlic (or more if you hate vampires)

salt and pepper

herbs and spices (I used parsley and tarragon)

one pint cherry tomatoes

Put the chicken in a baggie. Add the oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and spices. Cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the bag. Then throw the lemons in for extra flavor. Marinate for a couple hours or overnight or a day and a half (if you’re forgetful, like me).

Set the oven to 400. Pour the chicken and marinade into a large pan, add the cherry tomatoes. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until you’re reasonably certain the chicken won’t kill you (hits internal temps of 165 or above).

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I also made some skillet potatoes to go with it. Couple of new potatoes (red and white) supplemented with a sweet potato, sliced thin, lightly fried with garlic, salt, and pepper.

Later, it was time to use up all the squash and beets I’ve been getting the last few weeks. I grated it all up (that took over an hour) and started making things.

These are pretty damn good. If you have 20 minutes and some leftover zucchini, you can make them. Mine of course did not look as nice as the picture…

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…but if they taste mighty fine, it doesn’t matter.

Finally, I made three double-batches of zucchini bread. All in all today I used eight cups of shredded stuffs and still had about 2 cups leftover. I followed Mark Bittman’s basic recipe for a fruit/vegetable quick bread, from How to Cook Everything. (Seriously, guys, if you don’t have a copy of this book, you are doing it wrong.)

In half the batches, I swapped in applesauce for butter. In the other half, I swapped in yogurt. I’ve tried both. I can’t tell which I like better. But I’m definitely going to keep leaving the butter out. In the future I will also start cutting down on sugar (a cup per loaf? really?), probably by adding some vanilla.

Here’s the batch that came out prettiest:

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The loaf in the glass pan had a devil of a time coming out. Ultimately I lost quite a bit of the bottom…which somehow made its way into my mouth. Ooops.

I hear in this week’s share I can expect lots of pickling cucumbers. The farm offered up a recipe for fridge pickles, and I can’t wait to try them! I love pickles almost unnaturally, and it would be great to have a few jars in the fridge I can feel good about eating.

By the way, I have plenty of zucchini bread for anyone who wants it…