Monday, July 5, 2010
Pretty Little Squashes
I've never been a squash eater. I've come to realize that the primary reason for general disgust with squash is that my mom served it boiled or steamed to a slimy, mushy consistency, then piled it on my plate and expected me to eat it.
Squash cooking tip #1: Do NOT over cook! It's much better if it's tender, but firm.
I'm growing a variety called Patisson Jaune et Vert, purchased at Baker Creek Heirloom seeds. Mine aren't as fancy looking as the one in the picture, because they've been picked fairly small (about 3 1/2 inches across.) If you aren't sure how big they are, send your first grader outside with a ruler to measure them, and call it math class. And this brings us to
Squash cooking tip #2: Use small squash! Big squash have big seeds and a mushy interior.
We've tried the squash a few ways now - with as much as we have growing (I've already picked 24 of them) I figured we better find a way to enjoy it so we can get some use out of it. The first time was over a camp fire, wrapped in foil with a bit of salt and pepper and butter. That wasn't bad. Then I sauteed it in olive oil and butter with carrots and broccoli and two cloves of fresh garlic, and sort of "mixed veggie" side dish, and I sprinkled it liberally with Mrs. Dash. That was pretty darn good.
But the best squash recipe we've tried (and I've only tried it three times, so don't count me as an expert) was Squash Volcanoes. Or "Stuffed Pattypan Squash" if you're not serving it to small children. This recipe taught me that bacon and squash are clearly meant to be friends.
I've never been a big bacon fan. When it comes to breakfast meat, I much prefer our homemade elk sausage to bacon. The fat on bacon grosses me out. But in searching out new recipes to try with all the garden produce, I'm realizing bacon certainly does have it's place in cooking. I always hear about Southern greens. I finally figured out - they sautee them with bacon, in bacon grease! Hah! Shoulda known with Southern cooking that it'd be something saturated in grease. I'm so gonna try it.
But anyway. Back to the squash. Squash volcanoes were a big hit, and were pretty easy to make. I made them ahead of time so they were ready when the rest of dinner was. The girls thought they were neat and liked the taste. I didn't mind it.
I won't say I love squash - at least, not yet. But I also don't really like many vegetables. So this is a big step up for me to actually be eating it.
I'm still on the lookout for more recipes that use scallop (pattypan) squash, so feel free to share!