Sunday, August 26, 2012

HULK SQUASH


Fortunately, my CSA picks its squash in a timely fashion, so we weren't delivered giant green and yellow clubs to work with; I might've had to HULK SQUASH then. Still, there was a lot of squash. The collage above is composed of some of the things I made using the zucchini, yellow, crookneck, sunburst, and pattypan squash I received. There's really a lot you can do with summer squash, though some dishes clearly are simpler than others--and I am now at the point of treating my squash as simply as possible. Good thing the summer squash harvest is waning.

You can broil or grill them:


These ones were my first attempt, using a toaster oven. Henceforth I just halved or quartered zucchini or yellow squash lengthwise, rather than cutting slices as pictured above. I liked the thickness better.


Once broiled/grilled, you can chop them up and use them in a salad:


Toss with some oil, a bit of balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, sliced green onions, and halved cherry tomatoes (not pictured), maybe also a little basil and oregano, and you're golden.

Of course, it was also easy to just slice them thin and sauté the squash before tossing in a salad. The brief cooking really helps bring out a lot of flavor. If you keep it brief, the squash will still have the crispness of raw squash on the inside, too:



Then there's stuffing and baking:


I found that the rice (or whatever else you decide to stuff your squash with) at the top gets hard, so it's best to keep the lids on while they're baking if you want to keep it moist.


I keep trying to stuff and bake vegetables with egg. I've finally come to realize that egg takes a lot longer to cook through and set when baking vs. steaming. Tangentially, if you don't cover up the top, an unbeaten egg will develop an unpleasantly hard skin when baked...


And then there's soup:


You just gotta cook the squash (and whatever else you're including, such as garlic, onion, scallions, carrots), whether by roasting or sautéing, simmering with a little water/broth and thyme, and then food-process it all together.


Squash bread would be a great option:


Though I'm much more a cook than a baker. It doesn't help that wheat causes me issues. This batch was made with a gluten-free flour mix from King Arthur Flour, but I didn't have xanthan gum on hand, which helps give gluten-free baked goods more lift. This yellow squash bread tasted ok, but felt a little grainy. Maybe the xanthan gum would've helped make it a little more bread-y. It was kinda cake-y, partially because the recipe I followed called for a lot of sugar, to the point that you couldn't really taste the squash.

Which brings me to another point: summer squash is pretty light in flavor, so you want to treat it lightly with the seasoning. Too heavy and you'll overpower it, but just right and the squashy flavor is really excellent.


I've found that sautéing and stir-frying are great for bringing out the flavor of summer squash:


This time sautéed first and then simmered.

In a subsequent attempt, stir-fried with a thicker sauce:


All that said (and shown), it's also a good thing that I can handle a fair amount of routine in my diet, too.

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