Eat Your Squash!

 Photos by  Zachary Cross . Flowers by  Southerly Flower Farm . Squash by various vendors. 

Photos by Zachary Cross. Flowers by Southerly Flower Farm. Squash by various vendors. 

When I was little, my mother would cut summer squash into strips and deep fry it. Then she would try to tell me they were French fries. I didn't believe this for a minute, but deep-fried anything? I would eat it! As an adult, I am not a fan of deep frying, mainly because I do not like the smell or the cleanup. Getting kids to eat squash can still be a challenge, though. Convincing adults to eat it can be, too. It's such an abundant crop this time of year, and so versatile - even beautiful, with all the varieties found at the market. One night I decided to mix pesto into some squash that I had sautéed. Bingo, for the first time,  no squash leftovers that night! 

Pesto utilizes another abundant summer crop: basil. This week I decided to try Spring Creek Veggie’s lime basil to mix thing up a bit. We tried a couple of different combinations and decided that approximately half Italian basil, half lime basil was about right. I have used lemon basil from Spring Creek in the past, too, and that was tasty also.

The pesto recipe we often use is a classic with a special ingredient: parsley. You know how pesto always turns brown so quickly? Parsley slows that process, without a change in flavor. This recipe is from Jack Bishop's A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen.  Like Simply in Season the book is divided into seasons plus an "Everyday Basics" section. Throughout the book Bishop talks about going to a local farm on Long Island, NY  to pick up his family's CSA share, including the occasional family work days at the farm. It's an enjoyable read plus good recipes, and practical for those of us shopping in season. 

Greener Pesto
from: A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen by Jack Bishop
1 ¾ cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
 ½ cup tightly packed fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 medium garlic clove, peeled
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt

1. Place the basil, parsley, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the ingredients are finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the feed tube and process until smooth.

2. Scrape the sauce into a small bowl and stir in the cheese and salt to taste. The pesto may be used immediately or refrigerated in a an airtight container for several days. For storage in the refrigerator, pour a thin film of olive oil over the pesto

Makes a little more than ¾ cup.

Want to print the recipe? Go here for a printable Google Doc. 

I love the abundant variety this time of year. For our supper I roasted beautiful red potatoes from Sequatchie Cove, okra (multiple vendors right now), and baked some Pickett's Trout Ranch trout (recipe coming soon). I cut the squash into bite-sized pieces, sautéed them, then mixed in the pesto once they were cooked. I like to serve a fermented vegetable with my meals and Harvest Roots Ferments' Kimchi Green Beans were an excellent complement with this meal. I had thought, with kimchi in the name, it would be something I'd want only with an Asian meal. Instead, the green beans were yummy but surprisingly neutral,  a tasty and welcome variation on my usual choice of kraut with supper. 

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