Don’t you love summer veggies? If you garden or belong to a CSA, or even shop at a Farmer’s Market and can’t resist a good deal, your kitchen may be overflowing with some of summer’s most prolific producers. Here are some new ways to prepare them.
Today we’re going to focus on one particular kind of summer squash: Yellow crookneck. Some will say that all summer squash can be treated the same, but I just wasn’t wowwed by crooknecks when I was pretending they were zucchinis. But once I learned some recipes that brought out their unique goodness, I was hooked. And it’s worth giving them a shot; they are easy to grow, even organically, and high in fiber, vitamin C and many other micronutrients. Harvest when they are still on the small side (or choose smaller ones from the market) for the best flavor.
Roasted Summer Veggie Soup
I know what you’re thinking: Soup, in the summer? This one is worth it, even though I hate to grill. My teenage son’s friend even asked for seconds! Adapted from this recipe at the Chubby Vegetarian. (What’s going on with me and vegetarian websites lately?!)
*4 ears of corn, shucked
*2 yellow crookneck squash, sliced 1/4″ thick
*1 yellow bell pepper
*1 red bell pepper
*1 jalapeno, minced
*1 chipotle pepper (I was not able to find a chipotle when I made this, so I used a little cayenne to add heat, and a splash of liquid smoke for smokiness. Cumin would help, too, if you have that on hand.)
*1/2 yellow onion, chopped
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*2 Tbsp. butter
*1 tsp. dried sage (Use more fresh sage, if you have it!)
*3 cups chicken stock
*Sea salt and pepper
*Goat cheese, crumbled (Raw, if possible. You also could sub feta, if you prefer.)
*Green onions, sliced
*Handful of organic tortilla chips (optional)
1. Char the red and yellow bell peppers.
This would be even more delicious on your outdoor grill, but there was a torrential downpour while I was preparing this and so I used our stovetop grill. Simply place your peppers (cut in half, seeded, washed and dried) directly onto your grill, skin-side down, over high heat. Leave them until completely black and then place in a paper sack to cool.
2. Grill corn and squash.
Brush with coconut oil and grill over high heat until nice grill marks appear. (This should take about three minutes per side on your real grill… It takes substantially more time on an indoor grill. ) Remove veggies from grill and allow to cool.
3. Prep veggies.
Cut kernels from the corn cobs by bracing the cob on its wider end and using a large chef’s knife to slice downward against the cob. Remove the burnt skins from the bell peppers.
4. Meanwhile, make soup.
In a large soup pot, melt the butter and add in the onion. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent, adding sage for the last minute or so. (If using fresh sage, add sage and onion together.) Add yellow pepper (reserve red), corn kernels, squash, stock, jalapeno and chipotle (or substitutes) to the pot. Use a stick blender to blend to your desired thickness. Heat through and add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Garnish. (Don’t skip this step!)
Serve in soup bowls topped with diced grilled red pepper, crumbled goat cheese, sliced green onion and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.
Here’s another delicious use for this unique squash, based on this recipe. I served this for dinner with some homemade smoothies for additional protein (raw milk and cream, pastured egg yolks, frozen banana and peanut butter). A few days later my husband had the leftovers for lunch and proclaimed it the best lunch he’d ever had.
Grilled Veggie Sandwich
*1/3 cup homemade mayo
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 lemon, juiced (Or use lime if you prefer.)
*1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (Or use vinegar/ homemade vinaigrette of your choice.)
*2 Tbsp. coconut oil
*1-1/2 bell peppers, sliced (Use whichever colors you prefer. Red looks the prettiest. )
*1 zucchini, sliced
*1 small crookneck squash, sliced (Double this if you don’t have zucchini.)
*1 onion, sliced (Use whatever kind you have on hand.)
*3/4 cup crumbled feta (Raw, if possible. I have also used sliced fresh mozzarella.)
*1/4+ cup pesto (Recipe coming soon!)
*6 buns (We’ll be talking about bread soon… I hope to have a homemade bun recipe good enough to share. In the meantime, use the best bread you can find, ideally a real sourdough. In a pinch, I’ve been using OneBuns from Ozery Bakery.)
Soak sliced veggies in vinegar for at least 30 minutes. Remove from marinade and saute in coconut oil until soft.
Meanwhile, mix together mayo, garlic and lemon or lime juice. Cut your buns in half and lay them out on a baking pan. Spread one side of each with the mayo mixture, followed by a layer of pesto. On the other side of the bun, spread a thin layer of the mayo mixture and top with crumbled feta (or sliced mozzarella). Broil this (open-faced) for three minutes or so; watch closely!
After broiling, layer sauteed veggies on one half of the bun, close up your sandwich and ENJOY!
Would you think I was crazy if I told you that you could make a delicious, easy-to-grab snack from squash? And that your kids would love it? Well, check this out:
*Pepper, or other seasonings, if desired (Oregano, garlic powder…)
Slice your squash to desired thickness. (I used my mandoline slicer to make quick work of this.) Lightly brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt, along with other seasonings if desired. (I found that the drying process seems to intensify black pepper, and it was too strong for my little one, so I now leave it off. However, if you like kick, black pepper is a nice addition.)
If you have a dehydrator, simply turn to your desired temperature (I usually do mine at 135) and dry until desired crispiness. The time can vary widely depending on the ambient temperature and humidity, thickness of your slices, etc.
If you don’t yet have a dehydrator, turn your oven as low as it will go, and roast to desired crispiness. I have seen recipes estimating one and half to two hours, but of course this will depend on the slice thickness, your oven’s temperature and other factors.
Store in an airtight jar in your pantry.
So, what’s your favorite way to use crookneck squash? Do you enjoy it raw, make a gratin…? Share with us!
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