Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook
Summer squash is what most gardeners and farmers in the region are finding in abundance this time of year. That’s the produce focus this week. Grill, roast, shred, can, pickle or freeze that crookneck, Zephyr, zucchini, yellow zucchini, pattypan to extend your season. Some tasty ideas are below.
Before we get to recipes, look at this gardening inspiration on showing the way to be a creative leader. To those of us who garden, the lessons are rewarding and incomparable. The high points follow:
Gardening is generative, iterative, and user-centered
Gardening helps us frame future design challenges
Gardening teaches us how to be creative leaders...A gardener helps living things thrive through attentiveness and dialogue. Good leadership starts by finding talented people, giving them a safe space to cultivate their creativity, and letting them grow into their full potential under careful guidance—not a controlling thumb.
Roasted Zucchini Baton Salad
Although the zucchini are roasted to bring out the flavor this is a fresh, cool and very filling salad. Basil leaves are used for flavor impact instead of lettuce leaves.
- 2 medium zucchini cut into “batons” (see photo)
- 1/2 cup chick peas, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup small red and orange or yellow tomatoes
- 1/4 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- About 1/4 cup small fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup Marcona almonds
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Place the zucchini batons on a baking pan and brush with olive oil. Bake on the top rack of the oven for about 18-20 minutes, until nicely brown. Let cool.
In a large bowl toss together the zucchini, chick peas, tomatoes, olives, lime juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Place each portion on a serving plate. Tuck in basil leaves and sprinkle with the almonds.
Crookneck Gazpacho with Cannelini Beans
A yellow gazpacho over the traditional red is a delight and simply says summer. This is a chilled soup even though the squash is first simmered and pureed to form the light foundation.
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups diced crookneck squash
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped seeded unpeeled cucumber
- 1 cup finely chopped freshly roasted yellow bell pepper
- 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt for topping soup
Bring broth to a boil, add squash and boil gently for 10-12 minutes or until very soft. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Using an immersion blender directly in the pot, puree the squash and let cool.
Stir in the cucumber, roasted bell pepper, onion, balsamic vinegar and Old Bay Seasoning. Taste and adjust spices.
Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with a tablespoon of sour cream or thick yogurt.
Pattypan Ricotta Galettes
Makes 4 personal-size galettes
Summer Squash galettes seem to be enticing for summer's lush bounty. I've traded out basic pastry dough for the extra special puff pastry and made individual tartlets. The galettes need to cool before adding the basil leaves.
- 6 medium pattypan squash, cut horizontally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 2 garlic cloves, minced, (use divided)
- 3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or lemon thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- egg wash-1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine squash, 1 tablespoon oil and half of garlic in a bowl.
Combine ricotta, egg, remaining garlic, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring to combine.
Brush the egg wash ONLY on smooth dough surfaces-not cut edges (or it won’t rise).
Unwrap puff pastry sheet and place flat on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 4 equal squares. Place first square on ungreased baking sheet pan. Place a scant 2 tablespoons ricotta mixture in just the center of square. Arrange 4 squash slices overlapping, over ricotta mixture. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper. Fold points of dough toward center, brushing the center of the edges with egg wash and pressing gently to seal (see photo). Brush the outside and the folded tips with egg wash. Repeat with remaining 3 pieces of puff pastry dough.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes;
Top with grated cheese and a few small fresh basil leaves; serve.