Green Blog Project: Crookneck Squash Recipes
Those of you who have been following my gardening adventures for a while will recall that, earlier this season, I learned a lot about crookneck squash flowers. (For a recap, go here.) Today, I am happy to report that I successfully grew three beautiful crookneck squashes. The first two are shown in the photo above.
Since this was the first time I've grown squash of any type, I wanted to cook them in a special way. I didn't want to grind them up for soup or bury them in too many other ingredients. I wanted to do something that would really feature the whole squash as the main ingredient.
My first choice of recipes was this one: Marinated Zucchini and Summer Squash by Giada De Laurentis. It was a simple-to-make marinade that included fresh garlic and thyme, which I also had on hand from my garden. The vegetables soaked in the marinade for about four hours and then, after baking, they were wonderfully flavorful and fragrant. If you like lemon and garlic, you will love this recipe!
The third squash I used in a recipe of my own invention. To start, I gleaned a bit of guidance and inspiration from a fabulous book called Culinary Artistry. This is a book that lists all kinds of ingredients and provides a compilation of all the foods, herbs, and spices that pair well with each one. It's essentially like having a color wheel for food.
Ingredients that go well with summer squash include: onions, bacon, Parmesan cheese, paprika, cinnamon, saffron and lemon. I used the first four of these, plus a little bit of parsley and plain bread crumbs, to make a stuffing. First, I cooked two slices of bacon and set them aside. Then, in the same pan, I cooked a medium-size onion. I added some chopped parsley, bread crumbs, the crumbled bits of bacon, and a little water to help it all stick together. Then I brushed olive oil onto each half of the squash, added the filling, and topped everything off with Parmesan cheese and a few shakes of paprika. I baked them at 350 degrees until the squash became soft.
My invention turned out beautifully! The bacon gave the squash just the right amount of saltiness and flavor, without making this dish too heavy. Michael liked it so much that he wanted another one! The only change we'd make would be to add more parsley next time, and maybe even more onions; we love onions. Other than that, I was really happy with how this turned out, especially since I was not working with a precise recipe. (My mom would be so proud of me; I actually cooked something without a recipe!)
Two more squash await me in the garden. This will probably be all... until next summer.
This is my contribution to the Green Blog Project, a blogging event created by Inji Pennu at Ginger and Mango. She encouraged fellow bloggers to grow something edible and then write about how they used the plant, vegetable, fruit, or herb as the main ingredient in a recipe. I like that she even encouraged people without a garden to try growing something in a container. Having a small space for my own garden, I've come to really appreciate all of the things that I've been able to grow there. Even if it's only a handful of squash, I've enjoyed watching them go from seed to soil to supper.
If you'd like to participate in the Green Blog Project, it's not too late. Go to Ginger and Mango for all the details and then check her blog again on October 1, 2006, for a roundup of everyone's posts. It's a celebration of homegrown food!