Category Archives: squash

Piece of Pie

Pizza Pie, that is.

Is there a point where pizza and pie are redundant?

Maybe the point would be at the point of the wedge…..

pizza slice

Piece of pizza – New York style slices

But then there is Pie Pie….

Pumpkin_Pie

Pumpkin Pie

SOOOOOOO,

When you have cooked squash/pumpkin and pizza dough both in your freezer at the same time and it’s also time to think of what’s for supper…….Time for Pumpkin Pizza Pie

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together!

 

PUMPKIN PIZZA PIE

2 rounds of pizza dough, rolled out to 10″

1/2  pound cooked squash

1 can Ro-Tell – drain it and drink the juice or save it for soup…

rotel

They were on sale last week – I was thinking of adding them into chili or soup

olive oil

grated  mozzarella or cheddar

grated Romano or Parmesan

  1. Put some oil in a pan. Add the drained Rotel, the squash and a clove or 2 (or 4) of garlic. Any finely diced veg or 2 would do well here now – pepper, onion, celery even a carrot. I had a roasted beet I didn’t think of til it was out of the oven…what a color THAT would have been!

  2. Cook to color, soften. Mash it down,nothing too big, too hard, too lumpy.

  3. Let the mixture cool a bit.

  4. Turn up the oven to 450-500°. Let it be hot.

  5. If you have a lump of cheese, shred it now. Shredded cheese was also on sale, and a name brand, not the store brand stuff. I bought it in spite of the chatter lately about wood pulp et al.in assorted cheese product. This one had potato starch, visible, all over the place potato starch, and plenty of it.  Next time I shred my own.  

  6. Sprinkle some grated Romano or Parmesan in a little circle in the middle. This is a trick I learned from Ian C. at a wood-fired oven workshop years ago.  It makes your first bite extra savory.This doesn’t work on pizzas that aren’t circles to be cut in wedges, although a little extra flavorful cheese underneath almost always works.  

  7. Divide the vegetable sauce between the 2 pizzas and spread across the dough.

  8. Sprinkle any fresh seasoning herbs may want now : fresh basil or fresh thyme. Sage, in very small amounts works with the squash. I had some fresh rosemary, and it only took a couple of pinches, minced fine.

  9. Top  with the shredded cheese. The cheese should not out weigh the rest of the topping….

  10. Put in a hot oven for 10 minutes and then check. It should be golden brown on top and bottom. If not, put it back in for a couple of more minutes – your oven will not be the same as mine! My oven took about 6 minutes more. If I wanted well-done pizza (don’t laugh, I know people who like things COOKED) keep  in in even a few minutes more. Don’t keep it in so long the Fire Department comes over to see what’s in the oven.

  11. Take out of the oven, cool for a minute or two (It helps the cheese set and keeps you from burning yourself). Cut in slices and serve. I froze my leftovers for another day (which was more then one other day, the last one of which was today).

  12. Glorious colors, tomato and pumpkin, two New World vine fruits together!

 

 

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Filed under Eating, Italian, Pantry, Pizza, Recipe, squash

A Tale of Two Recipes, cont

Recipe the Second:

‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; “

I can’t think of A Tale of Two Cities without hearing Ronald Colman ….

roland colman

And now for a far better thing. Not that Broccoli Sauce’d Sicilano was bad…..

When I went to my friendly neighborhood super market and saw these little squashes, cute as bugs ears, live and in living color – and 50 cents a piece – I had to get me 2.  I swear I had seen SOMETHING about them in the last week or so, so I starting poking around……

Chayote_BNC

Chayote – it’s a kind of summer squash

 

But could I find anything that even had that word  in it, that word I’m still not sure how to  pronounce. The cashier called them coyote squashes….hey, she knew they were squashes….

So then I turned to the ‘grow veg/eat veg’, the straight and narrow garden to table books that I have unpacked. Several identified them, but didn’t mention how to use them…..and they have aliases….

Deborah Madison Vegetable Literacy, which I’m thoroughly enjoying and will need to read several times, there’s so much between these covers. No chaypote.

veg literacy

Dominca Marchetti The Glorious Vegetables of Italy, which has a dozen dishes I want to do, as well as small batch of giardiniera (five pints being as small a batch that 1 cauliflower can make) lots of summer squashes and zucchinis, no chaypote.

veg of Italy

Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin not a garden to table, but amazing vegetarian food and lots of great asides …..and the book falls open to the Sicilian Spaghetti with Pan-roasted Cauliflower – and where I sub out the pine nuts I’m not too terribly fond of, so why should I pay THAT sort of money for them, with almonds……shades of saucy broccoli….which may have even been the dish he served up at the book signing. My bus ticket is marking the page, so it was on May 6th 2012, in Somerville. His website is Herbivoracious ,too.

herbivoracious

And then I flipped through The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon.

CD pasion veg

This book is over 1000 pages, a workout in every reading. I love this cover. Shades of Carmen Miranda!

A little back story: Bean By Bean was where I first met Ms Dragonwagon. But not this revised, 21st century edition, no, not at all. It was a slim booklet, like you’d get from some sort of community group edition. Back in the early ‘80’s vegetarian cooking stuff was still very much a small press/artsy/folksy/hippy-ified/ handmade/crafted sort of thing. I read the whole book standing up in a kitchen, oblivious to the gathering going around me. I don’t remember exactly where or what event, because there was a whole book about beans, and the beans were good. The beans were varied. The beans were interesting. The beans were amazing!

The cover was torn off, so I never saw it till I found it on the internet, much more recently.

CDBean bokk1only

The little pamphlet like book on the left is the first BBB that I met up with – without the colorful front cover.The one on he right is the new, revised edition.

The recipes were all beans and were all vegetarian. Since I knew if you give an Italian woman a pound of beans, she can feed a horde 30 different courses….I naturally had to wonder,

“What was ‘Dragonwagon’ before Ellis Island changed it when they came from Italy?”

Yes, I immediately and completely Italianized Crescent Dragonwagon.

I carried this assumption around for a really long time. Hey – there was no internet in the olden days! When The Passionate Vegetarian came out early 21st century, the cover image only reinforced my belief. Look at her – she’d fit right in an Italian crowd. My people do things with flair. And she was certainly my people…ironically, the very heft and size of The Passionate Vegetation kept me from it for a while.Not forever, but still…

arcimboldo friut basket

Another Italian, another fruit basket worn as a hat…..

Fast forward to 6 or 7 years ago.

I join Facebook.

I join to keep in touch with people who I’d worked with. I re-connected with some people I had seen or heard from in years. Then I discover Groups  – places with topics for like-minded people to gather….groups that talk about food and cooking….and in one of these Groups was

Crescent Dragonwagon

She also had her own pages, and she can tell you her own story – like about her name….. (Here’s a hint – she’s not the least bit Italian) This is her website about her, her writing,and workshops . Because she was commenting on some of the same pages I was reading, and I was even daring to offer some sort of comment from time to time, there were some occasions we were part of a ….conversation.

Now, if you want to continue to converse with certain people on Facebook, you have you request to ‘Friend’ them. You can also un-friend people, which isn’t as drastic as it sounds, and you can downright block people, if they turn out to be a troll (an apt image if ever there was one), and you can also set your privacy settings which helps you control where your stuff goes when it leaves you. In short, though – don’t say anything on the internet you wouldn’t want on the 6 o’clock News, film at 11.

So, I send a Friend request to Crescent Dragonwagon.

She wrote back and said the word friend was one she didn’t take lightly, and could I tell her something about myself that we might have in common (she phrased it much, much better). This is the only time anyone on Facebook has responded this way.

I was thrilled. Where to begin????

So I told her about my Aunt Eileen, who gave me my first cookbook and said,

“Every recipe is a story. And not all of them have happy endings.”

(Good Housekeeping).

I was particularly thrilled because she was working on revising – and by revising she pretty much re-worked it from stem to stern – Bean by Bean

cd bean by bean

Sooooo, as I was looking for chayote…..which in the index said, “Chayote. See Mirlitons”, which in turn brings me to the Squash Family which brought me to Pasta with Pumpkin. A pasta recipe on the same page as Pasta with Hearty Greens and Beans, which is rather a way of winter life for me….and because I had taken some of the roasted pumpkin out of the freezer to make a pumpkin panzanella but what I really wanted as a hot dish, which meant I would have to invent savory pumpkin bread pudding….OR I could just make the Pumpkin with Pasta, have my hot meal and be done with it.

But

WAIT

Read the recipe, the whole recipe and nothing but this recipe right NOW.

I have the actual ingredients, except my punkin is already cooked, so just needs to be heated through…..

And so

Punkin’ Pasta

7 oz fettucine or linguine (half a box)

1 # roasted deep orange pumpkin/squash (no peels, no seeds – I don’t really need to add that, do I?) PS – I love my freezer gold!

1 Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving

3 cloves garlic, pressed

Salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook the noodles. Save about a cup of pasta water before you drain.
  2. Put the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the pumpkin and the garlic, stir madly about, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Breakup any of the larger pumpkin chunks – the smaller ones with break down mostly on there on to make the sauce.
  3. Combine the cooked noodles with the hot pumpkin. Adjust season. Add some of the pasta water to loosen, if that’s what you like (I find there’s such a moisture variation with different gourds, that a little extra water is always good to have on hand.)
  4. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese on top.

2 servings.

Note: These are generous servings. I’ve been eating a big bowl and had enough for a whole ‘nother meal, and still had the orphan portion that was just right for a 3 egg frittata.

Adapted from  Pasta with Pumpkin in Crecent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian. Workman Publishing: New York. 2002. p.858.

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Filed under Books, Influencers, Recipe, squash, winter

Gold in them there Gourds

Because,

if you’re house-sitting the week of Halloween and have already been displaced so you’re at your ancestral home but 2/3’s of your stuff is at your former dwelling where the fire was AND you’ll be moving in November….did I mention it was the day before HALLOWEEN…..then you should definitely give into the temptation to buy, not one, but 2 giant and rather unattractive ‘decorative gourds’.

But they were substantial and hefty and the price was right – and they had the promise of being tasty culinary gold.

And after Halloween ALL the Gourds and Pumpkins  will be

GONE

Gone gone gone. As if they had never been here at all; as if there was no need for a Pumpkin or a Gourd in Winter. Winter is for Squash, alone.

Poor squash. Alone, poor lonely squash.

pumpkin 2015

They actually looked quite a bit like this, a Speckled Hound variety, but there were more warts.

amygoldmancompleat squash

SOMEWHERE I have a copy of this book, which has everything you could want to know about squash and pumpkins between it’s covers.  But think I learned well. Thank you, Amy G.!

The upside is that not only have they been decorative, but once I had time to hack, seed, peel and cook one……I have over 10 pounds of delicious golden squash/pumpkin/gourd (because they’re different names for essentially the same thing) .

You can’t freeze squash or pumpkin without cooking it first (consider the water content – you’ve seen this on front steps everywhere you look every year around a Halloween frost). Keep them indoors where the frost doesn’t go and you have much more lee-way. When the weather is cool  – and this week has been downright cold, and windy and rainy/snowy/sleety – it’s a perfect excuse to keep the oven going, as you roast it up to store in the freezer.

My excuse to keep the oven on and the kitchen toasty on an otherwise far too gray a day . Like John Alden, I shall speak for myself.

In typical fashion, the first quarter of the pumpkin took more  (or at least as much) time as the last three quarters.  I weighed the seeds and peelings when done – a little over 5 pounds. I wasn’t particularly wasteful; it really was that big.

I did have the option of roasting it whole, which I did once several years ago to a giant Blue Hubbard, Hubbard being my Dad’s favorite. That squash had been used for decorative purpose, and I saved it from the Dumpster. It was a carry in both arms /bigger then a big baby big.

Hubbard_squash

Blue Hubbard

I actually brought it to the ancestral home, poked it with an ice pick (evidently the real reason that that was still hanging around. Even though we called it an ‘ice box’ it was an up to date Frigidaire, frost free and everything) and put Baby Blue on the biggest baking sheet in the house and put it in the oven for a couple of hours until it was all  schlumpy. When it was cool enough, we used the stainless steel serving spoons to break in, separate the gold from the skin and the seeds and packed the gold  into baggies. Lots and lots of baggies. Which we stored in the freezer until there was need for gold. And it got us both through the better part of the winter.

But if you roast a squash or pumpkin whole, you end up with pulpy pulp, and I wanted to hold onto a little more structure/texture.

My new kitchen has 4 windows, so I set my cutting board on the table and was able to watch the dogs walking their people on the green, and cars coming and going at the street corner and the sun moving on the  horizon….I was also paying attention to the big knife that is necessary to cut a big squash…and my knives are home! Knives are sharp. No wounds to report.

Cut the giant in half.

Seed with the ice cream scoop. Seriously the right tool for the job.

Ice+Cream+Scoop

Ice cream scoop/pumpkin seed scoop – a multi-tasker!

Cut into whatever shapes make it possible to peel, peel, peel.

Toss with a little oil, sprinkle with a little salt, spread out on a baking sheet and pop into a 375° oven until it’s done…..20-40 minutes – poke it with a fork, you’ll know.

pumpkinNimono_of_japanese_pumpkin_2014

This is what it looks like coming out of the oven. You can eat it just like this. While humming happy food songs.

Some I ate off the roasting pan as it came out of the oven….lunch.

  • I kept  three of the chopped pounds to add to an equal amount of potatoes for slow cooker  for Squash and Potato with Rosemary that I’ve made before.

 

Italian slow cooker book

  • I’m going to use some of the leftovers of this to make a version of the squash and potato soup. I’ll puree the already cooked veg mix with the broth, and since I’ve already seasoned with rosemary I might leave the sage out. Note to self: Next time cook squash and potato with sage instead of rosemary.
  • Some of the squash/potato mixture will be mixed with eggs and fried in olive oil, a golden and easy fritatta. I fried a chopped shallot in some olive oil, added a little more oil, put the egg/potato/pumpkin in. When the bottom was browned, lowered the heat, put a lid on it and waited impatiently for it to be done.I had thought to sprinkle a little cheese over, but I forget and it was LOVELY.A glass of pear cider and a greens salad with pecans and blue cheese dressing made up the rest of that supper.
  • Some will be thinned with a little broth (or wine) and mixed with some hot macaroni, I’m thinking some hot pepper to season that…

Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee has another version of Squash Mac and Cheese that I’ll be trying with freezer gold.

Gold updates  as they occur.

 

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Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day comes twice in the ancestral home – once in May, just like for everyone else,

Ma day

Although she signs her cards ‘Mom’ – we tend to call her ‘Ma’ – “Ma, Ma, Ma,” she said once, “What am I raising – children or sheep?”

and then again on the first of June.

That’s because the first of June is the anniversary of the maternal birth – that’s right –

Ma’s Birthday

Irma - my friend

My Friend Irma is not the same Irma…

Erma Bombeck - also not the same Irma

Erma Bombeck – also not the same Irma

She's the second from the left, reading to give a hand....this was from last Veteran's Day

Here’s Irma! She’s the second from the right, ready to give a hand….this was from  Veteran’s Day last year.

Time to sing "Happy Birthday" - and take a deep breath to blow out those candles!

Time to sing “Happy Birthday” – and take a deep breath to blow out those candles!

Irma B day

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Filed under Birthday, Influencers, Italian, squash, Summer

National Potato Day!

Who knew?

Who decides these things?

Does it matter?

This works out for a Meatless Monday……

 Spuds and Squash.

Pumpkin and Potatoes.

The Smashing Pumpkins  - A rock band, not to be confused with a side dish

The Smashing Pumpkins – A rock band, not to be confused with a side dish

 

Mr potato head

Mr Potato Head LOVES that it’s National Potato Day…and is maybe a little afraid…He won’t be doing The Mashed Potato anytime soon.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND POTATOES WITH ROSEMARY

1 ½ pounds potatoes (about 4 cups)

1 ½ pounds butternut (or acorn or Hubbard or other firm winter squash – I’ll be using my leftover jack o lantern next week…)

6 garlic cloves (if they’re small, I’ve used more)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup water

1 2” piece fresh rosemary

 

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into ½” wedges (they need to be a little smaller than the squash pieces). Put in the slow cooker.
  2. Peel and cut the squash into 1” cubes (squash cooks faster than potatoes). Put in the slow cooker.
  3. Add the garlic to the squash and potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drizzle on the olive oil and mix well.
  5. Add the water and tuck in the rosemary sprig.
  6. Cover and cook on high about 3 hours. The potatoes and squash should be tender when pierced with a knife.
  7. Serve hot.

Makes 6 servings.

From Michele Scicolone. The Italian Slow Cooker. p. 187.

Italian slow cooker book

Top with parsley and you have the flag of Ireland…just saying.

Leftover can be reheated and topped with a little cheese, whatever little cheese you happen to have on hand. Or mixed with some beaten eggs and maybe a slice of bacon to make a world class frittata.

Better on a Thanksgiving table then the usual smushed and smashed – it really is 2 great tastes that taste great together! And with the slow cooker, how easy and no worries about how to fit it into the oven.

If you cook the squash alone, with the oil and the rosemary, which would be an almost ready sauce for pasta, especially if you use wine instead of the water….

Michele Scicolone (click on her name to get to her website) has written several slow cooker books, but I haven’t finished this one yet, in part because I keep cooking from it over and over, going back to an old favorite, and then finding a potential new favorite.

When words are not enough.....

When words are not enough…..

 

 

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Summer, Squashed

Zucchini

Zucchini

So far this summer I’ve had fresh zucchini, fresh patty pan, fresh acorn but no fresh summer, squash.

patty or petit pan squashes

patty or petit pan squashes

Acorn squash - called 'vine apples' in 17th century England

Acorn squash – called ‘vine apples’ in 17th century England

 

What is summer without summer squash? Just in time, I was gifted 5# (and when did this become ‘hashtag’ and not ‘pound’? Or is it both?)

Mine are all yellow, and somewhat larger

Mine are all yellow, and somewhat larger

Thank you, Olivia Brownlee. Olivia also sings “The Cookin’ Tune” click and love.

Back to squash, what to do, what to do?

Salad Days, Soup Nights, when Autumn is new and Winter is still far.

First the salad…..

End of Summer Cool and Hot

Squash

5 T olive oil

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 # small yellow summer squash, sliced into 1/3 inch rounds (or one 2# Summer Squash, cut into quarters and then cut into 1/3 inch triangles)

½ cup minced tender parsley stems

Salt

2 Tablespoons grated orange zest

2-3 teaspoons hot pepper flakes

 

  1. Heat a 12 inch skillet over medium heat until hot. This is done in 2 batches to keep it all from becoming too soupy. Add 2 Tablespoons of the oil then add the garlic and sauté for one minute.
  2. Add half the squash and half the parsley, season with salt. You want it to soften but not brown.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and add 1 Tablespoon of the orange rind, and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Stir together.
  4. Add 2 Tablespoon oil to the pan and heat until hot, add the rest of the squash and parsley, season with salt and cook until softened but not brown.
  5. Add to the bowl with the first batch, toss in the rest of the orange rind, and add 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust salt and red pepper. Add the last tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. Let stand for at least 10 minutes or up to an hour. May be refrigerated for up to 3 days (says him, not at my house, it doesn’t linger here that long) .

Mario Batali Molto Gusto.p.37Molto Mario

and then for the Soup Nights

END OF SUMMER HOT OR COOL SOUP

1 # brown lentils

1 large onion

1 large celery rib with leaves OR 1 smallish fennel bulb

2 medium summer squash (2#) (or zukes or patty pans)

A quart  baggie of juice left over from canning tomatoes with water to total 6 cups OR

2 large tomatoes and

6 Cups water

optional add ins – 1 or 2 carrots or 1 or 2 small turnips or maybe a potato…whatever’s lonely in the bin

1 cup ditalini, tubetti, or elbows

  1. Combine veggies and lentils in slow cooker and cook on low 7 hours.
  2. Add pasta and salt and cook on high for 30 minutes
  3. Serve hot with cheese – Parmigiano or Romano , you know what you like

AND the cool and the next day when the pasta absorbs the liquid and it’s not really soup anymore,: Frittata base!

Michele Scicolone The Italian Slow Cooker p.32. She calls it Sicilian Lentil, Vegetable and Pasta Soup

Italian slow cooker book

A little orange zest is not amiss, esp if you have any left from the other squash recipe. Or put a little zest in your coffee – it beats the heck out of Pumpkin Pie Spice Everything.

BTW :

b68a29a63204c191f20add1506dca3ac

 

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Filed under Autumn, Books, Recipe, squash, Summer