Friday, August 03, 2007

Vegetables Harbouring Aliens

"King of the Snapdragons" ACEO can be bid on here.
Copyright Rita Woodburne

So what the heck is a Patty Pan squash? Well, I asked myself the same questions about 4 years ago and much to my delight the answer is that it’s a rather delicious little summer squash that resembles an alien space craft. Yup. An alien space craft. See? Here’s the Patty Pan squash on it’s own:

Now here’s the Patty Pan squash in the context that I understand it:

"Take me to your leader!"

Not really a big stretch of the imagination, is it? The odd thing is that I felt perfectly comfortable wasting one of the squashes to express myself because these things are worse for breeding than zucchini. I know, I know, you wouldn’t think it’s possible but trust me, even one plant is too much for one person.

They’re a very easy veggie to grow and if you like zucchini you’ll more than likely enjoy these little yellow treats. I find them to be more flavourful than zucchini and the flesh is softer. They’re best enjoyed when they’re small (about 11/2 inches in diameter) but be cautioned that once you start picking them they’ll start growing in abundance.
Even if you don’t wind up eating them all they make excellent decorations for Autumn floral arrangement (yes, they’ll continue growing that far into the season) or alien space crafts.

So, how can they be enjoyed? They’re great to boil up and eat on their own or stuffed with some type of rice or meat filling. Next week I’ll share a filling recipe that can be used for both zucchini and patty pans but this week I’ll post a basic recipe that uses patty pans, zucchini, onions (red or Spanish), peppers and, if you happen to have them, eggplant. So, without further ado:

Roasted Vegetables

2 patty pand squash, cut into pieces
1 zucchini, cut into pieces
1/2- 1 eggplant cut into pieces
1 red pepper, cut into pieces
1 small red onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 425. Place veggies in bowl and toss with olive oil to coat. Spread veggies out on baking sheet and season with salt & pepper to taste. Bake in pre-heated oven for approx 20 minutes.
Remove veggies from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes. In another bowl (or the same bowl you had the veggies and olive oil) put in 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar and your seasoning of choice (I use Italian seasoning). Put veggies in bowl and toss to coat with vinegar and seasoning.

That's it. Really, it's that simple and tastes fantastic!! I usually double the recipe and have some left over because it tastes pretty darn good when it's cold too.
If you want to turn in into a more substantial meal you can add cooked chopped chicken to the veggies when you toss them with the vinegar and seasoning as well as mini bocconcini (or whole bocconcini cut in half). I'm getting hungry.

So that's it for this week, dear reader. It friday, extremely hot and here in Canuck land it's a long week-end. Next week I'll be back with more of my colour project and some more artwork that I've been doing as well as the gardening post with yet another way to use summer squash because, as any gardener knows, you always grow more than you need.

Have a great week-end!!


Lisa B. said...

I've never roasted my veggies before, but that sounds wonderful! Then again, it's been so hot lately maybe I can roast them right there in the garden.

A question for the garden goddess:

Some of our cucumbers have tasted really sweet and delicious; others have tasted really bitter. From the outside, they all look the same. Any ideas are gratefully appreciated.

Meg said...

Cool lookin! I've never tried them before, but I love squash, so I'll give it a go next year.

We did have butternut squash this year... but they stopped growing when very small. They taste great, though!

And ditto on Lisa's question.

Rita said...

Lisa & Meg- you've gotta try it, at least once. I've been horribly additced to roasted veggies ever since I started making them. They're great with anything BBQ'd...geez, did I mention I'm hungry?

M'kay, as far as the cukes go it's all in the timing. You have to pick them when they're small, depending on the variety you've grown, they should be about 6-8" long. When they're left on the vine and get bigger they start to turn bitter and if left long enough will actually have a spongy texture when you cut them open.

Cucumbers are one of those veggies that will, outwardly, look fantastic long after the actual part you eat has gone bad. They can be very politicians.