Posts Tagged ‘summer squash’

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetables are a wonderful summertime treat. Below is a description of how to grill zucchini, eggplant, onions, peppers, beets, and tomatoes. You can grill on either a charcoal or gas grill, and roasting in the oven works too, though without the “grilled” taste. Also, you can grill your vegetables ahead of time – then later reheat or eat at room temperature. Grilling ahead of time (minutes, hours, or even a day or two) is especially useful if you have other main-dish items to grill for the meal. These recipes ideas are adapted from an article by Susie Middleton in the July 2002 issue of Fine Cooking magazine.

General Vegetable-grilling Tips:
* Most vegetables should be liberally brushed with oil (ideally olive oil) or any oil-based marinade before grilling to help lock in the juices. The oil can cause a flash flare-up – just put the lid on tightly or sprinkle on water to extinguish it.
* Charcoal users should build a two-zone fire. Pile the coals so that there is a cooler edge on one side of the grill.
* Grill on high heat. If you need to move a vegetable to lower heat, move it to the side of the grill or turn one gas burner down.
* Cook peppers, beets, garlic, and onions. They don’t need to be watched too closely or turned frequently. Grill the zucchini and eggplant together since the need to be check every minute or so.
* Don’t undercook vegetables. The great flavor of vegetables comes from their juices caramelizing at high heat.

Zucchini and Summer Squash:

To prepare: Trim off both ends. Make either lengthwise slices or cut on diagonal to make oval-shaped pieces – all slices should be about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick. Brush both sides of each piece with olive oil and season with salt just before grilling.
To grill: Place squash pieces on the grill at a 45-degree angel to the grates and grill, covered, until well-browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Move slices around as necessary so that they brown evenly – don’t undercook them.

Eggplant:
To prepare: All eggplant can be grilled, though oriental varieties (long and skinny) are particularly well-suited. Cut stem end off eggplants. For oriental varieties, slice in half. For other round varieties, cut crosswise into rounds about 3/8 inch thick. You can also use a vegetable peeler to peel lengthwise strips off the round eggplants (they’ll look striped) to eliminate some of the tough skin.
To grill: Put eggplant pieces on the grill and cover. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side, until well-browned and limp. Check occasionally and move if necessary so that all pieces are browned evenly. Move the slices from the heat and stack them to finish cooking – either on a cooler upper deck in your grill or wrap with foil off the grill. Let sit 15-20 minutes (thicker eggplant pieces will often still be raw in the middle without this last step of letting the residual heat steam the flesh).

Onions:
To prepare: Trim off both ends, peel off outer skin, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Thread slices on metal skewers or soaked wooden skewers. Brush liberally with olive oil and season with salt.
To grill: Put onion skewers on grates and cook until slices are well-browned on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Move the slices from the heat and stack them to finish cooking – either on a cooler upper deck in your grill or wrap with foil off the grill. Leave them sit for about 10 minutes to finish cooking.

Tomatoes:
To prepare: Make sure to use “plum” or “processing” tomatoes. These tomatoes have a lower water content and are best for grilling (as well as sauce and salsa). Cut each tomato in half and gently remove the seeds with your fingers. Rub lightly with olive oil and salt cut sides.
To grill: Grill on medium heat with cut sides down for 7-9 minutes. Then carefully turn over and move them to the lowest heat. Cook for 10-12 minutes more, until most of the moisture is gone. With a spatula, press them gently to flatten and help release moisture. You can let them cook as long as possible – the longer the better.

Sweet Peppers:
To prepare: Red peppers are best, but can also use Italian frying peppers (long, pointy pungent peppers). Red peppers should be left whole and dry. For frying peppers, cut in half and remove seeds and thin dividers (membranes).
To blacken red peppers: Put the peppers on the grated, cover, and cook until the skins are blackened on all sides. Turn peppers several times to make sure all sides of pepper are charred and black, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from grill and put all peppers into a single brown paper bag (such as a grocery bag) to cool completely. When cool, peel off blackened skin under running water. Then remove stems and seeds, reserving the flesh and juices. (Note that this method also works for Anaheim hot peppers)
To grill green peppers: Put oiled pieces on grill and cover. Cook until browned and tender.

Garlic:
To prepare: Clean off all dirt (remove a layer of skin if necessary) and cut off tip. Brush liberally with oil.
To grill: Grill on high heat for 10-15 minutes. When done, the cloves should be very soft – the inner flesh should squeeze out when head is compressed. If not soft, return to grill until done. We love to eat the garlic spread on small pieces of toast or crackers.

Beets:
To prepare: Clean off all dirt, and cut of the leaves, leaving 1/4″ of leaf stems. Do not peel the beet. Brush liberally with oil.
To grill: Grill on high heat for 10-15 minutes. When done, the beet should be tender – you should be able to easily spear with a fork or knife. When done, the skins become loose – when eating you can slide off the skins, and slice if you like.

Summer Squash Casserole

This is a simple side dish submitted by Mary Doezema Cooper.   Kid friendly, comfort food.

2 cups cooked squash (3-5 squash, preferably yellow)
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup bread crumbs (top with)

Boil squash in water with chopped onion.  Drain. Mash. Drain again if necessary.
Heat milk.  Melt butter in hot milk.  Add squash and all other ingredients except the bread crumbs.  Pour into greased baking dish.  Top with bread crumbs.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Notes:  Instead of bread crumbs, I use Dutch Rusk, crushed and mixed with 1-2 tablespoons melted butter.

Kohlrabi and Squash Empanadas

This recipe is recommended by Minneapolis member Alivia B. The recipe itself is from a fresh food cooking blog – straightfromthefarm.net.  The blog website has some useful photos for preparing the recipe.

3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
2 medium kohlrabis, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 large summer squash, cut into small cubes
2 large scallions, both white and green parts, finely cut
1 radish, minced (optional)
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS butter
salt and pepper to taste
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1 box of pre-made pie crust or one batch homemade*
1 egg

In a medium skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger to brown. Add kohlrabi cubes, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Toss well and cook 3 or 4 minutes until kohlrabi are softening a bit. Add squash cubes and continue to cook for 4 more minutes. Add scallions, radish, nutmeg and another pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for one minute before removing from heat. Set mixture to this side to cool.

Roll out dough to be a little thinner than pie crust typically is. If you are using pre-made crust from the store, run your rolling pin over it once or twice. Using a cereal bowl or large circular cookie cutter, cut out 6 inch-ish circles from the dough. It should yield about 15, give or take depending on your cutter and dough thickness.

Pre-heat oven to 425F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Prepare egg wash by beating egg with a teaspoon of water and set to the side along with a small bowl of water.
To make the empanadas, spoon one tablespoon of kohlrabi and squash mixture into the center of a circle of dough. (It’s better to have less filling than too much or the empanadas won’t hold together. Feel out the right ratio that allows you to close off the dough without any filling popping out.) Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the outside edge of the dough. Fold dough over the filling to create a half circle. Press down edges. Carefully pick up the dough pocket and pinch edges (see photo) to seal them tightly. A fork can also be used to crimp the edges if you want a less tedious method.

Repeat above process to finish all the empanadas, laying them on the lined cookie sheet when done. With a fork, prick the tops once and brush with egg wash. Bake for 8 minutes and turn over. Bake another 5 to 7 minutes until deep golden brown and flaky. Best served straight from the oven.
*A word about the dough:  For this particular post, I used pre-made pie crust since I was in a hurry to get to the party where I was premiering these little lovelys. Normally, I use my standard pie crust  recipe. I have to admit the pre-made crust was just as good (and a heck of a lot faster). However, I still intend to try this recipe (smittenkitchen.com/2007/04/chicken-revisited-andenlightened/)
true empanada dough at some point. In short, make it as simple or intricate as you like.

**Also, I’m sure you could add chicken to this recipe and it’d be quite tasty. In fact, you could just serve the filling on its own for a quick side dish when you’re too short on time to make the empanadas.
(makes approximately 15 empanadas)

Zucchini-Rice Soup with Basil and Parmesan

This recipe is from “The Flexitarian Table” by Peter Berley (2007, Houghton-Mifflin).

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion (or the equivalent of green onions or young spring onions)
Salt
1 to 1½ lbs summer squash (i.e., zucchini), cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup thinly sliced garlic or several garlic scapes
4 cups water
⅓ cup basmati rice
½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus additional sliced leaves for garnish
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra
Freshly-ground black pepper

In a 4- to 5-quart Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat 2 TBS of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 tsp salt and toss well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the summer squash and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Pour in the water, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the rice and basil, return to a boil, and simmer, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes, until the rice is tender. Stir in the cheese and the remaining 2 TBS olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with sliced basil leaves. Pass additional grated Parmesan at the table.

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