Squash, Squash, Squash…Everybody!

[Note, the title is supposed to be to the tune of that LMFAO song]

I love vegetables. There’s not a veggie I’ve tried that I don’t like… And I mean pure veggies, not coated in butter or sauce. Nothing beats a lightly steamed veggie with just a little S&P. Lima Beans? YUM! alfalfa Sprouts? More, Please! Brussels Sprouts ?  Double YUM!!

Despite my love of veggies, I’ve never really been exposed to different types of squash…The shapes kind of freaked me out and I just didn’t know how to cook them. The past few weeks I’ve gotten a variety of squash and it forced me to learn how to use them.

One of the last CSA boxes until late September: Includes lots of grape tomatoes, a huge spaghetti squash and a big juicy watermelon.

Butternut Squash

There were so many options, but I decided to make some “fries”. I peeled the butternut squash then diced as I would a potato. These were delicious kind of similar to a sweet potato fry, but with even more flavor. I ate these with some boiled fresh CSA corn (fresh corn doesn’t even need butter or S&P because it’s so sweet and juicy) and garlic rotisserie chicken  from Pronto’s.

Spaghetti Squash

I know a lot of people trying to lose weight have a thing for spaghetti squash, but I had never tried it. I cut in half then microwaved each half for about 10 mins until I was able to scrape the squash easily.  It took much longer than I read online, but that might be because I have a really cheap and dinky microwave. It looks like spaghetti and if you’re a volume eater like me, this will be really filling and low cal. I made some turkey meatballs with some shredded zucchini and added my favorite Mario batali sauce. Then I added a little freshly grated parm cheese and crushed red peppers for extra flavor — spaghetti squash is really bland.

Spaghetti Squash & Meatballs

Cutting squash is very hard. Make sure you have a really sharp knife. It’s a kin to carving a pumpkin. Likewise, you can use other parts of the squash for a snack. I roasted the seeds of the butternut squash like I would pumpkin seeds. I gave them a quick rinse, patted dry then placed on a baking sheet. I didn’t add any oil just stuck them in the over for about 5-7 mins. Once I took them out, I added a little bit of salt.  Since the butternut squash seeds are a little bit smaller than that of a pumpkin, they get a little more crispy. I really enjoyed these. The seeds of the spaghetti squash look just like pumpkin seeds, but I didn’t roast them because I was lazy.

A Lot of Work for a Little Snack

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The One With A Zucchini Bread Fail

In my last post, I showed you what I got in my CSA box this week. Well, it included two huge zucchini. These remind me of the summer between working in DC and starting business school. My Aunt Melinda and Cousin Nancy decided to do a big garden and sell their produce at a couple of local farmers markets. Well, it was usually me and Emily that ended up having to do the early morning selling. We definitely have some interesting stories from that summer. Here’s a few pictures from that Summer:

The Garden

Macomb Square

Flowers

Now back to the reason I’m here. Yesterday, I went to my dad’s house and we made some kabobs with some marinated steak and the green bell peppers, tomatoes and some crimini mushrooms I picked up at the urban harvest market yesterday. I didn’t take a picture, but I should have because they looked so pretty with all the colors. We also grilled the corn, my dad had this method he read in a bbq book where you wrap the cob in a damp paper towel then cover with foil. Some pieces got a little over done, but it was still tasty. Then we sliced two of the zucchini lengthwise and added a little olive oil and S&P. The whole meal was fantastic.  I still had some zucchini left so I decided to make some bread. I shred it up using a cheese grater and added it to the following recipe:

Fruity & Nutty Zucchini Bread

“Wet”:

1 Good Sized Zucchini, Shredded

3 Eggs

3/4 Cup Oil (you can sub apple sauce for 1/2 cup, then use 1/4 oil, but if you do the whole thing with oil it gets a little spongy)

2 Cups Sugar

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Crushed Pineapple

Dry:

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour

2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 Cup Red Currants or Raisins (Optional)

1/2-1 Cup Chopped Nuts (Optional)

Mix the “Wet” ingredients until incorporated. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients except for nuts and currants. Slowly add dry mixture to wet and stir until just incorporated. Add nuts and currants. Pour into at least two loaf pans or 24 muffin tins. Bake at 350 for around 40 or until an inserted knife comes out clean or the top isn’t jiggly.

Here’s where I made my mistake, I poured it all into one giant loaf pan because I was too lazy to make a batch of muffins. Well, it ended up taking like 2 hours to bake and then i couldn’t get it out of the darn pan. This is a warning, it looks really gross, but tastes awesome.

FAIL: Half stuck in bottom of pan

It still tastes yummy though!

What’s in the Box Wednesday

Not much to say today, but thought I’d share my most recent CSA box. This week I have a huuuuge watermelon, sweet corn, kale, zuchinni, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, micro greens, banana peppers and okra. I’ll be honest, I have no clue what to do with the peppers and okra. I’ve gotten about this many of the peppers the past couple of weeks and have been sticking them in a bag in the freezer until I come up with an idea. I also have several peaches, jalapenos and an eggplant from last week.

Movin To The Country, Gonna Eat A Lot Of Peaches…

Millions of peaches, peaches for me…

Millions of peaches, peaches for free…

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me

Any time I hear the word peaches, I immediately sing that President’s song in my head. That song was IT in middle school. So were the Spice Girls and Cake. In retrospect, we  had a very interest taste in music.

Anyways, the past few weeks I’ve gotten peaches in my CSA box, but I’m not the biggest fan. My mom told me to make muffins but I was lazy & out of town on the weekends so I let them go to waste. However, today I was craving pancakes and decided to make peach pancakes. I slightly modified a basic pancake recipe from Martha Stewart. It turned out great – tasted like a slice of fresh peach pie. I served it with some maple syrup, eggs and thick cut bacon. Yum!

Fresh Peach Pancakes

1 C. all-purpose flour                        1 Tbs sugar                    1 Tbs brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder                         1/2 tsp milk                    dash nutmeg

dash ground cloves                           1/2 tsp vanilla               1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 C. milk                                              1 large egg                    1 tbs oil/melted butter

1 C diced fresh peaches

(1) In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.

(2) In medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (except peaches). Slowly add dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.  There may still be some lumps and Martha says that’s okay.

(3) Add diced peaches to mix and give it a quick stir. Then cook as usual. However, be sure to push down to make sure batter cooks around the peaches. You can press down to see if they are done inside. It’s like a cake, if it springs back it’s done.

I’ll post pictures, but I should warn you that I make ugly pancakes. Also, I either severely burn or undercook them. Despite their ugly looks, these pancakes tasted awesome.  Make these ASAP!

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My First Post!

Back the in the Summer of 2009, I was between 1st and 2nd Year in Business School and without a job. I spent those few months traveling for the most part with two weeks in China, Illinois, a week in California (LA & San Diego), D.C., NYC and then Wisconsin.  While in Wisconsin, I stayed at my aunt’s house and she “subscribed” (for the lack of a better word) to this thing called a CSA. It was a box full of different veggies that got delivered to their door. So, what is this CSA thing? CSA = Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially, you buy a “share” in a local farm and in return get a weekly delivery of fresh and locally grown produce.

So a few months ago, I decided to see if there was anything in my area. Come to find out, there is! I signed up for this wonderful farm called “Wood Duck Farm” in Cleveland, TX. It’s not far from where I grew up and has pick up locations all across Houston.  It’s $240 for a partial share and $350 (I think) for a full share which is for the full 10 weeks. So that breaks down to only about $24 for all this wonderful produce. Plus, it stays longer than stuff from the grocery store because it’s much fresher. So far, I’ve loved everything I’ve gotten. This includes: broccoli, kale, cucumbers, peaches, lots of greens (in the winter), cabbage, radishes, tomatoes (multiple kinds), potatoes, strawberries, lettuce, micro green, bell peppers, onion (I haven’t bought an onion at the store in a month or two and these taste fantastic), scallions and much much more! As is typical in agriculture, some weeks are bountiful and some weeks you are like “MORE KALE?! NOOOOOOO!!!!!”. I’m now finishing up my second season with the farm and look forward to what summer will bring us. I will definitely share the different things I make on here.

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