Squash and zucchini

squash.jpg

It’s been a heck of a long time since I’ve last grown yellow squash. These little fellas transported me back to around 16 years ago when I lived in a gorgeous old farm house on a dairy farm in Northern NSW. I had a really good composting system set up for the household scraps and collected well composted cow poo from under the cattle grate to get the veggie patch started. The vegetables were pretty darn good from that patch. I remember having some very prolific yellow squash plants and the sweetest tomatoes I’ve ever eaten in my life. I can’t remember growing squash since then. Funny how food can trigger memories.

Squash and zucchini are pretty easy to grow and versatile. You can grate them and make zucchini slice, turn them into zoodles as a pasta substitute, cut thinly and bake into chips, add to sauces, soups or curries, and grate into cakes to make them more moist. While there are lots of different ways you can cook with them, my very favourite way to cook zucchini is to grill on the barbeque. Turns out squash is just as good on the barbie. Sounds simple but it is one of those recipes where I do a little happy dance because it tastes sooo good. This little dish tastes greater than the sum of it’s parts, and in this case the parts were pretty good already. I used a flavour packed lemon foraged from a neighbourhood tree, delicious local extra virgin olive oil pressed by my friends grandparents earlier this year and squash and zucchini picked earlier that morning from my garden. A little spoon of my homemade chimichurri on top to serve and I was in heaven. Instead of using salt you can also use porcini salt.

Recipe

Zucchini, cut in half lengthways

Squash, cut in 1 cm discs

Lemon, juice

Olive oil

salt

For the amount in photo above I used the juice of half a lemon, a few tablespoons of oil and a generous pinch of salt. I then gave it a whisk in bowl and then tossed the cut squash and zucchini through to coat it well. Then I cooked it on the barbeque give or take about 5 mins on each side. You should get nice grill marks across the surface and its ready.

 

Minestrone soup

At this time of year I can’t go past whipping up a pot of minestrone soup to get a hit of all the flavours from the garden right now – garlic, bay leaves, parsley, basil, tomatoes, zucchini, silver beet. The recipe changes depending on what in season.

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 onion

1 red capsicum

4 carrots

4 zucchinis

1 bunch silver beet

2 cups over ripe cherry tomatoes

1.7 litres of stock

1/2 cup chopped herbs (parsley, basil)

2 fresh bay leaves

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 cup rinsed red lentils

Put pot on medium heat. I chop as I go, wandering in and out of kitchen into garden to find more things to add and this gives time for the vegetables to fry and caramelise a bit which gives extra flavour.  Add olive oil and onions. Dice the red capsicum and add to onions. Stir as you add each ingredient. Peel and dice the carrots, add and stir. Dice the zucchinis, add and stir. Rinse the silver beet, dice and add. Its fine to add the chopped stems. Stir. Get the cherry tomatoes point the hole where the tomato was attached the plant downward. Squeeze the seeds into the pot and twist the tomato and drop it in the pot all in one action. Do this for every cherry tomato. Don’t blend the tomatoes as the broken seeds will add a bitter flavour to the soup. Use your hands for this.

Add stock (I use vegetable), herbs, bay leaves, vinegar, garlic and lentils to the pot. Bring to boil then simmer for 3 hours. This makes the most unbelievably delicious hearty vegetable soup. Serve on it’s own or with sourdough and b.d farm butter.

Seed saving

zucchini

Q: What’s wrong with this photo?

A: There are no seeds where they should be.

We need to always have the ability to save our seeds, seeds belong to the global commons, not to a handful of corporations. Best case scenario this was a hybrid, worst case it was genetically modified this way. In the words of Vandana Shiva ‘practice civil disobedience and save your seeds. It’s the difference between scarcity and abundance, war and peace.’