Quinoa, Mushroom and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

stuffed squash blog

Okay, I know that my previous post was a zucchini recipe, and here we are with yet another variation on summer squash. It’s kind of everywhere at the moment, and I couldn’t pass up these absolutely adorable little sunburst patty pan squash at the farmer’s market this past weekend.

I mean really, aren’t they the sweetest?

They’re remarkably delicious when stuffed as well. They make an awesome side dish, but could just as easily work as a meatless main course. Just prepare a few handy, fresh veggies in a skillet for a few minutes, add a grain, maybe some cheese, stuff and bake. It’s also a great way to use up bits of veggies that are in need of eating before they make a turn for the worse. That’s how this particular mix of veggies happened, anyway – and it was delicious!

Now typically, I would be showering you with all sorts of summer desserts. I’m sure I’ll manage a few here and there, but I’ve been directing my attention to something else entirely as of late. You see, I’m working on my very first ebook! In this book, I’m sharing some simple-but-delicious gum-free, gluten-free baked goods recipes. So if you’ve wanted an excellent go-to recipe for waffles, bread, muffins, or cake, I’m hoping this book will be your #1 reference!

I hope to have it out to you in August, so stay tuned for more information! I’ll be announcing details in my newsletter, so subscribe today if you haven’t already!

Okay, back to these adorable squash. Truthfully, you can use any vegetables in the stuffing mixture that your heart desires. Peas, green onion, red bell pepper, spinach – all would be great here. The key is to make sure they’re chopped finely and cooked beforehand (a few minutes in a skillet will do the trick). I loved the addition of cotija cheese in mine, but Parmesan or feta would be nice as well. It’s one of those “anything goes” recipes that I’m sure you’ll adore during the summer season.

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Quinoa, Mushroom, and Kale-Stuffed Patty Pan Squash (gluten-free, vegan-adaptable)

About 6 small patty pan squash

1 T olive oil (plus more for the insides of the squash)

2 T minced onion

2 oz crimini mushrooms, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c chopped fresh kale (I used lacinato, but any variety will work)

1/3 c crumbled cotija cheese (omit for vegan)

2 T chopped fresh parsley

3/4 c cooked quinoa

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tops off of the squash to make a hat. Carefully score a circle inside the cut squash, and using a small spoon, scoop out the inside flesh. Leave about a half-inch inside. Rub the insides of the squash with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the squash on a lined baking sheet and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the rest of the olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onion and mushroom and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add the garlic and kale and sauté for another minute or until the kale has wilted some and is bright green. Remove from heat and add the cheese, if using, parsley, and the quinoa. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir in.

Spoon the stuffing into the prepared squash, packing rather tightly. (You’ll likely have leftover stuffing; if so, it’s delicious on its own.) Place the “hat” back on top of each squash, and place them in the oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the squash is soft and easily pierced with a knife. Serve.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish, 2 as a light meal.

Zucchini, Mint and Lemon Yogurt Dip

zucchini yogurt dip blog

Surely I’m not the only one that has experienced the conundrum of “too much zucchini”. In fact, I can imagine several of you reading this are looking at your gardens right now, wondering what you will possibly do with ALL OF THIS ZUCCHINI. Two loaves of zucchini bread every week couldn’t begin to make a dent in your bounty. So you’re bringing zucchini to your friends, dropping it off at your neighbors, and now, you’re scouring the internet for salvation recipes that aren’t the “same ol’” zucchini recipes, because your family will revolt if they eat it again tonight.

While I seem to not be able to grow zucchini without the squash bugs knowing where I live, my friends certainly can, and I’ve been given a considerable amount of zucchini as well. I already made this zucchini ribbon salad with some, but I still had more on my hands. I wanted something different, and started researching, as many of you have been doing. I came across a dish called Koosa ma Laban – a spread popular in the Middle East and North Africa made from squash, yogurt, tahini, and lemon. Often it also includes mint or parsley. I love the combination of these flavors, and I also happen to have mint growing in abundance in my flower beds, so I opted to make a variation on this dish.

I wanted to make it a really light, refreshing dip, so I opted not to use tahini, instead using a bit of cream cheese to thicken. The result was a cool, creamy dip that was at home with vegetables or bagel chips (gluten-free if you prefer). It was a hit at an Independence Day party, and it would be a perfect appetizer or an excellent alternative to the tired ranch dressing so often served with raw crudités. It can certainly be made in advance, so whip up a batch and bring it along to your next summer party.

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Zucchini, Mint, and Lemon Yogurt Dip (gluten-free)

1 T olive oil

2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise and cut into half-inch slices (about 2 cups once sliced)

1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed slightly with side of knife

1/2 c plain Greek yogurt

2 oz plain cream cheese

Zest of 1 lemon

2 T fresh mint, chopped

1/4 t ground cumin

1/8 t ground paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add olive oil. Swirl to coat and add zucchini and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots and tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Place zucchini and garlic, yogurt, cream cheese, most of the lemon zest, most of the mint, cumin, and paprika in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until pureed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Spoon dip into a wide bowl and drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired, and sprinkle with reserved mint and lemon zest.

Serve with vegetables or bagel chips. Serves 4-6.

Looking for more zucchini recipes? Here are some other ideas:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Casserole

Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Serrano-Lime Dressing

Zucchini Red Pepper Egg Muffins

Cheater’s Ratatouille, or Pesto Zucchini, Eggplant and Tomato Bake

 

Creamed Grilled Fresh Corn with Basil

creamed grilled corn blog

There is an elderly couple that runs a booth at the farmer’s market, and along with (I presume) their granddaughter, they sell organic produce. They are so sweet and kind, and while I don’t buy all of our produce from them, I do make it a point to purchase sweet corn while they have it available. It’s the best corn I’ve ever tasted. And like most seasonal produce, I cherish the all-too-fleeting moments when it’s available. I’ll be sad when it gets too hot and the corn is gone.

The beauty of fresh, summer corn is that it doesn’t need much adornment. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed grilling it. The slightly smoky grilled flavor perfectly compliments the sweet, juicy kernels. Most nights, that’s more than enough for an awesome, easy side dish. But the other night, I wanted a little something special. I started with grilling, but then decided to continue the process to make some creamed corn.

With a little milk, cheese, Serrano chile, and garnished with fresh basil (one of the few things my garden is successfully growing at the moment), this side dish was beyond awesome. It was craveably delicious. It wasn’t overly rich, as some creamed corn dishes can tend to be, but rather a great representation of summer’s best.

I’ll be at the market again this Saturday, and will cross my fingers that there will be more corn. I don’t want this to be the only time we get to enjoy this dish before summer’s end. (And I have so much basil left!)

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Creamed Grilled Fresh Corn with Basil (gluten-free)

4 ears fresh corn, shucked

1-2 T olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 T butter

1 Serrano chile, seeded and minced

2/3 c whole milk

1 oz shredded cheese, such as Gouda or a white cheddar

Salt to taste

1 T chopped fresh basil

Heat grill to medium heat. Rub the corn cobs with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill for 5-7 minutes or until kernels have a bit of color/char on them and are tender. Remove and allow to cool enough to touch.

Place the corn cob on end on a cutting board, and using a knife, carefully cut the kernels from the cob. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat butter to medium heat. Sauté Serrano chile for 1 minute. Add the corn kernels and sauté for another minute. Add the milk and bring almost to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Add cheese and stir to melt. Salt to taste. Serve with fresh basil sprinkled over.

Makes 4 servings.

Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano

pickled blog

Beets have made plenty of appearances here before. I love them. They’re gorgeous, for starters. Most are an unbelievably intense red, but some varieties are golden, or even striped like candy canes. How could it not be love at first sight? But beyond their good looks, they’re deliciously sweet and earthy. I enjoy them raw, steamed, in salads, roasted, in soups, in dips, or even in desserts. But I also love them pickled.

However, sometimes I think about having such things way too late. The other night, when preparing dinner, it occurred to me that I wanted pickled beets. But typically, making any type of pickle takes advance time. But this version doesn’t. Once you steam the beets, you simply pour over a vinaigrette and serve immediately. Of course, you can store the rest in the refrigerator for a week or more, and they stay just as delicious. I’ve enjoyed having a few slices along with all sorts of meals. They bring a happy brightness that just screams of fresh spring/summer produce.

So if you have a bunch of beets and are wondering what to do with them, why not try making some quick pickles? Eat them as a side dish, as a condiment, or on a salad – any of those options sound delicious to me!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy beets?

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Quick Pickled Beets with Serrano (gluten-free, vegan)

About 6 medium beets, stems trimmed to about an inch

1/3 c apple cider vinegar

1/4 c olive oil

1 t kosher salt

1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper

1 small Serrano chile, sliced thin

Place beets in a large pot and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low boil. Allow to cook until the beets are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and let cool enough to touch. Peel the beets. This ought to be fairly easily and can be done with your hands – the peels should slip right off. (If you don’t wish to dye your hands pink, you can wear plastic gloves for this) Slice the beets into 1/4 inch slices and place in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the Serrano chile to the beets, and then pour over this dressing. Toss the beets to coat completely.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for a week.