Category Archives: squash

Squash Dumplings

I’m still alive! (sort of).  I’m actually home sick today so I figured I could FINALLY update my blog.  Since the semester has started back up I have been busy teaching, taking a class, and doing research.  This usually accounts for 10-16 hour workdays.  By the time I get home I make something quick and easy (omelette, 10 bowls of cereal, oatmeal…) but occasionally I have a particularly bad day and need to cook.  I think I have 4 or 5 recipes that I will be posting today, so stay tuned!

When my CSA decided to call it quits, they cleared out their farm and gave each of us 2 boxes – about 40 pounds – of produce.  In the end, I probably received as much as I would have over the following weeks.  Among my bounty was 17 squash, an enormous bag filled with garlic (I would estimate 30-40 bulbs), bags of potatoes, and lots and  lots of greens.  Also, my CSA gave us this link http://www.localgrowers.org/csa-programs/ to help us find a new farm to support.  I joined a winter CSA and am very excited about it.

So, I have a lot of squash.  Becca and I took a cute date to Nashville, Indiana, and I bought a down home, kitschy squash cookbook.  I’ve been getting ideas from it, but mostly for breads.  When I have a lot of squash, I typically roast 2 or 3 at a time and just keep the roasted sqash in the fridge to put on oatmeal, bake into a casserole, or make breads.  I wanted pasta the other day so I had the idea to adapt my gnocchi recipe for squash.  I got lazy so instead of making “pillows” I just rolled the dough into balls.

Squash Dumplings

-In a mixing bowl combine 1 egg and 1.5 cups roasted squash
-Continue mixing in 2 cups flour (I use wheat) and 1/4 teaspoon salt
-Once dough reaches dough-like consistency, roll into balls and boil until no longer chewy

Mizuna Pesto
-combine (with a mortar and pestle, blender, imersion blender, or however you want) chopped mizuna, 1-2 cloves crushed or finely chopped garlic, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper

It’s really tough to quantify how much any of this costs because of how I got 4 week’s worth of vegetables at once.  These are my best estimates:

Total Cost: $3.29

organic squash: $0.75
organic garlic clove: $0.10
2 cups organic flour: $0.52
1 organic egg: $0.17
Mizuna: $0.75
1/4 cup paremean cheese: $1.00

Lazy Girl Organic

..except that my plan went horribly wrong!

My goal was to use my new rice cooker and my not new food processor in an attempt to save time.  check.  What I didn’t anticipate was that it was going to take me almost an hour cleaning up all the food I burned in my new cast iron pan.  oh well.  it was totally worth it.

What did I make?

Well, I was going to make squash/potato/onion/garlic latkes.

before

except that it turned out looking like this:

after

I promise you this tasted good.  Once the bottom started burning, I abandoned the idea of latkes and made it a scramble.  I had planned to make fried eggs to neatly place on top, but instead I added them to the pan.  This, of course, did not help the mess of the pan.

I did enjoy using my rice cooker, though!!  It was definitely nice to not have to worry about burning the rice.  Thanks, Jill!!

Squash and Egg Scramble
-combine shredded squash, onion, potato, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and garlic (I used a food processor)
-form into latkes
-fry in olive oil
-abandon plan and scramble
-add two eggs and continue scramble
-add copious amounts of salt
-serve over brown rice

Total Price:$1.98

-1 cup organic brown rice – $0.75
-3/4 cup organic squash- $0.15
-2 organic potatoes- $0.53
-1/2 organic onion- $0.15
-1 clove garlic- $0.10
-2 eggs- $0.30

Squash Pasta with Oysters

Ha, this ended up being a disaster of a night but damn this was good pasta.

I don’t know why I always decide to make pasta on the nights I’m starving.  Don’t get me wrong, pasta isn’t a meal that takes hours, but when you make it from scratach it is a bit time consuming.  I thought I was being smart by making the dough and then letting it rest while I went to the grocery store.  Indeed, that was smart.  However, nothing went right after that.

Part of the problem is that I never follow pasta directions to a T.  I think this, from now on, will be a mandatory rule.  If the dough is not perfect, it can be very difficult to use with a machine.  If you are having problems, though, you can just roll it out by hand and cut it with a knife like I ended up doing.  (note that the tom and jerry glass served as my rolling pin haha)

pretty orange

Squash Pasta

-mix 3/4 cup cooked squash, 1-1/2 cup semolina flour, 1-1/2 cup whole wheat flour
-let rest for at least 30 minutes
-roll out according to pasta machine directions or hand roll and cut
-add to boiling water
-add can of oysters
-when ready, top with olive oil, raw sugar, and crushed red pepper

Unfortunately I don’t have a total price because I have no clue how much I paid for the semolina flour.  I have to imagine it was probably between a dollar or two’s worth.  The squash was probably $0.15’s worth.  Maybe $0.80 for the wheat flour, <$2.00 for the oysters.

All in all, considering I got 4 meals (two dinneres, two lunches) out of this recipe, I’d say I did pretty well.

Farmer’s Market Manifesto

Since the last time I’ve posted I have bought a lot and cooked a lot…I seemingly have lost the receipt from my big grocery store extravaganza, but honestly I bought pretty much the same things I always do.  I did, however, finally go to the Bloomington winter farmer’s market!  To be honest, it reminded me that I think the majority of farmer’s markets are overpriced.  I got a couple deals, though.  Seriously, I’m sick of every one saying that if you want a deal on organic food, go to a farmer’s market.  They jack those prices up so much.  I actually have a general distaste for most farmer’s markets.  (this is something I typically forget until I go to one).  The only exception is the one in Milwaukee.  That is one of the most genuine, neatest farmer’s markets I’ve ever been to.

So what do I hate about most farmer’s markets?

I feel like there are a lot of disingenuine people.  It’s not something tangible, but I feel like you have to look a certain way or carry certain reusable bags or say certain things for the vendors to be nice to you.  It’s almost as if for so long farmer’s markets were a secret meeting place for zany, eclectic people who grow their own patchouli plants and that once markets became the hipster and cool thing to do on a Saturday morning (bonus points if you rode your fixie!), the community became exclusive and started shunning those who show up in Abercrombie hoodies (it was a gift, I promise).

So, of the 10 or so vendors present (all having things I wanted), I only bought 3 things and spent $7.  $4 of those dollars I would return, if I could, but that was my poor judgment.  So, what was overpriced?  Spinach, kale, greens in general.  $3 for the smallest bunch I’ve ever seen?  No thanks.  $8 for 8 ounces of some salsa you canned?  Seriously?  I’m always bewildered that people pay that much for salsa.  $6 for a dozen farm eggs?  REALLY?  I know that these people are trying to make a living and all, but just because hipsters will buy, doesn’t mean you *have* to sell at that price.  (…I actually took economics from Eugene Fama’s brother, so maybe I should have paid better attention in class..).  Regardless of my bad financial advice to the vendors, I still think if they were all about the ideals that get invoked when people wax poetic about farmer’s markets they wouldn’t jack up their damn prices so much.  OH.  here’s what gets me.  $8 for a loaf of hand made bread?  I know baking takes a long time and a good artisan loaf of bread is so gosh darn good and blah blah blah but if I can find the time to do it, then I don’t think you can justify jacking up the price of a loaf of bread that much.

But I digress.

So, what was the one deal that I got?

the largest squash I have ever seen in my life

I got that squash for $2.  Note its dimensions next to the largest organic bananas I have ever bought in my life.  This will probably be a week much like the last time I had an extreme abundance of squash.

What else did I get?  1/2 lb of spinach for $4.  I know that’s not an awful price, but considering I just got a pound at Bloomingfoods for $3.99 I was a little unhappy.  The bags looked much, much larger when I was judging them from the safety zone of the aisle (aka the distance in which you don’t have to engage the vendor and then walk away without buying anything, therefore feeling guilty).  Once she handed me the bag I didn’t feel like I could abort the mission; I’m not that much of an asshole.  I did get 10 freshly dried, enormous bay leaves for $1.  I thought that was a pretty good deal.

Overall, I think farmer’s markets are great if you have the time to sniff out the best deals, but generally a waste of time if you’re trying to buy on the cheap.  It’s exhausting trying to compare each vendor and determine which has the best price, the best looking produce, etc.  Maybe it’s because I’m a pretty busy person, but for now I prefer going to Bloomingfoods and being directed to the best prices by handy fluorescent signs.

Squash’s Last Stand

Finally!  Exactly 1 week later and I am through with squash..for now.  I actually really enjoyed it.  Besides the meals I’ve listed I have had squash in nearly every dish.  As far as non dinner meals went, it certainly worked the best in oatmeal.

I feel like I’ve been eating a lot of wheat products lately so I was kind of feeling a light, refreshing dinner.  I had a very little bit of romaine left, and I had been craving more turnips in my life.  I also have these oranges that I bought that unfortunately are going moldy, so I wanted to use one of those, too.  I realized I also needed some protein, so that’s where the tuna came in.  Therefore, I came up with the following salad:

goodbye, squash

It contains the following:

-organic romaine lettuce
-1 organic navel orange (cut in 8ths)
-one can of tuna
– ~1/4 cup organic turnip, julienned
– ~1/3 cup organic butternut squash
– balsamic vinegar

I was a little bit skeptical of putting tuna with this salad, but it actually worked.  I think the citrus really helped balance the flavors, along with the acidity of the vinegar.  The turnip has mellowed a little bit, so it didn’t overpower any flavors.

Total Cost: $1.48

romaine: $0.25
orange: $0.40
tuna: $0.60
turnip: $0.10
squash: $$0.13

I’m honestly a little bit surprised that this salad is almost as much as my bread.  However, this is all fresh produce, and if you think about how much you would pay for a similar salad, I think I came out on top 🙂

Whole Wheat Sourdough Cornmeal Squash Seed Bread

Yeah, that’s a lot of adjectives.

yumm

However, don’t be fooled by the number of ingredients.  This bread is simple and amazing.  The cornmeal and squash seeds impart a really satisfying crunch into the bread.  As an aside:  I never understood using the word “satisfying” to describe something like “crunch” until I tried this bread.  It was definitely an “Aha!” moment.  The loaf itself came out smaller than the sourdough.  I don’t know if that’s the nature of the bread, with the cornmeal, or if it had something to do with the rising process.  I think my second rise may have been a bit short.  Either way, I’m not too worried about it.  The process for making the bread is the exact same as I already described here.  The ingredients, however, have changed a bit:

Sourdough Cornmeal Squash Seed Bread Ingredients

2/3 cup sourdough starter
1-1/3 cups warm water
1-3/4 cups whole wheat bread flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (I used (surprise) butternut squash seeds)

The only difficult thing about making this bread was that the dough was much stickier.  This is apparently due to the replacement of wheat flour with cornmeal.  It did make it a little bit difficult to work with, so I would suggest using one of those bread scrapers, if you have one.

Other lesson learned:  when you create a steam bath in the oven, don’t use a porcelin baking pan.  Being chemists you would think we would have realized this, but we cracked our nice porcelin pan when we added cold water.

Other than that, this bread has a very artisan taste, which is a nice change of pace, especially given the ridiculous price tag “artisan” usually carries.

Total Cost: $1.50

starter (fed twice): $0.10 (here’s my rationalization:  $0.40 worth of flour was added, but about 1/4 of the starter was used)
bread flour: $0.77
corn meal: $0.37 (complete estimate.  don’t remember how much I paid, so assuming $4/5 lbs)
wheat flour: $0.21
seeds: $0.05 (again, estimate.  I paid $1.00 for two squashes and this is really just a by product)

My last loaf of bread lasted me 5 days, so, $0.30/day?

Quickies

1.  Sahara Mart fail – I stopped here on my way back from errands this morning to buy some organic wheat flour since I noticed they had it in bulk for $1.79.  That sounded cheap, except that I failed to really do the math.  5 lbs cost me $8.91, when a 5 lb bag of the same thing cost me $6.99 last month.

2.  Squash Part 4 – The squash has been great as mix in for oatmeal.  I’ve been doing 2 heaping spoonfuls of squash with brown sugar and honey.

3.  Squash Part 5 – I roasted the seeds and am using it in a recipe for sour dough – cornmeal – pumpkin seed bread.  More to come on that later.