Smitten With Squash!

Smitten With Squash!

Zucchini season is here! Do you know what you are going to do with the next giant cucurbita pepo that gets dropped off on your doorstep? Well, if you need some fresh ideas on what to do with the bountiful summer squashes piled up at the local Farmer’s Market or appearing like magic under the wide leaves in your garden, look no further. Amanda Paa’s new book Smitten With Squash (The Northern Plate, Minnesota Historical Society Press $17.95) has lots of great recipes to help you truly celebrate the bounty.

In fact, this book will stay in use far beyond the hot summer months, since it is evenly divided between summer squash and all the lush winter squashes that we will still be eating through Spring.

Do you know your way around a Pattypan, Kabocha, Red Kuri or Zephyr? If not, You will love the informative introductions to all things squash. History, lore and of course, info on selecting, storing and cooking are all conveniently organized for you. The book is structured around each variety of squash, so if you find yourself with a hunk of Hubbard or a basket of Pattypans, you can just go to that section and browse for a recipe.

Then, of course, there are the recipes. Amanda has a lovely way with a dish, and there are lots of tasty and creative uses for all your squashes. If you are pressed for time, she includes some quick weeknight hits, and if you have a few more minutes, you can make a galette or gratin. Nothing takes hours of work, and everything is full of interesting flavors and textures. You can enjoy your squashes at breakfast, lunch and dinner, and then polish off one for dessert, all with fresh new flavors to keep it interesting.

For the Gluten-avoiders in our midst, Amanda has made all the recipes with an option to use gluten-free flours. The recipes do an amazing job of straddling the divide between “regular” and gluten-free recipes, making them a perfect solution for the cook who wants to keep everyone happy. Nobody will know or care that these dishes are GF.

I have to hand it to her, Amanda Paa has brought her passion for this vegetable to your kitchen. Tacos, Pastas, Noodles made from Zucchini, and even Baba Ghanouj and Hummus enriched with squash will tempt your palate. I was immediately drawn to the Kabocha “Frites” with Spicy Sriracha Dip, but will have to wait for the Kabochas to come to market.  Muffins, cakes, even a pudding will keep your sweet tooth happy,as you get all the healthy benefits of squash.

Buy Smitten With Squash here.

Pattypans at the Farmer's Market!

Pattypans at the Farmer’s Market!

So, I made the Garam Masala Dusted Pattypans with Tahini Sauce. It was fun to focus in on those sweet little squashes, the ones that only appear briefly in Summer, so that you have to get them while you can. I found some lovely ones at the Farmer’s Market and at the Coop, so now is the time.

I loved this recipe, the roasted squashes are like roasted new potatoes, with spiced, sealed exteriors, but very juicy inside. Adding the garbanzos to the roast made the familiar beans wonderfully chewy  and nutty. A garlicky drizzle of tahini sauce made it into a meal.


Dusted with Garam Masala, Smoked Paprika and Olive Oil

Dusted with Garam Masala, Smoked Paprika and Olive Oil

Delicious! I, too, am smitten. Smitten with Smitten with Squash!

Garam Masala–Dusted Pattypans and Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce 

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 
1 clove garlic 
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro 
1/3 cup tahini 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 
3 tablespoons water 

1 1/2 pounds baby pattypan squash (about 1–2 inches in diameter) 
1 medium to large red bell pepper, cut into half-inch squares 
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and dried with a towel 
3 tablespoons olive oil 
2 teaspoons garam masala 
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika 
1 teaspoon kosher salt 
cilantro or parsley for garnish 
Greek yogurt for garnish 

To make sauce, place salt, garlic, and cilantro into bowl of food processor and process for 20 seconds. (The salt helps keep the garlic from sticking to the blade.) Add remaining ingredients and process for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl, then process for another 30 seconds. Taste and add more salt if needed. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. If pattypans are wider than an inch in diameter, halve them. Place in a bowl with red pepper and chickpeas, then drizzle in olive oil and spices. Stir to fully coat and spread onto a large parchment paper–lined baking sheet or divide between two pans if one seems crowded. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until squash pierces easily with a fork. 

To serve, mound vegetables on a plate and drizzle with tahini sauce. Garnish with cilantro or parsley and a bit of Greek yogurt. 

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