My friend Susie lives here in Murphys but also lives in Santa Barbara half the time. She put her garden in a couple of weeks ago and then headed south for awhile. She asked me to check on how things were growing and take anything that I wanted...what a nice offer. I headed over to check out the bounty, only to find that the bugs were having a party and the only thing I could grab was a big, beautiful, fat summer squash. Okay, fine, I can use this! When I got home, I went to check out Annie's (in my back yard) garden and found a couple of golden zucchini, perfect. I had seen a recipe for a squash gratin in Food and Wine magazine that I wanted to try, it looked so interesting the way the squash were arranged. I changed a few things about it but the result is still the stunning, summer casserole that will delight your friends and family. Oh, and it tastes pretty good too. Take THAT bugs!
Summer Squash Bake
1/4 c extra virgen olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters, sliced thinly
1 t sugar
1/4 white wine
6 pieces of summer squash, zucchini, yellow crookneck, striped globe, any combo will work, cut lengthwise into 1/8" slices, use a *mandoline for best results
1 c grated sharp white cheddar (you could sub gruyere or other tangy, sharp cheese)
6 - 8 baby tomatoes cut in half
sea salt and pepper
2 T parmesan to sprinkle on top
a few leaves of basil torn for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat 2T of the olive oil in a skillet and add the onions, a bit of salt and a grind of pepper. Cook until soft and slightly browned. Sprinkle with the sugar and cook for a minute more. Pour the wine over and cook for a couple of minutes more until the wine has evaporated. Place the onions in a gratin dish or shallow pie plate distributing evenly.
Slice the squash lengthwise on a mandoline and place on a sheet pan. Brush with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the grated cheese over and let sit for about 5 minutes to soften. Take a piece of squash and roll it up, setting it on the caramelized onions. Repeat with the remaining slices of squash working outward from the center until you reach the edge of the dish. Tuck the tomatoes in between the squash at various places. Whatever cheese is left on the baking sheets, just add that to the top of the bake. Bake for 30 minutes and then run under the broiler for a few minutes if it isn't browned enough. Sprinkle with parmesan and torn basil. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6-8.
* a mandoline is invaluable in my kitchen and should be in yours too. They are available on line for about $25. I have had mine forever and it stays super sharp so be careful!
A friend of mine had a milestone birthday yesterday so his wife threw him a big pot luck bbq party in our sweet ‘right out of Mayberry’ park here in Murphys. Since it’s the middle of summer and it has been blazing hot, I figured everyone would be bringing tomato and cucumber salads so in an attempt to be different I decided to bring deviled eggs. Everyone LOVES deviled eggs, right? I wanted to be a bit more original though so I decided to cut mine through the center instead of end to end and then add a bit of the devil, in the form of curry powder. Thanks to my friends from next door Paul and Bill and their beautiful hens, Claire and her sisters, I had plenty of fresh eggs!
Curried Deviled Eggs (makes 36)
18 eggs, hard boiled and peeled 3/4 cup Best Foods mayo, more if needed
1/4 of a red onion, chopped finely (sub green onion if you like)
1 stalk of celery with leaves, chopped finely
1 small jalapeño, cut in a tiny dice (optional)
1/4 cup parsley, chopped (you can also use cilantro)
1 T plus 2t good curry powder
sea salt and pepper, to taste
mango chutney (I like the Major Grey’s variety)
chives, chopped roughly, for garnish
Cut the eggs around the ‘equator’ and squeeze out the yolks into a fine sieve. Press through the sieve with the back of a soup spoon into a medium bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend. Stuff back into the whites ( you may have to cut a bit of white off the bottom so they sit flat). Garnish with the chutney and chives and chill until ready to serve.
*see my instructions for hard boiling eggs under Wren’s egg salad post in the June 2016 archives
It's always a good idea to have several versions of potato salads in your recipe box. This one is a crowd pleaser. Fashioned after everyone's favorite toppings for a baked potato, it's just a little bit different and really colorful too. I made this one on the 4th of July and it was a huge hit. It's great with bar-b-que, holds up well in an ice chest and can be made a day ahead. You can substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream if you must, I don't!
Bacon, Cheddar, Chive & Sour Cream Potato Salad
6 c small red potatoes
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
2 T sugar
1/2 lb bacon, cooked until crisp and chopped into a 1/2" pieces
1/2 lb sharp cheddar, grated
1/2 c chives, chopped medium
1 small red onion, cut into a 1/4" dice
2 c sour cream
salt & pepper, as needed
Cut potatoes in to 1" pieces, cover with water, add 1 T salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and put in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, 1/2 t salt and 1/4 t pepper and then the oil. Pour over warm potatoes, blend and let cool. Mix into the potatoes the bacon, cheese, chives and red onion (save some of these ingredients to sprinkle on the top if you want) then add the sour cream and mix well until blended. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6-8.
My good friend Annie left a basket of summer produce from her garden on my front step the other day. It's fun to use these gestures as inspiration for my blog but I wondered what I could come up with that would be interesting and different enough that involves summer squash and tomatoes? Hasn't it all been done before? The answer came last night when I went to have dinner with my friend Carol. She was making a warm kale salad (she is always trying some new recipe!) and invited me to join her. I brought my garden offerings and at her suggestion, came up with this fabulous rendition of the classic Caprese! How refreshing to create such a simple salad with these 'all too often' over abundant summer garden ingredients! I hope you agree.
Summer Squash & Tomato Caprese
1 large, red garden tomato, sliced
10 small, gold cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 raw zucchini or trumpet squash, sliced on a mandoline
1 raw yellow crook neck squash, sliced on a mandoline
fresh mozzarella balls
fresh basil, torn into pieces
sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
good olive oil to drizzle
Arrange the tomato slices on a platter. Tuck the thinly sliced squash in between. .Place the golden tomatoes around the outside of the platter with the mozzarella balls, however many you feel is enough and still looks balanced. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the torn basil, sea salt and pepper. Serves 4.