Summer Session: Week 7 Boxletter

Well, we are at the height of summer squash season folks.  If you can’t get to it all in a week or so remember you can always shred it and freeze it to make zucchini bread or stir into chilis and things later in the year.  Just be sure to squeeze as much liquid out of it before using. 

Happy eating!

 

Summer Squash and Tuna Melt Casserole

Sooo maybe a big baked casserole isn’t exactly what you had in mind for dinner when it’s 90 degrees outside, but this one is very veggie forward and doesn’t have to be served piping hot. 

1 ½ lbs summer squash, great use for patty pan squash here.

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

3 bunches scallions, thinly sliced

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

½ tsp chile flake

Two 5-oz cans good quality oil packed tuna

1 ½ C shredded, good quality cheddar cheese

Trim off the ends of the squash and halve lengthwise (with patty pans, cut through the ‘equator’).  Salt the squash on their cut faces with 2 tsp salt and leave them to drain for an hour or more.

Heat a big glug of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the scallions, thyme, chile flake, ½ tsp salt and a good pinch of black pepper.  Cook until the scallions are soft and fragrant but not actually browned, 3-4 minutes.  Take them off the heat and adjust seasoning as needed.

Heat the oven to 450F.

Spread the squash cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until slightly shrunken and browned on the cut sides, on the way to tender but not at all mushy.  Cooking time will depend on the size and shape of your squash, but for a typical slender 6in squash, this should be about 15 minutes.

Arrange the squash pieces in a baking dish that will fit them all snugly in one layer, this time cut side up.  Distribute the scallions over the surface.  Flake and crumble the tuna in an even layer over the scallions and then top evenly with the cheddar.

Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is nicely melted and beginning to bubble and brown, 10-15 minutes.

Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

 

Adapted from Six Seasons

 

 

The Summer of Slaw Part Deux: Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw

It’s hot out.  Slaw is still the answer to all your problems. 

Not feeling the tahini dressing? This can easily be swapped out with an herby yogurt dressing.  I like to do a 50/50 mix of yogurt and mayo with whatever herbs I have on hand.  Note we use the leaves of the celery here almost as herbs.  So good!

 1 medium sized kohlrabi, stems and greens removed

1/2 a head of green cabbage

1 handful celery leaves, coarsely chopped

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

1 small ripe avocado, diced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

 

For the Tahini-Lemon Dressing:

1/4 cup tahini

2-3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 teaspoons honey

1 clove of garlic, minced

a small handful of very finely minced parsley or more celery leaves

3 Tablespoons water + more to thin if necessary

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

 

Prepare the dressing by combining all the ingredients and whisking until smooth. If the dressing is too thick add a splash of water. If the dressing is too thin add a little more tahini. Taste test and adjust seasonings as necessary.

With a mandoline or a sharp knife slice the kohlrabi into thin rounds. Then stack the rounds and slice into thin matchsticks.  Cut the cabbage into 1/4-inch-thick strips

Place the kohlrabi and cabbage in a large salad bowl. Add celery leaves,rt\ed

‘ avocado, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Drizzle in the dressing and toss until well combined.

 

Adapted from ‘Dishing up the Dirt

 

Pickles!

Making your own pickles can be intimidating, I get it.  When it’s new to you and you read some recipes and that scary ‘B’ word comes into play (botulism) you’re apt to just shut the book and go buy a jar at the store.  But here’s the thing, first, it’s not as scary as you think and second, and most importantly, there’s just no reason to process them in the traditional water bath canning way unless you have 50lbs of cukes to get through.  3lbs is the perfect amount to make 2 quart sized mason jars and you can just stick them in your fridge where they will be the best things ever for as long as you have them, they’ll stay crispy and delicious!  I’ve kept fridge pickles for up to a year, but I’m pretty sure these will not last that long! 

 

3lbs pickling cukes

1 ½ cup apple cider vinegar

1 ½ cup filtered water

4 teaspoons sea salt

4 teaspoons dill seed

8 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tsp black peppercorns

2-4 tsp chile flake (optional)

 

Special equipment:

2 quart size mason jars or the equivalent

Wash and dry cucumbers. Chop ends off and slice into spears or slice into coins. Set aside.

Combine vinegar, water and salt in sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Equally divide the dill seed, garlic cloves, peppercorns and chile (if using) between the two jars. Pack the cucumber spears/coins into the jars as tightly as you can without crushing them.

Pour the brine into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Put lids on the jars and let them cool on the counter top. Once they’re cool, put them in the refrigerator. Let cure for at least a day before eating. Pickles will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months if kept submerged in brine.

**The basic brine recipe can be used not only on cucumbers, but also carrots, beets and that summer squash that’s filling your CSA boxes as well.  Use the same technique but just replace the cucumbers with thinly sliced carrots or beets and if using summer squash slice them into ¼” rounds.

 

 

Adapted from Food in Jars

 


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