On weekends during the summer my family does a lot of grilling. Anything and everything you can imagine is fair game, from jalapeno poppers to crab cakes, to more traditional things like kebabs, chicken wings, and corn on the cob. Next week we have some pretty tasty plans for grilled stuffed mushrooms and I’m dying to see how they turn out. But so far this summer, this zucchini has been my favorite thing to come off the grill. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Summer Squash’
Ever wonder why some people seem to naturally gravitate towards certain foods and other people avoid those same foods like the plague? In undergraduate school I majored in biological sciences, and evolutionary biology was the first required science course. In one of our very first classes we were discussing how genetics influences different peoples’ taste perceptions. To illustrate our discussion, the professor passed out little pieces of paper containing phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) to all the students. The professor told us that about 75% of us would taste a bitter flavor (ranging anywhere from extreme to slight bitterness) and about 25% would taste nothing at all. I tasted the PTC and to me it tasted extremely bitter. I was shocked to see that my friend who also tasted the PTC hadn’t immediately yanked the horrid little piece of paper out of her mouth or made the same squinty face and “yuck!” noise that I had made…she hadn’t tasted anything at all. And in the end the professor was right; he took a poll of our 500+ person class and about 75% of us had tasted bitter and 25% had tasted nothing. That was proof enough for me that genetics plays a huge role in our tastes. (You can read more about the PTC gene here or more about taste perception and eating behavior here…very interesting stuff!)
Quite a few people have told me that they don’t like quinoa and I’ll be honest, the first time I had it I didn’t care much for it either. It makes sense to me that some people are more sensitive to taste of the bitter resin that naturally coats the outside of quinoa (even after some serious rinsing I don’t think all the resin is completely removed). I find that the bitter flavor I taste when I eat quinoa is balanced by combining it with something naturally sweet, such as the fresh tomatoes and sweet basil I use in this dish.
When I made this, I also had a summer squash on hand so I roasted that with an onion for some more natural sweetness, and all in all it was a delicious lunch. You can use whatever veggies you have, but if you have the time, go ahead and roast them to bring out their naturally sweet flavor. For a nice fall variation, I think this would be delicious with the sweetness of roasted pumpkin or butternut squash.
(Yield: 2 servings)
1 small-medium summer squash, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 TB olive oil
1/2 c quinoa
3/4 c water
2 medium tomatoes, diced
Salt and pepper
A small handful of fresh basil
Preheat oven to 425F. Toss together the summer squash, onion, oil, and a dash of salt and pepper. Spread the veggies out in an oven-safe dish and roast until tender, about 18 minutes, giving the veggies a stir one or two times while roasting.
Soak the quinoa in cold water for 15 minutes. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve, then thoroughly rinse it under cold running water. Transfer the quinoa, 3/4 c water, and a pinch of salt to a medium-sized saucepan with a lid. Bring to a boil over medium heat with the lid off; once it boils, give it a stir, cover it, and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Cook for 14 minutes, turn the heat off, and let it sit with the lid on for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
Autumn is almost in the air. Within a month the air will be crisp, the nights will be cool, and the leaves will start to turn their brilliantly stunning shades of yellow, red, and orange. It’s almost sad to see summer go, but autumn is by far and away my favorite season (and probably the best reason for living in upstate New York). With its roasted vegetables and warm broth, this soup is the perfect introduction to fall.
The roasted vegetable and Neufchatel filling for this ravioli would also be delicious tossed with some pasta or spread on crostini…that way you would get to see its pretty rosy color!
Roasted Vegetable Ravioli in Vegetable Broth
(Yield: 8 first course servings)
1 small summer squash, diced
½ small white onion, diced
1 c baby cherry tomatoes
1 ½ TB olive oil, divided
4 oz Neufchatel cheese
¼ c reduced fat milk
1 tsp fresh minced thyme
½ tsp Emeril’s Original Essence spice
40 won ton wraps
1 egg white beaten with 1 TB water (for egg wash)
32 oz Emeril’s Original Vegetable Stock
8 c water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 bay leaf
Crumbled feta, goat cheese, or fresh grated parmesan (optional, for garnish; I used tomato basil crumbled feta)
Fresh basil or parsley (optional, for garnish)
Preheat the oven to 450F. Toss together the summer squash, onion, and cherry tomatoes with ½ TB of oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a small roasting dish (a 9-inch pie plate works well) and roast for ~20 minutes, stirring halfway through. In a small saucepan, combine the Neufchatel cheese, milk, thyme, and Essence spice; heat over low heat for ~2 minutes until smooth, whisking constantly. Combine the Neufchatel sauce with the roasted vegetables; the consistency should be fairly thick (see picture below); if this mixture isn’t thick enough, heat it on the stovetop over medium heat to allow some of the liquid to evaporate out.
In a 5-quart pot, add the stock, water, 1 TB of olive oil (the oil helps the ravioli not to stick), bouillon cubes, and bay leaf; cover the pot and bring the broth to a boil. To make the ravioli, place 1 tsp of vegetable mixture in the center of a won ton wrap, moisten two adjacent sides of the wrap with egg wash, then fold the ravioli over, pressing gently to seal (see picture below).
Cook the ravioli in two batches to make sure it doesn’t stick. Gently drop ~20 the ravioli in the boiling broth and cook for 2-5 minutes (the ravioli will float to the top when it’s cooked); use a slotted spoon to remove the ravioli, then cook the rest of the ravioli in the same way.
To serve, transfer the ravioli to individual serving bowls, ladle broth on top, and garnish with fresh herbs and cheese if desired.
I would like to send this soup to Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen.