I think the sweet dumpling squash gets overlooked by the bold acorn squash. It’s hard to ignore the forest green hued skin perfectly named acorn squash. It seems perfectly evident, yes, it even looks like an over-sized acorn. But the sweet dumpling squash does not look like a dumpling, so it’s easier to go with what you know. However, I implore you not to ignore this sweet little treat. This squash combines the best flavors of the acorn and the butternut squash, with an exponential punch of savory goodness. Go to your farmer’s market and bypass all of the other squash, they will be there all winter, but the sweet dumpling squash need your attention now!
“It’s a beet”…”No, it’s a radish”. Cut it open and “What the hell? What are these concentric red circles?” Is it a watermelon radish, no, it is too small, and tasted sweet only, no lovely sharpness of the radish. A quick trip to Google reveals the “Chioggia beet”. As if beets weren’t wonderful enough, now we discover one with a cracker jack surprise inside!
When I went to the farmer’s market on Wednesday, there were at least 4 beet varieties, regular, white, golden, and Chioggia. Don’t be shy, go to your local market, and ask for one of each, you never know what surprise will be revealed…
Green summer squash are plentiful and abundant, versatile, yet feel very pedestrian. However, once you intermix them with the cheery yellow squash, you immediately have a medley, and all seems well. We however have had no ray of light, and have been besieged with the familiar green zucchini or green summer squash, of which, by the way, I still do not know if there is any difference. So far, I have made summer squash provencal casserole, roasted zucchini, and zucchini bread. Although not the health winner, nothing beats a warm slice of fresh from the oven zucchini bread, mmm.
Of course the first thing that comes to mind with peaches is peach cobbler. But the temptation is to do something different, perhaps a savory dish, maybe a chutney, or a daring peach soup. But the pull of the cobbler is just too strong. Especially when demonstrated by the experts at America’s Test Kitchen Cooks Country. So Ronald embarked on his first baking venture, and made “Skillet Peach Cobbler”. I thought I would enjoy a nice rest, catching up on my emails, but instead I was drawn into the kitchen with pleas of “where is…” and “do we have enough flour” and demonstrating the substitute for buttermilk, which is 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, thickened up after a ten minute wait. We are not embarrassed to say that peach cobbler was our appetizer that night for dinner. And I am delighted to say that I am the luckiest woman.
Gooseberries are an odd but beautiful fruit. Red and green, they look like exotic glass beads. Similar to rhubarb, they are not an item to eat on its own, but rather accompanied by sugar, sugar, and more sugar. To "top and tail" means to snip off the stem and the flower end. Well, you need to be completely committed to this process, because trimming 2 cups takes at least 45 minutes. Since Ronald is a jam fan, I decided to turn our gooseberries into jam. And besides, it's just fun to say "Gooseberry jam", "Pass me the gooseberry jam, please". If you are a tart fan, this is the jam for you. Coarsely chop 2 cups in the food processor, mix with 1 cup sugar in a sauce pot, and boil lightly until the mixture clings to a wooden spoon, and refrigerate. Gooseberry jam, done. From all of the lip smacking, and "ummms", I think it turned out well.
Although some of our friends are unwilling to risk even the slightest chance of tainting their skin with a beet patina, Ronald dives in, with reckless abandon. Last night I was treated to a late supper of sauteed beets, beet greens, and cippolini greens. Perfectly al-dente, they were divinely sweet and delicious. Ronald went a bit overboard with beet love, and cooked the couscous with some of the beet juice from the cooked beets as well, needless to say, it was a very red meal. Thanks to the generous bequest of our friend Allison, who picked them herself, we have plenty more to last us the long holiday weekend. So if you see Ronald and notice his hands look a bit odd, don't be concerned, he was not involved in anything macabre, only beets were hurt in the making of our dinner.
After being inundated with greens two weeks ago, the best news we ever heard came from the CSA farm email, saying "the groundhog ate all our early lettuce". Bless you groundhog, you saved us. You are now my totem animal. Groundhogs rule! Anyway, we are very excited about more kohlrabi, and especially the cippolini onions. They are wonderful to roast, and carmelize beautifully. I can't forget last summer when I went to the Mt.Sinai greenmarket, and noticed red flat onions. I asked the vendor if they were cippolini onions as well, and were good roasting candidates. His face lit up, and very animatedly, he said "they're even better to roast". Well, I was sold. I'll be looking forward to seeing these towards the end of the summer. As Ronald and I always tell people, we saute everything. So there is never a concern about how we are going to prepare our vegetables. I grab whatever has been in the refrigerator longest, place it on the counter, point to Ronald, and say "go, saute". He then works his magic with spices, marinades, glazes, and choice of oil. He's my magic man.