I notice in the winter I tend to write a lot about food and cooking and in the summer more about gardening and the outdoors. Most of the reasons for that are fairly obvious–when it’s cold we stay indoors, around the hearth and our bodies crave more calories. In the summer we’re outdoors, there’s more gardening to do and less time to be fussing over a hot stove.
But that’s not to say my interest in food or cooking wanes in the summer (far from it!) It’s just that I find I have less to say about it. The produce of summer really requires so little culinary intervention in order to be wonderful. A simple sliced tomato with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of good olive oil needs no grand preparation to be sublime.
In the past few weeks I’ve been eating many delicious meals straight from the garden, but most have involved so little actual cooking it seems silly to write about them. But occasionally I have a new insight or twist on something that I want to make a note of.
This past weekend I was trying to get a grip on the squash overload again (it’s gotten to the point where anyone who visits me is not allowed to leave without taking at least one squash home) but didn’t have much time to cook and wanted to whip up something quick and easy with ingredients I had on hand. I’ve been making a lot of stuffed zucchini lately because the kids love them and they are so versatile–great served hot or cold, at a picnic or at the dinner table. So I decided to make a variant on that using my cute round grapefruit-size squash instead.
A digression about these squash. Sometimes I’m a very meticulous gardener–carefully documenting what, when, where, how I’m planting. Other times I get impulsive and whimsical, planting this and that here and there and thinking, “Oh, I don’t need to make a note of this, I’ll remember what I did.” And then of course I inevitably forget and as seeds start sprouting I find myself staring quizzically at the leaf shapes trying to discern what these plants are. This year I’ve had a couple instances of this, including with these squash. I’m almost positive I planted the “Rond de Nice” variety. But as far as I know these squash are always green. Yes, most green squash will mature to orange but these are starting out that way. Any thoughts on this out there? Is there an orange “Rond de Nice” or is it something else?
Anyway, back to cooking…I started with my typical stuffed zucchini formula (saute onions with the squash interior then add bread crumbs, grated parmesan, herbs and eggs) but because the size of these squash made a larger portion, I decided to make it more of a hearty main course by also adding a little of my homemade breakfast sausage which I had in the freezer from this past March. Then I roasted them for about 40 minutes.
I thought the results were very tasty and the presentation looked cute too. The only thing I didn’t like was that unlike zucchini, the skin on these was a little too tough and strong-tasting to eat. But there was still plenty to enjoy with just the filling. Now if only I could identify what squash these actually are!