Freezing a summer skillet for a bright winter meal

We are about to inundated with peppers, squash, and corn. Well, maybe not corn, as David doesn’t grow much of it, but you can find good quality corn anywhere right now. Here are some good tips for freezing summer squash, peppers, and corn for a couple of different uses. The frozen corn/squash/peppers are perfect for pulling out in the cold months and throwing into a skillet saute for summertime flavor in the snow.  Frozen veggies are a little soft for raw use, but they can go into breads, sautes, and soups without compromising flavor and texture.

Peppers
http://pickyourown.org/peppersfreezing.htm

Summer Squash
http://pickyourown.org/freezing_summer_squash.htm

Corn
http://www.pickyourown.org/freezingcorn.htm

Roasting and Freezing peppers (hot or sweet)
http://pickyourown.org/roastedpeppers.htm

All those Anaheim chilies we’ve been receiving can be strung up and air dried if you’re not getting to them while they’re fresh. Tie them together by their stems and hang in a dry, warm place (which is basically anywhere in Utah but under your swamp cooler vent).

You can also shred your zucchini like you would for making zucchini bread, portion it out, and freeze it in baggies with all of the air pushed out. Who wants to bake in a hot summer kitchen? And who wants to use squash from the Southern Hemisphere to make bread in the winter?

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A couple of recipes

Here’s a recipe that uses kohlrabi AND summer squash that I found on the Straight from the Farm blog.  Visit their site — they have good pictures of filling the empanadas.

Kohlrabi & Squash Empanadas
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
2 medium kohlrabies, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 large summer squash, cut into small cubes
2 large scallions, both white and green parts, finely cut
1 radish, minced (optional)
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. butter
salt and pepper to taste
dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1 box of pre-made pie crust or one batch homemade*
1 egg

In a medium skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and ginger to brown.  Add kohlrabi cubes, a pinch of salt and some pepper. Toss well and cook 3 or 4 minutes until kohlrabi are softening a bit.  Add squash cubes and continue to cook for 4 more minutes.  Add scallions, radish, nutmeg and another pinch of salt and pepper.  Mix well and cook for one minute before removing from heat.  Set mixture to this side to cool.

Roll out dough to be a little thinner than pie crust typically is.  If you are using pre-made crust from the store, run your rolling pin over it once or twice.   Using a cereal bowl or large circular cookie cutter, cut out 6 inch-ish circles from the dough.  It should yield about 15, give or take depending on your cutter and dough thickness.

Pre-heat oven to 425F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.   Prepare egg wash by beating egg with a teaspoon of water and set to the side along with a small bowl of water.

To make the empanadas, spoon one tablespoon of kohlrabi and squash mixture into the center of a circle of dough.   (It’s better to have less filling than too much or the empanadas won’t hold together. Feel out the right ratio that allows you to close off the dough without any filling popping out.)   Dip your finger in the bowl of water and run it around the outside edge of the dough.  Fold dough over the filling to create a half circle.  Press down edges.  Carefully pick up the dough pocket and pinch edges (see photo) to seal them tightly.  A fork can also be used to crimp the edges if you want a less tedious method.

Repeat above process to finish all the empanadas, laying them on the lined cookie sheet when done.  With a fork, prick the tops once and brush with egg wash.   Bake for 8 minutes and turn over.  Bake another 5 to 7 minutes until deep golden brown and flaky.  Best served straight from the oven.

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In case you’ve been throwing your beets and cabbage into the bottom drawer and forgetting about them, I harvested these from Simply Recipes:

Beet Hummus – you can use up our cucumbers dipping in it

Roasted beets with balsamic and orange zest glaze – side dish

Colcannon – Irish mashed potato and cabbage dish

Italian sausage and cabbage stew – cabbage stew doesn’t sound super appetizing, but the recipe sounds pretty tasty

Week 14 recipes

First off, we’ll try to deal with that pile of summer squash you might be staring down.

Ratatouille — traditionally heavy on the tomatoes and eggplants, both of which are a week or two away for our particular CSA, this is a great way to use up your summer vegetables.  I chose the recipe from Cooking for Engineers, because I’m an engineer and the site amuses me.  It has lots of pictures!  You could follow the recipe exactly, or sub out the eggplant with the softer pattypans, the herbs with microgreens and garlic chives, and cut some of the sweet corn from the cob to add.

Marinated Garden Vegetables — Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian


  1/2 c red wine or rice wine vinegar
  2 T salt
  herbs to taste (oregano, thyme, Herbs de Provence) – about 2 t
  2 bay leaves
  2 cloves garlic
  1/2 c olive oil
  1 head broccoli, chopped
  2 medium squash (yellow, zuccs, or pattypan) cut lengthwise and sliced
  2 medium carrots, cut into rounds
  handful of green beans, cleaned and cut into 1″ lengths
  a bell pepper, sliced
  1/2 cup of good black or kalamata olives
  black pepper to taste

  Bring herbs, salt, oil, vinegar, and garlic to a boil in about a quart of water.  Add broccoli and green beans and boil for about a minute.  Then add the squash, carrots, bell pepper, and olives and boil less than a minute more.  Turn off the heat and cover.  Allow to cool in the pot, and serve at room temperature or cold, with a bit of the liquid plus the black pepper.

Vegetable Pancakes — These will use up summer squash in a flash, and this great New York Times article (again, Mark Bittman) brings several international flavors to the table.  Many of these can use cabbage instead of summer squash.
 

Tomorrow I’ll try to hit beets and cabbage.

Squash suggestions

From Alissa, member and manager of the CSA.

Squash & Beet Chips
If you have a dehydrator, make beet and squash “chips”.  They can also be done in your oven if you have an oven that stays at really low temperatures.
http://www.mommypotamus.com/raw-veggie-chip-recipe/

Quick Squash Pizza Sauce (Hiding the veggies so my kids won’t pick ’em off):
One of my favorite things to do with my squash is make sweet pizza sauce.  I used to go through an elaborate preparation of cooking down fresh tomatoes and pureed squash until all the water was gone.  Then I started wanting to eat more raw foods.  So now, I just process my squash in the food processor and add a bit of tomato paste.   I also used to go through the elaborate process of making my own pizza dough from sprouted grains.  Now, I just plop down a sprouted grain tortilla, add the squash/tomato sauce, raw milk cheese and whatever toppings I want.  Then I put it in my oven for 5 minutes just until the cheese gets melty.  By the way, I also add spinach and other dark leafy greens to the sauce.  It’s a great way to “hide” all kinds of vegetables : )

Save your squash.  You’ll be glad you did.
I love to use my food processor to grate my zucchini.  Then I divide it into 1 or 2 cup portions and use my FoodSaver to vacuum seal it (any freezer container works well too) – and put it in the freezer.  Then all winter long, I have perfectly sized portions for making zucchini breads, muffins, pizza sauce, etc.

Squash Quiche
This is a favorite with my kids too.  I chop the squash into tiny pieces and mix them with eggs to make a quiche (with or without crust).  I add herbs, garlic, onions, spinach, whatever I have around.  And cheese.  Then I bake @ 325 degrees until it seems like the center is no longer liquidy.  Don’t bake too long, or you’ll end up with a dry one.

Miscellaneous Produce

Here’s a few ideas I put together this week to use up multiple share items at once.  Some of them are small helpings, so they work well mixed with other ingredients as opposed to alone.

A pesto/hummus made from fava beans, microgreens (or basil from the farmer’s market), scapes, and olive oil.
A super salad made from lettuce, microgreens, sliced kohlrabi, and roasted beets.
Three sisters made from favas, summer squash, and corn (frozen, canned, or from the market scraped off the cob).
A One skillet meal made from cabbage, summer squash, and meat (ground beef or lamb).  Easily wrapped in tortillas or served over rice.
A colorful soup made from green beans, leeks, a winter squash or sweet potatoes, and seasoned to taste.