Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer Squash at Taste the Place!

Michelle was camping at Trillium Lake this past weekend with her boyfriend and two vegans, so it was up to Cara and I to run the Portland Farmer's Market Taste the Place booth ourselves Saturday morning. Which was fine, since mostly all Michelle does when she's there is spill coffee on my shoes and wander off repeatedly to buy lamb sandwiches and threaten to cut off people's tails with a carving knife. Or something like that, my point being that it was much more relaxing knowing she was canoeing around in the shadow of Mt. Hood squawking about the evils of Tofurkey than standing next to me at the Taste the Place prep table with a massive Henckels blade and a menacing grin. I mean...I miss you Sis!! Come home soon!! I hope you saw a bald eagle! I hope you didn't shoot him with a slingshot and a marrididdle* and roast him over your campfire! 


Today at Taste the Place we were thrilled to feature everyone's favorite bright yellow vegetable: Summer Squash. We got two varieties from the Rick Steffen Farm booth, long cylindrical yellow zucchini and their chubby cousin, patty pan squash. 

We admired the squash's sunny flesh before Cara set to work julienneing it for one of the recipe's of the day: Summer Squash Shreds, which is kind of a fun name for a recipe. 

My job was to chop up three herbs to add to our Shreds salad: basil, chives, and the lesser known but delightfully sour-lemony sorrel, which we procured from Bittersweet Farm. 

SUMMER SQUASH SHREDS with Basil, Sorrel, and Chives

Adapted from recipe in "Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini" by Elizabeth Schneider
Serves 4

1 ½ pounds yellow summer squash (or other tender squash)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup thin-sliced basil leaves
¼ cup thin-sliced sorrel leaves
1 tbsp thin—sliced chives
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Scrub squashes with vegetable brush. Trim stems if they are unusually long. Using julienne blade of food processor or vegetable cutter, slice squash into very fine strips. (NOTE: Or just invite Cara over because she is a champion julienner-by-hand. She took one look at me trying to julienne the "squashes" and ever so graciously asked if I'd like her to do that part, even though she probably wanted to grab my wobbly knife and rap me upside the head with it, then throw my mutilated squashes shreds to the pigeons.)

2. Toss with salt in a sieve or colander. Set over a bowl, top with a plate, weight lightly, and let stand about an hour, tossing now and then. Squeeze squash dry. Fluff with a fork. Spread on paper towels.(NOTE: We totally skipped this part and everything worked out fine. So I would really suggest that instead of spending that hour watching your squashes shreds drip, you pass on the sieve step and spend that precious hour doing something meaningful, like canoeing around Trillium Lake with your favorite vegans or lobbing badly julienned vegetables at pigeons in the park.)

3. Heat both oils in a wide skillet over high heat. Add squash and toss until tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Add basil, sorrel, and chives. Toss to distribute. Season. (NOTE: I am seriously reeling as I read this, because we didn't even read this part of the recipe Saturday morning. We served the squash raw. Holy Julienne. I am sort of giggling hysterically as I sit in my apartment alone, typing this. I'm so sorry, Elizabeth Schneider! Clearly I need to return to second grade and work on my reading comprehension skills.)

4. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. (NOTE: Or RAW, if you have poor reading comprehension and the attention span of a pigeon, like me.)

IF YOU visited the booth Saturday you might have noticed that we served a second recipe featuring Summer Squash, along with Other Summer Vegetables, as part of a recipe aptly titled: Quinoa Salad with Summer Veggies. What's that, you say? You didn't see any quinoa salad? Well, of course you didn't! We forgot the quinoa, so we used cous cous instead and told everyone the quinoa was home sick with scarlet fever, which happens to be what Michelle told her boss Friday when she didn't show up to work because she was at Trillium Lake barbecuing bald eagles. Oops, you did not hear that here!

Here is the recipe:

Recipe source: Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert
Serves 4

Preparing Quinoa: Rinse and Drain. Add 2 cups boiling water cover and simmer about 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed. (NOTE: Obviously, you can use cous cous in place of the quinoa if your quinoa has scarlet fever.)

1 cup uncooked Quinoa (Prepare, fluff lightly with fork and cool.)
¼ cup chopped green onion or onions
2 red or yellow tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro, parsely, or mint (chopped)
1 cup fresh vegetables, diced
1 cup cooked chickpeas (optional)

2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

1. Mix dressing and pour over salad. Toss gently.

The Taste the Place afternoon shift arrives, and Mary, Elsbeth, and Andrea get to work passing out samples! 

A Chef Sighting on my way out of the Market! Giorgio Executive Chef Peter Schuh intently examines the selection of Unger Farm berries!

*A marrididdle is a homemade clay marble. It is much homelier than a Bennington, and much more unique than a Cats-eye, which is probably the kind of marble you used to play with in first grade, until you had to give away your entire collection to Tommy Riddle as a bribe so he wouldn't tell your teacher that you were the one who ate a whole box of Fruit By the Foot out of the class snack bin. So now you know what a marrididdle is. Gosh, what CAN'T you learn at TableTalkPortland.com?!



  1. hope you guys have been enjoying the summer! but it has been way too long since a TFT event! my belly is empty!

  2. Hi there Patrick!
    We have certainly been enjoying summer, maybe a little too much, as usual. A Table For Twelve announcement shall be forthcoming, stay tuned...and let's get together and drink some bubbly soon, after this recent spate of beer festivals has passed and we've sobered up somewhat.