Squash Struggles

18 Jul

Another big eggplant and tomato harvest.  So I looked for a recipe. I found what sounded like a very tasty dish. Trouble was, it called for squash and well, let’s just say I suck at squash.  Three years going and each year, I struggle.  The first year crop was wiped out by powdery mildew after producing two little yellow crook necks.  Figuring the shade was a contributing factor, I moved my planting the next year to big pots on my sunny patio.  I was thrilled when I got three really good sized zucchinis. Then the plants wilted and died. I learned that a squash borer got to them and learned more about the little pests than I cared to know.  I tried to cut them out and save the plants but no luck.  Not to mention I got totally grossed out by the sight of the borer grub photos as I was researching what to do.  I think this contributed to my less than aggressive search for them.

So this year we transformed Calvin’s no-longer-being-used sand box into a squash planter.  All was well.  That is, until the plants were over come by the dreaded powdery mildew. I continue to work hard to stave off defeat by spraying the leaves with an organic mixture of mainly soy bean oil and rosemary. It worked great last year but not so great this year.  I am thinking it is because the sand box plot is less sunny than the patio pot area. Anyway, not sure who will win, me or the powdery mildew. But for now, all I have is one small scallop squash trying to grow. (As back up, I got a big pot this past weekend and planted more squash in it and placed it on the patio).

At least I take solace in knowing that my community supported agriculture farmer is also struggling with squash and not getting the yields he had hoped to get. (He explained this sad fact in his recent e-mail to those of us who wait excitedly each week for our “share.”)  So even real farmers have  troubles too.

Oops.  I digressed.  Back to the recipe.  Okay, so I did not have squash and put the recipe away until either my crop or the farmer’s land produced.  But then low and behold, Patrick and Calvin came home from the community garden plot with two beautiful zucchinis!   Anne, a fellow plotter, gave them to the two while they were watering our plot.  Thank you, Anne!

So Patrick, Calvin and I each give this recipe five peas ••••• (our new rating system from 1-5.)  I gave it five peas despite the fact that I suffered a significant burn on my leg. The downside of a tiny kitchen is the lack of counter space, thus requiring use of a stepping stool to place the roaster full of vegetables that I had just pulled out of the oven. Well, I forgot it was there and backed into it.  Result: a burn with blisters.   No peas for that! Oh, well.

Pasta with Roasted Vegetables, Tomatoes, and Basil

Epicurious  | April 2000

Bon Appétit Outdoor Entertaining

yield: Makes 10 servings

Great served warm or at room temperature.

ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 3 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I substituted green and pale yellow bell peppers that came in my CSA delivery)
  • 1 1/2 medium eggplants, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 large yellow crookneck squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I substituted the zucchini that was given to us by a fellow community garden plotter)
  • 2 1/4 cups 1/2-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (I substituted more eggplant since that was what I had from my community garden plot)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (I used a bit more than the recipe calls for)
  • 1 1/2 pounds penne pasta
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, diced
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 1/4 tablespoons dried
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar  (I used a bit more than the recipe calls for)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

preparation

Preheat oven to 450° F. Spray large roasting pan with nonstick spray. Combine red bell peppers, eggplant, crookneck squash, and butternut squash in prepared pan. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, approximately 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain; reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid.

Combine pasta, roasted vegetables, tomatoes, and basil in large bowl. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil, vinegar, and garlic. Toss to combine. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls to moisten, if desired. Mound pasta on platter. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and keep at room temperature.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pasta-with-Roasted-Vegetables-Tomatoes-and-Basil-105764#ixzz1SNnRdlYA

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