Friday, August 07, 2009

Please Pop Over the Pears, Drop off the Apples, Leave me Persimmons

In addition to picking produce, which I am happy to do almost any time, I love it when I open my front door to find bags of it. It's often a surprise -- yesterday, my friend Anet dropped off a bag of large Bartlett pears. Hopefully later today someone will show up with some Gravenstein apples.

I had the good fortune of picking figs a couple of weeks ago but didn't realize that their end was so near. (Thank you Carl for your generosity.)
When I went to get a few more baskets the other day, I had to work hard to discover 9 large figs tucked under the leaves of the tree. I traded some of them for other produce and have been eating the rest of them. I never met a fig that I didn't like. Good thing that they are loaded with potassium, fiber and calcium. Unfortunately, they also have plenty of sugar so best to be careful when eating them, or the tummy lets you know.

I do not turn down homegrown produce when someone asks since I am often sure that I can put it to good use. I do request, though, that you don't leave me the not-so-good stuff, such as baseball bat sized zucchini or other summer squash. I will accept smaller squash and with them I will make a batch of my Grilled Asian Squash Salad. My assistant, and friend, Ellen just made these on her George Forman grill and said that they were very good. They also received rave reviews from Jenna of Kid Appeal who wrote a wonderful post about my cookbook and will be giving a copy away (so click on the link). When squash are in season, it's best to cook them up as fast and as often as you can.
Grilled Asian Squash Salad
Serves 4
When the squash is prolific, you always need another way to serve it. This dish is especially easy and delicious. Even people who say they don’t like squash usually find it irresistible.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon reduced sodium tamari
4 summer squash of any kind, cut lengthwise into quarters
1 large onion, cut into rings
3 tablespoons chopped herbs, such as cilantro, Thai basil or parsley
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Chopped cilantro or other herb, for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine olive oil, sesame oil, vinegar, tamari and half the garlic and ginger in a bowl or zippered bag. Mix in squash, onion and herbs. Let marinate at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Place veggies on a screen on your grill over hot coals or gas or inside on a grill pan. Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side. Turn carefully and grill for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. Reserve the marinade. Once the squash is grilled, cut it into bite-sized pieces. Mix with cooked onion rings, reserved marinade and remaining ginger and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve as is, or cool to room temperature.

If you want to do any produce drops, just let me know. I'll even meet you at the farmer's market in any Sonoma County town or city, or I'll do the picking. Produce is my game, The Veggie Queen is my name. Actually, my name is Jill but I do answer to Veggie Queen, with or without the The.

I hope that you are enjoying your summer produce as much as I am.

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