Tuesday, August 14, 2012

For those of you who asked...

For those of you who asked me about this on my facebook page & group...

The pattypan squash!

AKA The flying saucer squash.

Its a summer squash, like a zucchini.  It cooks like a zucchini and it tastes like a zucchini.
It just looks a little bit different!

And, boy, can they be different...

Pattypan squash is low in saturated fat and sodium and contains no cholesterol. It provides an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. One cup of cooked pattypan squash provides 38 calories and 43 percent of your daily value of Vitamin C, 13 percent of your daily value of folate, and substantial amounts of vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin A. Additionally, one serving of pattypan squash provides 5g of fiber.
Pattypan squash has many disease-fighting elements. Its fiber content helps reduce the risk of colon cancer and reduce dietary cholesterol. The vitamin C found in pattypan squash can also help prevent oxidation of cholesterol in the blood vessels, which in turn can decrease risk for atherosclerosis. Pattypan squash's potassium and magnesium content work to lower blood pressure. Magnesium also reduces the risk for heart attack and stroke.

Above is the view of the top. 
I say top because, traditionally speaking, the plant is attached to the veggie via the stem. 

Above is the bottom view.

Now to the burning question!
How does one prepare such a veggie?

I slice off the top.

Then slice down the center.
(makes it easier for handling and further slicing)

Once halved, I quarter it!

Pattypans aren't supposed to be as big as your head, but like most summer squashes, if you blink, it will go from cute like disks to humungous veggie monsters!

This one was a little big and therefore had a small row of seeds.
The seeds are soft and you can cook them too, but I just sliced them out.

What you are left with is above.
(kinda looks like a heart!)

Continue slicing to your hearts desire.
The thinner the veggie slice, the faster it will absorb oil and cook.

You have to be aware of the thickness because you could end up with some slices where the inside is cooked, but the thicker outer rim is still raw.

My favorite way to prepare these veggies is to heat up some oil and fry them up, adding pressed garlic towards the end.  You can stuff them...

...roast them or steam them. 
Throw them in your favorite casserole, stir-fry or even muffins or bread (shred them for use in baking).
Since they are really mild tasting (or don't really have a specific taste of their own), you can add just about any spice to add flavour.  Chili powder, cayenne, coriander, black pepper.  Or you can serve them with a really flavourful food to balance out the meal.

Salt is a must!

These veggies don't keep, so its important to eat them shortly after they have been picked.
Trust me, if I ever find a way to store these beauties, YOU'LL be the first to hear about it!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Helping out helps everyone...

I'm pretty sure I've already mentioned this before...but we don't really have a full garden this year.

In the meantime, we are committed to helping out my mother in law with her garden!
She just lives around the corner, so its not an inconvenient endeavour.

I have to say, it's great to get my hands back in the dirt and taking care of blooming plants.

She planted cabbages, herbs, carrots, beets, beans, peas, pumpkins and cukes.

There are also tomatoes of various varieties.

Our mother in law is a busy lady and always has loads of stuff on the go.

She returns the favour by offering up some of the surplus veggies as well as bringing us the odd bucket of compost!

Owen checked to make sure the apple trees are still strong...

Helping out has so many benefits:

-healthy outdoor exercise!  (my legs are killing me)
-aiding another's desire to grow their own food is never a bad thing.
-pooling your resources is a wise endeavour.
-if you don't want to dig up your own property but still want home grown organic foods, helping someone else could supply you with that extra food!
-make a deal with your gardening neighbours, food for work!
-building relationships with your gardening buddies.
-takes the load off of someone who is busy.
-builds good karma!

and last but not least...you can still get the opportunity to get in the garden...even if it isn't yours!!!