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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Love Life of Squash

Growing up my family always had a garden.  Except that one year, but other than that, we maintained a garden.  At one point in my growing up garden life (maybe more than once) I swore in my wrath that I would never have a garden.  I hate weeding.  I hate rock picking.  I hate plowing.  I hate planting.  I hate harvesting.  I hate shelling peas.  I hate getting dirty.  I hated having a garden.  I have a lot of hate.  This year I started a garden.  I planted one yellow crookneck squash.  As you can see, it is doing quite well.  It exploded out of its place and is currently taking over my Irises, which is strange because Irises have the reputation of taking over everything which is why I got them.  Never having a yellow crookneck squash before I learned a few things.  Other than their territorial nature, I learned how to have sex in the garden.  I was concerned that my plant was not reproducing so I did some research on this particular variety and I learned a few things.  There are two kinds of flowers.  A male flower and a female flower.  Together they make a baby squash.  With the help of bees of course which transfer the pollen from the male flower to the female flower.  Unfortunately for my plant I have not seen any bees so I have had to do the pollinating myself.  With my paint brush.
This is a male flower.
This is a female flower.
This is my baby squash.  My giant plant only has one child.  My paint brush and I made this baby possible.  Last night we finally ate the fruits of my labor.
I had to do something special for my only child.  I came up with squash and bacon risotto topped with cornmeal fried squash rounds with some Parmesan cheese.  

Deep Fried Squash

  • Cut squash into 1/4" rounds and soak for 30+ minutes in 
    • 1/2 cup Buttermilk and
    • 3 Eggs
  • After soaking, dredge squash in 
    • 1/2 cup Cornmeal
    • 1/2 cup Flour
    • added salt, pepper, and seasoning to taste
Fry squash rounds in 2" deep of Canola/Vegetable oil heated to 365 degrees.  Fry squash rounds for 2 -3 minutes until golden brown.  Let them drain on paper towels.  Serve hot and crispy.
This is my squash rounds soaking in eggs and buttermilk and my squash cubes ready for risotto.
Dredge squash rounds in cornmeal - flour mixture.
Fry 'em up.

Squash and Bacon Risotto

  • 1 ration of bacon - chopped, fried, and set aside
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 Tbs bacon grease
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups cubed squash
  • 2 cans of vegetable broth (14 ounces each.  It can be any flavor of broth.)

Start boiling cans of broth.  Saute onions in bacon fat and butter for about 3 min.  Every recipe should start with bacon fat and butter.  Add 1 cup of arborio rice and squash cubes and cook for another 2 minutes.  Gradually start adding boiling broth 1 ladle full at a time, cooking and stirring until the liquid is absorbed into the rice before adding the next ladle of broth.  Cook rice until all the broth is gone.  Turn off the stove and mix in bacon and parmesan.  
Serve risotto with fried squash and some more cheese.
A fitting end to my first attempt at gardening.  Maybe next year I will plant two yellow crookneck squash.