One week ago, a package arrived on our doorstep.
It was food. Not just food- organic food. Organic produce, to be more precise. I found a deal on LivingSocial for It’s Organic — a company that delivers fresh, local organic produce to your door once a week (or less frequently, if you prefer). My roommate and I decided to go in on the (discounted) $35 box together, and this is what we got. Some pretty standard late summer staples like melon, pears and plums (plus, an avocado and giant head of lettuce that aren’t pictured)…But also some lesser known foods as well. A couple in particular stumped me:
We got 2 rutabagas (1st photo) and a half dozen patty pan squash (2nd photo). Hmmm…
We both got to researching how to cook the suckers, and got some ideas. It was like an at-home round of Chopped! Here’s a box of secret ingredients — ready, go!
I remembered seeing patty pan squash on Anne Burrell‘s show before, but I was pretty sure she just said things like “oh little patty pan squash, you’re so cute and tiny but you don’t have much flavor or pizazz!” while playing with the squash and making it do a little cutesie dance. Then she just blitzed it into oblivion and made the squash barely recognizable or something. Upon further research, I found that a lot of people stuff them (like a bell pepper), but these were much too small to squash so I just sliced them up and sauteed them one day for a snack!
A mandolin would have come in handy right about then…
For a little bit of added flavor, I sauteed them in some of my favorite cooking-oil-that-can-also-be-used-in-your-hair: coconut oil!
My friend Ian actually made this coconut oil himself in Panama (or was it Costa Rica?) and brought a bunch back about a year ago. I’ve been slowly been using it up since then. It kicks simple sautes up a notch and is killer when melted and added to marinades — especially for fish. The squash was pretty good, but I don’t think I’ll be going out of my way to find it at the market anytime soon!
As for the rutabaga (which is basically a turnip), I decided my two options were to roast it, or mash/puree it. Because it got back up to 95 degrees this weekend, my decision was made for me: there was no way I was turning on the oven! So I boiled the rutabaga along with a carrot, added some milk and ginger, and got this:
Kind of a funny color, but it was actually really good. My mom makes carrot ginger soup every year at Christmas, so I played off those flavors and got something not half bad!
It was definitely fun cooking “out of my comfort zone” with these ingredients. Since a lot of seasonal Farmer’s Markets will be ending in the coming weeks, I may just have to sign up for a monthly shipment of fresh produce.
Are there any foods you don’t know how to cook, or that are just plain strange to you?