Temperatures are up this week and our hot crops are LOVING it. Cucumbers and tomatoes are on the way (we promise!) but in the meantime our zucchini and summer squash are already hard to keep up with!
We harvest our summer squash three times a week to catch the fruit at the perfect size for cooking with, ideally before they get big seeds in the middle (though the big ones are great for baking zucchini bread!) We offer a few different varieties of squash, but the one that probably looks the least familiar to most people is the patty pan.
Patty pan squash have been compared to many things: space ships, flowers, even aliens! I think that they look like a Pokemon personally. While these strangely-shaped squash might be a little intimidating at first, we grow them because we love them and we think you will too. In theory most summer squashes taste about the same. What changes over time (if the squash get too big) is the texture and the size of the seeds. When harvested under a 5 inch diameter, patty pans should have a nice thin skin that doesn't need to be peeled off and seeds that are small enough to barely notice.
When it comes to flavor, Laura and I agree that we think the patty pans are a little sweeter than our other squashes, but their major selling point is their shape. When cut across the middle, patty pans have the most surface area for baking and grilling, allowing for more of the sweet inside to get golden brown. The are also basically little bowls begging to be stuffed. I took one look at our patty pan this week and knew that I had to make stuffed squash. Below is the recipe I used, inspired by needing to use up an avocado and some leftover salsa, but you can use any stuffing that you usually put in squash and bake!
-Four patty pan squash at least three inches wide
-2 cups of dry rice
-2 cans of black beans
-1 TBS of cumin
-1 TBS of chili powder (or less for less spicy)
-1/4 of tomato sauce
-Olive oil, salt, and pepper for the squash
-cheese, salsa, avocado for toppings!
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
-Cut a tiny bit off of the top and bottom of the patty pan and then cut the squash in half across the middle. Place the halves on a baking sheet. Scoop out the middle of the squash leaving the bottom layer. Cut up the squash middles and put them aside.
-Make rice according to package. Set aside.
-Oil the squash bowls and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
-Dice the onion and add to a frying pan with a little oil. Add the squash middles. Cook for five minutes while stirring. Add beans, tomatoes, spices and salt and pepper. Once warm, combine with rice in a large bowl.
-Fill the squash bowls (you will have extra filling to eat on the side). Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the squash is soft. Add cheese at the end just to melt. Serve with avocado and salsa!