People keep asking, “So, have you put your garden to bed for winter?” The short answer is: “No.” The longer answer is:
“No, not by a long shot! I’m still swimming in summer squash — so much that I spent most non-session moments last week creating and freezing all sorts of ‘zucchini’ recipes to freeze for winter. I’ve got green striped cushaw still maturing, lettuce, kale, waist-high chard, collards, beans, sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, Brussels sprouts and more still trucking along. I waited so long to harvest my bags of potatoes that they sprouted again and began a second round of production. I’m still gathering loads of chocolate mint to dry for my nephew, best friend, brother and us. I’ve got garlic to put in the troughs as soon as I pull out the pepper and bean plants, which I can’t bear to do yet, since they continue to produce gobs and gobs of easily harvested yum’s.”
We also have flowers, since I aim for blooms as early and late as possible. This year the daffodils started in late March, and if all goes well, we should have blooms into late October or early November. Here was David’s mom’s birthday bouquet from yesterday:
Colors have muted with the cooler nights and change of seasons. Above, you can see a selection of zinnias, sedum, bachelor’s buttons, snapdragons and shiso I’ve let flower and hopefully go to seed for next year. That shiso makes an amazing pesto with hazelnuts, homegrown garlic, olive oil and a bit of raw manchego.
The big news this past week was squash, specifically, white scallop squash and green striped cushaw, shown here with a lone eggplant:
I don’t grow zucchini, but zucchini recipes translate well for the ancient Native American heirloom known as white scallop squash. We far prefer it for texture, beauty, and taste. I know some readers decided to grow this low carb, high fiber wonder food after I blogged about it last year, so I thought I’d include recipes and links to recipes I’ve made with this summer squash. The main difference between white scallop squash and zucchini is that if you freeze zucchini or use it in baked goods, you really need to squeeze out a lot of water and drain it. White scallop squash lends itself better to freezing and baking, as it’s slightly drier. It also won’t color your dishes green like zucchini skin will. You only need to peel if the skin grows tough.
In case a temperate autumn has you swimming in summer squash, too, here are a bunch of treats I made last week or in previous weeks or years:
Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Corn Muffins
I significantly modified the above linked recipe, so I’ll share my own creation here, shown half-eaten, with dandelion-chicory tea:
I’ll call my creation Blueberry-Elderberry-Squash Cornbread Muffins, since I took the opportunity to use up some of the many elderberries I had previously harvested and frozen.
3/4 cups organic cornmeal
1 1/3 cup organic sprouted red fife flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated white scallop squash
1 flax egg (1 TBSP ground flax mixed with 3 TBSP warm water)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup hazelnut milk
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen elderberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (We use silicon muffin cups — highly recommended, with no paper waste. This recipe made 16.)
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together. In a separate large bowl, stir together squash, flax, hazelnut milk, maple syrup and olive oil. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the blueberries/elderberries.
Fill your muffin cups about 3/4 full.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or almost clean — just a few crumbs.
Again, I modified the original recipe to use clean, easy to digest, vegan ingredients. Coconut oil would probably have been even yummier. I was just too lazy to melt it. I usually bake gluten-free, but our co-op had the organic, sprouted red fife flour on sale, and I’ve found that works well for pastry flour. The sprouting helps with digestion, too. I wouldn’t live on it, but it packs more protein than most gluten free flours. I also prefer hazelnut milk to almond milk, since we can grow hazelnuts right here (in our yard!) and they do not require the volume of water that almonds grown in drought ridden California do. Here’s the link to the original recipe I modified.
Other squash delights:
Vegan Zucchini Bread
I modified this recipe, too, using a combo of organic sprouted rye flour and the organic sprouted red fife flour. I used white scallop squash instead of zucchini, a combo of coconut sugar and birch sweetener (hard wood xylitol) for the sugar, and raw cacao nibs for the chocolate chips.
Savory Olive Oil Rosemary Zucchini Bread
Yum! I modified this one so much that I’ll list my own recipe below:
1½ cups organic sprouted rye flour
1½ cups organic sprouted red fife flour
1 tsp. aluminum free baking soda
½ tsp. non-GMO baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
a handful of garden fresh parsley
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. fresh rosemary; finely minced
3 TBSP ground flax powder mixed with 9 TBSP warm water
2 tbsp. hazelnut milk
½ cup applesauce
½ cup olive oil
2 cups of white scallop squash; shredded, then left to sit over a colander
¼ cup green onions, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray two 9 x 5 loaf pans with cooking spray (or use non-stick pans); set aside.
In a bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, parsley, garlic powder and rosemary; mix until well combined; set aside.
In a large bowl, add flax combo, hazelnut milk, apple sauce and olive oil; mix until thoroughly combined. Add squash and green onions; mix until incorporated. Carefully stir in flour mixture until just combined.
Pour batter evenly between both loaf pans. Place in the oven and bake for 30- 40 minutes or until center comes out clean with a knife. Let cool in loaf pan for 10 minutes, then carefully take the loaf out and place on a cooling rack.
I served this bread with an easy lentil-salsa-squash soup, and the bread tasted almost like biscuits. We froze over half this recipe, as it’s dense and filling.
Easy-Lentil-Salsa Squash Soup
This recipe doesn’t have any measurements, as it’s the sort of soup you can prepare when you have leftovers or excess shredded squash that needs a use pronto!
1-2 cups dried brown lentils
1 two-inch strip of kombu (optional, but adds flavor and makes lentils more digestible)
1 jar of your favorite red salsa
as much shredded squash as you want to use here — 3-5 cups
1-2 cups vegetable broth (optional, you can sub water instead)
herbs and spices, to taste
Put the lentils and kombu in a large pot of water (about 4 x as much water as lentils) and bring to boil, then lower to simmer for approximately 40 minutes or until tender. You can drain off excess water or use as broth for the soup.
After lentils have cooked for about 30 minutes, add salsa and squash, stirring in and covering until the squash gets tender. You can also add vegetable broth at this time, if using.
Add any herbs or spices you desire. I used garden fresh thyme, celery leaves, and rosemary, plus a little sea salt. If you use a homemade veggie broth, you won’t need to use as much seasoning, depending on the flavors in your broth.
Zucchini and Black Bean Vegan Veggie Burgers
Um, wow! These are the beefiest, most authentic hamburger tasting veggie burgers I’ve ever made or tasted. Crazy. I followed the linked recipe exactly, except that I used white scallop squash, and I did not have steak seasoning. Instead, I used two different blends of grilling herbs and a couple splashes of vegan worcestershire sauce. Granted, I have not had a hamburger in over 14 years, but this was so similar to a beefy burger in color, texture and taste that it almost freaked me out. David can’t wait to try these now frozen treats!
Vegan Faux Salmon Patties
This is David’s new favorite thing! I threw these together in a spontaneous attempt to use up even more shredded white scallop squash. All measurements are VERY approximate.
Ingredients (all are organic and vegan)
3-4 cups cooked red lentils
1 two-inch piece of kombu (adds fishy flavor and aids digestion)
1 cup dried rolled oats
1-3 cloves garlic
1 cup walnuts (I used raw, sprouted and dehydrated, but use what you have)
1/4-1/2 cup dulse (seaweed)
Splash of ketchup, to taste and for color
any leftover grains or lentils (I had a little leftover quinoa and brown lentils)
olive oil (just a few splashes)
1-2 TBSP red miso paste (for taste and color)
a few splashes vegan worcestershire sauce
ground flax to thicken (depends on moisture and amounts of other ingredients. I probably used around 3-4 TBSP)
1-5 DROPS liquid smoke (optional –for a smoked salmon flavor)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
While red lentils are cooling, finely chop or throw onion, celery, and garlic into food processor. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped by still chunky.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, mixing together until desire taste and texture. Add flax towards the end and let the mixture sit for five minutes to thicken and determine if you need more flax.
Pour into loaf pans or form into patties.
Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour depending on thickness, desired texture, and browning. We liked these crispy on the outside and still warm and tender on the inside.
Serve warm or cooled like a fried fish, in veggie sushi, or as patties on a salad or sandwich. (I served over large lettuce leaves and topped with a homemade tartar sauce made from homemade pickles and Sir Kensington’s Fabanaise. David also added a little Fabanaise to homemade sauerkraut for a spontaneous cole slaw.)
Vegan Zucchini Brownies
These were another wow — so much so that I made them twice, once as brownies and then again as cupcakes for David’s mom’s birthday yesterday. As cupcakes, I used a little less applesauce and no nibs, since I knew we’d be serving them with (a moist) vegan vanilla ice cream. As brownies, they were ooey-gooey yum. We now have frozen healthy desserts for any sweet cravings or unexpected guests.
I did modify the original enough to give my version here. I’m sure the original rocks; I just don’t use canola oil, and I found that the recipe needed more chocolate powder to cover the taste of our olive oil. Here’s my version, but do check out the original, especially if you are using zucchini rather than white scallop squash. I have a feeling my drier version was due to my squash being drier, as well as the ingredient substitutions.
1 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup birch sweetener/hardwood xylitol (not the GMO corn version!)
½ cup olive oil
1 cup sprouted organic red fife flour
1 cup sprouted organic rye flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used raw cacao, since I had that on hand)
2 cups shredded white scallop squash
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ cup raw cacao nibs (optional, or other unsweetened vegan chocolate chips)
applesauce as needed if your baking mix seems too dry or unable to mix
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray, oil, or use a cornbread pan.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, and flour until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add cacao, squash, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Mix until well combined. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the nibs or chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean but with a few crumbs clinging.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares and serve. ALTERNATE: pour batter into cupcake tins or silicon muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake 40-50 minutes (watch to prevent burning, but you want the cupcakes cooked through). Cool on wire rack.
This recipe makes a corn-free substitute for polenta. If you want a creamy polenta, use the less ground flax. If you need something harder, just add more ground flax towards the very end of blending. Do not let ground flax sit in a blender! It does firm up and will become very difficult to clean if you leave it in there.
1-3 white scallop squash, roughly shopped
pinch of turmeric (for yellow color)
whatever Italian or other herbs you desire for flavor
2-4 TBSP ground flax
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Blend the white scallop squash in a powerful blender until smooth. If you need to add a little hot water to help blend, that’s fine. It just might require more flax to harden the faux-lenta.
Add pinch of turmeric and blend, checking for desired color. Then add in whatever herbs you would like. Polenta is normally quite bland, but we have made this with a slight curry flavor to serve alongside sauteed garlic and Swiss chard, as well as an Italian version to accompany pesto and chopped tomatoes. Less is more with the herbs, but you can coordinate them to your final desired flavor set.
Add in the flax, a little at a time and blend until the mixture is like a very thick soup.
Pour faux-lenta mixture into a pyrex or other baking dish and bake until desired solidity, 40 minutes-1 hour. The recipe described makes a creamy polenta substitute. If you want round faux-lenta circles, bake in mini springform pans and add more flax.
Summer Squash Bundt Cake
I made this recipe a couple times last year, but it was very popular. Here’s the link to my recipe, and here’s the original SunOven Zucchini Bread I modified.
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
This is another older recipe, and typical me, no real measurements. Just do it to taste:
White scallop squash (peeled zucchini or yellow squash might also work, but we love the white scallop squash)
extra virgin organic olive oil
a bit of hot water to aid blending of the above in a Vitamix or other highspeed blender
Optional: dried then soaked porcini mushrooms, peas, cooking sherry, wheat free tamari
Amounts really do vary, so taste test as you go.
Add to a pot and bring to a slow boil, continue to taste test for creaminess and add more nutritional yeast if needed.
I usually soak dried porcini mushrooms and use peas from our garden, adding those towards the end, along with a splash or more of sherry and just one splash of wheat free tamari.
We salt and pepper to taste at the table and garnish the sauce with chopped fresh parsley and chives, served over quinoa pasta (elbows or penne). It is super yum, and don’t be shy with the garlic!
That should keep you busy. I know I was a cooking, baking maniac last week, waking up early, prepping between and then baking things during sessions, and freezing like a champ. I still have so much squash coming that I’ve arranged a Thursday donation to some farm fresh loving family friends who will deliver any excess to the local soup kitchen, on which our friend sits as Board President. It helps to have connections.
In any case, no, I have not put away the garden for winter. Things look a bit subdued, but I have many harvests to go before the garden sleeps.