Let it be released from the mind

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Cooking is life

My friends were recently hosted for the last time at Kelly's condo in Gaithersburg for our July cooking club. Theme: finger foods. I made stuffed mushrooms and mini pecan pie/derby tartlets. For the mushrooms I pulled off the stems and chopped them, and then sauteed with garlic, green onions, butter and seasonings. I then added a little bit of breadcrumbs and some cheddar cheese and baked them for about 20 minutes at 350. Despite making my own dough for the tartlets, it was a bit chewier than I had hoped for. But who can go wrong with Karo corn syrup, chocolate chips and chopped pecans!
Meg stuffed dried dates with pistachios, manchego (?) cheese and then wrapped them in bacon. They were delectable and definitely had toothpicks for the finger-eating.
Jenna wins for most spectacular presentation with her zucchini roll-ups. Zucchinis, better known by Jamie Oliver and the Brits as Courgettes, were sliced thin with a Mandoline, grilled on a grill pan and then slathered with herbed goat cheese before being rolled up around a fresh red pepper piece and tied with a chive stem. I totally need to work on my presentation skills and this should be encouragement enough!

Last night I cooked the two pattypan squash that our garden produced. Most people laugh when I say pattypan squash and think I must be lying about the name. I have never bought these summer squash from the store before, but yet I knew the name. I'm not quite sure why such useless knowledge fills my brain cavity. I feel like most people probably buy these in their baby form, overpriced and in a plastic contained with baby zucchinis from Whole Foods. I have done this at least once before and enjoyed their baby-ishness fully.

We cut out the center and seeded the patty pan squash, leaving some of the bottom still intact to hold in the "stuffing". Then i combined most things that were in my fridge, including the following:

sliced zucchini and onion from grilled veggie sandwiches (did I mention they were marinated with balsamic vin and oil and rosemary?)

frozen sausage, parmesan cheese

fresh chopped roma tomatoes from the garden, along with fresh basil and swiss chard

garlic and a dash of cayenne pepper, ala chef Daniel.

So the oven wouldn't be on for eternity, wasting precious gas and heating our home in the middle of August, I steam-microwaved the squash for about 7 minutes with a bit of water before baking them in the over for another 20 minutes with the stuffing. The result was fabulous and totally delicious! I love using up everything in the fridge!

PS--we roasted the squash seeds. Well, doesn't that sound easy--except it wasn't at all. We tossed them with regrettably too much oil, as well as salt and chili powder. I thought Daniel was trying to deep-fry them with the amount of oil he added. So that made them nice and chewy so we drained them and then put them in the toaster. Except then I went upstairs to change into comfy clothes and Daniel forgot they were in the toaster oven. I could smell them burning upstairs. Toasting nuts must be the single hardest thing in cooking to do :)


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