How to Turn Your Local Veggies into A Tasty Meal
Super Simple Squash Bake
This is one of my all-time favorite recipes for getting rid of a bunch of squash quickly. Since my LoRise’s four shares of the local veggie co-op gave us 12 whole squashes this week, this kind of recipe is a real crowd pleaser. It yields some surprisingly delicious squash slices that you’ll want to eat like potato chips. Expect to come sneaking back to the baking sheet of squash slices long after you think you’re full.
2 large green squash or zucchini
1 cup parmesan cheese
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cut off ends of squash, cut lengthwise into ½ inch slices.
3. Place squash slices on a foil-lined baking sheet.
4. Drizzle with olive oil.
5. Generously sprinkle on parmesan, salt, and pepper.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until squash is lightly toasted and cheese is thoroughly melted.
Boozy Homemade Tomato Sauce
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Fresh Tomato Sauce)
The last time my roommates and I got a bunch of tomatoes from the co-op, we left half of them to be eaten fresh and used the other half to make this delicious tomato sauce. Keep in mind, that while this recipe is based off of Smitten Kitchen’s, it is heavily edited—basically because I am lazy and/or have a tendency to over-salt things. For instance, the addition of the red wine to the recipe is primarily because I accidentally dumped a ton of salt into the sauce at the end. Thankfully, red wine came to the rescue (and doesn’t it always?)
Also, Smitten Kitchen suggests using four pounds of tomatoes, but I typically just go for “a bunch” or “whatever I have.” The recipe is pretty adaptable, so feel free to eye-ball it (Rachel Ray reference not intended), and don’t worry about specifics.
Finally, this recipe is a great way to store tomatoes long into the sad, chilly, tomato-less months of winter. I chose to use an immersion blender for my sauce, as I have a hatred for chunky tomatoes (I know, I know, shun me now), and this allowed me to pour the sauce into two ice trays so that it could be frozen. After freezing the sauce, you can pop out the cubes and put them in a plastic bag in the freezer to be melted any time. These sauce-cubes are sure to brighten up your sad, carb-heavy pasta dishes in December.
4 lbs tomatoes—just about any kind will work.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/2 a medium carrots
1/2 stalk celery
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cup(ish) red wine
1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut a small X at the bottom of each tomato. Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 10 to 30 seconds, then either rinse under cold water or shock in an ice water bath. Peeling the tomatoes should now be a cinch. If one gives you trouble, toss it back in the boiling water for another 10 seconds until the skin loosens up. Discard the skins.
2. If using plum tomatoes, halve each lengthwise. If using beefsteak or another round variety, quarter them. Squeeze the seeds into a strainer over a bowl and reserve the juices. (You can discard the seeds.) Either coarsely chop your tomatoes on a cutting board or use a potato masher to do so in your pot, as you’ll cook them in a bit.
3. Finely chop or food-process your celery, carrot, onion, and garlic.
4. Heat your olive oil in a large pot over medium. Cook your onions, carrots, celery, red pepper flakes, and garlic until they just start to take on a little color, about 10 minutes. If you don’t have these ingredients, or don’t like tomato sauce with anything but tomatoes in it, feel free to skip this step. Add your tomatoes and lower the heat to medium-low to keep them at a gentle simmer. If you haven’t chopped them yet, use a potato masher to break them up as you cook them. Simmer your sauce and stir occasionally. At 30 minutes, you’ll have a fine pot of tomato sauce, but at 45 minutes, you might just find tomato sauce nirvana: more caramelized flavors, more harmonized texture.
5. If your sauce seems to be getting thicker than you want it to be, add back the reserved tomato juice as needed. If your sauce is too lumpy for your taste, use an immersion blender to break it down to your desired texture. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste, and add your red wine. Let simmer for another five minutes or so. Enjoy immediately or freeze for later.