Category Archives: Summer squash and zucchini

Veggie Barley Bake

Our charming book club hostess, Beth, served this dish for a cold winter evening dinner, and I went nuts for it. I think of barley as such a wonderful hearty and healthy grain, but it’s rarely served except as part of a beef barley soup, which gets kind of old in my opinion. Beth says she loves serving the veggie barley bake; kids eat it, it’s healthy with barley and lots of veggies, and it tastes like lasagna. What’s not to love about that? You can use whatever combination of veggies suits your fancy or your leftovers. You just need approximately 10 cups of chopped vegetables in all. For Locavorious members who haven’t eaten up all the veggies from last month yet, here’s a great recipe….answering the questions, “What should I make with this? And that?”

As I mentioned I went a little nuts for this dish, making a couple variations already and surprising Chef Jeff who usually expects spicier things to make my favorites list. Here are some versions:

  1. The Book Club Selection: green beans and sweet potatoes
  2. Locavorious This & That: 16 oz frozen summer squash, ½ bag of broccoli, ½ bag green beans, a handful of red peppers and some leftover snap peas.
  3. Rena’s Favorite So Far: 16 oz frozen cauliflower, 15 oz frozen Swiss chard, sweet potatoes

    Locavorious This & That in the pot.

The Veggie Barley Bake Formula 

2 tbsp oil                               

2 cloves minced garlic

1 onion, chopped

2 average carrots, sliced

9 – 10 cups chopped frozen vegetables

3/4 cup barley

15 oz frozen stewed tomatoes, thawed + ½ cup water *or* 1 1/2 cups tomato broth           

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. oregano                          

1 – 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Freshly ground black pepper 
 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Heat oil in large heavy skillet and sauté garlic and onion until softened, 3 -5 minutes.  Add remaining vegetables and sauté, stirring a few times, for 5 minutes.  Add barley, tomato broth, and seasonings; bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Transfer contents of the skillet to a shallow 4 quart casserole; stir in 1 cup of the cheese.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes.  Veggies and barley should be tender.  If not, cover and cook longer.  Top casserole with remaining cheese if desired and return to oven uncovered for about 10 minutes.

Mmmm…I think I’ll eat the rest.

Zucchini soup – Morgan & York’s Pure de Calabacin

This rich and creamy tasting yet completely vegan soup is a great dish to make with frozen summer squash and zucchini.

Morgan & York has been a terrific help to Locavorious by providing us with a convenient and friendly share pick-up spot, so I’d like to start by shouting out a big thank you! As you might imagine, I pop in and out of the store rather frequently dropping off shares, etc. One can’t help but notice their extraordinary wine and cheese selection and eye-popping variety of artisan and local beers. Fortunately for M&Y and unfortunately for my pocketbook I have discovered that it’s also a great place to get a bite to eat. Not only does their deli counter make my favorite sandwiches in town – high quality ingredients on Café Japon baguettes – try the Tasso beet – but they also makes this fabulous zucchini soup. They shared the recipe, which I adapted to fit with the Locavorious frozen summer squash blend. It’s so rich and creamy tasting I was surprised to learn there is no milk or cream in the recipe. According to Simone Jenkins, owner of the store with husband Matt Morgan and friend Tommy York, the key to this soup is to use a high quality, flavorful olive oil. She recommends Koroneiki olive oil.

Quality ingredients and local veggies make this simple, elegant soup quite delicious. Frozen zucchini and summer squash are not amenable to just re-heating and eating because of their high water content. They do, however, retain their wonderful summer flavor when frozen and that flavor shines when cooked into a soup. Even this late in the fall, onions, potatoes, carrots and parsley are all still available at the farmers market, Tantre Farm sent around a note that they will be there on Saturday December 5th. So with my apologies to the purist locavores, this mostly local soup recipe is worth borrowing 1 or 2 tablespoons of imported olive oil.

Ingredients:

1 ½ – 2 T really good extra virgin first cold pressed olive oil

1 large or 2 small yellow onions, chopped

16 oz frozen Locavorious summer squash

1 or 2 Yukon potatoes (½– ¾ lb), peeled and chopped

2-3 large carrots (I used ~ 6 smaller ones), peeled and chopped

Parsley springs or carrot greens

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

2 1/3 cups water

Garnishes recommended by Morgan & York: 1/3 lb Jamon Serrano, diced into little cubes, or 1/3 lb Manchego cheese, diced into little cubes.

Preparation:

Put oil in a small soup pot on medium heat. Sweat down the chopped onions until they are uniformly soft and translucent. Add everything to the pot – chopped potatoes, carrots, parsley, salt, water and frozen squash. There is no need to thaw the squash first! Put a lid on the pot, turn heat to high and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, break up the frozen squash, stir, replace lid and turn heat down to medium low. With the lid on, let everything simmer ~ 45 minutes or until everything is fully cooked and soft. Remove pot from heat and let cool ~ 1 hour.

Blend to a fully consistent creamy texture with a stick blender (or transfer cooled soup to a blender to puree it.) Add a little water if it’s too thick for your liking. When ready to eat, gently heat the soup back up to ~ 140 degrees, stirring a bit. Garnish with either little diced ham or cheese cubes. If you don’t have Manchego, tiny cubes or shavings of parmesan work too.