Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer Squash and Harvest Grains Succotash-ish

I just got back from a roadtrip with my best friend. She sent me home with a bag full of fresh veggies from her mom's garden! I didn't really know what to do with the remaining eggplant and crookneck yellow squash, as Mulch isn't much of a fan. Yesterday, while making some vegan Panang Curry for dinner, it occurred to me; Succotash! I have never made Succotash before, and looked up recipes. They all sounded so... plain. And I was looking to make something that was a whole meal. Then, I came across two recipes that provided the answer. One used pasta, the other had veggie broth. We have a freezer full of amazing, flavorful, homemade veggie stock, and I have plenty of harvest grains in the pantry that need to be used! PERFECT!

Now, I didn't really measure this recipe. I just diced the squash I had and threw stuff in as it looked good. So, this recipe turned out HUGE. Plenty of leftovers! This is a rough recipe from memory, adjust proportions as needed for taste.

I HIGHLY suggest making your own veggie stock. We save all the ends of veggies, wilted or limp stuff that that didn't get used in time, stems and ends from herbs, etc. in a gallon bag kept in the freezer. Once we have two of those, they are thrown in a stock pot with a nice fresh bunch of parsley, some carrots, celery, and onion if there isn't much in the bag, some garlic, dried Italian herb variety (sage, basil, oregano, whatever you have on hand!), 8-10 whole peppercorns, and filled to the top with water. Bring to boil, simmer for about an hour, allow to cool, and strain. It is super easy and hassle free if you eat a good variety of veggies and have a nice rounded mix in the bags-- when you do this, all you add is some herbs and spices to the water and you are all set!

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
~2 lbs summer squash (I used two baby eggplants and a couple crookneck yellow squashes. Use your favorites!)
~ 20ozs frozen shelled Edamame (soybeans)
~ 2-3 ears fire roasted corn, cut from cob (Peel the corn and stick on the grill for a few minutes each side. You want is a little black and blistery. I cheated and used frozen fire roasted!)
~ 3-4 bell peppers, variety of colors, sliced in 1cm strips (I used frozen bell peppers we had on hand)
8oz Israeli Cous Cous (Israeli is a larger grain cous cous, and I recommend it over the smaller grain kind)
8oz Quinoa
~3 tbsp sesame seeds (this was a happy mistake as I mistook them for Quinoa at first. It ended up a fantastic addition!)
4 cups veggie stock, unsalted if possible
a good handful of fresh or dried leaf Oregano, minced or crushed. I had some dried homegrown Oregano on hand!
salt and pepper to taste. I also added a bit of Trader Joe's 21 spice salute-- my secret ingredient in everything!

Get a nice big stir fry pan for this recipe. You can also use a large casserole dish that is safe for use on the burners. Add the olive oil and brown the onion on medium high heat for a couple minutes, until it starts to smell all tasty! Add the squash, cook another minute. Now, dump all the remaining ingredients in, stirring well to mix everything. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the grains are soft and cooked and all the liquid is gone. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

As this was cooking, my mind was filled with thoughts and fears of how bland and boring this would be, and how I could spruce it up with some flavor. It didn't need ANYTHING! I am one of those people who loves to over spice things. I love lots and lots of flavor. The strength of this dish is how wonderfully the subtle flavors of every veggie comes through, and the veggie stock provided the perfect amount of flavor that complemented everything in this dish. Spectacular! What a wonderful light, yet very filling lunch this was! The soybeans are much sweeter than the bitter lima beans in traditional Succotash, and provide tons of protein to make this a complete meal! All the bitterness of the squash is gone, and they became simply creamy and delicious! The harvest grains with a touch of sesame is slightly nutty and very filling.

Try this recipe! Super simple, almost everything can be found at a farmer's market or in your friend's garden :) The rest is all at Trader Joe's!