This last weekend was one of those crazy weekends. House guests visiting from LA. They were on a work trip to Skywalker Ranch when their car had a meltdown. After repairs and getting their work done at the Ranch, it was on to our house where things did not exactly get better. It was up in Sonoma that their car finally decided to die.
With all the stresses of work, travel and then car buying, one wants life to be a little simple and it seemed that the easiest and simplest thing I could do for everyone was to just cook. It was also a warm weekend here in NorCal, so cooling, soothing foods were wanted. Plus easy, 'cause when a trip to the dealership is in order, who knows when anyone is coming home and what kind of mood they're going to be in.
A couple of Indian, spice-rubbed chickens was my go-to entree, along with black eyed peas and mushrooms, fresh corn has just shown up at the market, so my favorite easy spinach and corn dish, and of course a nice, cooling summer salad made with what used to be the most hated vegetable my mom ever served us, Summer Squash, aka Patty Pan squash, aka The Devil.
Every kid has a most hated list of foods and I was a weird kid. I loved most of the stuff my friends hated. I don't know whether I was like that just to be contrary, or because I didn't want to give my parents the satisfaction of being able to torture me with vegetables. Either way, I loved the green stuff. Except for that round, flat UFO-looking squash that had a tendency to turn all watery and grey once it was on the plate. YUCK. Even now, I really don't care for it. However this time of the year, it seems to be everywhere and it's really, really, really cheap. So in the interest of frugality, I started to experiment with it and sure enough, the Indian Kitchen had a way of making the unplatable (to me) desirable. Mixed with fresh mint and spices, and wrapped in good quality yogurt, all of a sudden I was eating this stuff again and liking it. The hated hot squash had become a cool summery Indian salad.
Indian Summer Squash Salad
Here's What You Need:
1 and 1/4 cups of steamed, mashed, cooled summer squash
1 tsp of cumin seeds
2 tsp of chopped fresh mint
1/8 tsp of paprika
1/3 tsp of salt
1 cup of good quality plain yogurt
2 Tbs of sour cream
Here's What To Do:
Wash, quarter and steam the squash until it's tender (about 15 minutes or so).
Let it cool, drain any excess water away from it and mash it up.
Dry roast the cumin seeds in a small pan and grind them up.
Mix the ground cumin with the squash.
Add in the chopped fresh mint
Pour the yogurt into a bowl. I like to use an local organic yogurt.
Add in the sour cream and blend it together well.
Add the squash mixture to the yogurt sour cream blend.
When everything is well mixed together, decorate with a bit of chopped mint.
Check for seasoning and serve it up.
This is one of the easiest summer salads to make. It works well with both Indian and Western dishes.The important thing to remember in making this dish is excess water. You want to keep any excess water out of it or you will wind up with a soup. Also, this is a dish which needs to be blended together at the last minute and served immediately. Trust me. It turns grey if it's not, and there will be all sorts of traumatic childhood memories either formed or reawakened. Who wants the therapy bills getting over squash? Save the money for the really big stuff.
Coming up next, the weather is turning warm here in Wine Country and I'm putting on my cool cooking shoes. Fast salads, and quick breads for company meals. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori