Thursday, June 21, 2007

Heart Smart Summer Squashes: Two Ways

With organic produce sparkling fresh from the farmers market, the more simply prepared the better is my approach. Let those sun-drenched flavors shine.

I've dished these up for Joanna and Ilva's HOTM4, a blog event devoted to heart-healthy recipes. Vegetables are the star of this month's event which will be posted on The Heart of the Matter after June 22nd.

I love vegetables. I love them roasted, grilled, sauteed, steamed and raw. The only way I don't like them is boiled. Both of these dishes were sauteed in heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil. No butter, no cheese. Blah, you say? No way! Fresh oregano and marjoram from my garden, some cloves of the coveted, local Claudia's garlic , and you've got a tasty and delicious feast fit for even the most finicky of dinner guests. All that, and your heart will go pitter-patter, in a good way.

Zucchini and Sunburst Squash Sauteed with Garlic and Herbs
Christine's original recipe
6 or so summer squashes (depending on size), mixed varieties such as zucchini, sunburst or pattypan, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 cloves fresh, organic garlic, minced
2 heaping tablespoons minced fresh oregano and marjoram
kosher salt and freshly ground peppercorn medley to taste
extra virgin olive oil for the pan
Heat 2-3 teaspoons olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat.
Add the cut up squashes and saute until beginning to soften.
Add the minced garlic, stirring so they don't stick to the bottom of the pan, and cook until the squash is just soft to the bite.
Add the fresh minced herbs and give a quick stir, allowing them to heat briefly, about 45 seconds.
Remove from the heat and season with the kosher salt and generous grindings of peppercorn medley. Serve immediately.

MMMMM. More veggies. Here I've used the last of the summer squashes from my trip to the farmers market last Saturday along with more of Claudia's garlic, which I simply cannot get enough of. Crisp white corn, red bells and protein-rich edamame from our local Co-op all helped to make this a heart- healthy and very satisfying platter of goodness.

A Medley of Squash, Red Bell Peppers, Corn, Edamame, Garlic and Herbs
Christine's original recipe
1/2 to 1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
3 large cloves very fresh garlic, minced
3 ears fresh white corn, shucked and cut from the cob
6 small summer squash, such as sunburst, round zucchini, and pattypan
1 cup fresh or frozen edamame (green soy beans)
1 large red bell pepper, stem and veins removed, cut into 1-inch dice
2 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
kosher salt
freshly ground black peppercorns
extra virgin olive oil for the pan
Begin with the onions in a heavy skillet laced with about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and set over medium-low heat. Let the onions soften without burning, 4- 6 minutes.
Add the red bell pepper and give a stir. Saute about 2 minutes or until softened.
Add the edamame and stir to blend.
Add the minced garlic and a bit more olive oil if needed to keep things from sticking to the pan.
Cook gently until the edamame has softened. You can cover the pan if you wish and you can add a splash of white wine also, but not too much. (I didn't add the wine although I think it would be just fine to do so.)
Add the squash, stir and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add the corn kernels and the oregano and stir to heat through.
When it all looks done to your liking, remove from the heat and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
I'm looking forward to Joanna and Ilva's next Heart of the Matter challenge for July. Take a peek at the recipes that have been submitted to date.

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