Pâttison, patty pan, starburst squash, scallop squash, peter pan squash….
Shall I keep going? How many more names does this little squash have?
This past Sunday Alex and I finally made our way to the farmers market in Leucadia, one of my favorites in San Diego. Although we could easily go to the Little Italy farmers market (which offers quite a selection) Leucadia’s intimate little market will always holds a special place in my heart.
One of my favorite things about farmers markets is the community you can build with the local farmers. I had the pleasure of getting to know Estelle and her husband Anthony from Maciel Farms. A family owned farm that has been passed down three generations. Estelle was so kind, she introduced me to some weird looking veggies I had never seen before (as well as tips on how to cook them).
The squash selection was mesmerizing. Those patty pan squash sat there looking so happy and ready to be taken home. I thought they were the cutest things, despite not knowing anything about them. Estelle told me they were a variety of zucchini squash and described them as having a bit of sweet hint.
I was sold.
Among my squash extravaganza, I sampled the sweetest yellow beets I’ve ever had. Those little guys also came home with us. We finished up our visit with some basic veggies and some local artisan salami (shout out to the rad guy who enthusiastically gave us samples). We can’t wait to go back this Sunday.
As I do more and more research on food policy, I realize how important it is to know where our food comes and who it comes from. Personally, I’m not a fan of huge corporations that lobby politicians to lie to us about our food. But I’ll save that topic for another day.
How many of you guys have had conversations with your local farmers?
It’s such a lovely experience to talk to the person who put love and care into growing the food you eat. Most farmers I’ve talked to always sound so proud and enthusiastic about their food, it’s contagious. Every time I shop at the farmers markets I walk away feeling a little closer to the earth (that may sound hippie-ish but I don’t care).
I feel as if sometimes we get so caught up in the hype and glamour of the newest food craze that we become distant and look at food as just a commodity. When food becomes a commodity we risk losing touch of the nourishment and the people that grow it to keep us alive (my inner sociologist is showing).
Anyway, I’m done with the food justice portion of this post. If any of you have opinions about this topic please feel free to chime in!
Back to the recipe.
Tuesdays is “Taco Tuesdays” (as I’m sure many of you have heard) so we make our version with grass fed beef stuffed in a bell pepper. This time I decided to use the patty pan squash since they’re the perfect shape (they almost look like little meat pies). They’re pretty easy to cut and don’t require too much digging inside (but I did use a little spoon to smooth out the inside).
The nice thing about this recipe is that while the squash roasts, you can prepare your beef and toppings. I used my own taco seasoning that I always keep on hand, but you’re welcome to use your own store bought if you don’t have all the spices on hand.
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons sea salt
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon ground dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (I use both smoked and non smoked)
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (you can add or subtract 1 tsp based on your heat preference)
- 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 8 Patty Pan Squash (they also go by the name of "flying saucer squash" for obvious reasons)
- sea salt
- 2 lbs ground beef (you can also use ground turkey or chicken if you prefer)
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 can tomato puree/sauce (I used the 15 oz no salt MuirGlen brand)
- 3-4 Tablespoons taco seasoning (recipe above)
Mix all of the ingredients and save in a jar or spice bottle for future recipes that require taco seasoning.
Preheat oven to 400°F
With a knife cut a circle into the top of the squash (like you would on a bell pepper). Smooth inside and remove any seeds with spoon.
Toss the squash in a bowl (including tops) with olive oil and coat and add a pinch of sea salt
place on baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until tender (I like mine a little browned)
Heat a deep pan over medium heat
Brown your meat, onion, and garlic until cooked, about 5 minutes
Drain any excess fat if necessary, and add the remaining ingredients
Simmer for 15 minutes, until ready to serve