When gardens go wild: Low Carb Pattypan Crustless Pizza Recipe

July 26th, 2011 yum Posted in Egg Free, Garden, Hide your Veggies, Low Carb, Nut Free, Pizza, Rice Free, Soy Free, Vegan Option, Vegetables, Vegetarian, corn free, grain-free, low-sugar, tapioca starch free 14 Comments »


The DH and I have always dreamed of having our own garden. It is a bit hard to do when you live in an apartment, and the only access you have to the great outdoors is on your balcony. Nevertheless, we managed to grow a few tomatoes and basil plants, and were happier because of it. When we bought a house we went a bit wild, and transformed a fourth of our back yard from a neglected underutilized corner to a bustling organic gardening paradise, complete with homemade redwood planters. Once we had the planters, we had to put something in them. We chose a wild assortment of the most exotic things we could think of- purple bush beans, dragon carrots, candy radishes, purple tomatillos, and a ton of squash and gorgeous heirloom potatoes. Ok, squash isn’t usually exotic, but it has a certain appeal to lifetime apartment dwellers because it is not generally something that you can grow on a balcony. (Amazing container gardening magic aside.) The plants were in, the DH put in a drip watering system, and then we waited for the bounty to come rolling in. And roll in it did, with pattypan squash seemingly bursting into existence on the vine right along with fourth of July fireworks.
This gave me pause. I had the basics of organic gardening thanks to reading and a class at Love Apple Farm, but one thing I hadn’t researched was when to harvest my beauties. When was I supposed to take the pattypan off the vine? I wasn’t really sure, but they rapidly grew to an impressive size that I’d never seen at farmer’s market harvest. Why did they pick them when they were so small? I felt rather proud of their size.

Then I went online to research the correct harvesting of pattypan. Whoops. Turns out if you let them get large, supposedly they get rather woody and coarse. I was disheartened but couldn’t believe they could really be that bad. People let zucchini get big, after all. Besides, looking at them gave me an idea. They were such nice, round shapes, and I was reminded of my old traditional eggplant parmesan recipe. They would be the perfect size for a personal pizza un-crust. So, I dipped them in a spiced oil and vinegar marinade and put them on the grill to soften them and add flavor. Then I topped them with a really good pizza sauce and cheese. For my dairy-free Mother, I made a few with Daiya cheese instead. The cheese melted and got all bubbly and delicious, and when I got a bite, I didn’t miss a grain crust at all! They were delicious, and the “hard” rind added structure and texture to the crust but the soft squash interior was still soft and delicious. I did notice that the larger they got, the larger their seeds were, and the center of the round was a bit softer than the rest. It could still hold up to a pizza topping, though, and was easy to eat with a fork, although I wouldn’t try to eat it with my hands just because it is a bit messier than a regular pizza.

I’ve been experimenting with my other giant pattypan and have found that they taste just as good as the littler ones. I like a sturdier squash anyway, and one of my biggest complaints over (bad) zucchini or yellow squash recipes is when they get mushy. It is hard to make these giant pattypan mushy, and they take on flavor and are just delicious sauteed in oil. I did prefer to peel them for sauteed applications as otherwise the rind is hard to eat. It reminds me of kabocha squash, actually.

So, if like me you have monster pattypan growing out of control in your garden- take heart! You can still enjoy them, in a fun way generally only possible when you have a home garden or belong to a garden co-op. You could also try mini pattypan pizzas with farmer market or supermarket babies. In that case, you would probably have to simply slice them in half and take care not to overcook them. They should be just as delicious either way!


Other Pattypan Recipes:
Fried Pattypan Squash Recipe
Pattypan Squash Recipe
Stuffed Pattypan Squash Recipe
Herbed Pattypan Squash Medley Recipe
Simple Pattypan Squash Recipe
Vegan Stuffed Pattypan Squash Recipe

Other innovative recipes using squash as a “crust”:
Butternut Squash Crust Quiche Recipe

Shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Seasonal Sunday

Pattypan Crust-less Pizza Recipe
Ingredients
Mutant, overgrown pattypan squash (5 or more inches diameter)

Marinade:
Olive oil
dash of white balsamic vinegar (brown is fine but will discolor your “pizza” crust)
your favorite multi-herb blend seasoning (italian or other)
salt (if not included in above herb blend)

Topping:
High Quality Pizza Sauce such as Muir Glen Organic
Grated mozzarella OR Daiya equivalent for dairy-free, vegan

Fresh basil for garnish

Directions
Slice your monster Pattypan beasts into 1/2 inch thick slices appropriate for mini-pizzas.

Whisk oil, vinegar, spices and salt together in a pie tin or other medium-sized dish with sides. Keep in mind that pattypan are like eggplant. They are greedy little sponges for oil. Make more than you think you need. Dip both sides pattypan slices in seasoned oil and reserve on a large plate.

Heat your grill or grill pan to a high searing temperature. Lightly shake off any excess oil from your pattypan slices and place them on your grill. Sear and then lower temperature to medium. Let slices soften, and then turn to sear and cook the other side. You want your pattypan tender but not mushy.

You have two options for the pizza preparation if you are using a grill. You can either place your topping on top of your seared pattypan crust in the grill, close the lid and allow the heat to melt the cheese, or you can reserve your slices and heat the topping in the broiler of your oven. The latter option will result in more browning, so I found I preferred to use the broiler. For broiler option, place pattypan slices on a baking sheet and place under broiler on high. Remove when cheese is melted and has browned. You can use Daiya cheese as a dairy-free alternative, but it will not brown in the same way so just remove when melted.

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Gluten-free Vegan Indian Recipe: Sweet Potato Bean Dry Curry

June 30th, 2011 yum Posted in Breastfeeding for Allergic Baby Recipe, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Indian, One Dish Meal, Soy Free, Sweet Potato, Vegan, corn free, grain-free 8 Comments »


It occurred to me today that although I’ve been posting a lot, I haven’t shared any recipes lately. First we were on the road, so I wasn’t making any recipes except for the “pour milk on cereal” and “plead with the waiter to make it gluten-free” variety. It has been hot; the DH was away; Baby Yum isn’t keen on innovation- there are always things that can get in the way of recipe creation. I did make a fun dairy-free, raw foods Popsicle that I’ll be sharing soon, but the recipe wasn’t quite ready. This morning, though, I woke up and had a craving for sweet potatoes. Luckily, the day before I’d bought a nice big bag of organic sweet potatoes from Trader Joe’s, so I was covered and ready to make something different. I ended up slicing them into chip shapes, and frying them up with indian spices, sweet red onions, kidney beans and arugula. You could vary the greens for different effects. Spinach would be mild, or you could go herbal and dip into some fresh cilantro. A sliver of lime on the side would be nice, and if you aren’t going vegan (or have a good soy yogurt) you could put a cucumber raita on the side. Ooh, I’m making myself hungry all over again. The dear Toddler Yum is deeply suspicious of orange vegetables for reasons only she could explain, so she snubbed the sweet potato, but to my surprise she popped those kidney beans into her mouth rapid-fire. Yay for babies trying new things! This dish was new for me, too, and with a little help from the toddler I polished off the whole thing myself. Delicious, and all the tastier because the arugula came fresh-picked from our garden.
On other news, I’ve been taking a photography class from our local community center and am in love. I now “get” all those mysterious settings on my camera, and I am loving all the options. Here’s a photo of Toddler Yum I took for an assignment. Love that twinkle in her eye! Enjoy and happy hobbies to you all.

Sexy olive quinoa recipe coming soon!

Indian Sweet Potato Kidney Bean Dry Curry
Ingredients
1 large sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
ground cumin, to taste
ground coriander, to taste
sea salt, to taste
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin rings
1/2 can kidney beans, drained
1/2 can diced drained tomatoes or 1 large fresh tomato, diced and drained
handful fresh arugula or spinach, chopped

garam masala, to taste (optional)

Directions
Microwave with a tablespoon of water or steam your slices of sweet potato until the potato loses its crunch and is slightly soft. Drain.

Heat your olive oil on medium high in your favorite skillet and add your sweet potato discs in a single layer. season with ground cumin and coriander to taste. If you want a strongly Indian dish, add more. Remember you can always add more spices but you cant take them away, so be careful! Season with salt and saute until browned on one side. Turn over. As the sweet potato shrinks you may have additional space in your pan. Move your sweet potato to one side (still in a single layer) and add your red onion slices to the empty spot in the pan. Saute. Once the sweet potato is browned on both sides, you can mix the onion and sweet potato together and continue until the onion has softened and starts to turn translucent. Add your kidney beans, saute for another minute or two, and add your tomato pieces, heat through and then toss in your arugula or spinach. I used fresh arugula from our garden (score!) but if you don’t like it spinach is fine. Combine and season with (optional) garam masala to serve. I buy mine from Penzey’s because I can’t be bothered to mix it, but there are tons of great recipes for garam masala online if you are so inclined.

Notes
A lovely vegan breakfast.
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