A Summer Squash Celebration

by Amanda Paa on July 21, 2014

Zucchini Noodles with Fresh Herbs + Tahini | heartbeet kitchenOver the last month, this whole writing a book thing has became real in many ways. I still feel a little weird when people ask me what the book is about and I respond bashfully with “Squash, both summer and winter varieties. You know, endless ways of turning them into delicious eats and how to figure out what is what at the market.” Some look at me like I’m a little crazy, some talk about how they’re totally not a squash person, yet I still feel support and encouragement from them all.

Humbly I admit that seeing Smitten with Squash in an actual store was something I had dreamed of since I began testing & writing. Knowing that it was supposed to be shipped out last week, I called a local shop to see if they had received it. Not revealing that I was the author when I asked, the gal said “Why yes we do. In fact I just bought one yesterday. It’s wonderful. Do you want me to set one aside for you?”

Smitten with Squash {written by Amanda Paa}My heart skipped a few beats. There’s a bit of doubting that goes along with anything you do like this….. Will people like the book? Will the recipes turn out when they make them at home? Is my writing good enough? What if nobody buys it? So when I heard the praise from the woman on the other end of the phone, I felt some of the anxiety leave.

And to top that off, six fabulous ladies whom I am so thankful to have met through this beautiful online world are helping me celebrate by sharing a summer recipe from Smitten with Squash. (I’ll share some of the winter recipes a little later this fall.) One of these gals will be posting each day this week, so stayed tuned as I’ll add the links to their posts throughout the week.

PLUS, each of us is giving away a copy of Smitten with Squash (enter below) so you can win one for your own kitchen! Be sure to hop around and see all these beautiful blogs and find some new recipes for your bumper crop of summer squash and zucchini. Oh, and if you’re on Twitter or Instagram, we’re using the #SquashLove to spread the word.

Monday: Brenda from a Farmgirls Dabbles – Spicy Summer Squash Refrigerator Pickles
Tuesday: Stephanie from Fresh Tart - Chimichurri Chicken and Veggie Kabobs
Wednesday: Robin from Robin WritesGaram Masala Dusted Pattypans & Crispy Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce
Thursday: Lindsey from Dolly & OatmealBanana Oat Streusel Summer Squash Muffins
Friday: Laurie from Relishing ItCauliflower Zucchini Summer Gratin
Saturday: Winnie from Healthy Green KitchenCherry Tomato & Summer Squash Cobbler with Rosemary Biscuits
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Giveaway open to US residents only and will conclude on 7/28/2014 at 12:00am. I will email the winner within the next two days.

Zucchini Noodles for One with Fresh Herbs & Tahini

This recipe is a foundation for so many possibilities of zucchini noodle goodness. There are two recipes for this type of dish in the book, and I’m sharing this extra one today to tell you that you don’t need a fancy spiralizer to make squash noodles. A $10 julienne peeler and watching this quick video is all you need to create strands and tangles of vegetable delight.

1 medium zucchini or summer squash, julienned into noodles using method above
handful of minced fresh parsley and mint
big squeeze of fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt & a few cracks of black pepper
1 tablespoon tahini

In a bowl combine zucchini noodles, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil and salt/pepper. Toss to coat and taste. Add more salt or lemon juice as needed. Mound onto a plate and drizzle with tahini.

 

7 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Market Talk, Recipe Box, Salad, Seasonal, Summer, Vegetarian



Gluten Free Oat Crepes with Rapberries and Toasted CoconutI’ve been eager to share a few recipes with you since a trial run with my new grain mill that Wondermill so graciously sent to me as part of a fun collaboration. These soft and delicate Gluten Free Oat Crepes are the first in a series of three recipes I’ve developed for them that anyone can make, with or without a mill. Grinding flour at home can actually be done several ways, like with a nut grinder, food processor, or high powered blender. I find that playing with grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds in different ways can be really fun, a chance for me bring new creativity to recipes.

Millet Oat Crepes with Raspberries and Toasted CoconutCuriosity about grinding my own flour was spurred by taking a peek at The Homemade Flour Cookbook written by fellow blogger Erin of Naturally Ella. It is such a beautiful book, and I was really drawn in by what she had to say about many store bought flours often being stripped of their nutrients. Not only that, but organic gluten free flour can be difficult to find and very expensive. Now I’m able to buy organic whole grains and beans from the bulk bin and save lots of of money, plus make super fresh flour in literally one minute.

Grain mills are not cheap, but its an investment that will pay itself off fairly quickly if you think about how often you $8-$10 for a bag of gluten free flour. Besides that, like any just picked fruit or vegetable, you can notice a difference with freshly ground flour. And because you can grind it on the spot, you won’t end up letting flour spoil. (Yes, that does happen!)

How to grind your own Millet and Oat Flour These oat and millet crepes are slightly different than traditional crepes, but truthfully (and the French may disagree) I love the nuttier flavor from the millet even better. The oat flour keeps them soft and delicate, waiting for you to roll them up them up with freshly whipped cream, toasted coconut and whatever fresh berries you have on hand.

Gluten Free Oat Crepes with Raspberries and Toasted CoconutAnd what could be easier than adding all the ingredients to a blender for a quick blitz? From there it just takes a little patience, the key to this healthy whole-grain crepe being a half hour rest in the refrigerator. Don’t have those exact flours on hand? Go ahead and substitute those by weight for the ones called for in this recipe.

Millet Oat Crepes | heartbeet kitchen Enjoy these light and delicious gluten free crepes on a Sunday morning with the ones you love and a side of nice conversation. Trust me, the next weekend you’ll want to hit repeat.

You can find the full recipe here, as well as some more insight into grinding your own flour at home. Cheers!

14 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Breakfast, Fall, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Sweets, Vegetarian, Winter



Grilled Garlic Scapes & Summer Squash

by Amanda Paa on July 6, 2014

Grilled Summer Squash & Garlic Scapes | heartbeet kitchenI hope you all had a fabulous 4th of July and are relaxing a little bit before heading back to the grind tomorrow. I wanted to pop in with this quick post because the time to enjoy garlic scapes and young, tender summer squash does not last long!

With Smitten with Squash’s release so close, I’d been dreaming of remaking many of the recipes since turning in the manuscript. And finally, finally I spotted the tiny yellow and green gems nestled into baskets at the market last weekend.

Naturally you might think I’d had my fill of squash after eating it every imaginable for way for nearly a year, but that just isn’t the case when you’re smitten with this Cucurbita family. Even after 80 tried and tested recipes, I still find myself thinking of different ideas. Although not in the book, these Grilled Garlic Scapes & Summer Squash rock my world. grilled summer squash and garlic scapes | heartbeet kitchenThis dish isn’t really a recipe, its more about keeping things simple and natural, allowing these two beautiful vegetables to shine at their peak. Twisty, twirly garlic scapes are available for a very short time because they’re one of the stages that garlic goes through before it ends up as papery, potent cloves. The bulb and roots grow underground while a stem, leaves and scapes soak up the sunshine above. They taste like garlicky scallions – mild and perfect for grilling or whirling into a pesto.

Grilled Summer Squash & Garlic Scapes | heartbeet kitchenAnd baby summer squash and zucchini – ugghh, they’re such a treat. The ones I used here were about 5 to 6 inches in length, which makes them perfect for cutting into quarters like dill pickle spears. I even like eating them raw because they’re so fresh and crunchy, as close to a cucumber as you’ll get.

At this stage they’ve got fewer seeds and less water content than when they’re full grown, which means you can get a nice crispy char from the grill. I find that people tend to overcook vegetables on the grill, so watch them and test so they’re just tender and still retain their shape.

Dressed simply with olive oil, sea salt & pepper, this easy July splendor is one you shouldn’t wait to try.

Oh, and if you happen to be around these parts, my FIRST book signing will be at Solo Vino Wines in St. Paul on Friday, July 25th. Because why wouldn’t I combine my two favorite things?

And if you can’t make it there, I will also be at the Minneapolis Farmers Market on August 9th for a book signing & demo. It’d be wonderful to see a few of your beautiful faces!

Grilled Garlic Scapes & Summer Squash

1 1/2 pounds of zucchini & summer squash, ideally 5-6 inches in length
2 small bunches of garlic scapes
2 tablespoons olive oil
high quality sea salt & pepper

Slice off the tops and bottoms of the zucchini and slice them in half lengthwise, then cut them in half lengthwise again. They should look like pickle spears. Place them all in a large bowl and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put the zucchini & squash in a grill basket or grill grid. (If you don’t have either, put them in foil and lightly seal. They won’t get quite the char on them, but they will still be tasty.)

Wash and dry the scapes. Break off the harder ends (as you would like asparagus) and leave whole. Using your hands, smear about 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto the scapes and sprinkle with salt.

Prepare your grill to medium to heat. Toss scapes directly on the grill and remove them when they’re soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, a lighter shade of green and golden brown in parts. At the same time, place the basket on the grill and cook vegetables on all sides until tender (but not mushy) and slightly charred.  Remove from grill, taste and add salt & pepper as needed. Serve as is or with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, crushed pine nuts or chopped olives.

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Wordless Wednesday

by Amanda Paa on July 2, 2014

Smitten with Squash

3 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Seasonal



Summer Breeze Salad with Granola Croutons

by Amanda Paa on June 30, 2014

Summer Breeze Salad with Granola CroutonsWith my new cross-city commute each day, hour long traffic jams that evoke a bit of rage are unfortunately the norm.  Not that I didn’t know that was going to happen when I accepted the job, but it stings a little when you’re in the midst of it. Hands tightly gripped to the steering wheel, I’m usually thinking about the fun I could be having in the kitchen. But alas, life changes and ironically, it spurs new inspiration, like quicker, yet just as satisfying meals like this Summer Breeze Salad with Granola Croutons.

Although it looks quite fancified, this colorful beauty takes a mere 8 minutes to make – yes, I timed it. It would have been a 10 minute situation, but I went a little Sandra Lee “semi homemade” and drizzled it with my favorite store-bought dressing, Whole Foods Fig Balsamic.

The contrast of the indigo blueberries, peachy cantaloupe, grassy green spinach and bright white feta is pure mother nature, painting the prettiest picture for the eyes too see.

Summer Breeze Salad with Granola CroutonsBut what I’m really head over heels about is the granola crouton crunch. It’s such an easy and delicious solution to gluten-free croutons! In essence it’s similar to topping a salad with something fruity and nutty, like cashews and dried cherries.

It hits you when you take that perfect bite – your teeth sink into the plump berries and soft cantaloupe, the salty feta and punchy vinaigrette sneak in, then you finish with the crunchy, sweet and savory granola.

Summer Breeze Salad with Granola CroutonsThe team from Purely Elizabeth was kind enough to send me a few packages of their Ancient Grain Granola earlier this year and I was hooked once I swirled it into creamy greek yogurt. There are plenty of great granola options out there, but what I love about Purely Elizabeth is that it’s made from a myriad of good-for-you, natural and gluten free ingredients.

Summer Breeze Salad with Purely Elizabeth Granola CroutonsQuinoa, chia & sunflower seeds, amaranth, whole grain oats, and coconut oil – which means complete proteins, vitamins, omega 3’s fiber and antioxidants all make their way into your body. All pure, all natural, sweetened only with coconut sugar and cinnamon.

Summer Breeze Salad with Granola CroutonsAnd guess what? Their granolas are now available at all Target stores making it simple for you to make this easy, breezy beautiful plate of yum. To celebrate, Purely Elizabeth is giving one Heartbeet Kitchen reader packages of their Original, Cranberry Pecan and Pumpkin Fig flavors! To enter the giveaway, use the rafflecopter below – contest will end Sunday, July 8th at 11:59pm eastern and one random winner will be chosen (eligible for US residents only). Good luck and have a great week!

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Summer Breeze Salad with Granola Croutons

serves 4
Don’t just reserve this tasty dish for lunch or dinner – it makes an excellent breakfast salad as well. Feel free to use whatever dressing you like, but I found the acidity of the balsamic vinaigrette really brought everything together.

5 ounces baby spinach
1 1/4 cups blueberries
1 1/4 cups cubed cantaloupe
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar dressing
1/2 cup granola

Arrange spinach on a large platter or individual plates. Add blueberries, cantaloupe and feta on top. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with granola. Leftovers will last two days in refrigerator.

*Purely Elizabeth graciously gave me samples of their products to develop this recipe and are sponsoring this giveaway, but opinions are 100% my own. It’s fun to show you products that I love using in my kitchen!

8 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Main Dish, Recipe Box, Salad, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian