**A couple matters of ‘business’ – first, today is the second day of Fall Festival 2009 and is being hosted at Monica at Daily Dwelling. All participants are eligible to win The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule. Make sure to link your post about what you do for fall fun. I, of course, cook.
I’m also guest blogging at Smockity Frocks today – a fabulous Mexican CrockPot Chicken Posole Stew. It’s easy on your budget and takes almost no time to prepare. You’ll only find this version at Smockity Frocks, though, so head over there and let me know what you think.
Joe and I recently discovered one of Dallas’ hidden treasures – Penny at Squeezepenny Sustainable Farms and her Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. She has built a network among the local farmers (within 60 – 105 miles) and brings just picked, organic produce to families all over Dallas on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Penny is passionate about sustainable farming and quality produce – which shows in each share we’ve received.
But it doesn’t stop there. When you stop by to pick up your produce, you’ll find Penny educating her CSA members on all aspects of her products, including storage, ideas for preparation, and detailed information on all of the producers. If you ask her a question and she doesn’t know the answer, she will find it for you. I have been toying with the idea of starting a real garden – this year’s attempt was a huge flop. I talked to Penny about it and she sent me a detailed e-mail about what to plant during certain times of the year, the best methods for getting started, and even brought me a packet of information about organic gardening. And, she has a Quality Guarantee – in the rare case you have something spoil quickly she’ll replace it – no questions asked.
I probably don’t have to say this, but it’s so apparent that Penny loves her CSA members and treats each of them like family. (She even reads my blog! On Saturday she told me how much she liked my Butternut Squash Orange Spice Cake. I don’t know where she finds the time.)
If you anywhere near Dallas, you should go to Penny’s website now and look around. Joining Squeezepenny’s CSA has been fabulous for our family. It’s so affordable – I could never buy the same quality produce at the grocery store for less. For those of you in smaller cities with CSA’s that deliver, Dallas is just too big for it to be a viable option. Penny works with her members and offers several locations for pick-up at a variety of times.
Needless to say, I’ve been having a blast with all of the fall produce I’ve been getting from Penny. The first thing I did was make roasted pattypan squash paired with a chickpea salad that I adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini, which was divine. The pattypan squash was buttery and meaty, which was perfect with the nutty chickpeas. I have been craving it since I ate the last of the leftovers!
Another favorite of mine are Penny’s organic pears. My dad owned a farm in southern Ohio and we used to camp there on the weekends. There was a big pear tree on one of the hills, and we’d walk over there just to eat the pears. One bite of Penny’s pears and I was back on that hill, in the bright sun and fresh air eating freshly picked, juicy pears with my dad and my sisters. It’s funny – I’ve been eating pears for years and it was Penny’s pears that sparked that memory. Some things just don’t get any better than fresh, naturally grown produce.
This post is linked to Tasty Tuesdays at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.
What produce are you loving this fall? Let’s talk about it.
This recipe is adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini.
- 4 – 6 small pattypan squash
- olive oil to coat, about 2 – 4 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 cups of cooked chickpeas, or one 15 oz. can drained & rinsed
- 2 – 4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
- 8 chive stems
- ¼ cup packed cilantro
- 8 large mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup good quality olive oil
- 3 ounces of your choice of greens – baby spinach, arugula, chopped leaf lettuce
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off both ends of the pattypan squashes and cut them into 8 sections. Place the sections in a large baking dish in a single layer, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes, until cooked through and browned in places. Let cool.
- While the pattypan squash is roasting, place salt, pepper, chives, cilantro, mint, capers, and lemon juice of the bowl of a mini-chopper. Pulse a few times to chop the herbs. With the mini-chopper on, drizzle olive oil through the top until it reaches the desired consistency. (Use less or more olive oil depending on your taste.) If you don’t have a mini-chopper, chop the herbs and capers by hand, then place in a bowl and whisk in lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Toss the chickpeas with the dressing in a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate. Serve chickpeas on a bed of greens with the cooled pattypan squash.