Perfect Pattypans


Hey ESers, did you miss me? I missed you!  I’m afraid I’ve been gallivanting about for about a month and I have severely neglected ES in the meantime (and cooking in general).  I’ve been back for a week, and I must admit that my brain is a bit rusty and my cooking thus far has been less than inspired.  Does that ever happen to you all after a long time away from your kitchen?

I mean I was missing my kitchen the entire time I was gone, but my cooking muses seem to have expired during my brief journey, leaving me with only enough energy to cook a few stir-fries and throw together some salads.  Ugh….  Cookers’ block.

However, lucky readers, before I left for travels, I was struck by no such affliction.  In fact, just before I left I hosted a dinner party for which I pulled out all the stops. With my favorite summer ingredient at the ready  I made my most delicious  and complex pattypan dish yet:  Chickpea and Pesto Stuffed Pattypans:

stuffed pattypan with chickpeas topped with pesto

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Return of the Pattypan


There she was… gleaming and yellow in the morning sun, delicately curved, coyly beckoning at the bottom of the squash crate…. Who could resist her?  The rest of the farmers’ market bounty blurred around her scalloped edge. I was completely enchanted. In a word: transfixed.

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The Taste of Bursting Sunshine


One of the palates I attempt to cater to is that of Romeo, my bf.  Romeo is a rather demanding discerning eater. He doesn’t like it when I add diced garlic to a dish.  Romeo prefers garlic minced with the pampered chef garlic press that lives in our kitchen (which, to be honest, is hands-down the best garlic press I have ever used, lemme tell you). I comply with this demand suggestion. Romeo prefers his meals more gently spiced than I like mine. (To be fair some like it hot, and some like it hotter still, and I represent a dot somewhere near the hot-hot-hot end of the bland-to-razzle dazzle spicy continuum. This I admit.) I’ve tried to tone down the hotness for Romeo’s wimpy sensitive taste buds, and with occasional exceptions, I usually succeed in a palatable compromise for the both of us.

There is one thing that Romeo had asked for since I first took on the position of his chef-in-chief (or “kitchen dictator” as Romeo insists on calling me) that for a while absolutely bewildered me:  “flying saucer squashes.”

The conversation we had on several occasions always went something like this:

Maids: Do you want anything from the store?

Romeo (smiling and excited): Yes. Bring me the flying-saucer-squashes so we can use them in a curry.  They taste like bursts of sunshine.

Maids (genuinely curious):  What do you mean?

Romeo (short temper spent, yelling now): Buy those little yellow flying saucer squashes at the grocery store so we can put them in curry and they’ll taste like sunshine!

Maids: I don’t know what you mean by flying saucer squashes! Are they thin skinned or thick skinned? Summer or winter?

Romeo (frustrated and stamping both feet): They’re summer squashes that look like baby flying saucers and taste like sunshine! God!

I know he’s adorable, but that wasn’t much to go on, right?  Especially since  I’d never before encountered flying saucer-like  squashes.  I knew, however, that I needed to address Romeo’s unrequited craving for a summer squash that looked like a flying saucer and tasted like sunshine.

Recently, after over a year and a half of being unable to fulfill this request, I had a follow-up investigatory conversation with with Edouble and Miked (who have been feeding Romeo for far longer than I).  Edouble filled me in:  these squashes, for which both Edouble and Romeo have a special affinity, are commonly known as sunburst squashes.  They are small and round with scalloped tops and they are usually available only in the summer season.

More research yielded further knowledge: the pattypan squash (A.K.A. white squash/button squash/sunburst squash) comes in yellow, white, and green colors, is most tender when immature, and is often served  fried, curried, and stuffed.  It sounded delicious, and I was on a mission to make a curry with the pattypan as the M.V.I. (Most Valuable Ingredient 😉 thanx ES commenter “LC”) of the dish.

My successful search for the pattypans and the recipe for the Pattypan Vegetable Thai Curry after the jump…

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