Roasted Kousa with Onion: Just Salt and Pepper Does It


This is so easy that I did not bother making a video.* Just slice and chop a kousa or other summer type of squash into chunks, add chunks of onion, sprinkle with salt and black pepper (I used freshly ground pepper and Diamond brand kosher salt) drizzle with olive oil, and pop into a 400 degree preheated oven. I used my toaster oven in convection mode.

Fifteen minutes later it was hot and very flavorful, so there is your practically insta veggie to go with your meal. However, I decided to let it roast for 30 minutes. If you are not in a hurry, I recommend taking the extra time and get some carmelization going.

This dish is keeper in my household, that’s for sure! It’s good the next day, also.

After only 15 minutes of roasting

You can use summer squash or zucchini, but I happen to be a fan of kousa and opt for it while it is available for dishes in which just a bit less water and more firmness will fit the bill.

For an even deeper flavor, slice thinner and roast at a lower temperature for a longer time. And you can add whatever seasonings you like or just keep it simple, depending on what you are serving it with.

Roasted zucchini at 400 for 30 minutes

* For video cooking demos of other recipes, click HERE, Playlists, and select the Wakefield Farmers Market Playlist.

Summer Squash Delight with 30 Leaves of Basil

The ingredients

Click Here to see the cooking demo video.

This is so good that my husband raved about it and even had the leftovers for lunch the next day, and he is not big on vegetable-based leftovers. Inspired by all the produce from our farmers, especially the plethora of summer squashes available from now through the early fall, I decided to create a quick, fun, and tasty recipe to help us all use it up! This can be prepared as a vegan dish, although my husband grilled some sausage that I sliced and stirred in at the end. I also opted to add a healthy sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. But in all honesty, it was fabulous with just the veggies so totally qualifies as a delicious vegan dish, as well.

Disclaimer: I forgot to add the vinegar that I was going to use to substitute for the lemon juice often used in similar recipes. Call it optional. This dish will taste great with or without.

Here is what I used. But take note: you can use any greens, any squash, heck, any veggie or veggies that saute well, and, if you don’t like basil, try another fresh herb or dried herb that you fancy. Just use a lot so you get the full affect from whatever herb you choose. Also,the amounts listed are just what I used – feel free to vary.

  • 4-6 ounces whole wheat rigatoni* or pasta of choice
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and more as needed
  • 1/8 cup minced garlic scape or 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup or so chopped onion
  • 2-3 oz trimmed oyster mushrooms or your choice
  • 1/2 pound thin-sliced and quartered summer squash
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup water (if needed)
  • 3 ounces chopped greens (I used tatsoi and spinach)
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped, about a cup
  • 30 largish to large leaves of fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a modest drizzle of lemon juice or vinegar (optional)
  • 1/3 pound sausage, cooked/grilled and sliced thin (optional)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)

Get sausages going on the grill or stove or in oven, if using.

Heat and salt water for pasta and have pasta ready to go in the pot.

In process

Heat olive oil in a 12 inch frying pan and sauté garlic scape and onion for a few minutes until getting soft.

Add mushrooms and cook down until some moisture releases.

Add summer squash slices and cook over medium low for 3-5 minutes, then add salt to season and draw out moisture, cook for a few more minutes, and, if need to get more soft, add water to further “steam” the squash if you want it more soft, then cook until water is gone.

Cook pasta as directed or to desired texture.

Add another tablespoon or two of olive oil if needed before adding greens, cook them down, then add tomatoes and basil.

Cook for a few minutes to meld the flavors, then season to taste with salt and pepper, going light on the salt if you will be adding sausage, then if desired, drizzle lemon juice or vinegar to add brightness. NOTE: I forgot to do this and never noticed, but I can imagine it would be a nice addition.

Serve as is over the pasta as a vegetable dish, or add slices of cooked sausage, cook a bit to meld flavors and finish seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve over pasta and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

*NOTE: If using whole wheat rigatoni from Deano’s Pasta as I did, I recommend cooking it a few minutes longer than the recommended time since it won’t be finished off in a sauce. I do also recommend Deano’s whole wheat rigatoni. It is delicious!

Shrimp and Oyster Mushroom over Pasta. Microgreens are involved.

Oh my goodness. To me, roasted mushrooms equal heaven. If you love mushrooms, I am sure you feel the same way. 🙂

This week I created a simple recipe highlighting mushrooms from Fat Moon Mushrooms, available via Neighbor’s Acre Farm (NAF) as well as NAF’s microgreens, shrimp from Roberto’s Seafood, pasta and sauce from Deano’s Pasta, and carrots that you can get from any of our produce farmers: Farmer Dave’s, Kelly’s Farm, and/or Flats Mentor Farm.

Click HERE to see the cooking demo video, and read on for the recipe. DISCLAIMER: In the cooking demo, I used small shrimp that was in my freezer, not bigger shrimp available from Roberto’s Seafood. Use shrimp from Roberto’s Seafood!

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, prepped
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced into thin (but not matchstick size) sticks
  • Salt and pepper as needed (1/4 or so teaspoon each or to taste)
  • 8-10 leaves basil
  • The rest of the olive oil
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • More salt and pepper as needed (1/4 or so teaspoon each or to taste)
  • 1 pound fresh fusilli pasta
  • 8 ounce cream sauce
  • Handful of microgreens to garnish

Preheat oven to 430 degrees. Then, start by tearing/plucking the mushrooms off the stem, being sure to get rid of any tough bits of stem that get plucked by mistake. Toss with the carrots and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. I think I used about a 1/4-1/2 teaspoon each.

Spread the mushroom carrot mix onto a large sheet pan and roast for 15-18 minutes, depending on how big the mushrooms are.

In the meantime, preheat the water for the pasta, slowly heat the cream sauce, and then tear the basil leaves into the same bowl you used for the mushroom carrot mix, and add the 2 additional tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Let sit until ready for the shrimp.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven after 15-18 minutes, scrape and stir the mushrooms and carrots (they may stick), toss the shrimp in the bowl with the seasoned basil, add to the sheet pan, speading to make a single layer, lower the heat to 400 degrees, and cook about 8 minutes or until the shrimp is done.

Drain the pasta and get ready to plate this meal! Put a portion of pasta on each dinner plate, cover with the shrimp, mushroom and carrot mix, then drizzle sauce over it all, and top off with some microgreens.

You are going to love this, I promise! Be sure to check back. I am going to ask Noel of Aaronap Cellars for wine matching advice.

And here I am about to try the dish during my cooking demo video. Not nearly as fun as doing the demos live at the market, but I do get to feature products from our meat and seafood vendors when cooking at home. A silver lining. Maybe I’ll keep doing some home ones even when live demos are allowed again.

Grilled Steak: From Frozen to Fabulous!

With our market day falling on July 4th this year, I wanted to remind people that you can cook steak right from frozen, an important bit of news since the steak you buy from Lilac Hedge Farm comes frozen. FYI – you probably know, but pre-made burgers can be cooked from frozen, too. And, for chicken from frozen in a hurry, buy wings, thighs, and/or drumsticks and pop them, still in their packaging, into cold water from the tap, refreshing the water every 30 minutes, and they should defrost enough to work with within an hour or so.

There now, be sure to get your July 4th barbecue meats from Lilac Hedge Farm this or any Saturday during our market season. 🙂

For more background about grilling steak from frozen, see my 2018 post:

For a recent video of a steak being grilled from frozen, click HERE. You will also see a few shots of both my husband, the grill master, and my dog, who is very cute.

The baste ingredients

As promised in the video, here is the recipe I use to create a nice baste for steak. Why baste? Because you’ll have a hard time getting a rub to stick on frozen steak. 😉

But first, the grilling instructions: heat grill to high (375-400) and put steak (sans packaging, of course!) on the low part of the grill and cook, grill lid down, for 5 minutes. Flip, baste, and cook covered for another 5 minutes. Flip onto top rack, baste, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Check temperature, then cover and cook in three minute increments until it is done the way you like it. As you can see by this picture taken after the video was made, we like it very rare.

Yes, we like our steak rare!

Okay, the baste: To a tablespoon of melted butter, add about a 1/4 teaspoon each cooking (unsweetened) cocoa, Penzeys Season Salt, Penzeys Quebec Beef Spice, and crushed rosemary. I use a suribachi for the latter. Then, see how it tastes and adjust as needed. OR, just use salt and pepper, or whatever seasoning you like. You can also use olive or another type of oil as the menstruum.

If you want to cook your steak indoors, you can use the same method, not covering during the high sear part and using the oven for the final roasting to temperature.

And that’s it – quick and easy!

Ground Pork and Veggie Casserole with Kousa Squash Crust

The ingredients
The ingredients

“I’m not hungry so I’ll just have a bite” were my husband’s last words before finishing off the entire portion. I guess it’s a keeper. 🙂

This week, I wanted to highlight in-season Kousa squash, tomatoes, and spinach from Farmer Dave’s, the fabulous locally grown organic mushrooms from Fat Moon Mushrooms via our vendor Neighbor’s Acre Farm, as well a product from our meat farmer Lilac Hedge Farm. I went with ground pork for the latter, but their ground pork, turkey, or sausage (sans casings) would work just as well.

Click HERE to see the recipe that inspired me, and the source of the tasty zucchini crust, and click HERE to watch the “not live at the market” cooking demo video.

Ground Pork and Veggie Casserole with Kousa Squash Crust

  • 2 cups shredded or grated Kousa, (or summer or zucchini squash)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar (or cheese(s) of  choice), divided between crust and filling
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 pound ground pork, (or beef, sausage, (no casings), or turkey)
  • 1-2 Tbsp oil to sauté veggies
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, fresh, sliced =  4 cups once chopped, 6 oz)
  • 1 cup chopped squash,  then 4-6 oz fresh spinach, and two medium to largish tomatoes, finely chopped
  • cooking spray or vegetable oil of choice
The casserole closeup

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and lightly coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray or oil.

Place grated zucchini in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and toss. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Add eggs, parmesan cheese and half of the shredded cheese (s) to a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside.

Squeeze out moisture from the squash with paper or dish towel. Add to egg and cheese mix and stir to combine. Press, as evenly as possible, into your prepared pan. Feel free to use your hands! Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.

Check out that bottom crust!

In the meantime, cook ground meat in a medium (12” works) frying pan until no longer pink. Remove from pan and drain if needed. In same pan, add oil as needed and sauté onion, squash, and mushrooms over medium heat until just tender. Add spinach and tomatoes. Add back the cooked ground pork and mix. Put mixture onto the now-baked squash crust in the 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 minutes longer, until heated through. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!