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What's Up in Windsor - August 2016 - Tina Castelli

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What's Up in Windsor - August 2016 - Tina Castelli

by Tina Castelli

Summer time is here and the farmers in Sonoma County are bursting with fresh fruits and veggies. Now is the best time to buy direct from your local farmers by shopping at Farmers Markets or roadside farm stands at least once a week. Keep fresh produce in the Frig for meals as well as healthy quick snack choices for kids. 

This summer vegetable may be at the end of the alphabet but it’s at the front of our minds this time of year when we are cooking outdoors. Zucchini as it is commonly called has many varieties. Since we are talking cooking and eating let’s talk about the variety considered to be the best tasting of all zucchini, Costata Romanesco (Cucurbita pepo). Cosata Romanesco is actually an heirloom summer squash variety that originated in Rome, Italy. This medium gray-green squash with pale green flecks has a nutty rich flavor, a distinctively ribbed texture and is delicious raw or cooked. Also called Courgette Romanesco, courgette is French for small squash and courge means squash or marrow. The best thing about this amazing squash is that the texture does not change even when it gets large. We all know that most large zucchini get thrown in the compost pile because they get tough or turn watery or grow big seeds inside. But, not Romanesco, the texture remains consistent with firm yellow flesh perfect for grilling, stuffing or using in a frittata, quiche or lasagna. Romanesco looks amazing when sliced in medallions that look like little cartwheels and grilled or sautéed with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, it almost melts in your mouth. Romanesco is a rare squash that has great flavor when dried too. Try harvesting when they are small with the flower still attached and serve whole as an appetizer. They can be baked, grilled, steamed, stewed, roasted, stir fried or eaten raw.

Although many farmers are growing this popular variety, I learned everything I know about the Romanesco Squash from Rick Krout from Krout’s Sunset Ranch. He comes to Windsor Farmers Market every Sunday with his beautiful selection of Romanesco in all sizes in addition to a selection of garlic, potatoes and melons in late summer. He has so much knowledge about his squash and garlic selection. Rick enjoys sharing a little sliver to taste while he tells you about the variety and how it grows on his property in Sebastopol, property that has been farmed by his wife’s family for over 75 years. Stop by the Windsor Market and meet this interesting farmer/former Deputy Sheriff and learn about the food you eat. One of my favorite recipes is fried zucchini, here is a healthy baked version everyone will love.

Zucchini Fries

Makes approx. 3 dozen

Ingredients: 2 zucchini, 1 egg white, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs and Vegetable cooking spray

Directions: Preheat oven to 425°. Cut zucchini into 4-inch sticks. Whisk an egg white in a small bowl, and add milk. Combine Parmesan and seasoned breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Dip zucchini sticks into egg mixture, and then roll in breadcrumb mixture. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, and place zucchini on sheet. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown.

Save the Date 15th Annual Zucchini Blossom Festival, August 28th, at the Windsor Farmers Market, 10-1, Windsor Town Green. Kidz make Zuke/fruit Smoothies with hand crank Blenders & the famous Bicycle Blender from Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition, Giant Zuke Contest, Decorated Veggie Contest, Zuke Car Races – prizes and ribbons, plus fun balloon art with Ooops the Clown. Savor Mimosas & Bloody Mary’s with the Windsor Chamber and buy a book from the Windsor Friends of the Library Book Sale. This is a Free Event and fun for the whole family.