Skip to content
May 9, 2013 / theyellowbungalowla

A special meal created by a friend…

A special meal created by a friend...

As someone who loves to eat, I’m always inspired by what I see being enjoyed around me, whether it’s at one of the finest restaurants in town or at a friend’s house. Each Thursday, I feature a story about someone who is inspiring me through their food. Today, I share a meal my friend Lizzie made after we toured the farmers market together. Lizzie has cooked a little here and a little there, but recently she began cooking on the regular, and has even started a garden full of veggies to harvest and cook for her family. It’s inspiring to witness a friend who has found joy in food, in the discovery of how it’s grown, experimenting with new flavors, and finally, sharing this experience with their loved ones. With just a little bit of effort, confidence, and faith, I believe anyone can create a nice meal, one that starts with immediate nourishment and can lead to real conversation and connection and indeed, a more delicious life.

Food is love!

As we wandered the farmers market together, a beautiful display of squash caught Lizzie’s eye. I explained that the round, softball sized squash is often referred to as “8-ball zucchini,” and that it’s a great vehicle for stuffing. I’ve stuffed this squash with veggies and cheese, rice and beans; Nyesha Arrington, chef at Wilshire Restaurant (http://wilshirerestaurant.com/), recently told me that she stuffs her 8-ball zucchini with braised lamb. Whoa…yum!! Upon hearing this, Lizzie needed no further convincing; she bought a couple squash to take home with her.

We also spotted a table overflowing with different varieties of cauliflower, including the purple variety (sometimes called “graffiti”), as well as the geometrically-shaped “romanesco” variety (seen here in the front: it’s a vibrant shade of green). Lizzie and I both agreed that our favorite way to cook cauliflower is to roast it; the oven turns it into something sweet and caramelized, with a lovely flavor and buttery texture. She grabbed one of each variety: white, purple, and green, and we continued on through the market.

Sharing the farmers market with a friend is as rewarding for me as it is for the friend who’s joined me. I’m reminded of how much I’ve gained from my weekly trips, from learning different varieties of cauliflower to being able to gauge the seasonality of a particular item, not to mention how much I’ve learned by cooking with (and eating) the treasures I find there! And when I go with a friend, I get to experience the market through their eyes, see what catches their attention, and learn how certain foods elicit memories about their childhood, a vacation they’ve taken, or a special meal they experienced. It’s a unique way to get to know your friends on a deeper level.

The picture above is of a dinner Lizzie made with her “market loot:” 8 ball zucchini stuffed with onions, lentils, tomatoes, and the zucchini insides, topped with parmesan, and served with a side of roasted cauliflower. Yummm!!! I’m guessing that she sauteed the scooped out zucchini with onion and tomato to sweat out the water and concentrate the flavors, then added the lentils and maybe some herbs. Top with parmesan and bake until the zucchini is soft and the filling is piping hot. And while the recipe-followers out there are probably asking, “Where’s the recipe?,” I would encourage you to be as adventurous as Lizzie and find inspiration in what you find at the farmers market near you. A little flavor (onion or garlic) mixed with the zucchini and maybe another veggie (she used tomatoes, could also add carrot, celery, greens like spinach or kale), a starch (rice is a good one, also quinoa or bulgar) and a protein (lentils here, beans would be great, also bacon or sausage or another flavorful meat if you like), top with cheese (because who doesn’t love a little cheese?), and voila!, you’ve got a delicious, seasonal, inspired dinner to share with your loved ones.

And if you insist, I did search for a couple of recipes for 8-ball zucchini from other blogs to use as inspiration:

Here is a great pic of stuffed 8-ball zucchini from “the Kitchn.” It looks like it could be stuffed with beans and rice.
http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-roundup-stuffed-8ball-z-90546

This link, from “Simply Whole Kitchen,” also shows you what the squash looks like before you cut it open and start stuffing it!
http://www.simplywholekitchen.com/2011/06/recipe-stuffed-8-ball-squash.html

Lastly, I couldn’t resist sharing this one from “Soup Belly,” as the name alone had me intrigued, and the picture of their dish is beautiful!
http://soupbelly.com/2009/08/06/8-ball-zucchini/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: