The photo above is to show you the adorable patty pan squash in the rice dish. The dish is a result of my independence in cooking. There was a time that zucchini was an exotic vegetable, to me. I stuck to green beans, yellow potatoes, carrots and other basic vegetables. What do I mean by basic? The vegetables my Mom used to cook as did my Mother-in-Law.
The joke in our house comes up when I make a new dish or use a new ingredient and the husband says, “My mother made it differently,” meaning he never saw that dish, in his Mom’s home. There are times, we struggle to remember the food we ate, as kids and get stuck at the vegetables above plus corn, chicken, ground beef and salads with tomatoes and iceberg lettuce.
We come from another generation and the world was different. I was going to say, money was tighter but it is probably not true. My in-laws were comfortable (not at all rich – comfortable) and my parents struggled. Dad had a small business which meant sometimes, it was easy to get what we needed and at other times, without saying a word, my parents held back. I never felt those changes. At the time, I had no idea that money was not flowing. No one said a word. When I was an adult, my Dad filled me in and I bless both of them for allowing me a normal childhood without the stress of financial concerns.
Mom was a plain and simple cook and the food was nourishing and good. My mother-in-law was a disaster, bless her soul. My husband remembers burnt food or raw food. His grandmother and aunts were fabulous cooks so I don’t know what happened to the cooking gene, in his immediate family. His sister is also a really good cook.
As a family, we also have had our ups and downs but food was never affected. Since, I used to be a plain cook, also, I didn’t have even seasoning, in the house. Of course, if you had seen my first kitchen in our newlywed apartment, you would understand why we had very little. If I stood in the middle of this kitchen, I could almost touch all the walls. When I opened the oven, it would not open, all the way and bumped into the side of the refrigerator. I cooked in the dining room. Strangely enough, I had a large living room and dining area and worked in there.
We got to know our neighbors, above us, quite well because we could hear anything they said in the kitchen. It came through a shared vent. At night for years, we heard one shoe drop and could only envision someone with a disability. Nope, it was where a rug ended. One shoe on and one shoe off ………. Of course, they heard us also.
We did get to know each other and did become real friends. When we both moved out of our apartments, within the month, we moved a few blocks from each other. Our kids grew up together and went to the same school, for a number of years. They moved away and then we did and we have lost contact. My husband ran in to the other husband once when he was sent to the place mine works at , for a few days. They caught up on life.
My cooking expanded but I never bought something, I did not know, intimately. No butternut squash, no zucchini, no beets, no garlic………..no patty pan squash, not even fresh mushrooms. If it came in a can, it might be on my shelf, but little fresh vegetables other than potatoes and carrots.
The big change in my life was through blogging. After reading so many blogs and cookbooks and internet recipes and seeing certain words, over and over again, I decided to try some of them. Now, I am open to a lot of new items but still don’t want time-consuming recipes, if I can avoid it. I want, what I call the magic food which comes out tasty with a minimum of labor. I use little in prepared food, despite this, and have a refrigerator filled with fresh produce. A trip to the supermarket usually results in a new vegetable or fruit like the patty pans in this recipe.
When, I picked up a small package of the cutest patty pan yellow squash, I did not have a clue, how to make it but I knew, I was going to find out. For those of you, who are new to the patty pan squash, you can do almost anything to it, you do with other squash. Of course, I purchased these tiny ones and while they could have been stuffed with the rice, I decided to turn the dish into a main course and added other vegetable and sausage.
I was a little afraid of the squash because, I knew, it could not need much cooking and the other vegetables would take more time, but all I wanted to see was that adorable squash cooked and to taste it. I bought a package of about a dozen and cooked five of them, cutting them in half, horizontally. The above photo should give you an idea of the size.
I brought home another new item, yellow pear tomatoes and had to use them right away to see what they were like so I made a two-tone tomato salad to go with the rice and sausage.
As far as the rest of the dish, I had no idea what was going to be in it. Whatever, I found in the refrigerator, was going to add to the flavor of this dish. Actually that is how one sausage and one hot dog got added. I found 3/4′s of a red pepper and chopped it up, four scallions (both white and green), fresh cauliflower which I broke into small pieces.
This was going to be a stir-fry with very little oil. I used about 2 teaspoons olive oil and cooked up the food in that. If it is moved around, it works well without a lot of fat. I wanted some browning on the vegetables.
Patty Pan Rice with Sausage
2 cups cooked brown rice
6 small patty pan squash
1 1/2 cups cauliflower broken into small florets
4 scallions, snipped
3/4 red pepper, chopped
1/4 green pepper, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil (more if needed)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon 5 spice Chinese seasoning
up to 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in large skillet. While it is heating, slice the sausage into 1/4 inch pieces. Brown these for few minutes, until you can see they are cooked. I like them to slightly crisp up. Remove from pan.
Put all the chopped vegetables into pan. If you think, at this point, there is not enough olive oil, add some more. The cauliflower takes longer to cook but we like it almost raw. If you want it cooked, put that in first and cook for a few minutes, then add the other vegetables.
Add to the rice in the bowl or saucepan, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, Chinese seasoning, honey, salt and pepper. Mix it thoroughly through the rice and then add the rice to the vegetables, mixing so you have different vegetables throughout the rice. Go ahead, taste that patty pan squash. These are also called scallop squash. Look at the pretty scallops around the outside of the squash.
If you do use patty pan, please let me know, how you like it. We enjoyed it and I am looking forward to using the other half of the package.
This fed the two of us but by that, I mean, I ate one quarter of it and the man of the house ate three-quarters.