It’s always bittersweet to bid adieu to summer. Even now without the anxiety of going back to school and losing days of freedom, every year it seems like the end of an era of fun. But I think what I’ll truly miss the most – since I’m not too sad about leaving the sweltering DC summer days behind – is the abundance of fresh summer produce. I could eat fresh picked tomatoes and basil for days, not to mention my obsession with zucchini, and then there’s the ripe juicy peaches, melons and berries. And while not technically “produce”, seafood is something I’ve come to love and associate with summer.
Alas, with every end comes a new beginning – and for produce that’s the lovely fall gourds that begin to emerge from the earth. Not just the decorating for Halloween kind, but the delicious soup-making and roasted veggies kind. While I don’t (yet) have quite the same love for fall squashes as I do for summer produce, I’m learning to cook and enjoy them slowly but surely.
To make my edible transition from summer to fall, last week I cooked a meal combining some of my favorites from the two seasons. I boiled a beautiful spaghetti squash that I picked up fresh from the White House Farmer’s Market and scraped out the insides to resemble spaghetti noodles (if you have not discovered the wonder of spaghetti squash – you are missing out!). For the sauce to top the squash “noodles” I sauteed chopped onions and mushrooms in olive oil with garlic and fresh chopped basil. Then I added Trader Joe’s Seafood Medley (a delightful mix of shrimp, calamari, and scallops) for a couple minutes before mixing in equal parts Trader Joe’s Pesto and heavy whipping cream. Although I didn’t have a recipe (and don’t have vast experience with cooking seafood), the sauce turned out PERFECT – creamy but not too heavy (I added just a bit of flour at the end to help thicken the sauce). On the side, I chopped up some heirloom cherry tomatoes I had just picked up from the farmer’s market and topped them with fresh basil (from our garden!) and some Herbs de Provence flavored feta (also from the farmer’s market) with a touch of olive oil.
Results? A divine farewell to summer and happy hello to fall!