My Food Journey

13.5 Pound Marina di Chioggia

This is a 13.5 pound ‘Marina di Chioggia’ squash from Willow Creek that I bought at the co-op this last Friday. I was going to cut it up and cook it tonight, but I’ve become too attached to it. I think I’ll let it live on my table for a week or so so I can contemplate it for a while.

The ‘Marina di Chioggia’ is an Italian heirloom squash from the Seaside town of Chioggia, near Venice. Chioggia is also the ancestral home of the striped pink and white Chioggia Beet – perhaps I should try to combine them in one dish! The ‘Marina di Chioggia’ is mentioned in Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, but beyond that I can’t find a whole lot of information on it. While touring Italy, she found one at a roadside vegetable stand. The man assured her that is was the best tasting squash in existence. In Europe, squashes this big would probably be sold by the slice. I’ll have to either give some away, or maybe freeze some of the puree……

This is the small garden that I recently dug and planted in the back yard. I am a renter, so it was hard to make the decision to plant a garden – but I feel like growing food is something everyone should know how to do, and how are you going to know how if you never practice? Certainly this is a humble beginning, but one has to start somewhere, right?

The center circle is a pretty densely planted bed of salad greens: heirloom lettuces, arugula, etc. Around the outside I planted garlic, and some carrots. Today I put in a few tiny Red Russian Kale plants, and one little curly parsley.

One of the great things about Humboldt’s mild coastal climate is that gardening is feasible all year long. If all goes well, I’ll have fresh salad in January! For a Wisconsin girl, this seems like a miracle indeed.

Last night I made my first ever batch of roasted tomatillo salsa. We eat a lot of store bought green salsa, and I wanted to see how hard it would be to make some myself.

I bought a bunch of tomatillos at the farmers market, peeled them and put them on a cookie sheet with a local Sweet Italian Red Pepper, garlic, and a Cayenne pepper (all of which happened to be in the fridge.) I turned the oven on broil and roasted the veggies on a rack very close to the heat. When they started to char a little, I took them out and put everything in the food processor (minus the top of the pepper, and the garlic skins.) I added fresh lime juice, salt, vinegar, and pureed it. Delicious!

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