Whether we like it or not, Tucson is still in the thick of summer. That means warm temperatures, buzzing cicadas, and copious amounts of squash from the garden and farmer’s markets. In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, the book that I’m currently reading, Barbara Kingsolver (once a Tucsonan herself) explains what one might do with such mass quantities of zucchini: hide them in cookies, burry them in a dish named “disappearing zucchini orzo,” and hope that they don’t grow large enough to overtake your kitchen counters.
However frequent a visitor squash is this time of year, I still love it. I love it grilled with garlic and olive oil, I love it spiraled into “pasta,” and I even love it in cake. This versatile vegetable is high in nutrients and mild enough that it can be paired with almost anything.
While picking up my share from Tucson CSA this week, I asked Philippe about one of this week’s harvest items: Quelites. Philippe described quelites as a Mexican variety of spinach: just as bright and fresh as common spinach, but slightly more delicate. After thinking long and hard about how I could use these late summer greens, I came to the conclusion that they would work wonderfully in a pesto. A quelite-basil-pecan pesto tossed with local linguini and zucchini ribbons. Sometimes I take an idea and really run with it. The great thing about this pesto is that you can make a large quantity of it, use some of it for this dish, and freeze the rest for winter, when fresh herbs and greens aren’t so common.
Shelby Thompson is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona. When she isn’t working her day job, Shelby can be found practicing in the yoga studio, playing ball with her black lab Cola, and cooking in the kitchen. Her blog, thesunandthespoon.com, aims to provide nutritious, plant-based recipes for fellow food lovers. She greatly enjoys the wide array of local food and talent in Tucson.