Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Simple pasta recipe: Summer squash, shells and clams. Superfoods from the farm stand and shelf to the plate in under a half hour.

Superfoods from the farm stand and shelf to plate:  a healthy, simple pasta recipe with summer squash, shells and clams

Superfood Supper in UNDER a HALF HOUR!

Harvest Time

The bounty of harvest is ours to enjoy.

My husband came home with a farm stand find.

Like the T.V. show Chopped where you get a "mystery basket of ingredients" to cook; my husband came home with his farm stand finds and I was to prepare it.

This is what my husband came home with.

And this is what I did with it.

Farm stand Finds:

Zucchini and Yellow Squash or Summer Squash

photo of farm stand finds can of clam, lemon, zucchini, yellow squash, tomato/marvelousmusings
FARM STAND FINDS AND OFF THE SHELF TO PLATE:  shells with summer squash and clams

How to make a simple pasta dish:



redcushed pepper (to taste)
olive oil
6 cloves garlic peeled
3 zucchini
3 yellow squash
one plum tomato
1 can of chopped clams in clam juice
1 pound of medium shaped shells pasta


Whenever I prepare a pasta dish, I always get the water boiling first and foremost.  Sometimes that can take up most of the time of preparing a meal--just waiting for the water to boil.  I rather have the water boiling and waiting for me then to have all of your vegetables chopped--and you have to sit and wait for water to boil.

Take a large frying pan and drizzle a bit of Extra Virgin Olive oil into the pan.  Pour just enough to barely coat the pan.

Peel the garlic and cut off the tips but leave the cloves intact.  Put peeled garlic cloves in the cold pan and oil.  Start on medium-low heat heating up pan, oil and garlic.  As that is slowly heating up together; start chopping your summer squash.

I cut my zucchini and yellow squash in quarter rounds you can see a tutorial here.

Heating Garlic:

heating garlic for shells with clams, tomato, zucchini and yellow squash/marvelousmusings
Garlic and olive oil...this garlic turned to candy!

When the color of the garlic has changed add the chopped vegetables.  Keep temperature on medium-low heat.

Once the zucchini, squash and tomato are in the pan give it a good shake but do not stir or touch the veggies.  They should be laying pretty evenly in the pan and just let them cook the way they are.

The best part is having them be raw on one side and caramelized on the other.   Soft and crunchy;  yet crispy and mushy all at the same time.

After a few minutes when you can "hear" it cooking and start to sizzle, add  a few pats of grass-fed butter.  (Cooking appeases all the senses!)  I use Kerrygold because I think the taste is fantastic and a little goes a LONG way in flavoring the dish.  [****I am NOT affiliated with them in any way.]

Truth be told:  I walked away from the stove while cooking and upon my return I thought it had burned.  But I still didn't stir or touch or poke the vegetables.  I just let it cook only on one side.  

If you must do something to "feel" like you are cooking simply shift or turn the pan but try not to disrupt the veggies.  The top of the vegetables should still look raw.

If you must, turn over one tiny piece of the quarter-round zucchini piece to check to see if it's browned on the bottom.  If it is then lower tempeture to lowest setting and still just let it be.

Boil the Pasta:

Add pasta to water and cook according to package directions.  I like my pasta al dente; more firm then soft.  So that usually means a shorter cooking time.  My package said 11 minutes and I set the timer to 8 minutes and started testing at 9 minutes.

Drain pasta and return it to the pan you boiled it in.

Pour the zucchini, squash and garlic mixture over the pasta.

Once you "flip" the veggies onto the pasta you should notice all the caramelized yumminess.

photo of caramelized summer squash with shell pasta/marvelousmusings

Then add the can of clams: 

Caramelized summer squash with clams and shell pasta/marvelousmusings

Use a big spooon or a rubber spatula to gently incorporate all the ingredients.

Serve in a shallow bowl with fresh parmesan cheese, red crushed pepper and a squirt of lemon.

Summer squash with shells and clams, zucchini, tomato, superfood supper in under half hour/marvelousmusings

This dish was an absolute hit!  The zucchini and squash was totally caramelized on one side and "raw" on the other.  It was both crunchy and soft and sweet, and the added bit of lemon gave it just enough tang. 

The shell-shaped pasta was perfect for catching a clam and a bit of vegetable.  Each bite was filled with a different combination of clam-to-veggie ratio.

The garlic cloves were toasted and crunchy on one side and roasted-candy-like on the other.

The clams and zucchini and "candied" garlic are all sweet.  I thought the lemon off-set it magically and made it feel like a beachy, summer meal.

Not only was this delicious and nutritious; but the best part?

It took under a HALF hour to prepare.

A quick simple meal with "superfoods," that is both s
atisfying and delicious.

What is a Superfood?

According to GOOGLE:

plural noun: superfoods
  1. 1.
    a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.

Health Benefits of Clams: 

    Clams are considered to be a lean protein rich in potassium and B-12. Clams also provide a rich source of iron.
  • Low iron can result in lethargy and fatigue.  Iron deficiency is a common nutritional deficiency and can lead to anemia.
  • Potassium aides in counterbalancing the effects of sodium in the body and may help regulate blood pressure and may aid in the prevention of strokes.
  • Vitamin B-12:  Drugs for acid reflux, diabetes and aging interfere with the body's ability to absorb this vital nutrient. Vitamin B-12 is associated with energy production and healthy nerves.  Some signs of a vitamin B-12 deficiency can include: nausea, numbness or tingling in hands and feet, heart palpitations, fatigue, sore tongue and gums, brain fog, depression and memory loss.

Is a zucchini a squash or squash a zucchini?


From what I can see there are not that many differences beside the color of squash and zucchini.  Zucchini usually refers to the green and they can both be referred to as "summer squash."

I always choose any vegetable on the small and young size.  I find the bigger more monstrous ones tend to be seedy and fibrous.  The smaller are usually more tender and delicate.

Zucchini and yellow squash is a superfood because it is packed with nutrients.

Health benefits summer squash:

  • it is filled with vitamin c (good to eat with the clams which are high in iron and the vitamin c promotes absorption of iron.) 
  • a rich source of manganese: a mineral that can help slow down the effects of osteoporosis. 
  • hydrating (good for a hot summer meal.)

Tomato and lemon: more vitamin C to help in the absorption of the iron in the clams.

Filling and satisfying. Tasty,nutritious and delicious.



Serve with a tossed salad for even more veggies.

Summer squash with shells and clams, tomato superfood supper in under half hour/marvleousmusings
From Farm stand and shelf to plate:  Superfood summer squash with shells and clams

A surprise challenge that was well worth it!

They say there is a certain elegance to simplicity. Also deliciousness....

Have you found anything good at a farm stand?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Give it a shot! Must try Margarita-beer cocktail

How do you like your drinks?

The weather has been unseasonably cool making summer living al fresco more bearable.  The "dogs" don't seem to be suffering, thankfully.  The heatwave has broken and we are back at trying to enjoy the season.

That means more time grilling, eating and drinking outdoors.  What better time to do my research on margarita-beer.


I like ice.  I like putting ice in my beverages.

Apparently this puts me in the same league as the people of Thailand, mayor of NYC Michael Bloomberg and celebrity chef/food network star Anne Burrell --who adds ice to her Prosecco (which is a sparkling white wine) and calls it "big girl soda."

Upon my research I came to the conclusion that putting ice in certain liquids seems to cause quite a stir in some people.  

I really do not know why people get angry about how another person enjoys their food or drink.  I saw one comment that said it was "barbaric" to put ice in beer.  Barbaric?  Why would someone care if i put ice in my beverage?  Why the visceral reaction?  I'm drinking or eating it and tasting it…its my preference.  Why would someone care?  

Anyway, sorry about that.  I have decided to be proud about my preference for icy libations.  

I have to admit:  Before I saw that other people were enjoying their drinks the way they choose I had already declared the year 2013 the year I would drink MY drink the way I like it.  If I wanted ice in my wine or beer I was doing it.  (I'm that kind of rebel.)  When I saw that other people were doing the same my feelings were only validated.

What is a Beer Margarita?

Earlier in the summer I was musing on beer margaritas or beer-a-ritas and promised to research the notion.  Once again, something that I thought was so new, so innovative is actually something quite traditional.

Enter the Michelada, which according to wikipedia is basically a prepared Mexican and Latin American cocktail that is made of beer, lime juice, sauces and spices served over ice.  It is often used as a hangover cure.

A margarita is basically tequila and lime juice served over ice in a salted rimmed glass.

So what happens when you combine the two?

margarita beer cocktail marvelousmusings
Margarita-beer cocktail/MarvelousMusings

 Can you say "refreshing"?

How to make a Margarita-Beer cocktail or Beer-a-rita:

Here's what we did:

1 Bottle of Dos Equis beer
1 shot of Patron Silver tequilla
1 salted-rimmed cup filled with ice
fresh lime juice
lime slices

Pour the shot over the ice then add the bottle of beer.  Add fresh lime juice to taste.  There's no need to even stir because the effervescence of the beer does all the work.  Just sit back and delight.

Margarita beer cocktail photo of limes patron tequila dos equis
Margarita-beer cocktail

Sitting al fresco, watching the sunset turned out to be a perfect summer evening.  

photo of sunset for while sipping a margarita beer cocktail marvelous musings

The breeze blowing just enough to keep the gnats and no-see-ums at bay.  Sipping this marvelous cocktail made me feel quite genteel.  How can that be barbaric?

How do you take your drinks?  Do you ice it, too?

P.S.  Yes, on occasion I have put ice in my milk.

And just for the heck of it:

Let me know if you give it a shot!

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