Crooked

I took these photos on the 31st August, I want to try to capture the Crookneck Squash growing under a dense canopy of broad green leaves, capture a glimpse of the bright yellows under the leaves. Capture a glimpse of what is to come.

Both me and my camera struggled, me on my knees bending and seeking a shot, bright sunshine all around then peering into the dark and under the canopy. Trying to focus on a particular flower or bud in amongst the jungle-jumble of leaves.

I wanted to capture a moment.

I’ve been waiting for these Summer Squash, ALL summer. It has taken them from sometime in mid June when I planted them to finally flower and produce fruit in September.

September means we are on the cusp of the last throes of Summer and the early sightings of Autumn. The seasons are changing and things are slowly moving on. Chatting with a friend at the weekend she said she felt like she is still waiting for summer to happen, I know how she feels. Just as I’m getting there the seasons are telling me other things. The first cool morning on Friday, sitting on the doorstep drinking tea I needed a fleece; Saturday a party and barbecue at a friend’s beach hut with a cool wind was blowing on the beach, meant I huddled under a mohair blanket for part of the afternoon, thinking I could do with a flask of soup not a salad. As the evening approached and I tucked into a fruit salad I thought us Brits are a tough old bunch!

The evenings are drawing in, the tides are at their highest and lowest exposing the shipwrecked Amsterdam, it is barely visible at other times of year, but around the equinox we see it. And as the equinox approaches I know change is around the corner.

I not sure if I’m ready for change, I haven’t had those prolonged hot days of summer, I’m not sure if I’m ready for dank autumn days or short cold-snappy winter days. It doesn’t feel right somehow.

Who knows what Autumn and Winter will bring, the plot needs a huge amount of work, a good thorough clean up and change around. More work needs to be sought. Maybe even a holiday thought of and planned. You see more change!  Right now all these changes are making me feel uncertain and in part overwhelmed. So many things To Do. Decisions To Be Made.

The first decision needs to be to accept change, no matter what I do, sow or plant, harvest or cook the seasons are changing.

Today is a bright sunny blue sky day, without my sunglasses I squint into the sun as I sip my morning tea. The sun is weaker, lower, giving a different kind of light. It all feels a bit crooked. Topsy-turvey if you will.

Maybe we’ll have an Indian Summer? So three cheers for the last hurrahs of Summer, Summer Squash !

The last photo was taken on the 3rd of September three days after those first flowers emerged.

Crookneck Summer Squash ~ a warm salad for a warm evening

For a salad or side dish for two people use two to three small Summer Squash. Top and tail the squash, slice the long thin neck into rings and then slice the body lengthways into two and then again, then chop the slices into small chunks.

Peel and chop a clove of garlic, more if you like garlic

In a bowl add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a handful of chopped mint

Heat a frying pan with lots of olive oil, maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons full, when it is hot add the squash and fry and shake the squash for about 3 minutes, add the garlic and keep frying and shaking the pan until the squash and garlic are cooked – still crunchy but cooked and ever so slightly browned at the edges.

Add the squash, and the oil to the bowl of red wine vinegar and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Gently toss the squash so that all the oil, vinegar and herbs are mixed in. You can serve it straight away or leave to cool for 10 minutes, and eat it slightly warmed.

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60 thoughts on “Crooked

  1. Oh I just love the pretty flowers from squash plants! I have so many pumpkin flowers that I don’t even mind if I don’t get pumpkins (well, not too much), because I so enjoy the flowers late in the summer. Your pictures are beautiful!

  2. I cook summer squash the way you do but never thought to make it into a warm salad…great idea. The leaves on the trees here in Maine are starting to change, the nights are in the high 40′s F and I’m wearing jeans instead of shorts. In two weeks the tomato plants will be pulled, the flowering plants trimmed down, the docks pulled from the water and the cottage closed for the winter. Yes, the season is changing fast.

    • I’m very fond of warm salads Karen, I always seem to make lotts of them – whether it’s beans, or carrots or in this case squash.
      Oh gosh another summer over, and it all seem so soon, I’m sure it was only a couple of weeks ago that you moved to the cottage ! Well that’s how it seems to me !

  3. We definitely feel fall coming on strong here.. very cool nights and mornings. If only my garden had wonderful squash.. this bright sunny color would cheer up any day! Change is getting more and more difficult for me these days.. it seems I no longer crave the excitement of something new.. who’d have thought?! Excellent fresh recipe today, I’ll look for squash at our market:)xx Barb

    • I imagine it starts quite early where you are, I know here we are a little way off, but it’s starting, slowly, slowly it’s starting.
      I read your post this morning and it gave me some courage, thank you again ! Ithink I need to fix in on one thing and focus, focus, focus !

  4. I am making this recipe with the next summer squash I get, Claire. August has passed here without the start of our usual late summer heat, but we often get our warmest weather in September and the first week of October. Nevertheless, we see turning trees now and the days are noticeably shorter. Beautiful photos of the squash blossoms.

    • Hi Sharyn, I hope you like it. I enjoy adding vinaigrettes to warm food, it somehow seems to take on another flavour more easily.
      I was reading about California in September, it sounds an ideal time to me, warm enough still and with sunshine!

  5. It’s feeling topsy-turvey here, too…a few cool, dry days, followed by more heat, more cool, then back to hot and HUMID…
    My yellow squash is still throwing off the occasional fruit. I might get to try your salad before it shuts down for good!

    • Awww that’s lovely. maybe when I’m finished picking courgettes and beans in the garden, and the weather really turns I’ll embrace the changing season in abetter frame of mind and find some words and photos to describe it all.
      I guess that’s the big difference for you, having grown up in Boston and now living in Florida, no more dank and dark days for you !!

  6. We’re starting to feel the change in the air here too. Even when the days are hot, it cools off in the late afternoon. Even though we’ve had plenty of hot summery weather, it still feels like summer just slipped right through my fingers. Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday we were talking about our little seedlings?

  7. One good thing about the changing seasons is the reminder it affords us that time is indeed fleeting and PRECIOUS and deserving of savoring. It’s hard for me too, Claire, letting go these gentle soft days of summer. So we savor, squeezing every last juicy drop from them. And this recipe for golden summer squash, so simple, seems simply perfect!

  8. The photos of the crookneck squash are beautiful! I love the recipe and think it might go well with some other squash I still have in the garden. My crookneck didn’t do very well! I love the thoughts you’ve shared about the shift to fall. I’m not feeling altogether ready to embrace fall yet, but the shift in responsibilities that come with releasing summer are going to happen with or without making the necessary adjustments, so I’m doing some mental recalibrating and accepting change! I loved the little article on the Amsterdam! That must be an amazing thing to see each year, Claire!

    • Ah, Debra you always express things so well ” mental recalibrating” – that’s what I need to do, that and focus !! I get so easily distracted…….
      Pleased you liked the link, and like an idiot I didn’t have my camera with me, but to be honest the light was really fading as it was emerging. I nee dto check the tide timetbales to see when the next really low tide is and hope it’s in daylight hours! I’d love to do a post on it sometime as it’s a great story, and a real piece of history sitting there just off the beach !

  9. Lovely photos of those squash! Change is certainly in the air… today I noticed a slight tinge to the leaves all around us, and the heavy dew this morning made me think of autumn. I think we all feel a little melancholy and reflective at this time of year, but I am also looking forward to tidying up and reorganizing my garden. “A change is as good as a break”, as the saying goes!

  10. It does feel way too early for autumn, I’m still waiting for summer to arrive! Your photos of squash flowers are almost as good as a dose of summer sun though. I have some yellow squash just ready to harvest – so it’ll be a warm salad for tea tomorrow night.

  11. Gorgeous photos! And the recipe is perfect; easy, seasonal and paired with lots of flavorful ingredients! The lushness of summer is here!

  12. Gee, Claire. You may hae had to crawl to do it but your photos of the blossom are really beautifully shot. And you method of preparation is, for me, just perfect. With ingredients so fresh, a quick fry and simple dressing are all that’s needed. We are still in a summer weather pattern but it looks like we’re on the cusp. Cooler weather will be here by the weekend and we may not be this warm again for some time. :(

    • I think using the red wine vinegar works really well with the mint and the squash. I need to find some more recipes though.
      And aahhh that od cusp…. I just don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet John.

    • I’d recommend them to grow, they grow as a bush, quite big and the fruit are quite disntinct in flavour, not courgetty, but not a winter squash. You can see I’m struggling here to describe them can’t you !! regardless of taste they are beautiful to look at :)

    • Thank you Tandy, what made it mor ecomplicated was that I really couldn’t see much on the screen as I was taking and reviewing the photos, so I had to guess a bit! and it’s snowing< do you know I could skip autumn and go straight into snow :) Maybe that's me thinking back to last winter in France though !!

  13. You always take the most stunning photos. I feel like I am there in your garden. Loving the easy and yummy salad recipe. did you save any flowers for some other yummy recipes?
    On a very very side note, I need a quick consult on a bonzai tree… I would like to get some moss growing on it. How do I do that? BAM

    • How kind of you BAM, thank you ! I haven’t saved any flowers, I’m a bit useless at that, maybe next year :)
      Oh Bonsai are beautiful, I remember I bought one for my mum and we really enjoyed looking after it. they are quite particular though! Do you know the kind of tree? and I see your comment about Moss. I did used to have a book about Bonsai I’ll see if I still have it…..

      • LOL do I know the type of bonsai? I am still laughing because unlike you the professional gardener, I am still at…” those are pretty red flowers or pink flowers”. I am a bit weak in the area of gardening. I think growing some nice moss on the bottom of my bonsai tree would nice. Have a super day. BAM

    • Thank youTteresa, I’ll confess and tell you it was all a happy accident. as I washed them and popped them in the bowl for later, it was only when I took it outside to photograph that I realised that the glass bowl and the colour / shapes of the crookneck all worked together.

  14. Ahhh, I remember those old (northwest) days when the start of September meant autumn was just around the corner. Here in Tejas it’s a gift if we see it peering into the end of October. All the same, I enjoyed the ramble down memory lane!

  15. You did well photoing the squash…too bad someone wasn’t around to record the effort. Change is happening quickly on Maine’s midcoast, too, but I love the promise of the next couple of months with their added color and changing light.

    • Ha ha I’m pleased to say I was unseen – my big bum sicking up as I crawl on my hands iand knees is so far removed from an attractive sight !!
      The light certainly changes, I’ve noticed the difference in the shadows, they are getting longer

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