Monday, August 5, 2013

Farmville ... in 3D

Guest entry by Jo Pavlov
I am embarrassed to admit that a lot of what I know about identifying mystery vegetables and knowing when something is ripe, I learned from Farmville.  Yes, Farmville, that stupid Facebook video game that sucked up a couple of years of my life awhile back.  In it, you plant virtual crops, and harvest them when the time is right.  You can watch them grow, and although it's cartoony, you get the gist.
I'm sure Linda is rolling her eyes right now, aching back, dirty hands, sweaty brow... in from harvesting REAL veggies, wondering what in the hell that Jo is on about.  :)  Hey, this former city girl has come a LONG way!!  Not only can I take a stab at identifying these mystery foods, but I actually EAT THEM!  A far cry from that kid... I mean teen...  I mean twenty-something... I mean thirty-something... who was afraid of anything other than potatoes and carrots.
Speaking of which, I turned 41 last week.  You are NEVER too old to try new things.

So today I found something in my basket that was a bit of a mystery to me.  I think I heard Linda use the term "summer squash" when I picked it up, but I don't remember exactly.  I was separating out my veggies, and I ran to the computer to google "pattypan squash" to see if, indeed, my life's lessons from Farmville in 2010 did me well.  Indeed, that's what it was!  And I'd never seen it before in non-cartoony form, never mind eaten it.

I used the trusty ol' mandoline slicer to slice it up (not sure if you were supposed to go vertically or horizonally, so I did both.  Making rounds is better), added some of Linda's tomatoes and onions, and some store bought asparagus and decided to try grilling.  I've had some success on my grill with asparagus, but I was a bit scared of the squash and the consistency of it, so I cracked out an old cookie sheet.  Good thing it was old, as the BBQ kind of toasted it, but ... mmmm... the veggies came out fantastically!  I had put them in a large gallon baggie, drizzled oil on them (I don't even have olive oil... I think it was just canola, but it was fine... I'm no oil snob) and sprinkled on a generous helping of a seasoning I love called "Borsari".  God only knows what's in it, but it's salty and delicious.  Shook up the bag until everything was coated, and fired up the grill.  Sizzled them on the sheet on the BBQ and browned a few on the side to give grill marks.


I was on vacation the last few weeks with my sister and we road tripped through California.  We drove the width of the state through Fresno, and through some of the most interesting farmland I've ever seen.  It was miles and miles and endless miles of fruit trees in what was otherwise a desert.  A few I recognized from Farmville (I know, I know...) Hey!  That's peach!  Or limes!  OMG Lime trees!  It was so bizarre. 
The food in California blew my ever loving mind.  Every single meal seemed better than the one before it, and my sister and I kept commenting on how good vegetables are when you are a stone's throw from where it was grown.  At one point, she was eating what she said was the best avacado of her life, and when we got back in the car and put on the radio, an ad came on saying, "Have you ever wondered why California avacados are so delicious??"  It was hilarious... we both yelled, "YES" as the radio!
I get squicked out by peach fuzz, but I ate an entire peach in San Francisco, including the peel and sucked the stone dry it was so delicious.  And me -- the person who is *terrified* of fruits and vegetables triggering one of my lifelong stomachaches... went two and a half weeks without a single bout of pain.  It was downright miraculous. 
I'm feeling more daring since I've been home, and just polished off SEVERAL of those rounds of squash, and I keep saying "pattypan" out loud to myself, because the word amuses me, and I'm so glad I finally got to try it.  Mmmm.  Pattypan.


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