Last month I told you about my wonderful partnership with FRESHFARM markets. I visited the Dupont Circle market made Mango Lassi and other delicious recipes using yogurt found at the market. This week, we are visiting a different market, the H Street market. The tiny market is filled with summer squashes and even has stalls selling freshly baked breads and relishes.

I met a wonderful man named Chef John Payne.

He owns and operates a company called Shells Yes! and sells the most delightful crab cakes I have ever eaten. His story is inspiring. He tells me he was down and out on his luck with less than a few dollars left to his name and a new baby on the way. He decided to star selling some soup at a local market and started having a little bit of success. Then he got a stall at FRESHFARM markets and his products began to fly off the shelf. After tasting the crab cakes, I can tell you why: they are delicious. Our whole family just loved them.

Of course, there were summer squashes and I think I purchased most of them!

A farmer also introduced me to “frying peppers” – “Pan fry them gently and then season with salt and serve..” So I did and they tasted gentle with a kindness not offered by most types of peppers that I usually use.

All the squash I purchased is easily used in this simple recipe where I season it with cumin, ginger and loads of fresh lemon juice. Served with crab cakes, mulberries, and fried peppers, it is a perfect way to serve summer on a plate.

Pan-Fried Zucchini and Yellow Squash with Cumin

From Modern Spice by Monica Bhide. Simon & Schuster, 2009

Monica’s Note – I adapted this dish by adding ginger along with the cumin seeds and adding all the different types of squash I found at market including the Zephyr Squash that you see in the lead photo of this story.

Serves 4

Prep/Cook time: 15 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 small yellow squash, diced
  • 1/2 organic red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • Table salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds. When the seeds begin to sizzle, add the zucchini, squash, and bell pepper.

2. Fry the vegetables over high heat until they soften and begin to brown, 8 to 9 minutes.

3. Add the turmeric and chile flakes and cook for another minute, until the spices are well mixed with the vegetables. Stir in salt to taste.

4. Serve hot, sprinkled with lemon juice and serve

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