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Italian Squash


Chef Lee Gross is visiting Los Angeles from New York.  He's a consulting chef for M Cafe, a macrobiotic restaurant with several locations in Los Angeles.  He's making a raw zucchini salad dressed with pesto using several varieties: Magda (also called Mexican), cocozelle (an Italian heirloom variety), yellow crookneck and traditional green.  

Zucchini “Noodles”with Basil-Almond Pesto

Serves 6 – 8 as a side dish

1.5 lbs (approximately) of green zucchini, Yellow Crookneck squash,Mexican zucchini, Italian Heirloom zucchini, or any summer squash you have!

1/4 cup (or more) of Basil-Almond Pesto (recipe follows), or your favorite pesto recipe.
1/4 cup (or more) extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (preferably from the wonderful Eureka lemons grown by Schaner Farms)
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tablespoons almonds, roasted and chopped
2 Tablespoons sundried tomatoes (in olive oil), drained and julienned (or use one small fresh tomato, seeded and chopped

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Italian parsley and basil for garnish

Using a sharp knife or slicing tool (such as a Japanese “Benriner”-brand slicer), cut long, thin “noodles” from the squash.  Alternatively, you could simply slice the squashes into thin “discs”, or use a peeler to create thin “ribbons”.

Combine “noodles” with remaining ingredients and toss well to combine.

Serve immediately, or chill. 

M Café’s Basil-Almond Pesto
Makes approximately 2 cups

1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon almonds, roasted
1 tsp flax seeds
2 tsp yellow miso
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 lb fresh basil leaves, washed well and dried
1 cup, packed arugula leaves, washed well and dried
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for storage)
Combine garlic, almonds, flax seeds, miso, sea salt and lemon juice in food processor and pulse five or six times to combine.

Add basil and arugula leaves and process until ingredients are just combined.

With motor running, drizzle in olive oil in a steady stream.

Scrape from food processor into a small storage container and drizzle a small quantity of olive oil on surface of pesto to keep from browning. Cover and refrigerate for up to a week.


Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farm has multiple kinds of heirloom garlic.  This time of year, garlic cloves are sweet and tender. 

Rick Bayless’ Slow Roasted Garlic Mojo (Mojo de Ajo)

Makes about 3 cups mojo de ajo (made with 2 cups of oil)

4 large heads garlic or 10 oz (about 1 3/4 cups) peeled garlic cloves
2 or 3 cups fruity olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Break the heads of garlic apart, then mash each clove (a fist against the side of a knife is what I do) to release the clove from its papery skin; if using already-peeled garlic, scoop the cloves into a heavy plastic bag and use a rolling pin to mash them slightly. 

Stir together the garlic, oil and salt in an 8x8-inch baking pan (make sure all the garlic is submerged), slide it into the oven and bake until the garlic is soft and lightly brown, about 45 to 55 minutes. 

Add the lime juice and return to the oven for 20 minutes for the garlic to absorb the lime and turn golden brown.  (If you’re using the larger quantity of oil, ladle off 1 cup—no garlic cloves—and store it in a cool dry place for use in salad dressing or sautéing.) 

Using an old-fashioned potato masher or large fork, mash the garlic into a coarse puree. Pour the mixture into a wide-mouth storage container and refrigerate it until you’re ready to enjoy some deliciousness. The mojo will last for up to three months as long as the garlic stays submerged under the oil.


On June 30 the Santa Monica Farmers Market is co-sponsoring a career fair with the Farmer Veteran Coalition.  It's at the Santa Monica Civic Center from 10 am - 4 pm.