There were fleas. Millions, it seemed. They loved my ankles. I suppose the outbreak was the last farewell from the foster dogs of winter and spring who nestled under our bed on the blankets from Morocco. We dragged every single modality of fabric from our house to the industrial washers up the road and watched the pesks drown in the suds while eating pizza by-the-slice and studying French verb conjugations on the linoleum. A grizzly looking man in worn denim took laps around the dryers selling yellow squash and strawberries from a wagon. Nancy Grace blared from a mounted television in the corner. Where had the time gone? A few years ago we spent every weekend at this laundromat playing out the same routine (sans fleas), dumping out the stink and work of our week and sorting it with the rest of the neighborhood. We felt like real “grown-ups” with our own washer and dryer when we moved to this place a year ago, the one we will say goodbye to in 10 days. Ten. In ten days I will have packed the car, thrown the tasseled cap, and baked through the last of the flour in the freezer. We’ll hand over the keys and take I-5 North for the last time, waving goodbye with big, big smiles to the coast that has truly held me together in more ways I could possibly repay it for. We’ll come back again, one day, but not soon. Not like this.
Folding the sheets, I hmmmm’d at Shaun… ”I think we need to do one more post before we leave.” Oatmeal seemed like a strange note to end on here. Of course, the saint that he is, agreed to whatever, whenever. Between the last exams, last bike rides, last get-togethers, last trips to goodwill… I wanted there to be tacos. Yellow squash seemed appropriate. And I wanted there to be music. I made you a mix to listen to while you make these. Songs from my story, our story, songs that maybe can become a part of yours. Sometimes I think a few minutes of lyric and instrument can say more about the swells of emotion that rise and fall during times like these better than I possibly could.
This is it folks. This is where the good stuff is. Swimming it all right now, arms stretched wide, lapping up the last bits of sweetness from this bowl of lessons. I feel it coming. Newness. So, so Happy. Ready.
Soft Shell Squash Tacos
Inspired by Suzie’s Farm
- 4-6 yellow crookneck squash
- 1 cup of fresh dill, minced
- 1 red onion, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- (optional:) chopped spinach or other green mix
- 2 cups masa harina
- 1 + cup hot water
- 1 tsp salt
For the tortillas, dissolve salt into the measured glass of warm water. Pour over the bowl of masa harnia slowly, stirring as you go. Mix until combined; smooth but not sticky. Knead/press into a ball. Cover, and let rest for as long as you can wait 30 min-2hrs.
In the meantime, cut squash into small diced bits. Combine with minced red onion and shallot over medium heat with the olive oil and vinegar. Coat and stir until you get a bit of steam going, about 3-4 minutes, tops. Remove from heat, mix in dill, mustard, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
Back to the tortillas. Layout a few (2-3) sheets of parchment paper and fetch a flat plate or dish to help you press out the dough. Pinch off a golf-ball sized chunk of dough and roll into a smooth ball. Set between two pieces of parchment and start to flatten a bit with your hand. Continue with hands, or for even edges, grab a heavy bowl and put your weight into it over the sheets of parchment and the ball. Remove, peel back parchment, viola. Cook for two minutes on each side in an non-greased frying pan. Set aside and begin to stack ‘em up.
Before you’re ready to eat, mix feta into the squash mixture and toss with a bit more salt and pepper. I like these with 40 percent greens, 60 percent squash, but feel free to experiment.