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Smothered Summer Squash with California Mole

This recipe was dreamed up as a great way to use up the bounty of summer squash we grow at the farm each summer. Luckily, the California mole is versatile enough to use on just about any roasted vegetables throughout the year, including potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and eggplant. It can also be used to accompany meats such as chicken or lamb. The recipe makes enough to save the leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for the next time you need a quick vegetable side dish.

For the Sauce (makes 1 pint)
½ cup almonds
½ cup pumpkin seeds plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
½ cup tomato puree
1 dried chipotle chili
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
1 shallot
1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 cup for garlic confit
Salt to taste

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Toast the almonds and pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven, stirring once, until golden brown and fragrant, about 6-8 minutes. In a small saucepan add 1 cup olive oil and whole peeled garlic cloves, simmer on low until the garlic turns golden, about 30 minutes. For this step I highly recommend adding more than the 4 cloves necessary for this recipe, as garlic confit and its oil can be stored in the fridge and is delicious in just about anything. In a dry heavy bottom pan, toast the chili until browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes, transfer to a container, cover with water and let soak for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, slice the shallot and sweat it in a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. In a high-powered blender, add the toasted nuts and seeds (reserving 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds for garnish), tomato, chili, garlic plus ¼ cup of garlic confit oil, shallot and the juice of 1 lemon. Blend on high adding water as necessary (about ¼ cup) until the sauce is a thick smooth consistency. Salt to taste.

For the Squash (serves 4)
4 cups summer squash
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds for garnish
¼ cup garlic confit oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Turn your oven up to 450 degrees. Cut 4 cups of summer squash into roughly 2 inch cubes. Toss with salt, black pepper and 2 tablespoons of garlic confit oil. Transfer the squash to a sheet pan and roast until tender but not mushy, about 12 minutes. Put the squash in a serving bowl and spoon the sauce over it, finishing with the remaining pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

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