Marlene Champlin, better known as “The Squash Lady,” has spent the past 18 years perfecting recipes for Perry & Sons, a long-time family owned and run business from Manteca that handles and ships fresh watermelons, pumpkins and squash.
Dedicating much of her time to searching the Internet and various magazines for recipes that she can thoroughly examine and prepare using Perry & Sons goods, Marlene will often tweak the recipes not necessarily to make them better than the original, but in such a way that brings out the best quality of flavor of Perry & Sons items. Once she created the taste she is looking for, she then shares those recipes with others through the company website, newsletter as well as through cooking classes or workshops.
Marlene attempts to keep the focus for most recipes, especially the squash recipes, geared toward low-glycemic and Paleo diets for obvious health reasons. She admits that low-glycemic watermelon recipes are a bit tougher to create but not impossible as she herself discovered after completing a de-tox week with watermelon smoothies that featured watermelon, kale, pineapple and celery.
Passionate about sharing healthy recipes using Perry & Sons produce Marlene will be teaching a one-day class through Stockton Institute for Continued Learning at Delta Junior College this October.
The theme for class is “30 Days of Squash” in which students will learn how to prepare hard shell squash in various, delicious ways for every meal of the day, including breakfast which may come as a surprise to many. All class attendants will receive recipes to try at home and samples of at least four prepared recipes to enjoy together during class time.
The class art Delta College (Shima133) is Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. The class size is capped at 30 students. There is a $10 materials fee due at registration.
For those watermelon enthusiasts in the community, “The Squash Lady” shares two of the many delightful recipes she had found and adjusted just a pinch for us to enjoy this summer.
Watermelon Cilantro Salsa Tropical
2 cups chopped seedless watermelon
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 cup chopped fresh mango
Juice from 4 fresh limes
1 cup trimmed and chopped scallions
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper just before serving. If you like some spiciness, add Tajin to taste.
Spicy Watermelon Hummus
1 large clove garlic
2 heaping Tablespoons of diced red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
cup watermelon juice (liquify watermelon in a blender)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1½ Tablespoons lemon juice
1 /2 teaspoon lemon peel
¼ teaspoon each: ground cumin, coriander, ground ginger, paprika, and turmeric
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and washed.
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup diced watermelon
Mince garlic in a food processor. Add onion and parsley and blend until fully minced. Add rest of ingredients and blend until smooth.
Refrigerate for at least half an hour to allow flavors to blend. Garnish with diced watermelon and parsley sprigs. Serve with pita bread, baked chips, or baby carrots.
For more information about Perry & Sons, Marlene’s newsletter or to pre-register for the upcoming cooking class send email to “The Squash Lady” at firstname.lastname@example.org.