Sep
13
    
Posted (Lori) in News

WINTER SQUASH

This is just the beginning of the winter squash; I’m hoping we get a lot of them. There are some good recipes in Recipes from America’s Small Farms, but I usually keep it simple.

I find it very hard to cut the squashes in half, so the first thing I do is I soften them. I prick the squash all over and put on a plate in the microwave for five minutes. This can be done in the regular oven as well—and those of you with sharper knives or stronger arms than mine can skip this step. When cool enough to handle, I slice the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, add a very little bit of butter and brown sugar or honey or maple syrup to the cavity, and put it on a baking sheet, cut side up, in a 350 degree oven. When it’s soft and almost mushy—usually about 30-40 minutes–I eat it. Sometimes, I put it on a plate first.

If you want something more sophisticated, there are several recipes below.

Storing Winter Squash

Butternut squash does not do well in temperatures under 50 degrees, so it’s best not to keep it in the refrigerator. This works well for me—I don’t have room in my refrigerator and I like the way it looks on the counter or windowsill. As long as the room does not get too warm, it can last up to two months or more. Don’t let is sit near ripening apples or pears—they emit a gas that damages winter squash. If you don’t think you’ll be using your squash for a longer time, bake it, cut it into chunks, and store in the freezer in ziplock bags.

Watch it, and at the first sign that it’s softening, use it. When it goes, it goes fast. Then, when you pick it up by the stem, the bottom falls out and creates a terrible mess.

Here’s a recipe from an old Carnegie Hill newsletter:

A simple Braised Winter Squash is a great way to use the abundance of squash we’re receiving this fall. This recipe comes from Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which is a great read for anyone interested in gardening, food or our food choices and their impact on the environment. Ms. Kingsolver is an advocate for CSAs just like ours!

2 pounds winter squash, peeled, halved, and sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

1 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 cup apple cider

1/2 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh chopped Rosemary pepper to taste

Heat butter/oil in skillet with rosemary; after a few minutes add the squash, salt and cider. You may need to add some additional cider (or water) to cover the squash. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and braise for 20 minutes or until tender. At this point, the juice should be reduced to a glaze. If not, raise heat for a few minutes until excess liquid evaporates. Add pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar if you like.

CURRIED WINTER STEW WITH CAULIFLOWER AND WINTER SQUASH

This recipe appeared in the NYT (David Tanis) late last fall and it became one of my favorites instantly. It uses only one pan (plus whatever you cook the chickpeas in and is a full meal, especially if you add rice and raita. I have not included the raita recipe because it was not especially great and took a lot of work—raita is easy, just add diced vegetables (radish is perfect, cucumber is good too) to yogurt. They suggest apple, which was just ok. Add curry powder, cayenne, diced hot pepper, or hot sauce—adjust the spices until it tastes right. Mix the whole thing up, allow to sit in the refrigerator for a bit and serve cold.

The first time I made this recipe, I followed it exactly, using the spice seeds and individual ground spices. I found the spice was too weak overall; now I just use pre-mixed curry powder. I start with a tablespoon and keep adding until it tastes right. I also add chopped greens to the stew, at the same time as the chickpeas—and sometimes string beans as well.

3 tablespoons untoasted sesame oil or vegetable oil

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon coriander seeds

½ teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon cayenne

1 2-inch piece of ginger, grated

6 small garlic cloves, minced

4 small hot red Asian chiles or Mexican chiles de árbol

1 large onion, diced, about 2 cups

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups delicata squash, unpeeled, in 1-inch slices, or butternut squash, peeled, in 1-inch cubes

1 cup parsnips, hard center core removed, in 1-inch slices or chunks

½ pound tiny potatoes, such as fingerlings, halved

2 cups small florets of cauliflower

1 cup cooked chickpeas, preferably home-cooked and the liquid reserved

Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Steamed basmati rice (optional)

Apple raita (optional),

PREPARATION

1. Put oil in a wide, heavy pot over medium-high heat. When oil is wavy, add cumin seeds and coriander seeds and let sizzle for about 1 minute. Add turmeric, cayenne, ginger, garlic and chiles and stir to coat.

2. Add onion and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Add squash, parsnips and potatoes, salt lightly, then add 3 cups chickpea cooking liquid or water, or enough to just cover vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a brisk simmer. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender but firm, about 15 minutes.

3. Add cauliflower and chickpeas and stir gently to combine. Cover and continue cooking 5 to 8 minutes more, until cauliflower is tender. Taste broth and adjust seasoning, then transfer to a wide, deep serving platter or bowl. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve with steamed basmati rice and apple raita, if desired.

Carmelized Butternut Squash

2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash. Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2-inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet. Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All Rights Reserved

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI

The first time I had butternut squash ravioli was in Jojo’s, on E. 64th Street; it was amazing. I tried a few recipes and wasn’t impressed. This one, from Emeril, is pretty close, though not as good as Jojo’s. I sometime use wonton wrappers instead of pasta; the pasta is better and you can get pasta sheets at Agata & Valentina. I have a little plastic ravioli press that turns out perfect ravioli every time.

9 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons minced shallots

1 cup roasted butternut squash puree

Salt

Freshly ground white pepper

3 tablespoons heavy cream

3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus 2 ounces

Pinch nutmeg

1 recipe pasta dough, rolled out into wide ribbons, about 1/4-inch thick

12 fresh sage leaves

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and saute for 1 minute. Add the squash puree and cook until the mixture is slightly dry, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons cheese and nutmeg, to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Cool completely.

Cut the pasta ribbons into 3-inch squares. Place 2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of each pasta square. Bring 1 corner of the square to the other, forming a triangle and seal the pasta completely. Add the pasta to pot of boiling salted water. Cook until al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes or until the pasta floats and is pale in color.

Remove the pasta from the water and drain well. Season the pasta with salt and pepper.

In a large saute pan, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter. Add the sage to the butter and continue to cook until the butter starts to brown. Remove from the heat.

Place some of the pasta in the center of each serving plate. Spoon the butter sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle the 2 ounces of cheese over each plate and garnish with parsley.

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2000



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