Squash-o-rama

Pie Pumpkins

Ladies and gentlemen, it was all about the squash this week. How to use it, can one type be substituted for another, what can it be served with, how long does it take to cook, etc. I had a mound of butternut squash sitting in the pantry that were tumbling out every time I opened the door. Having a several pound squash land on your feet several times is an excellent inspiration for finding a good use for it.

So, one butternut was peeled, cubed, and seeded and turned into a most tasty side dish for Sunday dinner. I have unearthed my copy of Mollie Katzen's The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without and have been paging through trying to find proper recipes for our weekly bounty from Beneficial Farms. I ran across a dish of roasted butternut squash with pomegranate seeds. Super! I have several pomegranates from the box looking for a higher purpose and there was the aforementioned squash. The squash got roasted, the pomegranate got seeded and the whole thing was tossed together with a splash of walnut oil and a small splash of maple syrup. I probably could have added even less maple syrup but it was a lovely sweetness. I thought it was just great with a variety of textures and beautiful colors. It went very well with the New York Times' recipe for Country Captain in which I used not a single thing from the farm box but was delicious and highly recommended none the less.

The next butternut squash went to Gourmet's Curried-Squash and Red-Lentil Soup. Peeling and cubing the squash might be the hardest part of this recipe. That and the airing out of your closed up winter house. Curry is a wonderful smell but not two days later. The soup makes a ton and was a lovely orange color and had the excellent smooth & chunky texture of a good vegetable soup. Also, forget the ridiculous cilantro oil in the recipe, just chop up some cilantro for on top. Puree only dirties another dish and the chopped herbs add freshness and color.

The other squashes needing attention in the house are several pie pumpkins from the farm box and a few Delicata squash from our own garden. I am unintentionally testing how long a storage vegetable can last. I have several recipes that seem like good candidates for the pumpkin but the squash flesh has to be liberated to make them. Having carved several Halloween pumpkins in my life, I'm not looking forward to the mess of the seeds and the connective fibers. If I remember correctly, it usually ended up with me flinging pumpkin guts everywhere in a mid-project attempt to de-goo my hands. This will require help before I steam them. Wish me luck and a semi-clean kitchen.

For your cooking pleasure:

Curried-Squash and Red-Lentil Soup
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Curried-Squash-and-Red-Lent...