Winter Squash Archive

Thursday, November 5, 2009

moroccan-spiced spaghetti squash

spiced spaghetti squash

I keep promising you all some quick, easy recipes but sharing instead a mousse that requires at least five bowls and an electric mixer that must be washed down no less than three times, a quiche that has at least three different components, cauliflower that demands you cook each ingredient separately and a from-scratch doughnut recipe that entails reducing, rolling, freezing, frying and dipping. I have no doubt that you’re standing out there in front of your monitor, hands on hips, demanding answers. Except I don’t have any logic or rationale that will explain I choose to use my limited free minutes of time to make elaborate recipes and not, say, dinner, I only have this one peace offering today.

spaghetti squashscooping out seedsspaghetti squash innardsroasted

There’s a caveat, however. This is a ridiculously quick recipe if you have a microwave. We used to but don’t any longer so it still took over an hour, but it’s an hour that requires only a few minutes of hands-on time. Still, it is my favorite preparation of spaghetti squash, not only because it is delicious but because it approaches winter squash in my favorite way: by waking it up. I’ve never had a taste for squash recipes with cream or sugar or piles of cinnamon; I think the natural sweetness of squash is best contrasted with bolder ingredients, like garlic and tahini, jalapenos, olives and preserved lemons, chile-lime vinagrettes, hearty beans and ham or cayenne-dusted caramelized onions. I think you get the picture.

scraping the squash strands

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

warm butternut squash and chickpea salad

butternut chickpea salad

I’ve confessed again and again that I’m just not the kind of person who likes to eat things repeatedly. What’s bad for, I don’t know, using up leftovers, however, is good for having the kind of site that updates three times a week with new recipes. So I’d say it all evens out. But every so often, actually — way too rarely, rarely — I hit on something that I cannot stop eating. For weeks, months. And now, we’re over a year and I’m telling you, if I had a butternut squash at home right now, we’d already have dinner made.

peeled butternut squash

I’ve mentioned this salad before but I realize that this is one of those recipes I’m going to refresh as often as I can get away with. The second I had these ingredients together — lemon, tahini, butternut squash, garlic, chickpeas — I couldn’t believe it was the first time. They were made to be together, and in the times that I’ve had them apart in other recipes, I always know what they’re missing.

butternut squash

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

squash and chickpea moroccan stew

Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew

Our first night in Paris in October, we had dinner at a great, inexpensive Moroccan restaurant in the 3ème called Chez Omar. The specialty is couscous, and the various stews you ladle over it. Alex had the chicken, I had the vegetables, but I hear we really missed out on the Royal, which is a big mess of meat. Served family style, the food was unpretentious, light and so healthy, I made a mental bookmark to try my hand at it when I got home.

chickpea squash stew mise

Which, being me, I promptly forgot about. What jogged my memory was a version of a Moroccan vegetable stew on Ask Aida on the Food Network last week. I think that Moroccan cooking can be intimidating: I don’t have a 1 3/4-Quart Le Crueset Cast Iron Moroccan Tagine in Caribbean Blue for the low price of $200, nor do I have one I picked up for $2.95 at the central souk in Marrakesh in 1968. (Okay, I wasn’t even alive in 1968 but for some reason, everyone but me seems to have a story about something fabulous they bought there when backpacking across the world and I am jealous.) I also don’t have a couscousier, yet astoundingly, I was able to pull off this squash and chickpea stew for dinner on Sunday, and it was delicious.

stew, simmering

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

pumpkin cupcakes

pumpkin cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting

Oh, people. I know you’re pumpkin-ed out and it is not even Thanksgiving yet. But if there could be room in your gullet for one more pumpkin love — perhaps even as a last minute, the-heck-with-pie, Hail Mary pass of a Thanksgiving meal dessert — I think that these wee cakes are a worthy cause.

paper linerspumpkin cake batterpumpkin cupcake battermaple cream cheese frosting

So many pumpkin cakes and loaves and muffins are heavy, playing off the dense qualities of pureed squash, and the deep, warm spices we like to eat them with. But these cupcakes — originally envisioned as a two-layer cake I believe my sister is frosting right! now! — are light. They still taste of pumpkin but not aggressively so. And the maple cream cheese frosting, my word, is so heaven sent, you can see I got a little carried away prettying it up.

piping a rose

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Friday, November 7, 2008

silky smooth pumpkin pie

pumpkin pie, under attack

Is pumpkin pie as we know it broken? This is what I was asking myself at 10 p.m. last night as I had words I will only express in asterisks going through my head as I was in my twentieth minute of trying to push a pumpkin pie filling through a very fine mesh strainer.

my first canned yams, evervegetable, dairycooking the fillingadding the dairy

The source of the recipe, as some of you may have guessed by now, was the November 2008 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, wherein seeking to make a more complex and less grainy pie, those clever people up in Vermont came to a few conclusions. Swapping out some pumpkin puree with canned yams resulted in a better pumpkin flavor, as did concentrating the flavor by cooking the filling on the stove top before filling the crust. They also found that a mix of a higher and lower baking temperature kept the pie’s custard from curdling (making the filling a bit coarse). And then they found that passing the filling through a fine mesh strainer resulted in a less grainy filling.

straining the filling

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