Saturday, December 15, 2007

Farmers' Market Squash

Today it was finally time to cook the beautiful squash that has been adorning my countertop since I bought it at the farmers' market back in October. The grower described it as a French heirloom squash, but it also looks very much like one described as a Ukranian winter squash on this All About Winter Squash page. This was actually one of the smaller squashes of its type that was being sold at that stand that day, but I've included the yogurt cup next to it to help convey its considerable size.

It sliced open quite easily. I cut it into quarters, more or less. The web page I linked to above shows methods of cutting squash that include tapping a large knife with a rubber mallet, as well as use of a saw. My not-recently-sharpened chef's knife did the trick with no great effort required.

I oiled a baking sheet and arranged the quarters with one cut side down and baked them for about three quarters of an hour at 350 degrees. Last time I cooked squash I put large chunks into a covered glass dish with a little water and cooked it in the microwave for about 10 minutes. That worked nicely and was certainly very quick, but this time I thought I'd pursue the richer flavor and wonderful smell that come from oven-baking a squash. Here's how the pieces looked when they were done. They smelled heavenly.

And how did I use my squash? Well, two of the four quarters went right into my freezer for later use. I scraped the pulp off the skin of the other two pieces and cooked it with lots of diced carrots, onion, garlic, fresh ginger and water in a large saucepan until the carrots were tender, then blended it all up and added a little cinnamon, salt, pepper, and half-and-half. Yes, it's the same squash-carrot-ginger soup I made several weeks ago, since it became an instant favorite, but this time I made at least twice as much. I should have enough for several lunches this week, and another day I'll pull the rest of the cooked squash out of the freezer and use it for something else. That's a lot of eating for one squash.

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Mary Schier said...

Penny: I bought one of those French heirloom squashes, too, and it was delicious. Here's my favorite way to use up squash.

Take about 2 cups cooked squash, blend it with 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. of cinnamon and a dash of powdered ginger and cloves, or whatever spices you like. When that is smooth, slowly add a 13 oz can of evaporated milk, to make a smooth liquid. Pour it into a buttered baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.

My girls used to really love this custard as a dessert, and I eat it for breakfast with a little plain or vanilla yogurt.


Rob Hardy said...

My favorite way to use up leftover squash is to make the squash rolls from New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant. If you know Patty Gallivan, ask her how good they are! I won't burden your comment section with the recipe, but maybe I'll blog about them sometime.

Mary Schier said...

Rob: I've made those squash rolls, too, and they are great!

Penny said...

I have that cookbook and have certainly perused the recipe for squash rolls in the past, though I don't think I've made them. On this double recommendation (triple, I guess, counting Patty, whom I do know), I will seriously consider making some soon! The custard sounds wonderful also. Thanks for the suggestions.