Thursday, December 16, 2010

What the ____is that?!

Ever take a trip to the farmers market or grocery store and see a vegetable or fruit you've never seen or heard of before? Or perhaps, you know what it is, but have no desire to try it? Why is that? Fruits and veggies are cheap, so it's not a big deal if you try something you don't like because you can always give it to the neighbor or throw it in your compost pile, or at a friend. So this is my challenge to all of you: try something that's in season that you've never tried before, get recipes online, and experience something fun and new! You may discover something you won't know how you lived without. I did just that last week.

I was given some winter type squashes, or "squarsh" as my relatives down South would say, by my bestie who brought some home from work (another perk of having friends working in agriculture). At first I was thinking, "What the hell am I going to do with those?" I've seen these on people's tables as decorations before, never actually seen or heard of them being eaten...There has to be a reason for that, right? I decided to try and do something with the acorn squash first, since it was the smallest and least intimidating. I looked online to make sure I could saute it, because I wasn't going to make the same mistake I did with Hiyacha persimmons and just plunge into this thing and get a mouth full of prickly sh*t. So...

Here's how to saute acorn squash for a side dish:

I cut the acorn squash in half, it was so tough! I had to use my body weight to crack this thing open. I cut it into 1" thick slices, then cut the slices into cubes. I splashed about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and dropped in my squash pieces. I sprinkled them with onion powder, garlic salt, and a little bit of cayenne pepper and sauteed them on medium heat for about 10 minutes, flipping them over every few minutes to avoid scorching. Make sure to pick out one piece and taste to make sure your squash is nice and soft all the way through. The seasonings form a nice and subtle salty crust and compliment the naturally sweet and savory potato/yam like texture of the squash. Soooo deliciously wonderbar (that's German for freaking awesome)!

I have to say, this is now my new favorite vegetable! Acorn squash is delicious! My husband, who has an aversion to anything green, or healthy, was even amazed on how "un-vegetable-like" the acorn squash is. You can make it as a side dish, or eat it on it's own. Interestingly enough I was given another opportunity to eat acorn squash the other day. I was at an almond grower conference, and at our luncheon we had chicken with acorn squash and brocoflower as sides. They baked our acorn squash with a little butter and brown sugar on top...Oh my, I am now mad at myself for not trying acorn squash sooner! If you could bottle up delicious sexiness, it would taste like this. Baking it with the brown sugar really brings out the savory characters of the squash, it was like nothing i've ever experienced. Funny part was, sitting at a table full of farmers, I was the only one that knew what it was! I saw all of them begin to pick at it, smell it, then take a small bite, smoosh it around on their tongues. I heard one guy ask another, "what is that?" and the other guy replies, "some type of potato?" So, feeling a little more cultured and better than everyone else, since I was now an acorn squash aficionado, I politely let them know that that potato was actually acorn squash. I found a similar recipe that you can use for either butternut or acorn squash; I thought I should share because this is by far the best way to eat acorn squash...I also love how the author of this recipe specifies using clean hands to handle the squash! Made me giggle a little.

So, in conclusion, winter squash, as I have found, is NOT solely for decorations or throwing at friends. It's actually quite tasty!  So, no more being stuck in a rut with you or your partners finicky habits. Introduce something new to your table, something local, and in season of course.



  1. I love a winter squash, but aside from a spaghetti squash, have never managed to cook my own.

    I moon over butternut squash ravioli (with a brown butter/sage sauce) and swear every year I'm gonna make it myself.


    And I'll at least buy an acorn squash to rot in my fruit basket.

  2. I had a dream about squash last night.
    Acorn squash.

    I blame you.

  3. I love acorn squash with butter and brown sugar inside baked until soft...yummmy!