Katie Green's Food Blog: Squash
My goal was to make one thing with every type of squash I could find. Haven't quite gotten there yet, but here are 3 of the dishes I've tried: Moroccan Butternut Soup, Quinoa Stuffed Squash, and Pumpkin Muffins.
A couple of years ago, sweet potatoes went on sale for 19 cents/pound. So of course I bought a few. Or a lot. Or way too many. Okay, I went a little overboard and ended up making sweet potato muffins, fries, pancakes, chili, pie, soup and burritos. Luckily, I have yet to find such a significant sale on the squash, so my cooking has been somewhat controlled. I doubt I'll be able to hold off making something with delicata squash much longer though.
These 3 recipes are fairly straightforward, but it is about to get interesting next week when I set out to make Browned Butter Homemade Potato Gnocchi and Butternut Squash in a Pumpkin Pie Spiced Balsamic Reduction for Thanksgiving. I've never made gnocchi before, or even tried it. So this could prove interesting. Stay tuned.
Winter squash have lower water contents than summer squash and thus are more nutrient dense. They are high in carotenes which can protect against cancer, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. They are also a very good source of vitamins B1 and C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium and fiber in addition to a good source of niacin and Vitamin B6 (everynutrient.com). Look for squashes that are rich in color as it reflects higher levels of nutrients (and likely better taste as well).
Moroccan Butternut Soup
Adapted from Erinsfoodfiles.com
Since no vegetables besides butternut squash go in this soup, it is easy to bring together, especially if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet. Just beware that the squash does need to roast in the oven for 1 hour. (This is why you should always read the entire recipe ahead of time.)
· 1 (2 pound) butternut squash (or used a combination of butternut and acorn squash)
· 2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
· Cooking spray
· 1 tsp curry powder
· ½ tsp ground cumin
· ¼ tsp ground coriander
· 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
· 2 ½ cups fat-free, low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided
· ½ cup milk
· ¼ tsp salt
· 5 tbsp reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
· Fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
· Handful toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pierce squash several times with a sharp knife. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membranes with a spoon. Place butternut squash, cut sides down and garlic cloves in a 13x9" baking dish coated with cooking spray (could also use a rimmed baking pan, cover and place squash on aluminum foil for easier cleanup). Pierce squash multiple times with a fork. Bake for 1 hour or until squash is very tender.
While squash bakes, place curry powder and next 3 ingredients in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Toast for 1 minute or until fragrant. Set aside.
Peel cooked squash (it's hot!), and place in a food processor (or blender). Remove and discard skins from garlic and add to food processor. Add 1 ½ cups chicken broth and process until smooth.
Transfer squash mixture to a large saucepan. Stir in remaining 1 cup broth, milk, salt (to taste), and toasted spices. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.
Ladle soup into bowls. Top with sour cream, cilantro and pumpkin seeds if desired.
Quinoa Stuffed Squash
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
A picture is worth a thousand words, except when it's misleading. I got this recipe out of a Cooking Light magazine. However, the finished squash product must have been under huge magnification with excessive amounts of cheese than the recipe actually called for.
Here are a couple pictures of the picture in Cooking Light Magazine, November 2011 issue (pictures of my creation were not available when this blog went to press but will be posted in the next post):
One pound golden nugget squashes are supposed to be roasted, stuffed and baked in this recipe. Have you ever seen a 1 pound squash? That's really small. They looked like mini pumpkins. So I stood at Metropolitan Market (only place I found them), staring at these baby squashes wondering how in the world any stuffing was supposed to fit in them. I ended up opting for 2 - two pound squashes instead of 4 - one pound ones. What direction you decide to go is up to you. The filling for the squashes is very flavorful, and to save money, time and energy, you could even skip the squash all together and just eat the filling by itself. However, if you want to impress a certain special someone, I would go with the squash. (Interestingly, there are quite a few things you can cook inside a pumpkin or squash - including oatmeal. I'm trying to find time to make Pumpkin Lasagna - layered and cooked inside a sugar pumpkin.)
The squash can be cooked and the filling made up to 2 days ahead and stored separately in the refrigerator. Then assemble and bake right before serving.
· 4 (1 pound) golden nugget squashes
· Cooking spray
· 2 (4 ounce) links hot turkey Italian sausage, casings removed (or other sausage or meat-free substitute)
· ½ cup finely chopped carrot
· ½ cup finely chopped onion
· 2 garlic cloves, minced
· ½ cup water
· 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked)
· 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
· ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
· ¼ tsp kosher salt
· ¼ tsp black pepper
· ¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded 2% reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, divided
Cut the top quarter off each squash; reserve tops (besides decoration purposes, I'm not sure what purpose this serves). Discard seeds. Arrange squashes, cut sides down, in 2 (11x7") baking dishes. Fill each dish with 1" of water; microwave on high for 15 minutes. Remove dish; repeat with remaining dish. Cool. (My microwave was not big enough to do this. I baked them all together in the oven at 350 deg F on a baking sheet, cut sides down until they were soft. Maybe 30 minutes.) While these are cooking, cook your quinoa if you haven't already done so.
Preheat oven to 350 deg F (if you microwaved your squash).
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with Pam. Add the sausage and sauté for 5 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble (crumbling will prove to be difficult if you failed to remove the casing as I did). Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the carrot, onion, and garlic to drippings in the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in ½ cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 8 minutes or until carrot is tender.
Combine sausage, carrot mixture, quinoa, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir in ½ cup of the cheese. Stuff about 1 cup quinoa in each squash and top with 1 tbsp cheese each. (Please refer to the picture from the magazine if to compare how much cheese their squash has on top with the 1 tbsp you are instructed to use.) Arrange stuffed squashes in a broiler-safe baking dish and place tops in the dish (if you wish to keep them). Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from oven.
Preheat broiler to high.
Broil squashes for 4 minutes or until cheese is golden. (Do not get distracted! Cheese will burn. See picture on next blog post.)
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
Healthy or relatively healthy, the choice is yours. But they will be tasty.
· 1 cup all purpose flour (or make whole wheat)
· 1 cup whole wheat flour
· 1 tsp baking soda
· ½ tsp salt
· 1 tsp cinnamon
· ½ tsp ginger
· ¼ tsp ground cloves
· 1/8 tsp nutmeg
· ¾ packed dark brown sugar
· 3 tbsp molasses
· ¼ cup canola oil (or use 3/8 cup ground flaxseed and 1/8 cup applesauce)
· 2 large eggs (or egg substitute, or egg whites)
· 1 cup canned pumpkin ( I spent 20 minutes in the store looking for this...)
· 1 tsp vanilla extract
· ¾ cup "homemade buttermilk" (1 tbsp vinegar + milk to make ¾ cup, let sit 10 minutes)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a 12 cup muffin pan with Pam. (If you're using muffin papers and not using the oil in the recipe, spray the muffin papers with Pam as the muffins will be difficult to remove from them if you don't.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil (or flaxseed and applesauce), and eggs until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk only till combined. Do not over mix (Very important as it will lead to tough and dense muffins that will not rise as much. Some lumps are even ok. Keep this in mind for pancakes and quick breads too - e.g. banana bread).
Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted into center comes out clean (muffin should also bounce back when pressed).
Let muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan, turn upside down, and cool completely on the rack.
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