Spicy Butternut Squash with Parmesan

Growing up, orange vegetables meant sugar. Sweet potatoes got marshmallows. Winter squash got a dusting of brown sugar. Pumpkins were made into pies. Carrots got… okay, well, carrots discredit my sweeping generalization.

Even though I’d now be more likely to use honey or maple syrup, it’s taken me some time to crack through the caramelized bias of my youth. And oh! it’s been worth it. Like many openings of mind, there are so many more possibilities now. Winter squash, I’ve come to understand, are quiet about their sweetness. It’s easily upstaged by the more boisterous sugar. Next to the spice of cayenne though, the squash’s sweetness can be appreciated.

Spicy Butternut Squash with Parmesan
~inspired by this recipe from Gourmet Magazine, as seen on Epicurious

2 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the squash cubes in a small baking dish or skillet. In a glass measuring cup, measure out the cream then stir in the cayenne, salt, and pepper. Pour the cream mixture over the squash. Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the squash is tender. Stir in half the cheese, and sprinkle the rest on top of the squash. Bake (uncovered) for another  7-10 minutes. Then turn the broiler on until the cheese is bubbly, brown, and beautiful. Remove the the oven and let stand for at least 5 minutes to thicken.

Posted 6 years ago at 2:00 pm. 1 comment

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup with Cardamom and Lemongrass

You’ll have to forgive the anachronism of this recipe. It’s been wafting around my draft folder for months, but with one baby and another, I just never got around to publishing it. So even though summer has spread its steamy cloak over all of us, I hope you’ll remember this recipe the first time you wish you had brought a sweater with you.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup with Cardamom and Lemongrass

1 large or 2 smallish butternut squashes
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cardamom seeds
1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 stalk of lemongrass*
1 1/2- 2 quarts chicken stock
salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Greek yogurt (opt)
Dried apples (opt)

Preheat oven to 375°. Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Lay the halves cut side up on a baking dish. Rub with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about an hour, or until fork tender. Let cool while completing next steps. (This step can also be done up to a few days ahead of time. Just wrap the cooled squash and put it in the fridge until ready to continue.)

Melt coconut oil in a large heavy pot. Add onions and cook on medium low heat until they are translucent. Add the garlic and cardamom seeds, stirring until fragrant- about 45 seconds. Increase the heat to medium high and add the apple and carrot.  Saute until they are softened and there is a nice crust on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pan by adding the vinegar and scraping up all the brown bits. Add 1 quart of the stock , the cinnamon,  the lemongrass, and the bay leaves. While waiting for that to boil, scoop the cooled squash flesh out of the shell and add to the pot. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and vegetables to completely soften.

Remove from heat and use a stick blender to puree the soup. Take your time with this step. There’s few things as culinarily undesirable as finding chunks in your soup that look as if they’ve already been half chewed. (If you don’t have a stick blender, carefully pour the soup into a bar blender and puree in batches. Then return to the pot.) The soup will likely be very thick, about the consistency of mashed potatoes. Use the reserved stock to thin it to your desired consistency. Return the pot to the stove and reheat if necessary. Just before serving, stir in the heavy cream. Garnish with Greek yogurt and chopped dried apples.

*Look for it at Asian grocery stores. Or, if you live in Columbia, pick some up at City Roots.

Posted 6 years, 6 months ago at 10:40 am. Add a comment

The Squash Blossom Eaters

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Oh. My. Goodness.
Now I understand.
People always get this crazy glint in their eyes when they talk about squash blossoms. And then they shake their heads sadly at me when they realize I am one of the uninitiated squash blossom eaters. Feeling like I was either missing out on a great snack or a great opportunity to make fun of foodies crazier than myself, I fried up some squash blossoms last night. And . . .
Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.

What, you mean you’ve never eaten squash blossoms before? (Eyes widen in surprise while shaking head.)

Continue Reading…

Posted 7 years, 3 months ago at 10:21 pm. 1 comment