These are the golden days of fall. Clear skies, fluttering leaves, red dogwood berries, and cooler temperatures. I’m happily rummaging through my sweater drawer, eager for a wardrobe change. Food-wise we are ready for some novelty, too. Summer salads were all well and good, but I’m thinking of heartier fare – I’ll be bidding adieu to estival cucumber salads, and hello to the many permutations of the fortifying squash.
Summer squash – namely zucchini – has worn out its welcome. Winter squash is a blessing. I have been reading recipes for raw, roasted, baked, mashed, grilled, stewed, steamed and souped-up squash. And there are oodles more for the myriad varieties of squash: acorn squash, Delicata squash, butternut squash, Sweet Dumpling squash, Turban squash, Kabocha squash, spaghetti squash, buttercup squash, and lest we forget the obvious – pumpkin squash.
I rely on Food52 for its robust ideas. How brilliant is this? Raw butternut squash: https://food52.com/blog/25641-why-you-should-eat-butternut-squash-raw
For the chilly vegetarians in your COVID pod, this is a way to warm them up with the more delicate taste of roasted acorn squash and apples: https://www.makingthymeforhealth.com/roasted-acorn-squash-and-apple-soup/
Are you trying to cut back on your carbs? Spaghetti squash might be the answer. Of course, adding cheese and bacon, and a side of garlic bread won’t really benefit your lofty dietary goals, but it is delicious: https://www.thespruceeats.com/spaghetti-squash-carbonara-4693656
There are subtle differences among squash varieties. The kabocha (which means pumpkin in Japanese) squash and the buttercup squash look very similar – they are round and squat and green, after all. But the kabocha is rounder, and has a tree-like stem. The buttercup flesh is wetter, while the kabocha is more dense and easier to handle, and more desirable. Seek out the kabocha, accept no substitutes. https://heathereatsalmondbutter.wordpress.com/2009/10/15/gettin-krazy-with-kabocha/
The Delicata squash is cream-colored with orange or green stripes, and it has a delicate, edible rind. Pair it with apples for an aromatic side dish for pork chops: https://www.loveandlemons.com/roasted-delicata-squash/
I love a good, hearty stuffed squash. Many squash are perfectly suited for stuffing and you can stuff with abandon: https://www.splendidtable.org/story/2015/11/06/stuffed-winter-squash
Breads! Bake pumpkin bread often during the fall. Homemade pumpkin spices floating around the house will cheer you up and make you smile during these anxious COVID days, which drag on and on. You will feel a great sense of accomplishment, too. Right now, mindfulness and deep breathing are to be encouraged. Plus with a slice of pumpkin bread and a cup of tea, you can take a little afternoon break as you work from home. This is extra special pumpkin bread – it has chocolate! It will give you something to look forward to: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-bread/
Here is a handy overview of winter squashes: https://www.allrecipes.com/article/winter-squash-types/
“It was time to take the pumpkin out of the pot and eat it. In the final analysis, that was what solved these big problems of life. You could think and think and get nowhere, but you still had to eat your pumpkin. That brought you down to earth. That gave you a reason for going on. Pumpkin.”
― Alexander McCall Smith