October 26, 2011
Hello, my name is Lauren, and I am a winter squash addict.
It started as a child with pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, eventually progressing from all things sweet (muffins, pancakes, baked with butter and sugar) to all things savory (curries, chilies, soups and stews) to, um, all things. Just, all of them. Give me winter squash in everything.
Why am I telling you this? Because at the farmer’s market last Saturday I stumbled upon a most wonderful vendor: a farm that offers (miraculously, despite Irene-related damage) ten or fifteen different varieties of squash! And I’m not just talking your standard acorn and butternut — there were squash I’d never seen before, and I was mesmerized.
The best part is that while some of them were compellingly, dangerously huge (as some squash are wont to be), many of them — even those varieties that tend to fall into the first category — were of a managable size, some no bigger than a coconut. Tiny squash! What could be more compelling than that?? Not only are they, ahem, totally adorable, BUT you can try lots of different kinds without winding up buried in an overwhelming poundage of squash.
Having recently gained a new appreciation for taking everything in moderation, I promised myself two small squashes, and no more.
(You already see where this is going.)
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November 30, 2010
You know what I don’t get? All the hooplah about Butternut squash.
As soon as fall rolls around, everyone everywhere (from cooking magazines to coworkers to mom) is raving about it, putting it in stews and chilis and soups and salads, talking about it like it’s the height of squash sophistication.
Enough already! I mean yeah, the long neck is ideal for getting evenly-sized perfect little cubes of squash, and it’s got an appealing name (butter nut… mmm) — but otherwise it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, is it?
Let’s face it: it’s always been one of the more difficult squashes to cut. Getting through that neck is treacherous, am I right? Seriously — everyone has a butternut squash horror story. Some even have the battle scars to prove it.
What’s worse, when you do finally succeed in hacking the little beast to pieces, it often yields up (what I find to be) flesh that is a) overly moist, b) usually kind of stringy and c) only somewhat sweet some of the time. Yes, after all that work you’re not even guaranteed a sweet reward.
So there you find yourself, standing over the stove, with sore biceps and bleeding digits, surrounded by buff-colored squash peels and band-aid wrappers, and all you have to show for it is some vaguely-sweet, fibrous orange glop.
Okay so maybe I’m exaggerating a wee bit.
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