When I was a kid, we had squash every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was our traditional dish, along with turkey and cranberries — just like the pilgrims ate, I guess. And I hated it. The smell and texture repulsed me and I swore, when I got old enough, I would NEVER, ever have squash in my house.
Fast forward a few years and, because of a more open-food-minded husband and constant organics delivery of squash after squash, I’ve backed off my harsh edict a bit and decided to look for some squash dishes that (hopefully) won’t so closely resemble the mushy, stinky meals of my youth.
This lovely thing is a buttercup squash, and it was one of the first treats in the organics box. I just decided to chop it up and BBQ it as a veggie pack with some potatoes and onion and MAN was it delicious. I admit it — It was delicious! I just sliced and layered the veggies (after I peeled the squash) on a sheet of tin foil, poured a bit of olive oil, sprinkled some sea salt between layers and added thyme on top. Then I covered it with another sheet of tin foil and folded the edges together to create a little package. I just threw it on the BBQ for about 30 minutes at medium high heat (I like it a little charred) and dug in!
The next squash I tackled was the acorn squash. This time, I went for a sweeter dish – Acorn Squash, Apples and Walnuts in a Crockpot. It smelled great but, truthfully, it was not my favourite. It was a bit too close to the meals I had on those childhood holidays. I’m just not a fan of sweet stuff for a main course. I don’t really “get” pancakes or waffles, so this was a bit outside my comfort zone. But it was appreciated by others at the dinner table. My husband even asked if there was more of the sugary topping to add on top.
- an acorn squash, quartered and seeded (but save those seeds for later!)
- 2 diced apples
- ¼ cup of water
- 3 tbsp walnuts
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp soft butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1. Add the water to the crock pot on HIGH.
- 2. Add the acorn squash quarters.
- 3. Place the apples around the squash.
- 4. Mix together the butter, salt, brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts.
- 5. Add the topping to the squash
- 6. Turn the crockpot to LOW and cook until tender for 4 hours and on HIGH for another hour.
After dinner that night, we decided to eat the squash seeds and my man came up with this quick little recipe. We’ll be using it again for all of these post-Halloween pumpkin seeds. He named it “The Demon Seeds” but that may soon lose its appeal.
Throw the seeds in a dry, hot skillet. Stir until they get a wee bit charred, reduce to medium low, and add:
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- ½ tsp paprika
Stir on medium, for about five minutes. Add one more pinch of brown sugar to coat, stir one last time until sugar melts, pour the seeds into a bowl (give them time to cool by opening a bottle of wine) and enjoy. Worry about the skillet later.
This slightly phallic fellow was my next conquest. The butternut squash is a popular one, familiar in soups (such as Dana’s You Betcha Butternut Soup recipe) and sweet purees. In the interest of experimentation, I veered far away from those options and whipped up a macaroni and cheese with butternut squash concoction that I found on chatelaine.com. Yuuuummm. It was really cheesy and really good.
- 3 cups of squash, peeled, seeded, and finely diced (I ended up only using the bottom, bell part and saved the rest for a squash and pear soup - but that’s for another day!)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups milk (the higher the fat lever the better - I used 2%)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss squash with oil on a baking sheet. Bake in centre of oven until tender, stirring halfway through, 16 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Turn oven on to Broil.
- Cook pasta until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Gradually whisk in milk, Dijon mustard, and salt. Stir until mixture comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in pasta, cheese and squash until just coated. Transfer to an 8-inch square baking dish or 6 individual oven-safe dishes. Sprinkle bread crumbs over pasta.
- Broil until top is golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.
So, I think I’ve conquered my fear of squash (and I haven’t even mentioned the spaghetti squash I ate with a little bit of olive oil and parmesan cheese – delicious!). Now, when I open the organics delivery bin, I will not quake in fear when confronted with a squash. I know there are some great alternatives out there to the bland squash dishes of yore. And I swear, next time I will not let the Delicata squash rot before I figure out what to do with it.Add to favorites