Thursday, September 20, 2007

The sunshine of my life

I asked around about that sunshine winter squash I got in the CSA share a couple weeks ago, and the overwhelming recommendation was to roast it. Even in the recipes I was given, roasting the squash first was part of the directions. I decided to simply roast it this first go around, figuring it would give me the opportunity to get to know the flavor.

I cut it in half, then put in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour, in a shallow pan of water. Looking back, that seems like an obscenely high temperature. That's because I didn't read the directions completely. I had about five things going on in the kitchen, preserving some fruits and veggies (more on that later), and I just wasn't paying close enough attention to the recipe. Turns out, the 400 degrees instruction was for a roasted soup. I ended up with a side of roasted sunshine squash mash (I only added a bit of water, no Earth Balance, butter, etc.) - which was actually really tasty.

AC came in the house after a long day at school and several hours skateboarding, famished, and immediately pointed to the bowl on the counter, asking what it was. I told him to taste it and, in spite of me it seems (after what I said), he grabbed a fork, took a bite and announced that it was, "really good."

Another bite.

"This is better than really good, it's excellent!"

Another bite.

"It tastes like sweet potatoes!"

Ah, the power of the sweet potato... I had to hold him back from devouring the entire bowl, and so I busied him with making a veggie burger for himself while I scooped some onto his plate as a side. While he was eating, I decided to savor-up the squash a bit for myself. I added salt, pepper and sauteed leeks.

To balance out the sweetness of this side dish, I made a quick spicy marinade. Using an immersion blender, I mixed tamari, garlic (turned into a paste using a microplane), Jason's homemade hot sauce, liquid smoke and pureed tomatoes, and poured it onto slices of wild rice tempeh.

A couple hours later when I was ready to eat, I warmed up the sunshine squash in the microwave. In a frying pan, I steamed chopped leeks for few minutes, then added the tempeh (including marinade from the container) and cooked it at a high heat for bit. A little side salad of cherry tomatoes and lettuce splashed with Bragg aminos rounded out the plate.

Everything is local, minus the tamari, salt, pepper, liquid smoke, aminos and tempeh. The tempeh easily could have been local (Cricklewood Soyfoods makes fantastic tempeh in Mertztown), but with that whole fruit and veggie preservation thing I mentioned before, I'm on a mission to get the freezer cleaned out. I found some errant tempeh packages from my co-op in the depths.

As a winter squash, the sunshine has tons of vitamin A, is good for B6, potassium and fiber, and is alkaline - it's totally a keeper in this house. Actually, it's a keeper because it tastes like sweet potato :) I'm particularly excited about that point because it positively reinforced the ten-year-old monster when tasting new veggies. As much as I love my greens, this squash has done more for me than kale ever has!

Next up is a Kabocha (aka Bon Bon) squash. Same advice you think? Just roast it?

> Cross-posted at


Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

That sounds great! I feel so lost with all the winter squash, I've only tried spaghetti squash (which I love). What are your favorite squash types?

Ben Garland said...

Damn. I just cooked some squash and zucchini yesterday for a potluck we do during my night class on Wednesdays. Usually I have leftovers, because everyone in the class is kinda picky. Not this time!

All I did was sautee some yellow squash and zucchini with onion and green pepper, plus salt and pepper, and cubes of extra firm tofu, for 2 hours in a cast iron skillet. I then topped with with monterey jack and cheddar. Nothing like yours, but it was delicious!

Judy said...

Mmmm. squash....

Oh, and you've been tagged!

Melody Polakow said...

Beautiful.... the whole meal looks and sounds absolutely delicious...

.. and it's amazing how good food tastes after several hours skateboarding! My kids eat everything with such gusto when they've been outside in the fresh air.

Jimmy said...

Wow! You are very good at cooking, every dishes looks yummy.