Winter Squash Recipes
These golden beauties are packed with goodness. Each year I experiment with new recipes for these hearty squash. If you don’t feel like turning on the oven, or the stove, or eating anything warm at all– then just set these squash to the side. They prefer cool, dry, and dark places. Like at the back of a pantry shelf (the fridge is too humid and cold). They keep for up to 6 months that way. So save some for January…
Squash soup three ways
I love these soups and would recommend you try the curried & chili versions while it’s still hot outside. The horseradish soup seems more suited to a cool, rainy, day.
- 1 squash, baked
- 2-3 C soup base (chicken stock, veg stock, bouillon cube in warm water)
- 1 onion (minced)
- splash of olive oil
- pinch of salt
- CURRIED: Add zest and juice of 1 small lemon, and 1 tsp turmeric, optional addition of 1 tsp curry powder
- CHILI: Add bell pepper (minced), 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 Tbsp chili powder, 2-3 Tbsp lime juice
- HORSERADISH: Add 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tsp horseradish, 1.5 C milk, cayenne & nutmeg to taste, optional addition of grated Swiss cheese
You start with the first 5 ingredient no matter which of the three versions you are going to make. Sauté the onions with olive oil in a large soup pot. Then add baked squash and soup base. Choose a set of spices and add these. Simmer and stir for 10 minutes.
By far the most delicious way to cook winter squash is baked. Once you have the squash baked you can use it for soup or for one of the recipe ideas below. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Line a pan with aluminum foil. Next, rinse the outside of the squash to remove dust and dirt. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and place cut-side-down on the pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the squash. You will know it’s done when you can stab through the skin with a fork.
- Mashed squash with salt and butter
- Mashed squash baked with brown sugar, pecan, and butter crumble.
- Winter vegetable cubes with garlic and rosemary
- Sheppard’s Pie (veggie or with meat) with squash instead of potatoes
Recipe ideas from throughout the season. Many of you took weeks off and may have missed some veggie suggestions. Here’s a list of ideas… some worth repeating.
- Yard Long Beans Delicious long beans that are best sautéed. Great mixed with squash, tomatoes, peppers, and garlic. May also be steamed, cooled and added to a salad. If you have more then you can possibly eat– cut, blanch with boiling water, run under cool water and freeze. Good added to winter curries.
- PattyPan Squash A couple more patty pan… This week I made squash fritters: shred, salt, and drain the squash, add an egg, a little flour, a tsp of corn starch and some pepper. Fry in a little olive oil till golden. Needless to say we can eat a lot of squash this way.
- Malabar Spinach The never bitter, but oh so slightly slimy, salad and cooking green. Malabar Spinach loves this hot weather. I use it in smoothies, frittata, and as a salad green with vinegar dressing.
- Winter Squash The start of winter squash season is on us. These are a cross between butternut and Pennsylvania crook neck squash. I have saved seeds from my favorite squash for the past 5 years– so I feel they are my own creation. This year they are bigger than ever– I’ve started with giving you some of the smaller ones– to get you warmed up to the idea of cooking this vitamin rich super food. I usually cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, bake cut-side-down at 350F on a foil lined pan, until soft enough to stab with a fork. Scoop out the inside, add some butter and salt. Yum. Or bake in cubes, or boil, or sauté… Very good made into ravioli stuffing and then drizzled with sage butter. Or just drizzle sage butter onto baked cubes of squash
- Black Black-eyed peas These– beans– have so many different names– crowder bean, cowpea… Whatever you call them, they are a staple of my garden. Pest free and nitrogen fixing, they are good for the soil and their plant neighbors. I boil them in lots of water for 40 minutes, drain the water, add flavors (bay leaf, chipotles, onions… ham) and cook for another 40 minutes. Withhold the salt until the end of cooking so they will become soft and easy to digest.
- Pineapple Sage An unusual sage plant that is a beauty in the garden. Within a couple of weeks it will be covered in crimson blossoms that the hummingbirds love. Wonderful added to Polynesian chicken, grilled pork recipes, included in a cool drink, or added to fruit salad.
- Lemon Verbena My favorite of the lemon flavored herbs in my garden. Good with ice water, in iced tea or added to a white wine spritzer. A stronger flavor than lemon balm.
What’s in the early August garden?
- Edamame Of all the legumes we grow these little green gems are Afton’s favorite. We put them whole into boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain, salt, and eat by pulling the beans out of the pod. I’ve put the Edamame in freezer bags– just throw the bag in the freezer if you aren’t planning on eating them in the next two days.
- Yard Long Beans For those of you who haven’t had these beans yet– here’s your chance. Delicious long beans that are best sautéed. Great mixed with squash, tomatoes, peppers and garlic. Throw in eggs and you have breakfast; pasta, and you have dinner.
- PattyPan Squash This might be the last you see of these UFO shaped squash this year. These large versions are best peeled and sautéed or baked. You can also stuff them by cutting off the top, and using a spoon to hallow out the seedy center. (The winter squash are coming soon….)
- Eden Gem Melon Best eaten cold, straight from the fridge, with a spoon. Also excellent in a smoothie or blended with ice for a cool melon slush.
- Jalapeños Peppers I grow a number of spicy peppers, but after last years habenaro incident (Aftons eyes + habenaro = very bad) I’ve reduced the super spicy pepper growing. These Jalapeños are just the right amount of heat for me. Keep the seeds in for more heat, remove them for less. Later in the season I will smoke some ripe red Jalapeños over a wood fire to make chipotles. Yum!
You may already have a favorite pesto recipe. But it not, here’s my approach. I make a huge batch of pesto each year at around this time. *I omit the cheese from batches that I plan to freeze. You can always add some cheese later if you want it. To freeze pesto, I use ice-cube trays– once the pesto is frozen I pop the cubes out into freezer bags.
- Large bunch of basil. Washed, stems removed.
- 2 (or more) peeled cloves of garlic
- 1/3 to 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 C walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts (optional)
- Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese* (optional)
- Sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
All you need is a good blender. I use my cuisinart food processor. Start with the garlic and nuts. If you are adding cheese and/or sundried tomatoes add them before the basil. I leave the blender going and add some oil, and begin pushing the basil leaves in bit by bit. Store in air-tight containers in the fridge or freeze in ice-cube trays. Push the pesto down to remove air-pockets and drizzle oil on the top to stop the pesto from browning with exposure to air.