Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Telltale Signs of Fall

Lately, the weather's been more like August than October. Here in central Jersey, today's the first day it's dipped into the 70s for a while. Oh, and the leaves are falling, but not because there's a nip in the air. It's the drought. I'm praying for rain.

All that aside, there are bushels of crisp apples in hues from blushy pinks to sharp green on the shelves of my local grocery store. More importantly, the squashes have made their entrance -- their roly shapes and colors imitating the colors in the trees.

Of all the fall foods, my favorite has to be acorn squash. I love squash steamed, sauteed, boiled and fried. But, probably the easiest way to prepare it is by roasting it. Well, easy except the skinning part.

Both acorn and butternut squash can be roasted with their skins, but I prefer to carefully slice off the skins, cut them into cubes, spice them, then roast them.

Sometimes, I'll even season and toast the seeds, like we used to do after carving pumpkins for Halloween. This time, I didn't though. I just wanted the flesh of the squash in all it's golden glory.

I find that it's easier to pour the oil on top of the cubed squash, then sprinkle the seasonings into a ziplock bag before shaking it all together until the spices and oil have been evenly distributed onto the squash. I use this technique when making oven fries as well. The spices I used in the shake bag were: nutmeg, black pepper, ginger, and Pensey's Herbes de Provence.

We re-use our ziplock bags, so when cleaning them I pour a little dish soap in the bag, then half fill it with hot water before shaking it vigorously. Then, I wash the bag thoroughly with our Oxo dish brush. Works like a charm!

Since this is a savory dish (although you could easily make it sweet), I sprinkle paprika on top of the seasoned squash right before covering it with foil and baking it for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees F.

If you wanted more carmelization, you could take off the foil after 20 minutes and stir every 10 minutes, but I wanted the squash a bit softer since I'm having so much dental work these days.

The squash tasted fantastic. I still have a serving left that I might just have tonight with dinner.

How do you cook your squash?


Carrie said...

I bet that was really good! I have a butternut squash just waiting to be used at home! I haven't figured out what to make with it yet! Your presentation looks really yummy though!!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Carrie. It was! I now have another butternut squash waiting, mocking me from the counter. This time, it will be made into a galette, with onions. MMMM.