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On Your Mark, Get Set: Waves of Winter Squash

2011 October 18
by sarahamaine

By Sarah A. Maine

Sunnyside, NY – These days I spend most Sundays selling organic vegetables at the Monkshood farm stand at the Jackson Heights Greenmarket. A couple of weeks ago we sold our last cherry tomatoes, basil and summer squash so I now spend a considerable part of the day consoling customers over the disappearance of summer’s vegetable gems. I’m also quick to remind everyone that winter squash are tasty jewels in their own right; I try to dispense as much information as I can about how the different squash taste and the myriad ways they can be prepared.

Until a couple of years ago, I had never cooked a winter squash. During my first year of CSA membership, the arrival of a bulbous butternut or inscrutable acorn squash in my share box was an intimidating event. Lucky for me winter squash are patient vegetables, biding their time, sitting on the kitchen counter in un-judgmental silence, nodding slightly at the basket of onions.

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Several cycles of autumnal squash later, I am much less timid about cleaving open any manner of squash that comes my way – butternut, acorn, spaghetti, kabocha, delicata – bring it on! This evolution in my culinary courage is serving me especially well this season – between my CSA and my shifts at the market, I am in a constant race to keep up with the pile of vegetables that renews itself each week. In order to manage the flow I decided to dig into the RecipeRelay archives and review the squash based recipes that we’ve had so far, I thought I would include the list here – to help you jumpstart your own squash-y ventures.

Obviously I’ll be including squash in my recipe this week – I’ve opted for pie pumpkin. Even though sweet, sweet pumpkin pie tops my list of favorite fall foods, I think I’ll use the pumpkin to add a sweet note to a savory dish filled with additional bounty from my farmers market neighbors. I’ll be using pumpkin, fingerling potatoes, onion and sage from Monkshood, eggs from Migliorelli’s Farm, cheese from Cherry Grove Farm, and smoked bacon from Grady’s Farm, layering sweet, salty and smoky flavors into a delicious autumnal quiche.

Squash are versatile vegetables but it is easy to into a well worn routine for cooking them, as I’ve become more comfortable using squash I try harder to incorporate squash  in unexpected ways. What are your favorite winter squash recipes? What special tricks do you employ to add variation into your fall menus? Leave a comment and share your delectable squash discoveries below.

I’ll see you back here on Thursday with my finished pumpkin quiche recipe!

Sarah A. Maine is a Co-Founder & Editor of RecipeRelay, on most Sundays she can be found spreading the good news about organic produce at the Monkshood Nursery farm stand at the Jackson Heights Greenmarket in Queens, NY.