Marc and David bought us a ‘small box’ CSA subscription from Valley End Farm (Penngrove, CA) this Christmas. Our box of fresh seasonal veggies & fruits are delivered every Thursday afternoon. We can find out what to expect in our box by checking Valley End Farm’s Facebook page….or we can wait and be surprised when it arrives at our door.
One of the veggies last week’s box was a hefty Butternut winter squash. Now I’ll confess I’ve never purchased a butternut squash, myself. This odd avoidance was based on an unfounded suspicion combined with my strong preferences and biases when it comes to winter squash. I like flavorful, slightly sweet, creamy smooth, easy-to-prep winter squash with tender skins. Hate stringiness, watery innocuous flesh, and tough skins….like some acorn squash or spaghetti squash (even though the strings are cool to play with!). I’m a Delicata, Carnival, Sweet Dumpling, and Kabocha winter squash gal, which sets a high standard for other squash to match.
Butternut Winter Squash is on My Delicious Veggies List
Well, as of last week, I’ve added Butternut squash to my LIKE-IT list! Made two totally delicious recipes from just one squash: a thick creamy curried sauce (post from 2-19-2011) to serve hot over vegetables, pasta, or cooked grains and then, last night, put together this colorful ‘confetti’ casserole. The casserole would make a lovely holiday side dish or may be eaten as a light main course, which was how we had it.
Didn’t use a recipe or look up ideas for starters. Had a sense of what I wanted to put together from stuff we had on hand. Improvised all the way. No measuring, either. Thought of Bri. It’s exactly how she liked to cook.
Here’s the list of INGREDIENTS and what I did with each of them:
Neck of roasted* organic Butternut Squash: Cut in half and slice into half moon crescents.
1 organic ‘Pink Lady’ Apple: Quarter, core, then sliced into 12 wedges
*To roast a winter squash:
~ Pre-heat your oven to 400F (205C)
~ Cut the squash in half with care, the shells are hard and smooth…a sharp knife can slip easily.
~ Scoop out seeds and any strings in the cavities. Discard them.
~ Place the squash, cut-side down on a non-stick baking tray (a cookie pan will work fine).
~ Cover with foil to hold in the steam.
~ Bake for 25-40 minutes until tender, but not mushy (the skin will pierce easily with a toothpick or cake tester). TIP: The cavity flesh will cook faster than the neck, since the neck is much thicker walled.
~ Turn hot roasted squash halves right side up.
~ Let cool a bit before assembling your recipe…and handle with care, so you don’t get burned.
* * * *
2 stalks of organic Celery: Wash & dice into chunks
2 handfuls of organic Walnut halves: Broken into pieces
1/4-1/2 cup of dried sweetened Cranberries (organic, if you can find them)
Generous drizzle of dark Grade B pure Maple Syrup
Add a generous dusting of fragrant ground Cinnamon
2-3 Tablespoons of cold organic Butter: Dice into bits & dabble over the apple-squash melange
Top with foil. Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes until apples are tender, but not mushy.
Serves 3 as a light main course with fresh creamy Chevre & a green salad. You could also add a slightly sweetened baked Tofu like Wildwood’s ‘Aloha’ flavor or a spicy Thai-style baked tofu for extra protein.