Pumpkin & Squash
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Pumpkin & Squash

Pumpkin & Squash

Hearty, wholesome and delicious.

by

The best part of eating fruits and vegetables in their seasons is the taste. There’s nothing like spring strawberries, summer peaches and fall squash.

The second best part? Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

We haven’t had winter squash around here since…well, last winter. Now we can’t stop eating it.

Lucky for us, there are so many more varieties of winter squash -- the possibilities are endless, but the truth is, a little salt and butter or olive oil is all any of them need to taste delicious right out of the oven.

Don’t be afraid to buy a new kind of gourd at the farmer’s market or store. Sometimes, the ugliest ones are the most delightful.

STUFFED WINTER SQUASH, TWO WAYS

  • STUFFED WINTER SQUASH1 medium winter squash of choice
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, kale or swiss chard leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1t salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • mozzarella cheese (optional)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise or in 1.5-in. slices, according to your preferred recipe. Place slices or the the halves upside down in a pan of shallow water and bake until soft (25 minutes for slices and more for larger halves). You should be able to easily pierce the squash with a fork.

STUFFED WINTER SQUASHPuree greens and garlic in a food processor. Combine greens mixture, egg, panko, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Remove the squash from the oven and drain water. Add greens mixture to the center of the squash (if you’re using halves, they should be face up. Cover greens with cheese if desired. Return to oven and bake for another 12 minutes.

Pumpkin soup in its shell

Pumpkin soup in its shellBarbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, chronicling her family’s year-long locavore experience, was a combination of my favorite author and two of my favorite interests: gardening and cooking healthy food. I devoured the book and then several of the recipes in it.

This recipe for pumpkin soup, served in its shell, has become a family favorite. My kids (and guests) are thrilled when we bring the whole pumpkin to the table, remove the lid and ladle the soup right from the gourd.

PUMPKIN SOUP

  • 1 pie pumpkin, made for cooking (these are smaller than the ones sold for decorating)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 8oz. soy milk
  • 32 oz. water or stock
  • T salt
  • t cinnamon
  • t ginger
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the top off the pumpkin and save it for the lid. Scoop out the seeds and save them for roasting. Place the pumpkin in a tin large enough to hold it. Fill the pumpkin with the stock or water, soy milk, salt and coconut milk. Cover the hole with a piece of tin foil and replace the lid. Bake the pumpkin at 375° for 1-2 hours, depending on its thickness. Occasionally open lid and check with a spoon, carefully scraping some inside flesh into the hot liquid.

Now here’s the tricky part. The pumpkin tends to collapse after an hour or so, which won’t ruin the soup, but will ruin the cool container! As a precaution, I pour the liquid into a pot and carefully scrape some of the insides of the pumpkin into the pot as well. I continue cooking the soup in the pot, so that the total cooking time adds up to about an hour. Add the spices and puree once the pumpkin flesh in the soup is soft. To serve, reheat the soup in the pot (and the pumpkin separately in the oven–the soup will take forever to heat if you try to heat it in the pumpkin in the oven), pour the soup into the pumpkin and serve with a ladle. Good luck!

Variation: Favorite fall squash soup

Pumpkin soup in its shell always gives my kids a thrill, but most weeks, I only have time to throw together a butternut squash soup that is just as yummy. I start with a whole butternut squash, which is the least unwieldy members of the squash family, if you ask me. I chop off the ends, peel it with a peeler and scoop out the insides with a spoon. With only a few more minutes of prep time and 40 minutes simmer time, the soup is ready.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

  • BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP1 butternut squash, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 8oz. soy milk
  • 32 oz. water or stock
  • T salt
  • t cinnamon
  • t ginger
  • 1/4 cup cashews (optional)
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Simmer all the ingredients for 40 minutes, until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork. Blend it with an immersion blender and serve (If you’re using the cashews, blend the soup in the blender).

And now for those seeds…

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS

Roasted Pumpkin SeedsToss the seeds with 2T melted butter and t salt. Roast for 45 minutes on 300 degrees, until golden brown.

Published: October 12, 2012


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