This past Wednesday I went to the Farmer’s Market with S and the twins and since it is winding down there was a ton available. I picked up a whole bunch of veggies at the grocery store that I just didn’t see at the FM like avocados, carrots, cilantro, red onions, etc. and then at the market I grabbed a butternut squash, red pepper, corn on the cob, an enormous heirloom tomato and a jar of locally packaged Thai peanut sauce with nothing artificial added. Yum.
The night I brought all the veggies home it occurred to me that I never actually liked squash so I have not made it in the ten years Matt and I have been together. I had never seen him with squash on his plate, he’s never even ordered it out, so it was going to be interesting to find out if either of us would eat it.
Over the past couple years I have been experimenting with re-trying foods I used to not like because I figure tastes change so why not give it a go. I think I have mentioned before that this experimentation led me right down an avocado filled path of yumminess, so I wondered if squash could be the next alright veggie.
Yeah, not so much.
Well OK, in all fairness, just not the way I did it. I have major issues with texture in my foods as well as this very odd thing where if I have had the same flavor in my mouth for too long I feel nauseated and I have to stop eating it in favor of something else; sometimes I have to stop eating altogether, don’t ask I’m a freak. Usually it happens with pasta or chicken but never with veggies, until now.
I cut up the heirloom into small cubes, tossed it into a pan with a shake of dried basil, a pinch of each -- nutmeg, sea salt, black pepper and sugar -- and set it to boil. Once it was boiling I simmered it on low for about 2 hours. Making sauce is one of my specialties. In fact for a long time it was the only thing I could cook that I didn’t screw up beyond recognition (lemon poppyseed super bouncy ball anyone?). For some reason, the tomato and I are just happy bedfellows; if I wasn’t Irish, I would have definitely been Italian.
Squash however is entirely new territory for me, so a lot of online research had to be done before I was ready to give it a go. Upon delving, I discovered that about two minutes in the microwave will soften both: the skin to easily peel it, and the meat (is that the proper term here?) enough to cut it up easily. I cubed it, tossed it in my 8x8 Pyrex and sprinkled the top with a pinch of salt, nutmeg and cinnamon and a couple tablespoons of brown sugar then I tossed about a ¼ cup of water in the bottom, covered with my recycled aluminum foil (awesome stuff which I had sent to me recently by Reynolds) and baked on 350 for about 35 minutes.
Zucchini chunks were steamed and vermicelli was boiled and when all was said and done I mixed them all together in a big bowl.
Matt downed that squash so fast I didn’t see a single chunk make it to his bowl before it was in his mouth. I asked why he never mentioned that he loves butternut squash so much, since he clearly missed it something awful over this past decade.
I couldn’t understand his response as his mouth was full of squash.
On the other side of the spectrum was me. I ate about 5 chunks of squash until I finally had to admit that while the flavor was good, the texture was not going to work. This was a vast accomplishment though as I never used to like the flavor, so I started hatching a plan for what could be done with the rest of it, in lieu of allowing Matt to turn into a butternut squash of course.
Into the food processor (my new favorite household appliance by the way, we finally broke down and got one a few weeks back because it is fall and fall is all about soup) went everything chunky along with about a half a cup of 2% milk. Out came the most delicious creamy soup I have ever made.
Admittedly, yes, it was the first creamy soup I’ve made but seriously, who’s counting? Since butternut is a winter squash I have a feeling we will be experimenting with it around this house a lot over the coming months.
That is if I can keep any of it off of Matt’s fork.