Winter Squash Is In Season/ kosher recipes, information and suggestions

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We’ve all heard the terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” It’s kinda weird because you can get summer squashes all winter; and “winter squashes pretty much a summer long. Confusing yes, but easily explainable.

The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” date back to a time when the seasonal vegetables were only available when they “were in season”  a “get em while you can” kind of mentality existed.  Right now the newest crop of winter squashes are just rolling into the marketplace so now is the time to get them, cook them and eat them

Winter squash are more typically round in shape and have a harder, non eatable skin that needs to be peeled. Winter (or fall harvested squash for those of a more literal mind) take longer to mature than summer squash and can be stored for months longer than the summer squashes as long as they are in a cool dry area. You can bake, mash, steamed or simmer you winter squashes and , for the  most part they can replace sweet potatoes in almost any recipe. Cooked winter squash is great as an ingredient in cakes, pies, soups and casseroles.

You should look for squash that feels heavy than you think it should for its size. The skin should have a deep color and it shouldn’t have any obvious bruises or blemishes. While there are bunches and bunches of squash the one that are the most popular (and available) are the acorn, turban, butternut, Buttercup, Carnival, Hubbard and Spaghetti.

These squashes are usually covered with wax and or dirt so you need to make sure you wash and really scrub the outside of the squash. Then cut off stem, cut in half, remove the seeds and stringy fibers and cook. It’s usually easier to peel squash after its been cooked.

 

 

1 pound peeled squash = 1 cup cooked, mashed
2-1/2 pounds whole squash = 2-3/4 to 3 cups pureed
1 pound trimmed squash = 2 cups cooked pieces
1 pound squash = 2 to 3 servings
12 ounces frozen squash = 1-1/2 cups

1 medium-size (15 to 20 pounds) pumpkin = 5 to 7 quarts of cooked pumpkin.

 

Bake: Cut the squash in half, poke the skin with a fork then place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet with sides and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes until soft.

 

Boil or Steam: Cut the squash into halves, quarters or rings and cook it, with water or broth for 20 to 25 minutes or until the squash is tender. You can mash cooked squash just like potatoes.

 

You can also microwave your squash. Place cut pieces of squash in a shallow glass dish with a little water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 5 or 6 minutes and test it for softness. Continue checking for doneness at 2 or 3 minute intervals until the squash is soft. You can microwave a whole squash. Just poke the skin all over with a fork (so steam can escape). Microwave the squash 7 to 10 minutes and check to see how soft the squash is.

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CHEESE AND BEEF STUFFED TURBAN SQUASH

 

1 large or 2 small turban squash

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 green pepper, diced small

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon fennel

1 egg; slightly beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 cup parmesan cheese; shredded

1 cup fresh parsley; chopped

 

Preheat oven to 375. Cutting at a downward angle remove the crown of turban. Scrape out seeds and membrane. Sprinkle the inside cavity with salt. Place the squash in a 9X13 baking pan with the cut opening facing down. Add about 1 inch of water. Bake 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the squash. It should be softening but not mushy. Remove the squash from the oven turn the cut side up and leave it in the pan.

 

In a bowl, combine egg, sour cream and parmesan and mix to combine and set aside. In skillet, combine the beef, onion, garlic, green pepper, thyme and fennel. Cook, stirring frequently for 7 or 8 until the meat is fully cooked. Drain any excess grease and add the parsley. Add the egg mixture to meat mixture and mix to combine. Spoon the beef mixture into the squash. Place the stuffed squash back in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until filling is set. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. To serve, cut into slices. Serves 4.

 

Modified from about.com

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CASABLANCA ACORN SQUASH

 

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 large acorn squash, halved and seeded

1/4 cup olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic

5 to 6 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, shredded

2 cups garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup raisins

3 tablespoons cumin

salt and pepper to taste

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 cups uncooked couscous

 

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Combine the sugar and butter in a sauce pan and heat until they are combined. Baste the inside of the squash with the mixture and set it aside. In a skillet heat the oil and add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, raisins, cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cooking (stirring often) until vegetables are crisp tender. Add the chicken broth and couscous. Cover and turn off heat. Allow the mixture to sit, covered for 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the cover, mix to combine and then fill the squash and serve. Serves 8.

 

My files, source unknown

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CHICKEN AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW POT

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 to 4 lbs skinless bone-in chicken breast

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup chopped celery

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

2/3 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb sliced mushrooms

 

Heat oil in a large (4 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Add chicken and brown about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken and add onion, garlic and celery to pan; sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the pan with vegetables. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper, sage, thyme and bring to a boil; simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add the squash, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional or until squash is tender. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 more minutes. Serves 6 to 8

 

Submitted by Ronnie Marchoni Chicago IL

 

ORANGE SEAFOOD STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

 

1 (2 pound) butternut squash

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper

½ cup fresh orange juice, divided

2 tablespoons butter

3 green onions, thinly sliced

 

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons orange zest

¼ cup whipping cream

1 1b. mock/fake crab

Garnish: orange slices and additional thinly sliced green onions

 

Preheat oven to 375.Cut the butternut squash lengthwise into 4 wedges. Remove the seeds and place the squash in a 9 X 12 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the squash with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Pour 1/4 cup orange juice over the squash. Cover and bake for 40 minutes and until fork tender.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the Orange mock crab.

Arrange the butternut squash wedges on a serving platter, cut side up.In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup orange juice, orange zest, and remaining salt and pepper. Simmer for 6-7 minutes. Add the heavy cream and mock crab and simmer an additional 3 minutes.Divide and spoon the mock crab mix on top of the roasted butternut squash. Garnish the platter with orange slices and sprinkle all with additional thinly sliced green onions. Serves 4

Modified from CookEatShare.com

 

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WINTER SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

Roasting squash and apples intensifies their flavors. Use a mixture of winter squash varieties for a more complex taste.

3 pounds winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn or delicata, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 8 cups)

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

Preheat oven to 400. Line two rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss squash, apples, onion, garlic and ginger until mixed well. Spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer. Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans between oven racks halfway through baking. Remove from oven and purée squash mixture with broth and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor in 2 batches until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add more water if needed to thin soup to desired consistency. Serve garnished with parsley.

 

Modified from wholefoods.com

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Cooking with Carrots / easy recipes

About this time in winter I start looking for fresh vegetables that don’t require my approaching a senate subcommittee for a bailout. I’d have taken my private jet toWashingtonto ask but I had to hock it last week to buy hamburgers and pay my kids college tuition. This is when I turn to my friend the carrot

Carrots are a fantastic source of vitamin A. In fact, a single carrot provides two times the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. They are also low in calories and sodium are a source of potassium and a cup contains less than 50 calories. Surprisingly to most, carrots come in orange, red, black yellow, white, purple and you can roast them, grill them, simmer them in stocks and stews, toss them in a stir fry or on a salad or just eat them raw.

While most people I know love the pre peeled mini-carrots that are perfect for snacking or throwing in a salad or lunch bag you pay for convenience. These ready to go treats can cost three times as much as peeling your own.

Store carrots in the refrigerator, they’ll keep for at least a month stored in an open bag in your vegetable drawer. To peel or not to peel is a question most cooks ask at one time or another. You do not have to peel your carrots. If you wash them well with a vegetable brush it’s just a matter of looks.

My favorite way to prepare carrots is to oven roast them. The roasting caramelizes the sugar and creates a delicious, lip smacking side dish. To roast them, slice them in 1″ chunks, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet, dot with butter or margarine or drizzle olive oil over them and bake covered, at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

Before you get to the recipes, I have to share a carrot factoid I discovered in my extensive search. Mel Blanc, the voice of the quintessentially carrot loving Bugs Bunny, hated carrots, go figure.


MOROCCAN CARROT SALAD

 

4 large carrots cut into 1 inch wedges.
1/2 cup black olives.
6 to 7 radish, sliced thinly.
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon of paprika.
1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin or 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch cinnamon.
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1/3 cup olive oil

 

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the carrots and cook until tender and then rinse them with cold water. Drain the carrots and mix with the olives and radishes. In another bowl combine the garlic, cumin, pepper, cinnamon, salt, parsley, lemon and olive oil. Mix to combine Pour the marinade over the carrot, olives and radishes and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour for flavors to meld. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

CARROT SPREAD

 

3/4 cup of finely grated carrots.
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened.
1 stick of margarine, softened.
2 tablespoons chopped green olives
2 tablespoons of grated onion
Dash of white pepper.

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour. Makes 1 1/2 cup spread

 

SCALLOPED CARROTS

 

4 cups sliced carrots
1 medium onion diced
3 tablespoon butter
1 can cream of celery soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese grated
3 cups herb stuffing
1/3 cup butter melted

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 qt. casserole dish and set it aside. Cook carrots in salted water until almost tender. Drain. In a skillet melt the 3 tablespoons butter and saute the onions until soft. Stir in soup, salt, pepper and cheese. Stir in the cooked carrots. Place the carrot mixture in the prepared casserole dish. In a bowl combine the bread stuffing with the melted butter. Mix to coat and spoon over the carrots mixture. Bake for 20 minutes. Serves 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

CARROT PUFF

 

2 1/2 cups carrots, cooked, mashed, and seasoned with salt and pepper

2 egg yolks, beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup bread crumbs

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 qt. casserole dish. In a bowl combine the cooked carrots, egg yolks, milk, bread crumbs and onions. Mix to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the egg whites until they are stiff and then fold them lightly into the carrot mixture. Turn into prepared casserole dish. Bake at 45-60 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean. Serve immediately. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

CARAMEALIZED CARROT COUSCOUS

1 lb carrots, very coarsely grated
3-4 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste
spices to taste, such as ground coriander,
1 package couscous (prepared according to the package directions)
2 tablespoon margarine for frying
Fresh lemon juice (optional)
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Saute onion in margarine over medium heat until soft, then add carrot, salt, sugar and spices.  Cover and leave on medium to low medium heat, checking occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t burn, but not stirring so frequently that it don’t get a nice variation of browning.  Should be done in about 10 minutes. Serve over warmed couscous topped with toasted sesame seeds. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

SWEET SPICED CARROTS WITH APRICOTS

4 cups baby carrots (or small-cut carrots) steamed yet a little firm
1 onion chopped
1 cup dried apricots chopped up
3 to 4  tablespoons oil (for frying)
1/4 cup  brown sugar
about 1/2 cup water
a generous dash each of: ground ginger, ground cloves and allspice
salt and pepper

In a frying pan, fry up onions with oil (and garlic if you choose to use it) until the onions are soft. Add the spices, sugar, and apricots to the pan. When the sugar has been absorbed, add the water so it’s like a sauce and has a little liquid to cook in. Add the carrots (they should be steamed a little before hand so they cook faster), and cook for a few minutes. Stir with the sauce, until they are covered nicely and a little brown. Serves: 4 to 6

 

Modified from a recipe by Charlotte Millman

PEANUT ORANGE AND CARROT SALAD

1/4 cup peanut butter

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, shredded

1 pound shredded carrots

4 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

salt and pepper to taste
In a medium microwaveable bowl, microwave the peanut butter for about 10 seconds to soften. Whisk in the tamari, orange juice and ginger; stir in a splash of hot water if the sauce begins to tighten up. Stir the carrots and green onions into the dressing and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the mixture in a serving bowl and top with peanuts. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

CARROT APPLE SALAD

 

2 cups firmly-packed shredded apple

2 cups shredded, firmly-packed carrots

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

 

In a large mixing bowl, toss the shredded apples, carrots and raisins (if using) together. In another bowl whisk together the lemon juice, sour cream, vanilla and honey. Pour the dressing over the apple carrot salad and toss well. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

 

CRANBERRY GLAZED CARROTS

 

2 lbs. baby carrots

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice

kosher salt

pepper

 

In a saucepan, boil the baby carrots in boiling salted water until tender-crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and leave the carrots in the pan. Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes or until nicely glazed and piping hot, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

 

SAVORY CARROT AND APPLE CASSEROLE

 

1 lb carrots, peeled, cut into sticks

2 large white onions, sliced into wedges

5 tablespoons butter (or margarine)

3 large apples, cored, thinly sliced into rings

1 teaspoon thyme (optional)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. Steam carrots in boiling salted water until tender-crisp. Set aside. In a skillet saute the onions in the butter until golden. In the prepared dish, layer the carrots, onions and apples. Sprinkle with thyme. Drizzle with lemon juice. Melt the remaining butter and then mix in bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over vegetable mixture. Bake degrees for 15 minutes or until vegetables are heated through and crumbs are golden brown. Serves 4. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

 

SAVORY CARROT AND TARRAGON TART

 

Crust
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tarragon leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup yogurt

Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2 tablespoons white wine or vinegar, divided
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350.  To prepare crust: Coat a 9- to 10-inch tart pan with cooking spray. Place flour, tarragon and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter one piece at a time, pulsing once or twice after each addition, until incorporated. Add 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup yogurt and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan (it will be crumbly), spread evenly and press firmly into the bottom and all the way up the sides to form a crust. Bake the crust until set but not browned, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. To prepare filling: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in carrots and 1 tablespoon wine or vinegar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.  Spread mustard over the crust. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese and then evenly spread the carrot mixture in the tart shell.  Whisk 1/2 cup yogurt, milk, eggs, tarragon, the remaining 1 tablespoon wine or vinegar), 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and pour in the filling.  Bake the tart until the filling is firm and the edges are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve warm or chilled.

 

CAULIFLOWER AND CARROT PIE

 

2 cups seasoned croutons, crushed

1/2 cup butter, melted, divided

1 small head cauliflower cut into small florets (about 5 Cups)

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup shredded Cheddar, divided

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, combine croutons and 1/4 cup butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes or until lightly browned; set aside. In a large skillet sauté the cauliflower, onion, carrot, garlic, salt and oregano in remaining butter over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese into prepared crust. Top with the cauliflower mixture and remaining cheese. In a bowl, beat the eggs and milk. Pour over pie. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean and the cauliflower is tender. Serves 6 to 8

The Mighty Meatball

 

Check out my new column on Meatballs in the Journal Gazette

http://journalgazette.com/article/20110130/FEAT0103/301309989/1132/FEAT0103