Martha+Tom

Five Days of Squash

Five squashes, five days: who will survive?

Let me start by saying I don’t like squash. I kind of hate it. It’s certainly not an aesthetic objection: nothing brightens up the drear of the fall farmers’ market quite like all the whimsical varieties of winter squash — impossible to resist! This combination of compulsive buying and strong dislike leads me to accumulate squash in the fall. Earlier this month, our squash collection reached critical mass and it was time for desperate measures. And so the idea was born: the week of squash. We would cook and eat a different squash each day for five days. At the end of the week, we would have finished our kuri, delicata, acorn, butternut and spaghetti squashes. And I would either have learned to love squash or never need to eat it again.

Day 1 Curried Kuri Squash Soup

OH YOU CAN MAKE SQUASH SOUP? WOW

Not wanting to be too ambitious the first day, I went for an old standard: squash soup. Most of the versions of this I’ve had are sweetened with brown sugar and pretty fatiguing after just a few spoonfuls. To try to make it a little more interesting, I attempted squash mulligatawny; a squash-based version of the citrusy Angl0-Indian soup. After peeling and steaming my kuri squash, I pureed the flesh with some of the steaming liquid, and added ginger and curry powder. Back in the pot, I added a bit of cream and some lime juice. For garnish, I made a mint-cilantro-garlic yogurt sauce, dolloped generously in the center

Squash Hatred Level: 6. The squash was pretty passable, but I think I was a little too heavy-handed with the lime juice; the soup was overly sour. The yogurt sauce helped improve the soup’s flavor, but as is often the case with squash soup (for me, anyway) a few bites was enough.

Day 2 Delicata Squash Enchiladas

Enchiladas

This dish was inspired by a post on Serious Eats and an email I received from my Aunt Ann talking about having made enchiladas using squash with chard, feta and onions. I kind of took the worst parts of both of these ideas, ignoring their saving graces, and added some even nastier elements. So my ‘enchiladas’ contained: roasted delicata squash, kale, never-tender-enough-sauteed chard stems, charred red peppers and onions, and cilantro. After preparing my fillings and tossing them in a bowl with the recommended enchilada sauce, I rolled enchiladas, topped them with more sauce and covered the dish with a healthy (or hopefully unhealthy) dose of pepper-jack and put it in the oven to bake.

Squash Hatred Level: 8. The squash soup was not good, but it was okay. These enchiladas, on the other hand, were just nasty. Even as I was putting the recipe together, I could feel the train-wreck beginning. Eliminating the black beans and the feta was obviously a mistake. And in my overzealous cleaning of the crisper drawer I didn’t think about why combining kale and chard stems was a terrible, terrible idea. The only salvation for this dish would have been a lot more sauce and/or a lot more cheese, and preferably just those things. At this point I was getting pretty discouraged about squash week.

Day 3 Stuffed Roast Acorn Squash

Alright, now things are getting good

With exotic reimaginings of squash having utterly failed me in the beginning of the week, it was time to turn to a stand-by. Growing up, this was how I knew squash: an acorn squash, cut in half, stuffed with pork sausage, and roasted until both were nicely browned. Of course, as a child, I would only eat the sausage, though I did eventually learn to also eat the squash, provided it was mashed together with plenty of butter, salt and pepper.

Squash Deliciousness Level: 6. This is actually a very good way to enjoy squash: pork loves a sweet compliment and finds a great one in the flesh of the squash, and the pork fat mingled tantalizingly with the squash. I hardly needed any butter at all!

Day 4 Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli Gratin

Crispy

I suppose the star of this meal is actually in the background of the above photo: slow-cooked duck legs with a red wine pan sauce. But squash is the point of this post, and squash we did have to the side of our duck. For this gratin, I combined the flesh of a roasted spaghetti squash with steamed broccoli and a generous handful of New Zealand cheddar cheese in a buttered gratin dish. I topped the mixture off with bread crumbs tossed together with parmesan cheese and baked the dish until the breadcrumbs were brown and the cheese bubbly.

Squash Deliciousness Level: 4. This dish had a good level of sweetness without descending into sweet potato pie territory, and the combination of textures — the still slightly crisp broccoli, the gooey squash and cheese, and the crunchy breadcrumbs — was interesting and pleasant.

Day 5 Butternut Squash Spaetzle

Spaetzle! Fun to say

I kind of dread butternut squash because it is so popular and tends to get so repetitive. How many butternut squash raviolis have you seen on restaurant menus in the past five years? So I was very grateful when Serious Eats featured a recipe for butternut squash spaetzle. I mean, I have long wanted to learn to make spaetzle, and if I could liven up squash week in the process, all the better. I also thought the recipe an appropriate wrap-up to squash week, since squash figures into the spaetzle dough as well as being a part of the sauce (I guess the ultimate wrap-up to squash week would have involved all five squash varieties in some kind of squash explosion but even contemplating that makes me a little sick). The recipe was pretty easy to follow; I only screwed up in over-cooking the maple glaze to the point where it wasn’t so much a maple glaze as maple candy. Luckily, the dishes were for Martha.

Squash Deliciousness Level: 8. This dish did a really good job of using the sweetness of butternut squash as an accent while bringing in a variety of other flavors and textures to avoid palate fatigue. Although recommended as a side dish, it made a great light lunch on a fall day.

And so the week of squash ended. Although it wasn’t planned this way, after a couple of rocky starts the meals got progressively better; by the end of the week I could even say I almost liked squash. I suppose I will be able to eat it in the future. But five days in a row again? Probably not.

5 comments | , , , , , , , , , , ,

«   »

5 comments on “Five Days of Squash”

  1. Linda 27 October, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    The crippling burden of too much squash turned out to be a great post for you. I laughed my way through the Squash Hatred Level comments.

  2. Amy 27 October, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Tom–very humorous. I am glad to be vindicated on raising you with acorn squash/sausage. Get this recipe from Aunt Sue: butternut squash/apple soup. It is a truly delicious flavor and beautiful to serve with a dollop of yogurt.

  3. Angie 27 October, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I’ll have to try the gratin, that looked the best to me. We typically make a lasagna or spaghetti-type dish with spaghetti squash but I like your idea better!

  4. jane 28 October, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Hey, I made the squash broccoli gratin based on your photo and description and it turned out great! Thanks!

  5. Tom 2 November, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    I’m glad the gratin worked out. I am still squash free since finishing this little project, but I think I will break the drought later this week.

    Posts linking to this post

  1. Squash-o-Rama « The Heavy Table 27 October, 2009 at 9:07 am

    […] of the Upper Midwest cope with the crippling burden of Too Much Squash. They’ve put together a single blog post featuring five days of squash: Curried Kuri Squash Soup, Delicata Squash Enchiladas, Stuffed Roast Acorn Squash, Spaghetti Squash […]

  2. Wine Glaze » MARTHAANDTOM » Five Days of Squash 27 October, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    […] here to read the rest: MARTHAANDTOM » Five Days of Squash AKPC_IDS += "1463,";Popularity: unranked […]

  3. MARTHAANDTOM » Late Season Pizzas 11 November, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    […] squash-gorgonzola-walnut Pizza. After a well deserved period of squash abstinence, I decided to get back into it by combining one of my least favorite […]

  4. Five Days of Squash / Taproot Farms Blog 12 July, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    […] squash inspiration from Martha & Tom This entry was posted in Recipes and tagged squash. Bookmark the permalink. ← Recipe from […]

  5. MARTHAANDTOM » Squash Enchiladas Worth Eating 4 November, 2010 at 7:03 am

    […] absolute nadir of last year’s ill-conceived Five Days of Squash was my squash enchiladas. Coated in too little sauce and packed with tough greens (and their even […]

  6. MARTHAANDTOM » This Guy Likes Pig’s Eye 20 September, 2011 at 6:43 am

    […] jazzed by the availability of local cabbage and potatoes (the appearance of winter squash, however, continues to fill me with a sense of deep dread). That said, I do appreciate it when a vendor takes a risk on some produce that’s outside the […]

  7. The Annals of Asparagus | MARTHAANDTOM 26 March, 2016 at 10:22 am

    […] deep sense of loss — as opposed to, say, kohlrabi, which frankly I could take or leave. And while eating winter squash for five days straight feels like some kind of satanic trial, I could shove asparagus down my throat for days and weeks on […]