Don’t you just love this time of year?? As soon as I know Halloween is coming, I am swept up in a haze of orange that informs my every artistic endeavor through Thanksgiving (whereupon the palette will morph to reds and greens). The small table above, which graces my kitchen, has been standing as homage to the season. The afghan-turned-tablecloth, flipped upside down to its earthy, orangey-red and golden hues, bears witness to the bounty of fall. Five squashes have greeted me as I enter the kitchen: the homegrown pumpkins, the supermarket smaller versions, used as decoration and (ta da!) the kuri squash, a new and highly recommended addition to my fall repertoire!
One of the perks of visiting Oak Hill Farm was my introduction to kuri squash, which is that large orange ribbed squash sitting on the left in the photo above. Perhaps some of you are familiar with it but I was not. Apparently it’s known by a variety of names including Japanese squash, orange hokkaido and uchiki kuri squash, and it would appear we have the Japanese to thank for its development. I’m certain I was ready to try this squash because of its seeming similarity to pumpkin. What I had not anticipated was that I am finding it a far superior squash to pumpkin, and I was most anxious to share the good news with you, hoping you will be able to find it among your local farmer’s markets and give it a try!
The kuri squash that is in the above photo has since been poked with an apple corer [the thought of an exploding squash in my oven gives me great pause] and was baked in a 375 degree F. oven for over an hour, until being stabbed with a fork met with no resistance. I removed it from the oven and allowed it to cool slightly, and then was delighted to find the skin could be pulled off very easily. I sliced it in quarters, removed the seeds and popped the quarters in the Cuisinart. I was utterly amazed to discover that the puree was undoubtedly THE best squash I have ever eaten in my life. I didn’t even want to adulterate it with any seasonings whatsoever. No. I wanted to sit down with a spoon and feast on it, is what I wanted to do. Oh, YUM! Unbelieveably sweet and refined. I refrained from my hungry pangs as I recognized immediately how delicious it would be as a baked alternative to traditional sweet potatoes (no need to add the sugar!) and measured out the puree into two equal portions of two cups each and spooned each portion into freezer bags, saved for Christmas, when Antonia will be coming up and celebrating the holiday with me. (Yay!)
So I called my Darling Daughter and told her at length of the virtues of kuri squash and promised her if I ran into any more in the near future I would send one down. Ask and ye shall receive. Yesterday when I ventured down to a (larger) farmer’s market in Sonoma County I was delighted to find an organic farmer with an abundance of kuri squashes! Hallelujah!
I’ve already popped the smaller one in the oven as I’m dying to try combining two recipes to “see if it works”–and if it does, I promise to share Thanksgiving week. And the second one will go in a box and sent down to Darling Daughter, as she plans to cook a turkey for friends.
May the spirit of the holidays be gracing your hearts and homes. I leave you with an image from the front of my house. I light them each morning to cheer early morning risers and each evening to kindle the spirit of the season.
Love and season’s blessings,
Posted on November 16th, 2008 by Kathryn
Filed under: Plants