Squasharama!


Yes, indeed. It’s not over. Squash is dominating the terrain of my brain. Well, mostly. If you walked into my kitchen you would understand why. First, now that CleanUp time has arrived in the garden, I found two or three baby pumpkins that had been hiding and were not ripened at all, but were so cute, I brought them in in hopes that perhaps they still had a chance. It’s working for the green tomatoes; why not the pumpkins? I followed the instructions I got from that kind blogger, Mr. David Perry. The key, I think, was not letting them touch each other. So I have various pumpkins in various stages of ripening on a cutting board, and sure enough, they are turning orange! OK, then there is this little green orphan I found dangling up in the quince bush that I am currently in love with, and staged his own photo. How cute is he??

Cuteness!

So, I’d been pouring over recipes for my kuri post and, later, for Antonia, after mailing her down that kuri I found for her in the Santa Rosa farmer’s market. What I first discovered was that red kuri was on Everybody’s Gourmet Restaurant Thanksgiving list! (Who knew?) The best one was a dessert list in a D.C. restaurant called Vidalia. Look at this!

squash, maple and walnut
maple chiboust with kuri squash chips; walnut tort with
amber maple syrup ice cream; kuri squash custard with
walnut brittle and five spice marshmallow 10.50
with standing stone vineyards, vidal ice, finger lakes, ny 14.00

Eventually, all this talk of pumpkins and kuri squashes inevitably bled over to an overwhelming curiosity about a very dark, (I thought) uninviting squash called kabocha, or blue kuri. If you saw this in a store, would it be the first squash you’d grab?

I thought not.

It looks slightly better upside down!

What tipped the scales for me was unexpectedly finding a recipe for a Thai coconut custard made inside a kabocha! They call it Sangkaya Phak Tong. It just sounded too delicious not to try. So try I did, and here is the result!

Kabocha coconut custard

How cool is that??

Now, what did I do? It was ridiculously easy. I whisked four eggs. I opened a can of coconut milk and heated it just a teeny tiny bit in a saucepan so it smoothed out. I added a cup of sugar to the coconut milk. (You are supposed to use date sugar, though.) I made sure it was cool, and added to the whisked eggs. I put a teeny bit of vanilla in it and a pinch of salt and a pinch of cinnamon. I poured into the kabocha, which I’d already cut open and pulled its seeds out (which I will dry and keep for next spring). Now. You are supposed to put the kabocha in a steaming basket and steam for 45 minutes. But did I? Of course not. I put it in a 350 degree oven for an hour and a half instead. I like to bake. What can I say? And I almost always mess with recipes. I was pleased with my first result. And here’s the proof in the pudding!

Here’s a really interesting sidebar on the custard: you could make this custard in a heartbeat and just pour into pyrex dishes and have an almost instant, very satisfying dessert! I had more custard than my kabocha would hold, and poured that last bit in one of Grandma’s little pyrex pudding dishes and waterbathed it and placed that next to the kabocha in the oven. It was done in 30 minutes and of course I had to try it. It was really good! So that’s a nifty trick to have in your back pocket! I was thinking how much children would like it, you busy mothers and grandmothers. They could even help! I do have to say, however, I want to try this recipe with REAL coconut milk. (I’m not a big can fan, ever.)

I am now utterly enchanted with the idea of Stuffing Squashes and baking them. I want to try some kind of rice and chicken sausage thingie next. If anyone has any experience in this realm, will you please let me know?? Thank you!

Love and kitchen blessings,
Kathryn xoxoox

18 Responses to “Squasharama!”

  1. Yum Kathryn … and just when I thought I was over squash and pumpkins for a bit, you’ve temped me with this delicious recipe. Kabocha coconut custard sounds devine and a must try. Thanks for sharing, dear one!

  2. Hi, Joey! I always always think of you when I’m trying out these new recipes outside my experience. You are the Recipe Queen, my dear! I bet there’s some scrumptious recipe on your blog for stuffed squashes!
    Right?? Thanks for the visit, my friend. Kathryn xoxo

  3. …so, which did you like best? Your earlier description of the Kuri was so enthusiastic I have wanted it ever since! I found a really good recipe, myself, for roasted pumpkin (with apple, dried cranberry, ginger and cointreau) on the Village Voice. Here’s the link: http://joeyrandall.blogspot.com/2008/10/cornucopia-of-reds-and-oranges-ginger.html.

  4. Dear Kathryn,
    I also discovered the beauty of squash this year – had some great experience in growing spaghetti squash – I still have some seeds from my garden, that I can post to the folks interested to grow it coming season. I linked with my name above the post about that particular kind. Anybody interested (you too?) pls send me an e-mail. My email address available in the blogspot profile section.
    xoxo
    Ewa

  5. Hello Kathryn, I’m a big squash fan too. You really show us some really nice creative cooking!

    Tyra

  6. I will echo Joey, the custard sounds divine. I have no experience stuffing squash but have wanted to use them for a fall dinner party (or Thanksgiving) ever since seeing them (used that way) in Martha Stewarts “Gardening” book years ago. I think she served soup in the hollowed out centers?? Yum. In the Oct 2008 issue of MSL, Martha showed how to make a stew that is cooked & served in a pumpkin ~ did you see that? I looked (and sounded) delicious as well.

  7. Kathryn: Our experiences with stuffed squash are more the summer kinds – you know the ones that got lost under the leaves and got as big as baseball bats. If baked long enough, in a 300 to 350 oven, they always came through and made a good meal. We cut them in half longways and partly hollow them out, reserving the squash guts, chop that and add chopped onions, sweet peppers, Italian sausage bits, tomatoes, all partly cooked in oilve oil first and then fill in the center of the squash, put on a baking tray or roasting pan, add some combination of Italian cheeses, herbs, cracked pepper and bread crumbs and bake until soft when probed. If the squash boats are too long to fit a pan, cut ithem in half or thirds and just line them all up and bake together. It’s a great way to save something that otherwise would only be useful grated and into a bread or muffin (also good too, but we need variety). Makes a great lunch or dinner with a salad and rolls.
    Cheers, Julie in Ohio

  8. Welcome, Jeannie! Honestly? What I’ve discovered is that just as a pumpkin is not a pumpkin is not a pumpkin, a kuri is not a kuri is not a kuri. The kuri I bought at Oak Hill Farm was THE best squash I have ever eaten in my whole life, and I’m really regretting not having seeds. (It might even be worth seeing if I can still secure.) So it’s all relative. I might find that this particular kabocha is better than the last kuri I ate. It’s down to that. Kind of like tomatoes, even though they come in the same package. But to try to answer your question, I can only say this particular kabocha was really yummy! I would definitely use them again!
    It’s very rich, so must be very nourishing. Kathryn xox

  9. Hi, Ewa! I remember that you tried out spaghetti squash this year! Did you love it? We eat with tomato sauce. Did you? Thanks for your kind offer! (I tried to give away kuri seeds on Twitter yesterday. No takers! And kuri seeds are not that easy to find!) Kathryn xoxo

  10. Hi,Tyra, Thanks for your kind words. The Putting Food Inside Pumpkins definitely has my creative attention. But honestly, I’m usually looking for good and fast at the same time. That ordinarily means using the freshest possible, organic foods (most often from my own garden; you can’t beat the timing on fresh cut to the kitchen!), and only slightly enhancing. Kathryn xoxo

  11. Hi, Kathleen, you seem captured by the same pumpkin spirit as I. But do they EAT the pumpkin? Or just use as decoration? I’d be less inclined to simply use it as a utensil. Maybe it flavors the soup or stew? Just wondering…Kathryn xoox

  12. Wow, Julie, my mouth is watering and it’s only 8:00AM! Yes, that’s just the kind of recipe I was thinking of. I can instantly see that and employ! It might even make me a summer squash fan! YUM!! Thanks! Love, Kathryn xoxo

  13. How yummy, mom!!! The kuri squash you so kindly mailed to me
    was made into lovely custard! It seems to be a great squash combo!
    Thanks for another Gorgeous recommendation! too fun!
    Love you,
    Antonia
    xox

  14. Hi, Sweetheart! That’s right! Another kuri custard option! You used the pumpkin custard recipe, right? Easy to find online. I must try that one next, Antonia! Thanks! Love, Mom xoxoo

  15. I’ve been meaning to incorporate more squash into my recipes.

  16. Hi, Kristi, Do you have a place to grow them? That’s what got me hooked! Kathryn xox

  17. [WP being fussy again with Dee's comment; hopefully 2.7 will clear it up.]

    Dee/Red Dirt Rambling says:

    Being dairy intolerant, my saving grace is coconut milk in all its lovely machinations. I tried that squash once, it was dry & kind of yucky, but maybe it was in the store too long. I don’t know.

    One of my fav things is Thai coconut rice and coconut milk ice cream. Hard to find here in OK, but I do find it sometimes. I whipped the fat of coconut milk into a whipped cream for Thanksgiving. It tastes a little odd with mincemeat though.

    Oh, squash recipes, that’s what you asked for. I love baked acorn squash with just a little real maple syrup. Yum.

    xoxo~~Dee

  18. Hi, Dee, I’m not surprised you’ve discovered the joys of coconut milk! Do you know anything about its fat qualities?I think I remember it’s not great for you. I’m wondering still if it’s better to use the real stuff?I need to research. (Anyone?) Acorn squash and maple syrup sounds really yummy! Oh, and if you get close to a Latin market–they almost always have coconut popsicles! VERY good! Kathryn xoxo
    Looked it up: Very high in saturated fat. (Oops!)

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