Tag Archives: squash

kabocha squash puree

Two squash recipes in a row? It seems like I am still excited about the year’s new crop of winter squash (talk to me again in March). Kabocha squash is a Japanese pumpkin with a sweet, dense texture. If you ever get a pumpkin curry in Thai restaurants, it is likely this is the pumpkin that they use. The skin of a Kabocha is thinner than your average winter squash, making it easier to cut and I have even eaten the skin before (just make sure you scrub the squash well).

I first saw this in the November issue of Bon Appetit. Even after a couple of shortcut tweaks, this is still incredibly delicious. If you are looking for replacement for the ubiquitous sweet potato marshmallow casserole for your Thanksgiving table, this is a good one.

Kabocha Squash Puree

adapted from Bon Appetit

1 Kabocha squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cut into equal sized chunks

a piece of ginger, about 3 inch in size or 1 tsp dried ginger

milk of your choice. I used almond milk, but the original recipe calls for heavy cream. I had great results without it.

Steam your squash. My squash took a bit over 12 minutes, with chunks cut in about 1″x1″ pieces. You can also roast the squash, but I did not want to turn my oven on. Meanwhile, use a microplane and grate the ginger into a small pile on a piece of cheesecloth. Squeeze out as much of the ginger juice that you can into your food processor. If using dried ginger, just add that to the food processor. When the squash is fork tender, transfer it to the food processor. Pour in a enough milk to let the processor to run smoothly. I used about 1 cup of milk total, but it really depends on your squash. Puree until the squash is very smooth. Season generously with salt and pepper. Use white pepper if you do not want to see the black pepper specks in the puree.


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summer squash gratin

After our trip to the u-pick vegetable farm over labor day weekend, we came home with 10 pounds of summer squash and zucchini. Summer squashes seem to be priced somewhat high here in Seattle so I haven’t had the chance to get tired of my usual ways of preparation. Gratins are a good way to use up lot of vegetables, especially if you like crispy breadcrumbs and melty cheese. I really liked this recipe because it added flavor with a salsa verde and not with lots of cream or butter. The only unfortunate part about this recipe is the amount of dishes involved to make seemingly one dish (food processor x2, mandolin, colander, several bowls, a small skillet), but the results are so tasty that I wouldn’t mind making this again at all.



Summer Squash Gratin

adapted from food52

note: I didn’t have any gruyere on hand and instead used some soft goat cheese (chevre) and delicious goat gouda. The gouda is not super melty like gruyere, but I really liked the combination of the pillowy soft goat cheese with the sharper, earthier gouda.

Also, I used a bigger gratin dish to accommodate more squash and more crispy topping, but the recipe recommended using a 9″x9″ pan.

2 pounds summer squash/zucchini, thinly sliced on that mandolin

1.5 c fresh breadcrumbs (i used whole wheat)

2 tbsp butter

handfuls of your cheeses of choice; i used goat cheese and gouda

small handful of capers, roughly chopped

sprinkle of thyme leaves

salsa verde:

1 stem of oregano with the leaves stripped off

1 stem of mint with leaves stripped off

1 large bunch parsley, destemmed

small handful of basil

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 hot chile pepper of your choice, seeded

1 tsp miso paste (i use this a lot for some umani)

1/2 large lemon, both zest and juice

olive oil

Toss the sliced squash with a generous pinch of salt and set to drain in a colander, about 10 minutes. Drain and shake off excess moisture.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a small food processor, make the salsa verde. Combine the herbs, garlic, chile, miso, and lemon juice and zest. With the processor running, stream in the olive oil until smooth. Sometimes, in order to save some money and calories, I use a bit of veg broth, but don’t tell anyone! Season well.

Toss the sliced squash with the salsa verde in a large bowl. In a small skillet, brown the butter and toss in the bread crumbs. Butter the gratin dish and layer in the prepared squash. Sprinkle with capers and thyme leaves. Dollop on the goat cheese, if using, and sprinkle on the firmer cheese. Finish with a layer of breadcrumbs. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the squash is tender, cheese is melted, and the breadcrumbs crispy.

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yellow split pea and winter squash curry

the past few weeks were incredibly cold for houston.  high of 30?  terrible.  in order to make up for these temps, i just made some curry.  i actually got the idea for this warming stew by watching the food network while at the gym on the terribly named show aarti party.  aarti (a winner of the next food network star) gives smart and modern ways of incorporating indian spices and flavors into your everyday cooking.  i am not sure how authentic this combination of winter squash and yellow split peas are, but i can guarantee that is very tasty.  this dish takes awhile on the stove to soften the peas and cook the squash, but it is a one pot, throw it all together affair that will definitely reward your patience.

yellow split pea and winter squash curry stew

inspired by aarti party

1 large winter squash (i used a red kuri squash but butternut, hubbard, or any other orange winter squash will be fine.  i also have used 3 large sweet potatoes before with very good , if slightly sweeter results.)

1 onion diced

1/2 of a can of diced tomatoes

2 cups yellow split peas or 1 cup of yellow split peas and 1 cup red lentils

1/2 c dried unsweetened shredded coconut

1.5 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp turmeric

enough vegetable stock or water to cover

peel and cube the squash into 1 inch cubes.  in a large soup pot, heat a tablespoon or so of canola oil, ghee, butter, or coconut oil over medium heat and add the onion and cook until softened.  add the spices and cook until fragrant.  add the cubed squash, tomatoes, coconut, and split peas and cover with vegetable stock or water.  season.  bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer and let it cook through until the peas have softened and the squash has fallen apart (maybe 30 minutes or so.)

when the stew has reached this stage, prep the finishing oil and seasonings:

1-2 tbsp canola or coconut oil

1-2 tsp brown mustard seeds

2-3 cloves of garlic minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes (or more)

1-2 tbsp honey

1-2 limes of juice

cilantro, as much as you want

heat the oil in a small skillet until shimmering.  add the mustard seeds, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  cook until the garlic is starting to brown and the mustard seeds begin to pop.  add this to the stew.  taste this and begin to season with salt, honey, and lime juice.  finish with minced cilantro and enjoy.

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kabocha squash puree and pickled cucumbers and avocado

remember that previous post about spring?  sadly, sf has seemed to reverse back into winter this week.  luckily, i was prepared with a kabocha squash from the farmers market.  kabocha or japanese pumpkin, is my favorite winter squash to cook because it much denser than other winter squash so it is not as watery.  the peel is also very thin and edible and it cooks pretty quickly.  if you have ever had pumpkin curry at a thai restaurant, they most likely used kabocha.  i kept this puree simple in flavor so i could really taste the kabocha but you can increase the spices if wanted.  you can also make the puree as thick or thin as you want, depending on what you want to do with it.  i kept it simple as a soup, but i think if you mixed some with ricotta or goat cheese it would make an excellent pasta stuffing or maybe even a dip.  if you do not puree it, you could also serve it on top of some grains (polenta/grits or rice would be good.)  i also added about 1/2 cup of red lentils to the squash to add some protein and increase the thickness of the soup, but you can omit them or use another legume.

to garnish my puree, i sauteed a bunch of scallions with some chile oil and garlic until soft and browned.  most people do not think of scallions as a vegetable on their own, but they make an excellent component.  i have also braised whole scallions until tender, but that is another post.  yogurt and thai basil provide a cooling touch.  on the side, i quick pickled an english cucumber while i was making the soup with salt, 1 smashed clove of garlic, sesame oil, and lime juice and folded in a chopped avocado right before serving.

kabocha squash puree/soup

1 kabocha squash about the size of a large baby’s head peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes

1 medium red onion diced

about 1/2 cup red lentils rinsed

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

water or vegetable stock

garnishes of your choice- sauteed scallions, yogurt, herbs

heat a couple tablespoons of light tasting oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.  add the onions and saute until soft.  add the spices and saute for about a minute or two or until everything is very fragrant.  add the squash and lentils, season,  and just enough liquid to cover.  bring to a steady simmer and turn down the heat and let the squash cook until very tender.  the red lentils will break down and pretty much disappear.  monitor and make sure the pot does not get dry.  when the squash is tender, puree in batches in your blender.  return to the pot and add more liquid if needed and reheat.  i just used a bit more stock but you could use coconut milk to make it even creamier.  check the seasoning, ladle into bowls, garnish and serve.

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