Confession: We Zooks are not exactly what you would call squash-eaters.
Winter-squash-eaters, that is.
I like summer squash. I like the idea of winter squash, so I cook it now and then. But the reality I find something of a let-down—the claustrophobic cottony texture, like a mouthful of fur and mush.
I’ve had half a butternut squash lumping along in the back of my refrigerator for a surprising number of weeks. I gave it the old “What squash? I don’t see any squash…” treatment, punctuated by an occasional anxious glance to see if it was going bad yet. I hate throwing away food—I said that before. But food-that-never-goes-bad-no-matter-how-long-you-ignore-it is even more troubling.
Finally I marked it in my planner on Wednesday’s evening menu: SQUASH BAKE. What kind I knew not. I planned to cross that bridge after I burned it.
When the time came (Thursday night, actually—I managed to put it off one day longer), I dug out one of my favorite go-to cookbooks: The Practical Produce Cookbook, created by Ray and Elsie Hoover.
I chose a simple recipe—not a bake after all, but a sauté that looked appealing–and started peeling and grating. Unfortunately, the grating took forever. I have much patience for recipes that offer 15 detailed steps—none at all for standing in place and doing the same motion for 15 minutes together. I recommend a Salad Master or such like, if the gods have graced you…
The really incredible guilty secret about this food is that you sauté squash, butter, salt, and pepper, nothing else—and then add a drizzle of cream. A rather large drizzle of cream.
The flavor is astonishing—a little WOW when you put it in your mouth. With so few ingredients, each is at its best. With the grated texture, you don’t experience that choky sensation. And both my boys liked it. Ka-ching!
Here’s the recipe, credit to the Hoovers. See photo above.
2 to 2 ½ lb. winter squash, peeled and coarsely grated
3 T. butter
salt and pepper to taste
Heat butter in a large skillet. Add squash and stir until well coated. Season to taste. Sauté, stirring occasionally, 8 minutes or until squash is softened but not mushy.
After squash is cooked, stir in
1 T. butter
½ cup cream
We ate it with homemade Salisbury Steaks and Caprese Salad, feeling very proud and accomplished for eating so many Named foods in one meal–as opposed to Shloop on a Plate, Mom’s Down-Home Goulash Comprised Chiefly Of Leftovers.
What else do you do with winter squash? The 101 in my post title means you have to help me come up with more than a single recipe.