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Archive for November, 2009

The ritual scooping-out of the butternut squash Over the past few weeks, I’ve been cooking some squash-centric recipes, partly because the squash are out and about this time of year and cooking seasonally, beyond its current trendiness, proves quite practical in narrowing down the list of potential meal protagonists to a few targets theoretically guaranteed to be in their prime.

The other factor at play in the squash-focus is that October’s Canadian Thanksgiving provided an excellent way to the wet the new recipe feet, with November American Thanksgiving meal-making in mind.

For Canadian Thanksgiving this year, hosted by my (Canadian) friend Abby and her lovely husband Haaris, I brought a delicious savory bread pudding recipe from last month’s issue Bon Apetit, a Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding.

What drew me to this recipe was the tantalizingly near-equal mix of fats, vegetables, and starch. By and large, the recipe delivered, though I may spice it a little bit more next time I make it. Red pepper flakes would add some nice bite. Tarragon and thyme would be good, too. Or, adding the surprisingly mellow (and pleasantly difficult-to-identify) knife-crushed anise seeds (plus the usual squash-spicing suspects of nutmeg, coriander, et al) of the second recipe I’m posting would be good, I think.

My only complaint is that if I’m cooking a dish with 2 1/4 cups of half-and-half, it really should taste as rich as it is: this recipe tasted deceptively low fat. It may have just needed a little more moisture, which could be solved by adding extra milk.

The assembled bread pudding, sans cheddar topping so to better show the other ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second recipe, Roasted Corn Pudding in Acorn Squash, is also tasty and festive, and foregrounds the squash more than the pudding. I cooked this one because there was something delightfully old-fashioned and homey-sounding about corn pudding. Also, I had fresh corn, though frozen corn would work fine, I’m sure.

It didn’t blow my mind, but it was a very solid recipe, and satisfyingly unique. As is noted by Heidi on her recipe post on 101Cookbooks, the squash really does hold only a token amount of corn pudding, so another container for the leftovers  is almost required. To make this extras-cooking worth it, I’d make 1.5x what the recipe calls for.

Acorn squash, lovingly lubed with olive oil:

Acorn squash, lovingly lubed with olive oil

Roasting the squash before adding it later in the casserole is a little labor-intensive, but more aesthetically rewarding than most prep work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final product would have been more fetching not ringed by the lurid aluminum of a disposable pie pan:

 

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Nothing says vegetarian Thanksgiving quite like browned cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the spirit of the Native Americans with whom the first Thanksgiving was supposedly celebrated, do it Indians-style–a la putting all parts of a felled buffalo to good use–and toast the scooped-out squash seeds to tide you over while the pudding cooks: Rinse the gunk from the squash seeds in a colander and then array them on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Toss the seeds with oil, then sprinkle them with copious amounts of salt (or cinnamon-sugar) and bake for about 30 mins. at 300 degrees for a delicious  and high-protein snack. Or maybe look up another cooking method: I burnt mine. But ate around the blackened ones.

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This photo of (presumably local) ursine trophies comes from a taxidermy shop in Keene, off of Rte. 73 in the Adirondacks.

There were no corresponding breakfast pastries on hand, unfortunately, though I did pick up a horehound candy stick after being told its flavor was somewhere between root beer-a favorite-and licorice.

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Bear claws! Get your fresh, hot bear claws!

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