Winter squashes can seem intimidating to cook. They have thick, hardened skins often scuffed with dirt, and their dense flesh can make for quite a dangerous job of cutting it if you’re not careful with a big knife. Their seed pockets are stringy and stick to your fingers. They take a long time to soften — or do they? Not when using these red kuri squashes, in thin slices for instance.
Last Halloween, Dave introduced me to a dish that involves baking stuff inside a hollowed-out pumpkin. He explained that he’d taken it from a Ruth Reichl recipe in Gourmet. This past Halloween, I hosted, and I copied Dave’s (or Ruth’s) dish to a T. (Only mine was in a white heirloom “ghost” pumpkin, and I served a side of beet-and-tomato “blood” soup.) It’s sort of like French onion soup, inside a pumpkin: you stuff stale bread cubes and pour chicken … Read More
I love making hash browns, but it’s not exactly the quickest route to a savory breakfast. Nor is it the most nutritious; even if using sweet potatoes, which are richer in beta-carotene and cold weather-helping antioxidants than regular, pale potatoes, you’ll spend almost twice the amount of time cooking it to a pleasing softness, and by that time you’ll have added more oils to keep it from sticking to the pan. Winter squash is in season, and I’ve found a … Read More
There’s squash soup, and then there’s squash soup without milk or cream. You could say I’m making an exaggeration by placing such a disparity between the two sister soups, but then I’ve never had a dairy-less version of squash soup until I made it at home. That is, if you don’t count the “butter” inherent in the squash’s name.
I’ve gone grain crazy as of lately. There are so many different types of them to explore. It started with a pack of bulgur, coarse grinds of whole wheat with a muddy tan color and toothsome, chewy texture. If you like wild rice, you’ll find some similarities here. Then I went freaky for smoky roasted spelt, also known as freekeh. Now I can’t get Missy Elliot out of my head.
Sick of the same old squashes? Bored of the brainless old ways to cook them, too? (i.e. Roast until tender. Puree into soup.) I think this happens just about every January. It’s the winter’s-here, we’ve-done-our-soup-thing, home-cook-head-scratching blues. The holidays are over, and reality has sunk back in; it’s back to the daily grind. And what? You’re coming down with a flu, too? Yep, you’ve got it bad. Better get some antioxidants in the system, STAT. Luckily, eating squashes (not just … Read More
Today marks a sad day. I usually never let good produce go to waste, but after coming home and inspecting the three miniature squashes I had left out on a decorative platter on the coffee table, as a decorative touch to the room, I discovered that I had overestimated their coffee table life. They were no longer firm and heavy, but sickly hollow-feeling, and the acorn squash’s lizard-green skin was a bit wrinkled, with one spot of mold on the … Read More
Another soup, is it? Yes, indeed. Sometimes you just gotta do — and cook — what feels right. And spending this past gusty weekend sniffing and sneezing beneath scarves and wearing sweats around the apartment just spelled “soup’s on” to me. Not only is hot soup therapeutic to eat, but I wouldn’t be the first one to say that breathing in the fragrant steam of something gently simmering in the kitchen for an entire afternoon is a good way to … Read More
It’s not what’s inside the soup that counts. It’s what’s on the surface. Here, we’ve got creamy roasted acorn squash soup. It could be any squash, butternut, pumpkin. It could have a splash of cream or milk or not. I don’t care. I’m sinking these crispy, salty kale “chips” into its sweet custard and lodging a pebble of a pine nut onto a spoon for the ultimate scoop. Call me shallow, but sometimes beauty just isn’t that deep.
Happy Labor Day. In my neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, this holiday doesn’t just signal the end of half-day Fridays and seersucker; it ushers in the beginning of the new season with a two-mile long parade of elaborate floats, costumes and music, a street-wide carnival, and several performances at the Brooklyn Museum, all in celebration of West Indian American pride. And all along the way, lots and lots of authentic West Indian food.