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Recipes Uncategorized

Squoodles

It’s not new news that we tend to have and abundance of vegetables.  Even now – at the end of January – we have about 15 butternut squash and a bushel of onions stored in the basement.  The long growing season allowed many plants to yield far more produce than we are used to – it really was a year of abundance in the garden!

Therefore, I was really excited to get a spiralizer for my birthday.  This gives me one more tool in my arsenal for preparing and presenting veggies in a totally different form.  The spiralizer takes any round or cylindrical veggie and “spiralizes” it into spaghetti cut (1/8th inch), fettuccine cut (1/4th inch), or ribbon cut noodles.

squoodles

So far I’ve experimented on beets, onions and squash with great results.  Here’s our new favorite way of eating butternut squash:


Roasted “Squoodles” (squash noodles)

  1. Preheat your oven to 45o degrees F.
  2. Cut the bottom bulbous part off the butternut squash and refrigerate for later use.  Peel the cylindrical part and cut off the very top, making sure both ends are flat and parallel to each other.
  3. Assemble your spiralizer. I used the fettuccine cut blade.
  4. Press the top end of the squash into the Food Holder (covered in a bunch of pokey things that will hold the squash in place), and push the other end against the center of the blade.  Apply pressure against the blade by using the side handle while turning the handle.
  5. squash-noodlesOut come the squoodles!
  6. Toss squoodles with olive oil and salt (they want to have full coverage of olive oil but not be dripping in it).
  7. We’ve had great luck putting a cookie cooling rack in our roasting pan, and then putting the squoodles on top.  This allows air to circulate around them, making them more crispy and less limp.
  8. Roast for 20-30 minutes.  We like a few of ours to get slightly burnt, which allows the entire batch to  get crispier.  Turn on your oven light and keep an eye on things without opening the door.  They are very thin, so can go from crispy to burnt quickly!
  9. Enjoy!

roasted-squash-noodles

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Home Gardens Recipes Uncategorized

End-of-the-Season Recipes

oct-harvest

It’s the end of the growing season, but it isn’t quite time to rest.  With the bulk of our harvest frozen, canned, dried, and fermented, it’s time to deal with the left overs: the harvest that didn’t get processed during the peak of the season.  Though these “ugly” fruits and veggies are now gaining recognition in the mainstream (not everything comes out looking perfect!), they’ve always been part of harvesting and cooking for home gardeners.  I have fun examining the motley selection of veggies occupying my kitchen counters and refrigerator space, determining how they could be combined in delicious ways.  It takes some creativity at this time of year!

Sometimes end-of-season produce is a bit worse for the wear.  This weekend I prepared several gallons of sauerkraut from some cabbages that were admittedly acting as slug hotels in the garden.  After removing the holey outer leaves, however, wonderful fall sweetened crisp cabbage was revealed.  Yum!

cutting-cabbage1

It is also an important time of year to monitor harvest stores in the basement and attic.  Any veggies that show sign of rot or discoloration should be used first.  As last night’s dinner highlighted, blemished squash, onions, and other veggies are often perfectly delicious.   They don’t stay good for long, however, so it’s good to enjoy them right away while they’re still tasty.

Butternut squash

Thankfully, some plants are happy to be outside in the frost and colder weather.  Most of the brassicas: kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, get sweeter and more tender after it has frosted.  For now I’ll happily leave them outside and will be ready to enjoy them when I see counters and fridge shelves empty and need to go get vegetables in order to prepare for our next meal.

Find great recipes for fall harvest from some of my previous blog posts:  Sauerkraut, pumpkin, chard, winter squash, frost sweetened kale, and Brussels sprouts.  Enjoy!

Winter-Kale-brussels-harvest

Categories
Home Gardens Recipes School Gardens

Apple and Squash Recipes and Activities

vermont foliage

I love the flavors of fall: apple sauce with cinnamon, pumpkin pie, butternut squash bisque, toasted pumpkin and squash seeds… my list could go on for a long time!  October is also a time when temperatures get cold and days get shorter – afternoon cooking or baking projects are the perfect cozy warm activities for kids after school.  When making apple sauce or getting the seeds out of a pumpkin, many hands certainly do make light work! Click on the links below for some of my favorite fall recipes and kitchen projects:

our-apple-sauce

Making Applesauce with Kids

Butternut squash

Spicing up Squash

Boiling Pie Pumpkins

Favorite Easy Pumpkin Recipes

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Home Gardens Recipes

Spicing up Squash

By mid November, some people who try to eat locally are already getting tired of squash.   Winter squash are remarkable in their ability to last for months in the right conditions, so they are common in winter CSAs, are cheap in fall and winter at the grocery store, and are still around the house if you grew a bunch in your back yard this past summer.   To keep your meals interesting and exciting, mix it up!  Squash can be enjoyed with a variety of flavor and spice combinations, and it can be served in many different forms.  If you’re not very familiar with the huge variety of different winter squash, click here for wikipedia’s list.  Whenever you cook with squash, I encourage you to save the seeds and roast them – they’re usually just as good as pumpkin seeds, even if they are a bit smaller.  Check out my suggestions below, and try some of your own concoctions!

Textures and Preparation Methods:
Puree: Boil squash, scoop out of skins, and blend or mash.  This is good for squash with very hard, bumpy, or thick skins that would be hard to peel before cooking.
Roast: Use a peelable squash (like butternut), remove skin, dice or cut into strips, toss with oil, and roast on a baking tray.
Bake: Cut small varieties of squash (delicata or acorn) in half, scoop out the seeds, oil rim, and bake upside down on a cookie tray.

In a very scientific after-school taste test, “roasted cubes” won over “squashed squash.”  After serving snacks to hundreds of kids, I’ve come to appreciate how much texture matters.  Some people love smooth pureed dishes, while others really need a crunch to be satisfied.  The exact same vegetable can become loved or hated depending on the texture.  Experiment with taste tests and learn what you and your family prefer.

Flavor Combinations: 
Sweet: Using pumpkin pie spices and brown sugar or maple syrup makes squash a treat.  Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are my favorite spices to use when preparing a sweet squash dish. If roasting, I usually add the sugar after so that it doesn’t burn.
Curried: I like to use a combination of curry powder, cumin, corriander, tumeric, and cayenne to spice up a squash recipe.  A cilantro garnish adds a great twist.
Citrus: My dad loves to mash squash, mix in orange juice, place in a casserole dish, top with cheddar cheese and nuts, and then bake.  I like how orange juice or zest perks up squash recipes.
Green Herbs: Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, as the song suggests, are a long-lived combination of yummy green herbs.  Along with garlic, squash made with them reminds me of stuffing and thanksgiving.
Plain Savory: When cooking for kids, it’s important to keep things simple.  Garlic, onion, salt, and pepper are good flavors to fall back on to.  Maple syrup never hurts!

22 pounds of Hubbard Squash! Good thing there are a variety of flavor combos to try out.