Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kabocha Squash Two Ways

Kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, is my favorite winter squash. When I was growing up, my mom would cut it into large chunks (semi-peeled) and simmer it in a sweet soy-based sauce. Kabocha squash has a squatty shape and has a dark green skin with celadon stripes. The flesh is deep orange in color and meaty in texture. I bought a kabocha squash a couple of weeks ago from Pooh Stevenson at the Meridian Township Farmers' Market. She warned me that it hadn't been cured but I bought it anyways. I steamed half of the kabocha squash yesterday and packed it in Caroline's lunch today. It was good but it wasn't as flavorful as I expected. It turns out that most winter squash benefits from curing. Curing squash is simple and involves holding the squash at room temperature for two to three weeks and then transferring it to a cool, dry place for a month or longer. Curing helps to harden the winter squash skins and heals any cuts and bruises. Kabocha squash (and maybe all squash) continues to ripen and become more flavorful during this process. Instead of steaming the other half of the kabocha squash and eating it as is, I am going to puree it and use it in my favorite pumpkin muffin recipe: Pumpkin Carrot Muffins. This recipe is from my friend Lori who makes them on a regular basis and brings them to school for breakfast. When we study together, she always brings one for me too! Since they are made with whole-wheat flour and are packed with vegetables, they are a healthy alternative to the typical store-bought variety. Plus, they taste great! Since it's the end of the week and I've nearly cleaned out my refrigerator (including the carrots the recipe calls for), I'll have to improvise with this recipe and use what I have left on hand - parsnips.

Caroline's Lunchbox Menu, September 28: Breakfast - oatmeal, applesauce; Lunch - whole wheat pasta with pesto, Cherokee Purple and Green Zebra tomatoes, corn (frozen from Titus Farm), blueberries (frozen from Walton Orchards); Snacks - Lori's pumpkin carrot muffin

Childcare Center Menu, September 28: Breakfast - pineapple, bagels, cream cheese; Lunch - cheese pizza, carrots, pears; Snacks - pumpkin cookies, apple cider

1 comment:

C Greene said...

Betty, I am so glad to have the insight and support of another mom who wants to do right by her children and the environment. Thanks taking the time to do your research and share it with us.

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