Thursday, September 16, 2010
Box of Treats: Butternut Squash
The other day in the grocery store, I found myself looking at some organic grapes. They were expensive, but looked very good so I decided to splurge and buy them. A day later at home, I opened up the package and found the grapes to be covered with mold.
Ideally, I would like to buy locally produced organic fruits and vegetables for my family to eat, but in my hectic, non-stop busy world, I simply don’t always have the time to make an extra stop at a farmer’s market or specialty store. Sometimes I force myself to make the time but most weeks it simply gets in the way of soccer practice or ballet class schedules. I end up looking for organic produce at my regular grocery store which is often over priced and simply not that fresh. Fortunately, many organic farms are embracing the concept of selling a box of organic fruit and vegetables that are locally grown, once a week. I just signed up for a 15 week CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) subscription through our local preschool for a weekly box of treats.
The concept is fantastic. I don’t have to go to a special market for organic produce and I don’t even have to decide what fruit and vegetables to purchase (the mix has been decided for me based on what is ripe). As I pick up my box for the week I am delighted by the surprise mix of organic fruits and vegetables. If I find myself with a vegetable that I don’t typically cook, I am forced to try new recipes and figure out new ways to incorporate the unfamiliar vegetable in to our meals and snacks. Some might find this stressful, but I see it is a fun challenge that will keep my whole family eating healthy and trying new things.
This week there were three large butternut squash in my box of treats. I love butternut squash when I can purchase it peeled and sliced into chunks ready for steaming or baking. But when I am shopping for vegetables and come across whole butternut squash, my lazy side kicks in and I typically keep walking. Sad, I know. But, here I was with three beautiful squash in my kitchen, already paid for. “How many ways can I cook this,” I thought.
The first one I peeled, sliced and steamed and then offered it to my kids for an afternoon snack. My kids are accustomed to eating sweet potato in this way so when my daughter asked what it was, I responded with “it is just like sweet potato.” Only after they had tasted the squash and determined that they liked it and asked for more did I tell them it was called butternut squash.
The second one I peeled, sliced and steamed but this time I pureed it into soup. My kids wouldn’t taste it (they are not big on soups), but my husband and I enjoyed it.
The third squash I decided to bake. I am more found of savory squash rather than sweet or with nutmeg so I baked it with butter and salt. I scraped out the baked squash, mashed it with butter and salt and served it as a side dish for dinner. My kids have a hard time with the mashed consistency so I didn’t get many takers.
Stay tuned for more recipes and ideas that come to mind as I open my weekly box of treats.
Posted by Rosalie Ezekiel at 8:46 AM