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MARKET FRESH: Fall’s good eats certainly include squash
In case you haven’t noticed from my previous columns, I really like this time of year. There is something about the damp, cold dark days that comforts me. I just love to be at home, surrounded by my comforts.
I still get out to walk the dog whether it’s pouring or not, though, and after a walk, I like to put my energies into the kitchen.
Rather than light and fresh foods of summer, think comforting casseroles, gratins, soups and stews. So much of what is available now lends itself to long and slow cooking.
It is an economical time of year to cook, too, as cheaper cuts of meat benefit from braising and crockpots. Grains, beans and legumes also work well when cooked this way. And while you may not be able to purchase grains, beans and legumes from the market, you can certainly buy all the extra ingredients that make these things taste extra good.
Take yourself off to market and have a look. Talk to Ken at Red Barn and see how many of his unique squash you can identify. Along with the usual butternut and acorn squash, Ken and his family grow a wide variety of less common, but equally good, squash. Kabocha, Delicata and even ornamental gourds make your fall table a delight.
Floralia has sugar pumpkins. I like to stuff those with a mixture of cooked rice, ground beef and warm Indian spices, then bake in the oven until the pumpkin is cooked. Scoop the filling out along with the pumpkin and serve.
Forstbaur has delicious little green gem squash that bake up beautifully with a bit of butter and maple syrup. If you are the only one in your family who likes squash, these are perfect for one.
This is my last column for the season so I am going to leave you with two recipes.
I hope you all have a fabulous fall and winter, full of blessings and good, local food. I look forward to seeing you all again in May, and in the meantime, pop by the market to say hello.
ON THE MOVE
Don’t forget that the market moves to the Port Moody rec complex every second Sunday beginning Nov. 3. A lot of your favourite vendors will be there, along with some new ones. Greendale Herb and Vine will be a fixture, and Doug brings hazelnuts.
Karen Curtis is the Lemonade Lady (www.kicslemonade.ca and kicslemonade.blogspot.ca) at the Coquitlam Farmers Market. Her column runs once a month during market season.
Some squash recipes
Fall is a time for squash. Try these recipes:
SPAGHETTI SQUASH GRATIN
1 medium spaghetti squash
2 tbsp butter
1 small yellow onion, cut in half and very thinly sliced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicy
1 tsp fresh thyme
½ tsp nutmeg
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded aged cheddar cheese
Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Place in a covered dish with a ¼ inch of water and microwave for 10-12 minutes. In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the butter, onions, red pepper and thyme and cook until the onions are slightly brown in colour. Salt and pepper to taste.
Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash and transfer to a small bowl. Combine the squash, onions, sour cream and half the cheese together and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a buttered baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
Place into a 375 F oven for 15–20 minutes until golden brown on top
PASTA WITH A CHUNKY THYME
SCENTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH & ONION SAUCE
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium butternut squash, cut in half with seeds removed
2 tsp thyme, preferably fresh
1 tsp nutmeg
4 cups pasta
Place squash halves, cut side down, in a glass baking dish. Fill with ½ inch water. Cover and microwave on high 10-12 minutes, or until squash is soft and easily pierced. Remove from dish and let cool. Meanwhile, sauté onions in butter and olive oil over medium heat until onions are soft and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, thyme and nutmeg, turn down heat and continue cooking another 10 minutes or so. While onions are cooking, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups pasta water. Remove squash from skin and add to pan with onion and garlic. Thin sauce with reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with cooked pasta. Serves 4-6.