Today I have a couple of really simple recipes for you. My roommate and I joined the local CSA (community shared agriculture) this year, so now we get a big box of locally farmed vegetables and fruit each week. We also get granola, cheese, meat, and eggs too. Not a bad deal, right?
The one downside (or upside, as I like to see it) is that you don’t get to choose what you get. Lucky for me, I love weird winter vegetables and plan to roast and braise away all winter. I actually just got Molly Stevens’s All About Braising and a dutch oven* for Christmas, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m ready to go.
Well. That being said, neither of these recipes involve braising. The truth is, the dutch oven is still in the trunk of my car and it was raining last night and, well, you get the idea. This week, we got an amazing-looking kabocha squash from our CSA and I wanted to experiment a little. Being scientifically minded, I did a little bit of a comparison study to test out two methods of cooking.
The first half of the squash got tossed with a little olive oil, cumin, and cinnamon and then roasted in a hot oven (see below, and first picture). For a finishing touch, I crumbled a bit of brie over the squash towards the end and then threw it back in the oven just long enough for the brie to melt.
The second half got boiled and then cooked briefly with some miso and soy (below, and second picture from top). And while I really expected to like the roasted squash much better, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed them both.
Either of these preparations would make great side dishes, but I was eating alone last night and the best thing about eating alone is that you can have whatever you want. So yes, I had lots of squash for dinner (and some swedish fish for dessert), and yes, it was awesome.
*I just have to say, I definitely did not pay $200, or even $100-something for the dutch oven. My mom and I found the exact same ones at Marshall’s for 50 bucks. Yeah!
Roasted Kabocha Squash with Cumin and Brie
- 1/2 of a medium-sized kabocha squash, skin removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 oz brie, mild or stinky depending on your preference
- salt and pepper
- olive oil to drizzle
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2. Cube the kabocha: cut it in half, then scoop out the seeds. Place it cut side down on your cutting board, and then cut into half-inch slices. To remove the skins, place each slice on its side and cut off the skin in pieces (or use a vegetable peeler, although I think you’ll have to peel it twice to get all the skin off).
2. Drizzle some olive oil on a heavy baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Put the squash on the baking sheet and then sprinkle cumin and cinnamon on top. Season with a good pinch of salt too, and some freshly ground pepper.
3. Roast on the middle rack of the oven until the bottoms of the squash cubes are golden brown, about 20 minutes (although you should definitely check along the way, as some ovens will brown food way faster than others). Toss sqash with a spatula, and return to oven for another 15 or 20 minutes to brown the other sides. At that point, check to see that the squash is done (it should give when you press it, or you can always just taste one).
4. Pinch off little pieces of the brie and sprinkle over the squash. Return to the oven for five minutes until the brie melts.
Kabocha with miso-soy glaze
- 1/2 of a medium-sized kabocha squash, cut into 1/2 inch by 2 inch pieces (skin can stay on)
- 1 T miso paste (I used yellow)
- 1/2 T soy sauce
- 1 T water
1. Cut the squash and place it in a medium-sized pot. Fill with water to cover about half of the squash. Cover, and cook over medim heat until squash is tender. It should take only 15 minutes or so, but to be honest I didn’t time it.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the miso paste, soy sauce and water.
3. When the squash has finished cooking, pour out the extra water and add in the miso-soy mixture. Continue cooking for a minute until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.