So…I think there was something big going on in the last week and I never got around to posting about this delicious squash. Something about an election? Thank goodness that’s over!
Last year I “discovered” delicata squash and I’ve been keeping an eye out for it at the market, but no luck so far. Time for a new discovery; the squash display was full of unfamiliar lumpy-bumpy orbs that I had no clue about. I picked out a pretty orange specimen for my experiment. It was labeled “Kabocha” and came from New Sprout organic farms in North Carolina, only a few hours away. Kabocha squash are a Japanese variety of winter squash, and according to Wikipedia, are revered in some cultures as an aphrodisiac. (I will not comment on those properties.) It is also called a Japanese pumpkin. Most often the kabocha in the market are green-skinned, but when fully ripened they transform to an orange color. They are fairly good-sized too, as you can see from the photo below.
I did my research, of course, to see how to best approach the squash. This squash has a thin skin, compared to other winter squash, and doesn’t always require peeling. However this one had some barnacle-like attachments, so I thought it best to get rid of them. Like most winter squash, it take some effort and muscle to make that first cut into the squash – this is made easier if you first trim off the stem end.
Remove the outer layer with a peeler, then split the squash and scoop out the seeds. Next, just slice it up and toss those slices with a little oil, salt and pepper. If you want to get fancy, you could add some other spices as you see fit, but the basic salt and pepper is simple and delicious. Roast the squash slices at 400F for 20-30 minutes, until they are soft and tender. This squash is very sweet – sort of a cross between sweet potato and butternut squash – and I like it when the edges are a little browned and caramelized with the natural sugars.
That’s all there is to it! I look forward to trying this new-found squash in soups and other recipes. Enjoy!
Two new releases today. First off, the late, great Bert Jansch with Heartbreak. Jansch, who passed away last year, was a wonderfully inventive guitarist, first with Pentangle and then solo. Much like other British folk-centered guitarists such as Richard Thompson and John Renbourn, Jansch was equally moving and passionate on this 1980s release. This reissue also contains him live at McCabes Guitar Shop, where even solo he dazzles. He’ll be missed.
Next is Magico: Carta De Amor. “Magico” was a world music/jazz supergroup featuring American Charlie Haden on bass, Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek and Brazilian guitarist-pianist Egberto Gismonti on a live concert from 1981. This is a subtle and deep record, full of imagination and prowess.