Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Squishy squash

I've been away from my usual online perch, for the bulk of the day, today, because my bestest childhood pal came over with a big-a$$ squash (literally. It was as big as my a$$, covering my favorite wide dining chair seat completely), so we had to cook it up. All day. It was too big to fit all at once into Mom's oven, & Mom has the best kitchen among us. We sliced this squash in half, and its radius was roughly 14", or about 35 cm. After we subdivided it and roasted the first 1/4 of it, we had nearly 3.5 liters of cooked squash... and 3/4 of a squash left to do something with. (Sorry about ending the sentence with a preposition. It's just the way some things happen..)

The next quarter of the squash got us into fancy, hoity-toity mode. We found a recipe calling for a crispy topping/filling, & we adapted it to what we had in the kitchen. The recipe called for buttercup squash. Sorry. No gots none. Gotta use the Cinderella one. The recipe allowed for about 4 cups (.95 liters) worth of squash. We had more than double that. The recipe called for 2 Tablespoons (15 ml) of peach or apricot preserves. We had a pint jar of crabapple jelly. The recipe called for margarine (ecch). We used butter. Mmmmmm.

Other than that, we followed the instructions, almost precisely doubled. They said:
In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons of butter with the 2 tablespoons of preserves (jelly), to form a fruity, buttery, thick syrup.
In another small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons shredded sweetened coconut, 2 tablespoons Graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon each of allspice and ground pepper.
Brush half of the fruity butter inside the bowls formed from the squash halves (seeds removed, although the recipe doesn't say that. I guess they think we didn't need that much instruction), and all over the exposed sides of the squash, as well. Sprinkle the dry mixture into the squash bowl. Drizzle the remaining fruity butter over the top of it all. Bake at 350 degrees F (177-ish C) for 45 to 60 minutes, or until done.

(I always liked that "or until done" part in reading recipes. It's the first time I've cooked this thing, and they think I know when it's done? Jeepers! )

Anyway, we took that stuff out of the oven then roasted the second half of the giant squash as a single big-a$$ chunk of vegetable matter. It took a little over 80 minutes to finish cooking, and it's downstairs right now, calling out my name, since it's just about supper time. But while that was just freshly in the oven, my friend Mari and I sampled our crusty, crumbly, sweetened, coconutty work and decided we weren't completely insane in our choices (we might be nuts, but our cooking is quite sanely scrumptious). Meanwhile, another friend of ours popped in, then my bestest friend's son arrived, so Dad sought sanctuary from the din and commotion... we, the remaining crowd, nibbled samples, then friends vanished as quickly as they came. It was as though we'd had a flash mob, built to scale for our community. People come and go so quickly here! :-)

BTW Mom made the crabapple jelly from the fruits of her own trees, last summer. It was a nice, rich garnet color and had a really neat tangy flavor that, IMO, beat anything that apricot or peach could have done for the squash. But, I suppose, to each his own.

Update, Wednesday, 2:30ish p.m.: Dad picked some more crabapples this morning while Mom & I were out at a meeting, so now Mom is brewing up another batch of her crabapple jelly. The house smells dangerously tasty again. Be on the lookout for a little boy in lederhosen and a girl in a dirndl. heh heh heh.

No comments: