13 October 2011

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One of my favorite activities during autumn is pumpkin-picking. As childish as that may sound, it's nothing like the pumpkin patch visits my family and I took when I was a kid. I no longer trawl the dusty pumpkin fields for the squat, curly-stemmed, orange spheres that were fun to carve but useless beyond their temporary roles as patio ornamentation. As an adult, I now head to the local pumpkin farm exclusively to gather edible winter squash. Given that trips to the farmers market and grocery appeal to me, it's little wonder that I consider something as seemingly mundane as loading a wheelbarrow with colorful, oddly-shaped seasonal vegetables an enjoyable event.

I limited myself to four squash during my most recent outing, purchasing kabocha, red kuri, sweetmeat, and Thai squash. It turns out that the red kuri and Thai are also types of kabocha, so I essentially have three types of kabocha to eventually cook. It happens to be my favorite winter squash, so I can't complain. Kabocha are a hassle to peel and cut, but I think the striking color contrast of the orange flesh and green skin, as well as unique, chestnut-like flavor, are worth the effort.
I have already cut open the bluish kabocha I purchased yesterday. After a mildly frustrating session of peeling and cutting the squash, I simmered some of it for tonight's Thai-inspired dinner. A couple of friends and I ate at a Thai restaurant over the weekend that served a delicious pumpkin curry that included fried tofu and what looked and tasted like kabocha. I attempted my own version of it, although didn't bother with trying to duplicate the restaurant dish exactly; my curry included homemade green curry paste (a slight adaptation of Susan's fabulous recipe), pan-seared tofu, kabocha, and roasted Japanese sweet potato. My curry was also much less saucy and probably less fattening than its restaurant inspiration, because I used light coconut milk--just enough to infuse the vegetables and tofu with subtle coconut flavor. Paired with brown basmati rice and topped with a generous squirt of sriracha, the moderately-spicy stew made for a hearty, delicious meal.
What is your favorite winter squash?

4 comments:

  1. Butternut! Beautiful photos.

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  2. It looks so great! Love the lime zest shot. I honestly don't use squash as much as I'd like to because I'm terrified of hacking into them and losing a finger but I use butternut more than any other.

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  3. Hey! You just won an award on my blog :)

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  4. This looks fantastic.  Kabocha is my favorite squash too.  I like it so much that I will often eat the skin, especially after the squash is baked, and there are sweet bits of orange kabocha yumminess clinging to it.  Haven't tried it in a curry, though, maybe because I've been a baking fool with the squash until now.  Buttercup is also closely related...

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)