Fall is a beautiful time of change and color. It's also time for the battle drums of the squash wars to begin beating around our house.
You see, I'm married to a squash hater. Apparently, he had some very terrible squash experience as a child, that turned him against the entire gourd family for life. Apart from pumpkin pie and zucchini bread, he'll have nothing to do with any of them.
Now, I'm not exactly a squash enthusiast myself, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. My thinking is anything that can be turned into something as yummy as zucchini bread, and grows so abundantly across the country, has some good qualities worth looking into.
So, every year I place "find a new squash dish" onto our fall to-do list, and every year my dear husband announces ahead of time, he will not like it, eat it, or have anything to do with it. Naturally, where their father leads, the children follow.
In fairness, I should mention, at that at this same time of year there is another war - the elk and venison war - raging through our home, as well. It's been twenty fall defeats for the Man of the House on that front, with the possible exception of the grain fed, eastern Montana venison he brought home last year, but that's another story. Today we're talking squash, and more specifically, acorn squash, because that was the first of the winter squash to go on a really super low price sale at our local grocery store. And, it just so happens I've found a couple of acorn squash recipes to be hopeful about.
As a bonus, while I was searching for really delicious, squash-haters-must-try recipes, I also came across a few mentions of roasting squash seeds.
I can't tell you how happy this makes me, because my normal fall routine is to search through bin after bin of sugar pumpkins, looking for the smallest and least ripe in the bunch in order to obtain pumpkin seeds tender enough to be really good for roasting, ones that will provide that delicious, nutty/pumpkin flavor, but without the woody, stick in your teeth, hulls of say a jack-o'-lantern pumpkin's seeds.
Apparently, all I had to do was cut open an acorn squash. The seeds are perfect for roasting.
Their flavor is slightly different than pumpkin seeds, but still good, and the texture is much less woody. Once you've separated them from the squash, rinsed off the goo, and patted them dry, spread them out on a greased cookie sheet (I sprayed mine with Baker's Pam), and sprinkle them generously with salt and cinnamon.
Bake them for 30 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and then toss them, hot out of the oven, in a baggie with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
They are a delicious snack warm, right out the bag, or cooled and mixed with dried cranberries, and butterscotch chips. In fact, the Man of the House got ahold of the bowl last night, and devoured it all, with some help from me, before the children even got a taste. Don't worry, the acorn squash are still on sale here, so the children will get their share yet.
In the meantime, here's a little extra for my blogger buddies out there. Did you know that your fridge can serve as a makeshift light box on these short autumn days, when there's never enough light to get a good photo after about three in the afternoon? Clearly my fridge was too full last night to make it really useful...
...but crop in the photos, and take a look at the difference. The fridge photo on the left looks so much more like it was taken in natural light.
Of course, sometimes a golden hue isn't a bad thing. I kind of like picture of pureed squash under the incandescents.
For those of you who haven't tried acorn squash I have to say, the puree above was as rich, and buttery, and delicious as it looks, just plain from oven to blender to spoon. In fact, I was so impressed with the taste, and feeling confident from the harvest mix reception, that I stuck a spoonful out for the Man of the House to sample.
He didn't spit it in my face, but let's just say I still have my work cut out for me.
It's great to be a homeschooler.