Sunday, October 09, 2005

Squashing Culinary Dissent

Seasonal meals are overrated. If I hear one more person sing the praises of "seasonal, local ingredients, simply prepared" I might go ballistic and toss an organically-grown local cantaloupe at her head. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed many meals with the specter of Alice Waters hovering overhead. But c'mon people, celebrate the fact that--thanks to the miracle of heavier-than-air flight--you can get bananas in February and plums in November. Have Icelandic salmon in Virginia. Eat! Enjoy!

Ranting aside, though, there's something nice about squash and apples in the fall. And when my friend Otto came over for dinner last night, I did want to do something a bit upscale. So here's my version, inspired by the purchase of two mystery squash (later identified as Red Kuri):

Seasonal Local Squash and Apples, Simply Prepared

Cut in half crossways and remove the seeds and gooey insides from:
2 red kuri, or other winter squash

Place the squash cut side down in a baking dish with half and inch of water in the bottom. Like this:

Bake at 425 degrees until tender (approx. 30 minutes)

While the squash are baking, saute on high heat until softened and slightly browned:
2 red apples (I used Macoun, because they were fresh and locally grown)
1 Tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons dried sage leaves

When the squash is done, scoop out the now-soft flesh and combine with the apple mixture. Serve.

I presented this dish with goat cheese crumbled on top. The heat from the cooked squash and apples melted the cheese a bit, which was nice. If you've let your squash cool, you could stick the whole thing under a broiler for a minute or two to achieve the desired effect.

The goat cheese, by the way, was from France. Ha!

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