You know the old saying when it rains, it pours?
That’s how I feel about squash.
In the summer, we reaped the benefits of a clearly abundant harvest of summer squash … the yellow and green vegetables overflowed our refrigerator, our counter and our diets from May through an unseasonably late October.
These days, the summer squashes are mostly forgotten (though I must say, of all the things I’m looking forward to this Spring, they fall well down the list), but the special place they held in my heart – the irritated love, the constant presence, the oversaturation – is still there, and they have been replaced by their heartier, orangier cousins.
The winter squash are taking over my life.
Or at least my countertop.
Our winter CSA has been a joy … homemade pastas, canned tomatoes, frozen peas and corn, fresh eggs, meat and (naturally) an abundance of squash.
Acorns, butternuts, delicata … I know more varieties of winter squashes than I do starting offensive lineman for the Crimson Tide.
Actually, that may not be true.
And I love winter squash. I really, really do. But the heaping pile that has been growing larger each week was starting to precariously hang over the corner of my countertop, occasionally falling and eliciting (slightly) inappropriate remarks from my sweet husband, who HATES dropping things. Probably more than anything in the world. And even if he wasn’t picking up the squashes and hurling them to the floor himself, he sure felt like doing it.
So yesterday, on my delightful day off from work, I decided to conquer the beasts.
I spent an hour (at least) cutting open, de-seeding, peeling, slicing, prepping the darn things. Then another hour roasting them all to a mushy goodness. They cooled for a long, long time (because trying to remove piping-hot-squashy-mush from a now-soft rind is almost always a disaster), and then I scraped them into freezer bags and carried them to their new home, below the ice cubes and on top of the frozen peas.
Voila! What had been holding me back for so long? Exactly that … the prep that a winter squash requires is a bit more than I generally have time for on a busy weeknight. So the squash sit – or I fight them and throw them into a pot un-roasted, where they never achieve their full potential of squashiness.
So I roasted and peeled and mashed, and now I have many moons of squashy meals just waiting in the freezer.
And to celebrate, what do you think we had for dinner?
Acorn Squash Quesadillas
To be fair, these may not have been acorn squash. Identifying winter squash is a bit of a gamble for untrained chefs like myself, but the original recipe featured acorn. Mine has some tweaks, like always!
– 1 medium winter squash, cut in half, roasted at 400 for 45 minutes, and scraped out of the rind
– 2 cloves garlic, diced
– 1/2 a jalapeno, diced
– 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
– corn tortillas
– shredded Mexican-blend cheese
– black beans (for side dish)
– Saute garlic and jalapeno in olive oil over medium-heat
– Add red bell pepper; cook until soft
– Add winter squash mush
– Stir over medium heat until squash is heated through and a spreadable consistency
– Spread squash mixture onto 1 corn tortilla. Top with cheese and another tortilla. Butter top-and-bottom tortillas. Pan fry until slightly crispy and cheese is melted.
– Serve with black beans and enjoy!
Note: Price loved this dish immediately. I thought it was a great use of winter squash (definitely different!), but that it was much better as leftovers the next day. Delicious either way!