Tuesday, October 04, 2005

“Squashy” day!

At $0.38 a pound I could not contain myself today when saw such squash sale at the grocery store, and so I bought home a spaghetti, an acorn, and a butternut squash! Yum! However, it wasn’t so difficult to decide which one to make first, as I was craving the flavors of butternut, my favorite squash of all! I like pumpkins and all of the others, but no winter squash is as creamy and delicious as the butternut. It has a firm and bright orange flesh, which turns into perfection once roasted or cooked. Hence its name, it is really buttery and creamy, deliciously loaded with vitamins, healthy and good for you!
So today I made roasted butternut squash. I was thinking about making soup but the squash was so delicious that we ended up eating it just pureed, oh my, talk about creaminess!
Whenever I think about pumpkin I remember my grandmother and when she used to make her “pumpkin compotes” (Doce de Abobora). She would clean up big pumpkins and chunk them, then cook the squash in a large iron pot with cinnamon, cloves, and enough sugar to make it a delectable sweet concoction. The compote itself was really sweet, but every single one in the family simply loved that one, even the non-pumpkin eaters. And for me besides the compote there was also the pumpkin seeds, which she would roast in a skillet, sprinkle some salt and call it a snack. What a nice and crunchy snack it was! I loved the pumpkin compote and those little seeds even more, plus it was fun to watch her shake the skillet swirling all the seeds around, and as they got toasted they would start to pop, cracking and bursting out of the pan, nutrition and entertainment at the same time!
I remember all this from my early years and to this day there is no way I will open a pumpkin (and any sort of squash for that matter) and not separate the seeds for a toasty snack. And I guess some of our tastes may pass to our kids through our genes, because every single time I make pumpkin/squash the first thing Matheus asks is “mommy, did you make those pumpkin seeds?” Once he tried the seed he also fell in love with it. Today I toasted the butternut seeds and I actually like them better than the pumpkin ones, they are smaller and get even crunchier! I toast them in the skillet, as my grandmother did, with a little bit of olive oil and salt to taste; I also add a little bit ground pepper, garlic salt and paprika, so they get spicy and flavorful. As I was toasting the seeds today it came to me that you might even be able to make them sweet, by adding sugar and cinnamon to it. However, I had so much sugar yesterday that the salty ones were perfect for today!
And as I said it was a “squashy” day, because besides the butternut I woke up early and used some leftover pumpkin to bake pumpkin muffins for breakfast this morning. I have seen lots of pumpkin recipes lately and ended up creating my own. It came out so good that I could not even believe it I made them myself! The muffins rose nicely, were moist and tender, with a hint of cinnamon and a not at all overpowering pumpkin flavor, just sweet enough for a warm breakfast treat. Very good, and I liked it a lot!
I will post the recipe here, it was so easy and simple to make that you may also enjoy it yourself. Today I only added cinnamon, but believe that ground cloves would do wonders to the pumpkin flavors on this one (pumpkin pie spice might work even better). I definitely need to buy some ground cloves on my next stop at the grocery store.
Well, that is it for today, happy pumpkin eating for you all too!


Roasted Butternut Squash puree

Toasted seeds

Pumpkin Muffins
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 large egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
dash salt, optional

Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl mix pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, yogurt, egg, and oil until blended. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated. Pour batter into 9 greased muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.


Anonymous said...

Mmm, yum. That squash puree looks delish!

Anonymous said...

Guess what? I am addicted to your blog. It is lovely, and warm..and full of goodness..the recipes are for the body ..and the text is for the soul.
I love your grandmother just by reading so much about her..I am making a butternut squash and chesnutsoup..yummy too!! keep well.