I voted today! Just got done and have my sticker to prove it. YAY! You know what tastes really great with a side of democracy? I don’t think you’re going to guess this so I’ll just tell you: The answer is squash.
Why, you may ask, does squash go so well with representative government? Here’s why: Squash, like voting, is a humble and not particularly exciting thing. People take squash for granted. They leave it in the corner and forget to use it and now, a year later, the squash is still sitting around in that same dusty nook. But lucky day! Squash, while not particularly gorgeous or exciting, is hardy. It sticks around for the long haul and if you don’t use it when you thought you might, there’s always next time. (Is this too far a stretch? Are you still following?) Furthermore, squash, like voting, comes in all shapes and sizes! You’ve got your butternuts, and spaghettis, and acorns, and kabochas. Similarly, there is election day voting, early voting, or absentee ballots. Pick your poison and go do the damn thing because if the squash rots, it’s on you, my friend. (Still following? Quite possibly not by this point, so we’ll just move right along…)
Squash! You can find this stuff in countless varieties at farmers markets throughout the winter and it can be stored for an absurdly long time in the right conditions (maybe not a full year, but at least for a couple of month.) There are so many methods by which squash can be cooked and eaten. It makes a great pasta, can be eaten on its own, can be mashed, made into soup, roasted, etc. Per pound, they are very economical and if you can learn to embrace the process of breaking them down, there’s nothing to dislike about a good old squash.
I asked Tuesday last week if she had any recipe requests, and she mentioned that she’d been hoarding squash. To help her begin to get through that reserve and to add extra A, B, and C vitamins to her diet, here are two easy recipes that together use up all the parts of whatever squash you may also be hoarding. Just about any type of squash will work for these recipes, so give whatever you can get your hands on a go.
stuffed squash ingredients:
- 2 small squashes (something grapefruit sized is good)
- 1/2 lb turkey sausage links
- small onion
- handful of mushrooms (I used blue oysters)
- two big handfuls of spinach or kale
- 1/2 c kamut
- 1/8 c shredded parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
This is a super flexible basic recipe which can be thought of as a model for making your own squash filling. Use a different protein, or none at all. Add variety in the vegetable department. Use brown rice or millet or quinoa or another grain in place of kamut. Whatever you choose to do, these amounts should provide a helpful guideline. Also, I was able to find all of these ingredients minus the salt, pepper, and kamut from Indiana farms.
Soak kamut in a pot of water overnight. The next day, drain kamut and refill the pot with fresh water. Bring to a boil and add kamut and a pinch of salt. Cook for 30 minutes. When done, drain kamut and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and pulp. Set seeds aside. Place squash flesh-side down on a baking pan and fill with 1/4 inch of water. Place foil overtop and bake for 40 – 50 minutes, until tender.
Brown turkey sausage in a pan. Once browned, remove from pan and slice. Return to pan to continue cooking. Chop onions and mushrooms and add to browned sausage. (If not using meat, heat a few tsps. of oil and sauté veggies in it.) Once vegetables are translucent, add cooked kamut and spinach and adjust seasonings to taste.
Remove squash halves from oven and fill with vegetable and grain mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes longer. Allow to cool slightly, and dig in!
baked squash seed ingredients:
- rinsed squash seeds (I used seeds from 5 small squashes and ended up with approximately one cup of seeds; use whatever you have)
- a few glugs of olive oil
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne
- 1/2 tsp. chilli powder
Preheat oven to 325F. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add seeds and salt. Boil for 10 minutes, remove, pat dry, and allow to cool. Put cooled seeds in a small bowl and coat with olive oil, spices, salt, and pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkles seeds over top. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring seeds every 10 minutes.
These make some heavily-seasoned seeds, so halve the amount of spices if you’d prefer a less spicy batch.