Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Squash

Check out the places that Connie Hope is Book Signing and selling books at Bazaars and Fair at the very end of these articles. She would love to see you there.

The fall is associated with either pumpkins or squash. I love using vegetables that are in season as they are much fresher. Let's visit a little history about 'the squash.'

The word 'squash' is derived from 'askutasquash', which literally means 'as green thing eaten raw' in the language of the Nahahiganseck Sovereign Nation. These are Native American who lived in the Narragansett Bay area of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts and even down into more states on the eastern shore. Squash was one of the 'The Three Sisters*' planted by the Native American.

Some squash can be eaten raw, while others are cooked. They can be pureed for soups, cakes, pies, and breads or sauteed, steamed, boiled, baked and fried. However, squash are really a fruit. Fruit have seeds on the inside as a tomato does, but are used as a vegetable. In addition to the flesh, other parts of the plant are edible. The squash seeds can be eaten or they can be ground into paste or pressed for vegetable oil. The shoots and leaves can be eaten as greens and the blossoms are good in cooking.

More about squash in the next article. Here is a favorite of mine.

Hubbard Squash Soup (or Butternut Squash Soup)
1 Tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
1/2 cup chopped scallions
2 garlic cloves, diced fine
1 quart vegetable broth, or chicken broth or water
4 cups Hubbard or butternut squash, cubed and cooked until soft in boiling water(2-3 squash)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon mace
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream ( or soy milk thickened with flour and water) The cream is optional. I like it
just as well without it.

Heat olive oil and saute the onion, scallions and garlic until golden.
Add the broth and simmer 15-20 minutes.
Add the squash, salt, pepper, and mace.
Simmer for 15 more minutes.
Put into a food processor and puree.
Add the heavy cream (or soy) optional.
Continue to simmer until heated throughout.
Garnish with a chopped scallion or a dollop of sour cream or Pesto or...use your imagination.

* The Three Sisters were the three main plants used for agriculture by the Native American: maize (corn), beans, and squash. They were planted together. The cornstalks provided support for the climbing beans and shade for the squash. The squash vines provided ground cover to prevent weeds, and the beans provided nitrogen for all three crops.

Recipe by Connie Hope from my new cookbook, In the Entree. It is now available for purchase.

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