Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Giant Squash
In late September, Mark came home from Sunbow Farm one day with two funky gourds—one overgrown white pattypan and one deep gold pumpkin crook-neck cross—and a mottled greeny blue squash. Eight pounds, the small masking tape tag said. “Harry says that they’re real good—sweet—and they keep for months,” Mark announced. “He wants us to save him the seeds, though—said we should keep some for ourselves, too.” Harry McCormick, owner of Sunbow Farm and one of the founders of Oregon Tilth, taste in foodstuffs is not always reliable; he likes yacon, which goes squishy overnight on me. I took the mammoth squash and put it with the other, more couple-sized, fruits in the basement. Every time I walked downstairs to find Mark in his office, there it was. Eight pounds of squash—four pounds per person, minus a few seeds. Over the winter, it slowly turned pale gold. We ate the delicatas, the acorns, the buttercups…Two weeks ago, early February, Harry told Mark that they don’t keep forever.
I hauled the squash upstairs into the kitchen and wacked it open. The seeds were huge, thick white shells with significant ridges, clinging lightly to the strands inside. It was a very small seed cavity for the size of the squash. I cut it in half, turned on the oven to 350, and popped it in. An hour and a half later, it was done, caving in from the skins. I put it in the garage to cool overnight and peeled the skin off the next day. Eight pounds of cooked squash.
We ate in the first night with toasted walnuts and butter. It is a very nice squash, we agreed. We ate it the next night as risotto, with parmesan cheese and onions. A beautiful golden color we said, especially with sautéed bitter red mustards on the side. On Saturday, I made two loaves of “pumpkin” bread with whole wheat flour and some plump raisins thrown in for texture, using up another two cups of the meat—very tasty. When I made my bread dough, rather than adding potatoes, I added squash. White bread with cornmeal and squash for the week. Another cup gone. We’ll eat it in soup later this week, with cream and nutmeg—and one more night as a side, which SHOULD polish it off.
It was a very nice squash and it would have kept, probably, for another month in the basement. I saved the seeds for Harry and set a few aside for us…and Mark forgot to take them to the farm this week. Anyone want some squash seed?