It’s all things pumpkin right now. Fun to visit Half Moon Bay farms for fall decorations and Trader Joe's for the new pumpkin treats.
Interestingly, “pumpkins” are not always the best choice for sweetness or flavor in cooking, probably because many of our options, even the sugar pie pumpkins, are bred for everything else: travel, appearance, color…. If you are looking for a winter squash that offers more, make sure to check out the kabocha squash. With a beautiful orange interior, natural sweetness, satisfying texture, and soft skin that can easily be eaten, kabocha may be your best option. Kabocha has been gaining notoriety; find the squash at many grocery stores and farmers markets.
- courtesy of Creative Commons
A fun game to play with Kabocha is Split the Squash in Half - aim cleaver in the middle, embody samurai essence, breathe in the Force, strike from above. Damn, it feels great when you land it!
Don’t get stuck on traditional uses of winter squashes, such as roasting or using them in pies; there are many options for winter squash. Try grating them raw into a fritter, like this fabulous recipe for Delicata Squash and Corn Fritters from the New York Times,
or once baked, adding them into a smoothie, the same way you’d use a banana. Great texture!
- here we use sweet potato, fresh turmeric, black pepper, bottled chai and ground nuts for the smoothie
Kabocha also works well as a spread for your morning toast and afternoon snack. You can bake, pressure cook or use your instant pot to prepare, then mix with tahini (or even a nut butter). Try this recipe on baked rice cakes for a new treat. BAKE packaged ice cakes? Yes, please do. If you don’t, they taste like cardboard. But if you do it’s crispy crunchy heaven.
Kabocha Squash Toasts
This spread is delicious on your favorite bread or try something new – a toasted rice cake.
1 small kabocha squash
Olive oil for drizzling
Tahini, well stirred
optional: cinnamon , nutmeg, allspice, or a sweetener like maple syrup or honey
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut squash in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet drizzled with a little olive oil. Rub a touch of oil on the skin. Bake until soft inside, time will vary due to size, but start with 40 minutes. Cool slightly, remove pith and seeds. Scoop out squash and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Mix in some tahini to taste (start with 2 tablespoons) some salt, and any optional spices or sweetener. Spread on Toasted Rice Cake.
Toasted Rice Cakes
Preheat oven to 375°F. Place rice cakes on dry baking sheet and bake 8 minutes or till crispy.
- photos by LSIC unless noted