Carnival! Time to cook some Organic Squash
Time to cook some Organic Carnival Squash! How I wish our weather resembled the happy colors and whimsical designs on the squash. “Fall, we can’t wait any longer, have to cook Your warm colored comfort Foods!”
Carnival is the name given to a squash which is a cross between a dumpling squash and an acorn squash. It is one of the more delicate varieties that can be used in many recipes and whose skin is sometimes edible. Roasting is the preferred method of cooking Organic Carnival Squash to best bring out the sweet, nutty, flavor. The flesh is creamy and yellow.
There are many different types and colors of winter squashes. Here are some more common varieties of winter squash.
I may have already told my tale of deciding to use a giant Hubbard squash (the grey-blue colored one above), as a soup tureen at a catered lunch, featuring a creamy squash soup. Eventually, after many tries with knives and hammers, we had to call in someone from the maintenance crew with an electric saw to cut the squash in order to prepare the hollowed out Hubbard squash tureen!
Most squashes are not that difficult to cut. Microwaving the whole squash briefly will soften the skin and make cutting easier. Be sure to prick it slightly though to avoid an explosion in the microwave!
Organic Carnival has several different color patterns: when green is present it means the squash is at peak for harvest. The more orange, the more fully developed and ripened the squash. Both are a tasty treat!
Organic Carnival Squash roasts like any of the smaller, thin-skinned varieties of squash. Cut it in half or quarters (it cuts easily), or rings, brush with olive oil, season with a little salt and pepper and roast in a 375-400 oven for 20-25 minutes.
When roasting it in halves, you can put a little water in the bottom of the roasting pan and cover it to hasten cooking time..it will be sort of roasted/steamed. If you leave it uncovered, it will brown nicely, either side up. Often I use both techniques, baking it covered for half the time, then uncovering and letting it color at the end.
After it is cooked, you can use it for many applications, soups, salads, stuffings, etc.
Try brushing it with a little honey or maple syrup that has been mixed with some melted butter, then dust it with cinnamon and nutmeg before roasting.
When it is hollowed out and halved it looks like an open invitation to stuff it with something, like Bacon!!
Organic Carnival Squash Stuffed with Apples, Pears and Candied Bacon
1 organic carnival squash, seeded and halved
2 tablespoons organic butter, melted
salt and pepper
1 organic apple, chopped coarsely
1 organic pear, chopped coarsely
2 tablespoons maple syrup or coconut nectar
1/4 pound smoked bacon, chopped well
olive or coconut oil
1 teaspoon palm sugar
Preheat oven to 400.
Salt and pepper the squash halves, and fill them with chopped apple and pear that has been tossed in melted butter with the syrup. Divide evenly among the squash halves.
Mix the bacon with some oil, sugar and a pinch of nutmeg. Top the squash with the bacon mixture.
Place in the oven on a baking sheet and roast for about 20-15 minutes until the bacon is crisped and brown and the fruit and squash cooked.
This time of year, I prefer to stuff squashes with fruit for a lighter style stuffing.
Yesterday, a friend gave me some fruit from a tree in her yard. They looked like mini-pomegranates. Turns out they are “Cherry Guava”, a sub-tropical fruit. The pulp is used to make jams or they are used for juicing.
The problem with cherry guava is that they are filled with seeds that are just large enough to be troublesome. As a result, most recipes require straining them for whatever you are making.
My thought was to use them as a substitute for cranberries in a fruit type of squash stuffing, similar to last week’s post on Delicata Squash.
I scooped out the seeds and chopped up what remained and added them to the stuffing mix with a few alterations to the recipe, and we have a slightly different stuffing. a little more tropical, and muted in flavor. The fruit still adds some tartness, but they are much milder than a cranberry. If you have access to these fruits, try them.
Otherwise, of course, use organic cranberries or cherries, dried or fresh, in place of the guava cherries. Use your organic Red Pear and Cameo Apple for the rest of the stuffing.
Organic Carnival Squash Stuffed with Fruits
1 organic carnival squash, halved and roasted
1 organic apple, chopped
1 organic pear, chopped
1 cup organic, fresh cranberries, halved or guava cherries, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons organic butter, softened
1/4 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 tablespoon coconut nectar
1 tablespoon toasted, flaked coconut
Mix the fruits, crumbs, nuts, butter, and nectar together. Evenly divide the mixture between the squash halves. Top with toasted coconut. Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes
Later in the fall or winter, it seems more appropriate to use meats and heavier ingredients to stuff squashes. We’ll try some Sausage, Basil, Cream and Cheese Stuffed Squash at another time.
Organic Red Pears Roasted with Squash and drizzled with Balsamic Honey Glaze is another fall pleaser. Same technique as above.
Slice the pears and squash into slices that are about even in thickness. Toss in oil or butter, salt and pepper and maybe a dusting of nutmeg. Roast at 400 for 25 minutes until nicely caramelized. Turn as necessary to caramelize all surfaces.
For the glaze:
Mix about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar with 2-3 tablespoons honey and simmer until well blended and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. You may add a little chopped fresh basil, thyme leaves, or rosemary for a fresh twist of flavor.
Eat the pears and squash as a side dish, or add some chopped candied nuts or gooey blue cheese for a vegetarian entree. Serve with greens (organic kale, this week) for a fabulous fall salad!
Party with your Organic Carnival Squash and Fruits this week!