Tuesday, October 8, 2013

fall flavors

I've mentioned before that growing up I was a picky eater. It has become the family joke. Apparently I ate nothing more than macaroni & cheese and hot dogs.

That is mostly true.

As an adult, as I've learned and experienced cooking, I have found many foods that Mom always tried to get me to eat, but usually ended up with me still sitting at the dining room table, the food cold, tears streaming down my face. I would choke down whatever vegetable it was (hello, had I even tried them when they were still warm I would have probably liked them, or at least disliked them less) with a second glass of milk. Swallowing them whole like prescribed pills. (I think I'm recalling most specifically lima beans and peas in this description.)

Now I like vegetables, mostly because I eat them while they're still warm. What a difference temperature makes!

One of the things I remember Mom making was acorn squash. She roasted the squash, buttered it, and sprinkled brown sugar on it.

She did the same thing with carrots.

Had we known then what we know now, she would have gone the simple route of olive oil, salt and pepper. Now, that is my favorite way to eat root vegetables.

Just like I don't enjoy carrots in cake (seriously, I'll lick the icing off of a carrot cake or refuse dessert), I don't enjoy brown sugar on vegetables.

I had my first un-brown sugared acorn squash at a friend's house recently. They baked them in a pan of water, essentially steaming the squash. Then, at the table, butter, salt and pepper were provided so each of us could garnish as we wished.

I liked it that way, but wondered if I could roast it with olive oil. That is how I cook butternut squash. Except that it's cut up into cubes.

I Googled it.

Sure enough, eventually I found a recipe where you cut the acorn squash in half around the equator, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and drop in a clove of peeled (and slightly crushed) garlic. Roast it cut side up at 350 for an hour.


But, what's the best part about a squash? Or carving a pumpkin? To me, it's the seeds. I have always enjoyed eating roasted seeds.

Recently, I discovered something about these seeds.

I have been roasting pumpkin seeds since Bill and I carved our first pumpkins.

When I made that acorn squash the first time, I saved the seeds and the next day roasted them.

Acorn squash seeds have way more flavor than pumpkin seeds.

If you haven't ever given acorn squash seeds a chance, I highly recommend that you do.

Thanks to Heather W., the best way to prepare the seeds is: soak them overnight in salt water. The next day, drain the seeds, toss with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, garlic & onion powder and bake in a 300 oven for 20 minutes. You don't have to eat them right away. They'll keep in a sealed container.

Excuse me, I have to go eat my acorn squash seeds, they're ready.

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