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M.I.S.S. Healthy Bites: Squash is SO Posh

Squash is SO Posh

Squash is SO Posh

If you’ve got beef with squash, you’d better squash it now because squash is popping up on fancy dishes everywhere.  There’s no way of avoiding it.  Once thought of as one of the gross flavors of baby food, squash is now one of the hottest ingredients in fancy winter cuisine.  As the fabulous summer fruits and veggies are disappearing from the farmer’s market stands, more and more chefs are catering to the locavores and seasonal diners out there and highlighting winter squash on their menu.  If you want to be down with the glamorous life, then make sure you try something different and order some succulent squash.

But for all those penny-pinchers out there, you don’t have to pay high prices uptown to get a taste of squash.  If your city has a reputation for gourmet street food, make sure you hit up those vendors.  In Oakland, I recently had a taste of street-churned butternut squash ice cream.  Delectable!  For the inspired chefs out there, just take a trip to your local farmer’s market or head to the supermarket to take a peek of all the squash.  The variety will amaze you, from acorn squash, to spaghetti squash, to my personal favorite, butternut squash.  It’ll take a little patience and time to cook in the kitchen, but once you finish your squash dish, you’ll dream up of the next recipe.

Squash is not only a treat on your plate, it’s also a treat for your body.  Squash in your diet will provide you with beta-carotene, which the body then converts into Vitamin A.  Like many orange fruits and vegetables, squash will help give you a boost for healthy vision.  Plus, there are so many ways to prepare it, from breakfast to even dessert, that you’ll want to squeeze it in to every meal!

Ready to impress your fam and friends during a winter holiday feast?  Try these tips to add squash to your fine dining experience.

  • Roast and toast.  Cut squash in half, deseed, and roast directly on a pan.  When it’s done, remove the flesh from the peel.  You can now use this squash in a variety of dishes, or, simply add some butter and maple syrup for a quick and easy side dish.  Toast to the good life!
  • Stuff it…stuff it good.  Prepare your favorite stuffing and stuff it inside the bottom half of squash.  Roast it just the same and you’ll have a delicious entree with an easy, yet impressive, presentation.  Try adding some dried cranberries to the stuffing for a sweet and tangy burst of flavor.
  • It’s a piece of pie.  You might love pumpkin pie, but what about squash pie?  It pretty much tastes the same but it just sounds so much more gourmet!  Substituting the pumpkin will be a piece of cake, so why not give it a try?
  • Make a savory sweet soup.  Squash makes a creamy soup once roasted and blended.  Try throwing in an apple for more Vitamin C and sweetness.
  • Go back to the roots.  Try a 3 sisters stew recipe.  Squash is a staple for native cuisine, and the “3 sisters” refer to the 3 plants that grow interdependently: squash, beans, and corn.  With those 3 ingredients, you can’t go wrong!
  • Take it easy and make it easy.  Squash can be intimidating to work with, especially peeling it.  Make it easy on yourself and grab a bag of frozen, cubed, and cooked squash.  Leave it in your freezer and when you want to throw something together quickly, it’ll be easy to add the squash.

These are only a few suggestions of ways to work with squash, but just as there’s a variety of squash, there’s even more of a variety of ways to prepare it.  From pasta, to stir-frys, squash will make you feel like you’re living the good life.  Raise up your squash cocktails to the sky!

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