Saturday, April 19, 2008

stores well on counter

Ever have a butternut squash on your counter for a month before using it?

How about two months?


Four maybe?

If the answer is four then you win because I was tired of the one on mine after a mere 3 months of taking up space and collecting flour and other dust. Besides, it finally had a slightly puckered look around the stem end, so I put the steel to a big knife and did something about it. First stop: vegan calzone.

Start with the secret ingredient for super-hella bomb big taste, every time. Can you say carmelized onions? They act like sauce AND filling at the same time when forgoing the cheese. Add some thinly sliced mushrooms, a pinch of garam masala and some old-ass winter squash and you're in business! (Please bake on a pre-heated stone and make sure the dough or mushrooms aren't as old as the squash and this will come out great.....)

And now for the onion segue to our second stop.....

Why is it we only buy the bulby round part of the onion plant? Why don't we use more? Probably because we are no longer growing them regularly in our own yards. You see, when onions are getting big and mature, like a lot of other plants they wanna bloom. Since you're typically only after eating the bulb part, the bloom stem or "scape" is of no use and is generally cut off and discarded. I've seen garlic scapes bundled together and sold at the BFM, so why not use onion ones? Since we have twenty or so torpedo onions out front currently 'scaped, I figured it was time for a little experimenting. We ventured out and I hacked off a few while my daughter snapped the picture. Now, actually cooking with them. Hmmm, let's see.........

How about adding freshly chopped onion greens to pan browned beef and then smothering in a nice tomatillo sauce? Yeah, when I first thought of it, it sounded good to me too. It just had to happen. Now we're getting somewhere! Let's get on to the Second stop: butternut verde.

I looked at the remaining two-thirds of the ancient, now decapitated looking gourd. Grown and harvested by my father in-law back in October, sitting with it's own kind and some larger pumpkins in his barn on a wooden pallet for a few months, then transferred to my counter for another three, only then, or more really two days since I cut the stemmy portion off and used it.....(gasping for air) it was time to finish off this winter squash from hell.

Big, somewhat dry chunks of butternut went in beside our last little harvest of potatoes from the yard, pulled the week before. It made me very happy to be using up the rest of these foodstuffs before they turned to compost on the counter. I tasted the concoction and it needed adjusting, so I tossed in a touch of sugar to cut the acid and bitterness from the green sauce and let it begin simmering until all was nice and tender. I got my rice going and contemplated making a hollandaise sauce.

Well, maybe no sauce for the spears (as we'd had with our second round of asparagus this season) but plated up, I still think it looked good. More importantly though, the beef chile verde with butternut and potatoes had enough kick to accompany the homebrew IPA rather nicely.

Oh, and the squash from hell lives no more.......

Welp, I guess that's it, so remember, like, Everyday is Earth Day man!


Mimi said...

Now I don't feel sooooo bad about the ancient delicata squashes living in a bowl on my counter.
I think you have reminded me that I need to do something soon or get rid of them....

K & S said...

I don't think a squash would "live" that long on my counter, because my counter is way too small...

jasmine said...

Ok, I have one of those (plus two spaghetti squash that have been hogging the counter produce bowl). Did you cook or otherwise prepare the squash before adding it to the calzones? Maybe I will make both of these this weekend when my squash hating boyfriend goes to Buffalo

Aaron said...

I said nearly the same thing to a friend yesterday: "In Berkeley, every day is Earth Day."

Monkey Wrangler said...

Mimi: If a little rain is coming your way anytime soon, you can scoop them out and race them down the gutter at least. Get a couple of neighborhood kids age 4 - 10 and you'll have a blast!

Kat: The secret for you perhaps is in storing little teensie weensie squash-lets.

Jasmine: Like life, the squash is all in how you cut it. No prep cooking beforehand, but something like 1/4 of an inch thick or less should cook up fine. And although not mentioned in the text, I did get pleasure from using the squash so thin in one recipe, and chunky the next....but, with enough beer, who cares about the texture?

Aaron: Hah! Soooo true man! Like, everyday really is dude!

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Aileen said...

Ahhh, any scape would seem to me to be a grande way to celebrate Spring. And carmelized onions, that's just year-around celebration. I'm jealous, but inspired.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I can talk you into making some stinging nettle pizza, now that it's stinging nettle season. It's popular at the la-dee-da pizza spots in our 'hood (not to be named here) but I know you make better pizzas than those over-priced eateries. :)

Love Sis

Monkey Wrangler said...

Insane: You must be insane if you think that I'll respond to this. I mean, come on, your comment is the same exact template type of thing as last post's comment that you made. Please don't advertise stuff on my site, thank you.

Aileen: Scape-a-licious! Thanks!

Sis: Huh? Nettle? Do you cook it ahead of time, or lay it on the pizza with gloves? You know, if it involves pizza, I'm all over trying it! Speaking of which.....look out for my next post.